My old college roommate, Kevin, considered himself to be a song writer. Well, at least the music part of it. I was the poet who had a way with words and the two of us co-wrote a handful of popular songs back in the seventies, with Kevin handling the music and me taking on the lyrics.
But, after a serious falling out over writing credit and royalties, we ended our collaboration. I decided to go to France to focus on my writing. There I met and married the woman of my dreams, who happened to be my editor, and with her help, I published a few moderately successful poetry books.
Kevin continued to write music, but was unable to find a lyricist he could work with. He tried his hand at writing his own lyrics, but the words fell flat. Eventually he gave up writing music and got himself a “real” job at an accounting firm.
A few weeks ago, out of the blue, I received a letter from Kevin. He wrote that he had retired from the accounting firm and started to write music again. It was his passion and he had written the music for some really great new songs. In his letter he said that he hoped we could let bygones be bygones and partner up once again. He asked me to take a look at his music and would consider crafting some lyrics.
Kevin had enclosed with his letter the sheet music to several of the songs he’d composed. I shared them with my wife, who was a good piano player, and she was impressed by Kevin’s musical compositions. She encouraged me to once again collaborate with Kevin. So I sat down with the sheet music he’d sent and scratched out lyrics for the songs.
I wrote a note to Kevin included with my lyrics. I told him his music was beautiful and that I hoped my lyrics did it justice. But when several months went by and I didn’t hear back from him, I just figured he wasn’t all that impressed and gave up on our teaming up once again.
One day my wife said that she heard a song on the radio and the lyrics sounded familiar. She downloaded the song and played it for me, and sure enough, those were my lyrics that I wrote for Kevin’s music. I looked into it and saw that Kevin had claimed to have written the music and lyrics. He had, once again, taken credit for my work.
My wife wanted me to seek legal counsel and sue for compensation for my lyrics, but I refused. “It’s my own fault,” I told her. “What do they say? Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Well, shame on me,” I told her. “Let’s just move on.”
Written for Sadje’s What Do You See prompt. Photo credit: Free images Google.