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Thursday, May 07, 2009

Gimme Fiction

A question that's already been asked by a couple of friends of mine: why do a fictional oral history rather than a nonfiction oral history for When We Were the Kids? That's a very good question, and my response comes with a mix of humor and seriousness: because I don't have the time or drive to interview 200+ people from my high school days. I took three years to interview 40-50 people just for Post. I can only imagine how much time it would take for an amount triple that size.

But in all seriousness, I think there's a much, much more compelling story to tell based on my experiences around local rock scenes in high school, college, and post-college. Setting the story in high school and in a middle class/upper-middle class suburb are crucial to the whole story. Why? Because I find something fascinating about living in an area so vastly cut off from whatever is considered hip or cool and somehow finding compelling/life-changing music that is off the mainstream's radar. Plus, playing in a band is a wonderful experience. The kind of experience I know has yet to be captured in a way that doesn't have platinum records or great tragedy. That happened to me, and it's happened to millions of others. That's why I think there's a story that should be read outside of my family and friends.

I started throwing ideas around two years ago on this book, and I still am throwing ideas around. Since I plan to self-publish again, I'm not committed to deadlines. When I think it's ready to go, it will come out. But once again, I'm not aiming to be like the Michael Douglas character in Wonder Boys -- especially the part where he hoped he'd have a 500-page book, but ended up with a 5,000-page book.

What I've found so interesting is taking elements from bands I knew (or played in) during my high school years and mixing other elements from bands I knew (or played in) after my high school years. There's a goal in making defined archetypes instead of stereotypes, and it takes a lot of writing to get to that point. Of course, it will take a lot of editing to get a result that is readable.

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