I recorded this song last week but I wrote it way back in 2012. It was for a collaboration project between two Seattle arts powerhouses, The Bushwick Book Club Seattle and the Jack Straw Cultural Center.
This show partnered local songwriters with local writers to create and perform original music inspired by The Jack Straw Writers Anthology. The anthology features essays, poetry, and short stories written by, you guessed it, resident writers in the Jack Straw Writers program.
My song Move It Right Along (not to be confused with Movin’ right Along by the Muppets) is inspired by what I thought was the best work in the anthology, an excerpt from Stacey Bennetts’ memoir Trial By Error: Confessions of an Eight-Year-Old Drug Smuggler.
According to Stacey Bennetts, Trial by Error is:
“…a memoir about smuggling drugs with my family from the age of eight to 21, being indicted during my last semester of law school for conspiracy to import 32 tons of marijuana from Thailand to Canada, recovering from alcoholism and an eating disorder, and appealing to two state supreme courts to be permitted to practice law as a criminal defense attorney.”
That sounds like a fun read, doesn’t it?!!!
The bad news is I don’t think Stacey Bennetts ever got around to publishing the book. I’ve been googlin’ like a banshee all afternoon and couldn’t find it.
The good news, however, is that the 2012 Jack Straw Writers Anthology is published on the Jack Straw website right here. So you can still read the Trial by Error excerpt ( as well as the other works in the anthology).
And here is Stacey Bennetts discussing her memoir in detail with the Shawn Wong, the Jack Straw Anthology curator.
When you read the anthology, please note how Bennetts describes what the police sirens sound like:
“As if a reminder I had as much power as a Georgia cotton boll, a siren interjected its jarring Mee-Maw, Mee-Maw, into our isolated world. I whipped my head toward the back window. Flashing lights – the folks I had been trained to expect from long nights with Dad’s cocaine-induced search for the Men With Shiny Shoes. “Shit. What do I do?” Bon said, even as she guided the Cadillac to the shoulder.”
MEE-MAW. MEE-MAW. Not sure if I’ve ever heard a siren sound like that before or anytime since. At the time, I thought that little detail was hilarious. So I had no choice but to include it in the song.
What do you think police sirens sound like? Let me know in the comments.
Move It Right Along
by Mike Votava
Send me off to school but don’t forget to pack my lunch
make me drive a Cadillac and stuff it full of drugs
just because I have a learners permit
doesn’t mean that I am qualified to traffic
all this weed across Montana
According to my parents, yes it does
Only eight years old
how was I supposed to know
the way we lived was opposite of a normal home
it’s all the same to me
and there’s nothing here to see
proclaimed the officer please move it right along
I can’t believe you’ve never been pulled over by the cops
it happens to me all the time I’m not making this up
did you see the photo of our family vacation
where we’re all standing in front of jimmy carter’s peanut warehouse?
I think we put it on our Christmas cards
Lights are flashing at us in our rearview
heart is pounding, sirens I can hear you