With July Fourth less than 48 hours away I starting to think about the word freedom. Which immediately led me to the iconic line from the Kris Kristofferson-scribed song Me and Bobby McGee: “Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose.” Which led me to Wikipedia where I learned that a music producer named Fred Foster shares writing credits with Kristofferson on McGee. Which led me to YouTube where I listened to several versions of McGee that have been recorded since it was first released by Roger Miller in 1969. I listened to Kristofferson play it, Dolly Parton play it, The Dead play it, Gordon Lightfoot play it, and then I listened to Janis Joplin howl and bleed it. Which inspired today’s prompt.
How it works is first you watch and listen to Joplin sing McGee (if you’re unfamiliar with the tale of love and love lost that the song tells, make sure to pay a little attention to that as you listen to Joplin’s amazing vocals):
Next, choose from one of the following three writing prompts:
1. Write about the last time “Me” (the narrator of the song) and Bobby McGee see each other (near Salinas, California). How did they part? Where were they exactly? What did they say to each other on that final day together?
2. Write from the point of view of the diesel driver who picks up the two hitchhikers (Me and Bobby McGee) and drives them all the way from Baton Rouge to New Orleans. What did the driver think of these two young lovers/crooners? Which songs did he ask them to play? Where was this diesel driver, his life, heading?
3. Write about anything that the song, Janis Joplin, Joplin’s voice, or the word freedom brings to mind.