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September 30th, 2012

what's up with Mel

It's been a long time since I posted and I thought it was time for an update. Things are going really well, but incredibly busy. The good news is, part of that incredibly busy was finally making serious inroads into my backlog of work now that I have an admin assistant. Things at work continue to be good.

The even better news is that the album I spent the last 12 months producing is now done and released and starting to sell (see www.cathbenefitcd.org). It's gotten radio airplay in Tucson, Austin, and Eugene (Oregon). Woohoo!

April 23rd, 2012

In Memoriam: KD Wentworth

Last week I was shocked when I signed on to Facebook and saw a post by Scott Cupp stating that KD Wentworth had died. Kathy was a complicated person who at her core cared deeply about helping people and she will be missed.

I first met Kathy years ago when I joined the Oklahoma Science Fiction Writer group. It was through Kathy that I was introduced to the world of SFF conventions, and it was with her encouragement that I pursued my goal of becoming a published author. Kathy took me under her wing at conventions and introduced me to a wide variety of people who would become close friends.

Kathy welcomed me into the impromptu dinner group, the Sunday brunch group, and the world of Thanks Again - complete Thanksgiving dinners with friends held after the official meal with family. For years, Kathy was my best friend, the person I called when I needed to talk, when I wanted to share an event, and when I needed a litle retail therapy. She helped get my husband Chris and I together and opened her home for our wedding. It is because of Kathy that I have a Harlan Ellison story in which I rended Harlan speechless AND received an apology from him.

Kathy and I ended our friendship years ago, and despite the fact that I knew intellectually we would never be able to heal the breach, I always harbored a secret hope that we would be able to do so. Now that will never happen, and I am both terribly sad and terribly angry.

The details are irrelevant, but Kathy and I both came to a line that neither of us could cross. Kathy's deep seated aversion to confrontation caused her to refuse to speak with me about a particular topic, and my absolute unwaivable requirement in any relationship is the ability to communicate when there is a problem. We don't have to agree, but we do have to be able to articulate when and why there is a problem.

A mutual friend sought to mediate the dispute and encourage us to heal the breach, and I will always be deeply grateful for her efforts. But the breach was too fundamental and deep seated. Kathy could not bring herself to engage in any discussion she viewed as a confrontation, and I could not bring myself to continue a friendship when I could not trust her to be honest with me. While I regret the way our friendship ended, there was no other choice, given who we both were.

It took me a while to realize that the end of our friendship was inevitable. The only way for it to have continued was for one of us to sacrifice a fundamental part of our personality, and that would have also spelled the end of the friendship. Once I accepted that, I stepped away and expanded my circle of friends in a different direction. While Kathy was no longer a part of my life, my life is better for having known her, annd the world was a better place with her in it. She will be missed.

March 17th, 2012

A st. Patricks Day song

A little St. Pat's day ditty especially for my music friends

lyrics by Melissa Tatum
can be sung tto Londonderry Air (aka Danny Boy)

I love to sing, the songs, the songs of Ireland
I love to share them with an audience
I’ll take requests, but first I have a few demands
So listen up, I’ll say this only once

Before you ask, make sure it’s really Irish
Not just some schlock that someone has made up
For if you ask for schlock you will soon wish
that you were not, that you were not alive-o

And any song that features cockles is nixed
And you should take that as a big ol’ clue
If toora loora forms part of the lyrics
No Irish eyes will ever smile on you

And now I hope we all can listen and enjoy
I’m glad we had this open, honest chat
And please don’t ask, I pray, for that song Danny Boy
For God he knows, we’ve all heard quite enough of that.

March 5th, 2012

NTIF Report

Great weekend at NTIF! And much needed vacation, if only a mini-one.  Here's a quick Festival report, and apologies to those who I will inevitably leave out . . .

We flew to Dallas Thursday night, and  spent Thursday night and a chunk of Friday with my folks, who dropped us off at the festival hotel mid afternoon on Friday.  This was a different hotel than the last few years, and we weren't sure what to expect, but we thought it worked very well and had no complaints.  We like staying at the festival hotel because it cuts down on travel time and increases time to socialize, plus gives us the chance to take part in the after-festival activities.

Chris' parents and one of his sisters came down from Tulsa, as did several close friends, so that was great fun seeing them, as well, and having some time to catch up.

Musically, it was an awesome festival.  Old favorites Ed Miller, Scooter Muse and Jil Chambless were there (along with John Taylor this year), as were Tullamore and Clandestine.  And - bonus! - Clandestine did their version of You Will Burn, which I adore.   Didn't get to catch full sets from Natalie MacMaster or Vintage Wildflowers, but what I did get to hear was great.  

New this year were Goitse (pronounced Gwit-cha) and Maire Ni Chathasaigh & Chris Newman. I'm not usually a harp fan, but I really enjoyed Maire and Chris Newman's guitar work was incredible. Goitse delivered the foot-stomping, on your feet performance of the festival this year with their high energy trad with a modern twist. They had been in Tucson the week before, and it was awesome to get to see them again so quickly - sometimes it is years before we get a chance for a second live performance from a band we really enjoy.

It was also a musically inspired weekend - I delivered to Dene the rough draft of two sets of lyrics for him to compose the music.  One of them (It Ain't Right) was inspired by the sight Friday night at the festival of a little white dog that had been dyed green.  The chorus starts "I'm your bitch but you don't get the right to dye me green . . ."  Dene had music for it by Saturday night and premiered it in the song circle.

The only down side was at the song circle Saturday night, where the prima donna behavior of two participants drove me nuts.  Usually I can ignore them, but they just punched all my buttons Saturday night and rather than publicly lose my temper, I just packed up and left.  I hated not getting in my song circle time since I haven't been in a  circle since October, but chatting with friends in the bar was much better for my blood pressure.

And the best part of the whole thing is knowing I get to go home to my new admin assistant, who starts work today!

February 17th, 2012

Despite the fact that I haven't worked less than a twelve hour day in weeks, two pieces of excellent news have made this a red letter week

First, we hired an administrative assistant for the program I run and she starts March 5.  To put this in context, I have been without an admin for 18 months and during that time our program has expanded almost 50%. I am weeks behind in work emails and months behind in personal email.  And i haven't slept more than five hours a night in months.  I am beyond exhausted and am ecstatic that the end is in sight!

Second, i am pleased to announce that I am coordinating a benefit CD, the proceeds of which will be donated to the Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research. The CD is scheduled for release in early August.  This project is near and dear to my heart, as the CD will feature 12 artists who have donated their time to record songs I have co-written.

Painting the Seasons is being recorded by Jim and Susie Malcolm
Love's Touch -Aoife Clancy
Closing Time - Mairtin de Cogain
Kilmainham - Robbie O'Connell
Session Rules - Ed Miller
Two Peoples - Jil Chambless and Scooter Muse
Heirlooms - Dene Foye
Village Green - Puca
Love's Vigil - Tullamore
Let Us Not Forget - Rick Ewing
Morning Song - Wild Mercy
and Three Weird Sisters is still selecting their song

Tonight we went  to hear  Puca play at a local restaurant.  We got there a little early so we could get a good table, and the duo gave me a preview of how they have arranged the song.  It was awesomely cool!  It was one of the very few times I've heard anyone but Dene or Dene and Sundara sing one of my songs.

More about the project can be found on the project website at www.CathBenefitCD.org

Life is good!

October 25th, 2011

Brief OVFF Report

I arrived back in Tucson safe and sound after OVFF, albeit with a few adventures in the DFW airport. Had an absolutely marvelous time at OVFF. Got to hear lots of great music, got to visit with lots of friends, got to debut a couple of new parodies, and Dene and I took second place (woohoo!) in this year's songwriting competition with our song "Title Fight."

I was in the filk room until the wee hours both Friday night and Saturday nights, and stayed at the Dead Dog until midnight or thereabouts on Sunday, so I am not going to try and write a comprehensive con report. I would inevitably miss people and forget really cool things that happened. I have posted my new parodies both here and at meltatum.wordpress.com.

Thanks to everyone who made OVFF such a wonderful weekend, and congratulations to all the Pegasus winners!

New Parody: Filk You

Filk You
By Mel Tatum
tto: F*ck You by Bruno Mars et al

I hear you sing a new song with a tune i love and i’m like Filk you
Why should i write my own music, yours is so good, i can Filk you! And filk her too!
when i sing you the new lines, you’ll think that they’re so fine
I’ll win a Pegasus
trophy clutched to my chest I will wish you the best cuz I
Filked you!

I’m so happy, gonna steal from Kathy
You cant go wrong with a song by Mar
I keep on stealin’, steal something catchy
Wanna get you singin in your car

I need a new tune to set some lyrics to
So steal from the best will ya
Steal only the best will ya
Ooooooh! I’ve got a song for you
Yeah so it’s based on a tune I stole


Now i know, that i had to borrow,
Beg and steal and lie and cheat
Writin new music, I need a tunesmith
Cuz everything I write sounds weak

I need a new tune to set some lyrics to
So steal from the best will ya
Steal only the best will ya
Ooooooh! I’ve got a song for you
Yeah so it’s based on a tune I stole


Hey Gary, Larry, Mary, I am gonna gonna steal from your song
Your song, your song, your song
I tried again write a tune but it all just came out so wrong
So wrong so wrong so wrong
Uh! Whhhy? Uh! Whhhy? Uh!
What is wrong?! I give up!
I won’t write music

Tauntin’ the Wiccans
By Mel Tatum
tto: Fishin’ for Chickens by Jeff Crossan and Jim Varsos

My brother showed me his secret fort
And taught me to play his favorite sport
The winner was the one who made a wiccan mad
We’d sit right there in the forest glen
And throw out insults now and again
And we’d hope for a night the wiccans went skyclad

Tauntin the wiccans, pokin and pickin
Tease one, Bait one, bully one, plague one
Dont matter just as long as the game’s won
If Mama finds out, we’ll catch another lickin’
‘Cause Mama don’t like nobody tauntin the wiccans

I remember last year on the night of Beltane
Me and bubba was playin’ our game
I was winning this round when mama came flying thru the trees
She said cut that out boy, the circle’s not cast
it’s too late Ma, the demon done run past
The look on her face said i’d better get down on my knees

(Bridge:) Even though it wasn’t right,
Me and bubba side by side,
Out in the forest at midnight
Tryin’ get a wiccan to bite.


I was sittin in the treehouse dozin’ a bit
When suddenly i felt my innards shift
I heard the priestess of the coven whisper my name
I thought of all the magic I’d seen
And then I thought of what she could do to me
And I decided it was time to rethink my part in the game


July 19th, 2011

Beoga They Break Hearts

Last month when I was in Galway, I was lucky enough to catch one of my all time favorite bands, Beoga, in concert. They had a contest to win a copy of their new CD, which I entered and lost. So what's a songwriter (especially a smart alecky one) to do but write a song about it? Mary Crowell wrote the music, and I turned her recording into a video.


I hasten to add that this is all in good fun and that Beoga did nothing wrong and that I am not really mad. And if you like Irish music with a modern twist, be sure to check out Beoga's stuff. They really are awesome.

July 9th, 2011

I put together a music video for "Our Vampire Song" written by Dene and I and performed by Ghost of a Rose

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