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Published December 9th, 2013 at 10:00 am EST/EDT
firesongblog

A couple of years ago, I went to a friend’s house and she showed Sean and me the movie “Coraline“. Produced by Laika, this stop-motion animated film had it all: A beautiful original score, talented voice acting, masterful animation, beautiful shot and art direction, and oh yeah, it was based on a story written by Neil Gaiman. The movie has some differences from the story (because of course), but it is one of my most favorite things ever. And I can really, really relate to Coraline’s relationship with her parents.

In the movie, they never examine the Ghost Children’s backgrounds, and in the book, the Ghost Children are completely different. So I sort of had to take some liberties to write this song, but I did base the verses off the apparent time periods of the movie Ghost Children. As she’s babbling to the character Wybie, Coraline describes the Ghost Children as “…this pioneer girl, then Huck Finn Jr., then it was this Little Rascals chick…” So given that information, I guessed.

The first girl would have come west on the Oregon Trail, most likely, which is well-known for being fraught with peril. (In case you missed it, that reference was a joke, but seriously, the Oregon Trail was no picnic.)

The boy I figured might have been born to a father who was a lumberjack, and possibly, due to difficult times or just a naturally mean demeanor, abusive. I can see a little boy yearning for escapism like that provided by the Other Mother because of such a scenario. And this might be more of a modern-day train of thought, but how many rough, tough, burly men do you know that are comfortable with their sons playing with dolls?

And the third ghost was likely growing up during the Great Depression. That’s definitely cause for wanting some escapism right there. She might have been too young to fully understand what was going on (“And an odd, malignant misery”), but children are very perceptive.

This song came for me while I was at work one day. It was one of those that came tumbling out of my head. It was just in time for Halloween in 2012. There’s a recording of it up on Wax Chaotic’s ReverbNation profile from a concert we performed in December of 2012. The keyboard voice was chosen because it sounded sort of like a music box, and that seemed wholly appropriate.

I love this song. And yes, apparently I think that breathing is for wimps.


Hush and Shush
Lyrics and music by Katt McConnell

She sells you pretty promises
With wonders, treats, and games galore,
Knowing no matter how she gives,
That you’ll always want more.
A treat my father thought he found
Turned out to be a spy,
And they only know I disappeared—
But they’ll never know why.

I admit that I was foolish,
But the journey West was hard—
My mother and two brothers
Didn’t make it quite this far.
I yearned to find a perfect world,
But didn’t factor in the cost,
Then I took the chance to reunite
With loved ones I had lost.

       Hush and shush
       Or the Beldam will hear you—
       You’re a fly in her web,
       Don’t let her come near you
       With her needle and thread,
       Don’t believe what she’s said,
       And don’t let her sew the buttons
       Like we did.

Between the pines and firs
And the redwoods grown for centuries,
I played at war with other boys,
And pushed against my boundaries.
It wasn’t quite refusal
To follow given rules,
It was more of an escape route
From a father cold and cruel.

Then I found myself revealing
An escape that was quite different,
And to my great joy and delight,
She said it could be permanent.
I don’t recall my name,
But here, behind the mirrored glass,
I remember my true mommy
And wonder how she is.

       Hush and shush
       Or the Beldam will hear you—
       You’re a fly in her web,
       Don’t let her come near you
       With her needle and thread,
       Don’t believe what she’s said,
       And don’t let her sew the buttons
       Like we did.

I grew up in misty mountains
Where the rain is filled with mystery,
With my parents and my sister—
And an odd, malignant misery.
I had imagination,
And not a whole lot more,
Until I found the world of wonder
Through that tiny, wooden door.

I was trapped just like the others,
And like them, I yearn to run,
But we cannot leave this prison world
Until our favor’s done.
Oh, find us, girl, and free us fast,
And we’ll help get you home,
And be smart, for even if you win,
She’ll never let you go.

       Hush and shush
       Or the Beldam will hear you—
       You’re a fly in her web,
       Don’t let her come near you
       With her needle and thread,
       Don’t believe what she’s said,
       And don’t let her sew the buttons
       Like we did.

       Hush and shush, Mistress,
       Hush and shush, Mistress,
       Hush and shush…shhh…



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