Writer's Commentary: Harvest Breed

On Post: Harvest Breed

Date: January 6, 2013

Find it here

A song called “Harvest Breed” is not necessarily a natural fit for a story about a guy about to die in a skydiving accident, I do confess. However, lyrically, there really was no other choice.

Nick Drake uses the word “falling” five times in a song that is five lines long; it’s just impossible to ignore that. Besides “falling” Drake also riddles the five lines with multiple references to endings and the combination of the two said “skydiving gone awry” to me. What that says about me, I don’t know.

Once I had that parameter in place my mind drifted to what could possibly be going through your mind in those moments. Besides abject terror, of course. In reality, panic and the speed you are moving would probably allow for no real time at all to contemplate much. But that’s not a great story.

For me, I imagined the mind would probably drift to fairly shallow or non sequitur thoughts because the big thought “I’m about to die,” is just too much to do while the ground is rushing towards you. I’ve never been there, of course, but I imagine your mind would divert your attention as a sort of survival instinct. “We can’t handle this,” it would realize, “so let’s think about some other stuff.”

And other stuff for straight guys is, of course, breasts and sex. No stereotypes here, just pure insight.

(By the way, hate the term “boobs.” The character would use it so he does, but ugh…I’d rather use any other euphemism for breasts then that one.)

This guy, on the other hand, loves to say "boobs." (hollywoodreporter.com)

This guy, on the other hand, loves to say "boobs." (hollywoodreporter.com)

Writing from the first person necessitated the tragedy averted ending of the story. I might’ve found a way around it, but the idea of narration from beyond the grave didn’t appeal to me and nothing else readily came to me. Interestingly, the idea of changing it to third person, thus allowing for the character to actually hit the ground, didn’t even occur to me. However, looking at it now, I still wouldn’t do it. The offering needed to be first person to work. Going third person would make it too removed and the fun of the piece is its immediacy.