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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

In the high school halls

Work on When We Were the Kids inches closer to a first draft status. Looks like my September 15th goal is still a great possibility as I work on it some on some days and a lot on other days. The thing that keeps driving me to come up with new stories and ideas for stories is the desire to tell this story as all-encompassing as much as I can. If something that happened recently at a show reminds me of something similar to my high school experience in bands, then it's put into consideration for the book.

Here's a glimpse into how the creative process gets going, using a recent example.

A few weeks ago, I watched an excellent documentary on Rush called Beyond the Lighted Stage. If you're a fan of Rush, then I highly, highly recommend checking out the DVD. It's a very thorough and never-boring look at the Canadian trio's career.

As I watched the documentary and thought about the documentary, I kept thinking about how teenagers at my school got into the band. There was something apparently amazing about the Chronicles double-disc compilation, even though Rush's music seemed hard to explain to somebody who had never heard it. I don't remember how I heard Chronicles, but I do remember watching the VHS a few times and seeing the band's video for "Stick It Out" on Headbanger's Ball.

Coupled with guys I knew from school and Boy Scouts that were big fans, suddenly a lot of ideas came into my head about featuring Rush in When We Were the Kids. Something rings very true about a Rush fan -- they're most often relegated to the classic rock fan, but a certain type of one. The kind that believes a real instrumentalist must have chops-a-plenty. I know I went through that phase of thinking and I knew a few people that did as well. (You can still meet plenty of them if you hang out at a Guitar Center for a few hours.)

A couple of characters that I developed sketches for suddenly had a few more things to say when I decided to make them big Rush fans. I'm still struggling with making these guys more than one-note characters, but that's part of the fun in (at least) trying to do more. As much as I love Rush, I have to think of how these characters work with the other characters. Otherwise, I'd just be strolling far down memory lane and forgetting about these characters' importance to the overall story.

Ideas can come to me at any time or any place. More often than not, I come up with ideas when I'm not in front of the computer. Quite often, ideas come when I'm in the shower.

There's a little update. Things are coming together nicely.

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