Writing Prompt: Express Emotions About Connick Jr.’s Miss New Orleans

"I Know I Can" WNFIN Prompt 075

The Piano as the Frame, Week #4

So sad. Today is the last prompt for the month of June! Before we begin a new theme on Monday, let’s take an unexpected walk in piano interpretation with a musician who is also a funny actor – Harry Connick, Jr. Your job is to express emotions about Harry Connick Jr.’s song, Do You know What it Means to Miss New Orleans.

Creative Idea Gal’s Thoughts

I keep forgetting that Harry Connick, Jr. is a musician and singer first, and an actor second. I had been enjoying his comedic and surprisingly good acting skills and was delighted to be reunited with his original talent. Harry is probably not the first person you’d think of when writing about piano playing, so it makes today’s prompt a nice surprise.

In my never-ending quest to be original and shine light on curious, obscure things, I sought out a song that is not necessarily mainstream, although it is popular. Do You know What it Means to Miss New Orleans has been recorded upwards of fifty times by many different recording artists. Sometimes a piano is used, sometimes not. I love Harry Connick’s version.

Creative Idea Gal’s Emotion

My emotion for today’s song is “manipulative,” but not in the way you think. When I think of manipulative, I think of the educational types of manipulatives, like building blocks and shapes. Kids are supposed to handle manipulatives in any way that helps them learn. The kids must intentionally touch, handle, and grasp the manipulatives. Similarly, I think of Harry Connick, Jr. working the piano as if it were some huge manipulative for adults.

Did you see how Harry controls the piano, making it do everything he tells it to do at dizzying speeds? That’s not just the effect of a manipulative, but of great talent.

Tips on How to Evoke Emotion in Nonfiction Writing
  • Tip #12 – Practice manipulating language

This is another example of learning the rules before deciding to break them. Language is beautiful and perfect, but it is also the best malleable source available. At times, language is more like a soft metal that is ready to be shaped into an earring, a watch, a spoon, or a little dog. In that sense, language is the perfect manipulative because it gives us opportunities to create our own landscape of beautiful writing.

Helpful Resources

“The ability to manipulate language is crucial to making a good argument, no matter what kind of argument.  It is also useful for other types of writing, such as narrative, etc.”– Document found online

“The fact of the matter is, words are the key to getting what you need, want; and how you change things. There are so many things that you can get away with if you say them in a reasonable way, skirt around the edge of controversy in what you’re saying whilst bathing right in the middle with your meaning.” – Blogger Nicky

Writing Prompt 075

Prompt: Express emotions about Harry Connick Jr.’s song, Do You know What it Means to Miss New Orleans.

  • Step 1: Listen to the song first. Then, watch the video performance. Does Harry have an interesting style?
  • Step 2: Does the song choice make it difficult for you to express an emotion or easier, if you have no preconceptions?
  • Step 3: Express your emotions about this song. If you wish, compare Harry’s version with another version and see who does it better. Pay close attention to the piano and the distinct differences between one version that features the piano and one that doesn’t.

Please be sure to leave comments about this writing prompt. We want to hear from you!

About the Author

Amanda M. Socci, J.D., is a freelance writer with 14 years of experience writing professionally. Socci currently cuts her blogging chops on her personal portfolio blog, the Creative Idea Gal blog, and on an online news site, Mount Vernon Patch. Inspired by Nina Amir’s Write Nonfiction in November writing challenge, she created a unique 10-month training program for Writenonfictionnow.com and Writenonfictioninnovember.com blog visitors.

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