World Premiere: Two Tunes for Authors (and Editors)

Elizabeth Bluemle - June 3, 2014

Every year, my literary agent, Erin Murphy, and her crack team of co-agents and office gurus put together a retreat for their clients. The retreat moves around the country from one region to the next, and this year, it was held in Vermont. Sixty-seven talented, funny, crazy children’s book writers and illustrators descended on my unsuspecting state, pretty much doubling our population.
And why on earth might this interest you, dear Reader? Well, because among those authors and illustrators are eight musical souls who have banded together, literally, to reveal the inner workings of an author’s brain. (Psst: It’s scary in there.) The band is  called Erin Murphy’s Dog, and their motto is “In bocca al coniglio,” a faux-mild children’s-book-worthy appropriation of the galvanizing Italian phrase “in boca al lupo” (literally, “in the mouth of the wolf,” but it means “break a leg!”).
The members of the band are (l. to r. front row) Carrie Gordon Watson, Deborah Underwood, (l. to r. back row) Kristin Nitz, Jeannie Mobley, Mike Jung, Arthur A. Levine (yes, that Arthur A. Levine), Ruth McNally Barshaw, and Conrad Wesselhoeft.

Erin Murphys Dog

Photo by EMLA agency mate Tara Dairman

The band performed to a wildly appreciative crowd of agency mates, and two of the songs were particularly amusing for anyone involved in the children’s literature field. So it is my great pleasure to announce the world premiere of “Editorial Delay” and “YA Cha-Cha Blues.”
Not only are the songs clever and funny, they offer other gifts. In the words of band member Mike Jung, “These songs have it all – intensely complicated ukulele chords, 12-bar blues wizardry, freewheeling choreography, author/editor humor, and a broad variety of Muppet-like facial expressions. Also, a lot of love, because I love these people with all my heart. IN BOCCA AL CONIGLIO!”
Big thanks to Erin Murphy’s Dog for permission to post these videos, with extra gratitude to agency mate, e.E. Charlton-Trujillo, who did the three-camera video recording of these songs and synced the sound and color-corrected on the fly to meet this ShelfTalker deadline!
Erin Murphy’s Dog Performs “Editorial Delay” (music by Deborah Underwood, words by Deborah Underwood and Arthur A. Levine) from e.E. Charlton-Trujillo on Vimeo.

Erin Murphy’s Dog – YA Cha-Cha Blues (words and music by Conrad Wesselhoeft, in response to a conversation he had with agent and super knitter Erin Murphy about how the writing life can be back and forth … and back and forth) from e.E. Charlton-Trujillo on Vimeo.

Bravo! Bravo!
Adoring fans are welcome to leave comments (but not flowers or flung underwear) below. As Erin Murphy’s Dog would say, “Arrroooo!”

34 thoughts on “World Premiere: Two Tunes for Authors (and Editors)

  1. Deborah Underwood

    What Mike said, below. Flung household staples are welcome, too. Just give us notice before flinging sacks of flour.

    1. Mike Jung

      Double-bagging flour and other dry goods before flinging them is recommended. Also, please fling doughnuts. Lots and lots of doughnuts.

  2. Susan Lynn Meyer

    I played “YA Writer” for inspiration before starting work today. Conrad, you are a genius. I listened to it thinking, “Other people are just like me?” Very reassuring.

      1. Mike Jung

        If I’d looked at the dancing for even a second I would have been totally mesmerized, and I’d never have found my way back to the right place in the song!

  3. Ruth McNally Barshaw

    Mike says fling donuts (below) but I’d rather you fling Arches watercolor paper– I’m on a deadline!
    Elizabeth, thank you for inviting us into your office here at PW. I hope someday you get a window.

  4. Donna Bowman Bratton

    EMD ROCKS! I adore each and every one of you.
    Eunice, thank you, thank you, thank you for being this year’s video historian. I’m sorry you were under the weather throughout it all.

  5. Kristin Wolden Nitz

    Such big thanks to e.E. Charlton-Trujillo for using her mad skills to capturing these fun songs. I smile every time I listen to them.

  6. Laurie Ann Thompson

    Eunice, this is a better quality viewing experience than I had in the actual audience. Thank you! And thank you, Elizabeth, for posting! And thank you to the band for all your hard work AND for letting these vids go public! And thank you to Erin for founding this wonderful organization and bringing together these fantastic human beings! I thank you to Joan for signing me, so I get to be a part of it all! ARROOOOOOOO!!! =D

  7. Jeannie Mobley

    it’s so fun to share these with a broader audience. Because who hasn’t run into a little editor/author delay from time to time. Or danced the YA Cha cha blues. Thanks for your fun past, Elizabeth!

  8. dpatneaude

    What fun! Surprised all that talent could fit in one room, and impressed to see this “Dog” perform so entertainingly while staying within the bounds of propriety (unlike a certain other dog).

  9. tanya grove

    These lyrics deserve a Grammy! Can you post them somewhere so we can read them over and over again? What a fun bunch! And Deborah, you totally rock!


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