Writer's Commentary: Week 4

Did I get my groove back in Week 4? Kinda?

On Post: Both Sides of the Story

Date: January 22, 2018

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What if you used the both sides approach that Collins utilizes in this song, but for silly instead of mawkish. Well, I think...it would sound...a little something...like THIS.

It's goofy, but I had fun with it. In what you'll notice is an ongoing theme this week, if I had longer I would've really buried the needle in terms of ridiculousness, but I still think this is amusing.


On Post: Stacy's Mom

Date: January 23, 2018

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The teenage crush angle is the most obvious easy approach to this song and I just didn't want to do it. So I pushed just a touch further.

As a parent with a three year old and a six year old who still likes to sit in on readings, we read a fair amount of children's books around our house. The idea of a mom who is not appreciated shows up a decent amount in children's books as does stories of wanting something else only to realize what you had was a better fit for you. So I merged the two and made Stacy's mom not the story of the onset of puberty and a crush on a friend's mom but the story of thinking the mom you live with is so cool and then realizing that your mom is still a better fit for you.

I think it'd make a cute children's book.

That said, this is another one that with a little more time I would've more closely aped the style and really nailed the feel of a children's book. The language wanders a little here and that undercuts it a touch.


On Post: American Blood

Date: January 24, 2018

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A month or maybe 2 months ago, I did a podcast in which myself and the two hosts discussed the comic book limited series UNKNOWN SOLDIER in detail. When I heard this song and reviewed the lyrics, it just fit so well with some of those themes--especially of disillusionment in the U.S.--that it just made sense to me to do a bit of short story from the perspective of an Unknown Soldier type character.

Once I started writing, each character became sort of broad analogues to other cynical patriotic heroes--the Comedian, Nick Fury, just to name two--and that informed their relationship to the narrator, who they viewed him, and their actions.

It's sad and cynical, like the limited series, but again, like the limited series, I find something appealing about a disillusioned hero who still seeks to make a difference, even if it means forcing someone else into the role (as in UNKNOWN SOLDIER) or by bringing down the system he came up in (as here).


On Post: Filthy

Date: January 25, 2018

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What a weird bad song.

That doesn't have much to do with this piece, just my review.

Anyway, I find the line "Whatca gonna do with all that beast when I leave the cage o-PEN?" to be just bizarre enough to stick in my head. So that became my primary thought on the song and I organized the story, which quickly became a memo, around that.

Given how odd the song is, it became a comedy.

Oh and the reason for it being a corporate thing I think is the fault of the video which depicts a kind of Apple/Steve Jobs rally for the employees and stockholders event. That got me in the corporate mindset which led to both the idea of the lab setting and the memo format.


On Post: Long Vows

Date: January 26, 2018

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This is another one of those that I started writing without knowing exactly where I was going to end up.

I knew almost immediately that I wanted it to be about a guy who signs a long-term contract of some kind. However, I didn't have much else besides that. Still I liked the idea enough that I wanted to take it for a test drive.

I have no idea what the nature of what he agreed to do and why it took its toll but I imagined it as something sort of every day that only gained significance because the contract made him so aware of it.

Somewhere along the way, the idea of long moved to being "longest" and what's longest? Forever. And forever literally would mean into the Afterlife as well so that's where I took it.

I really liked my "vision" of heaven to be honest. That kind of full sensory experience that is both ideal and still grounded. That your body is as good as it has ever been but also still has weight, still reacts, still feels physical, just seems right to me.


On Post: Do You Believe

Date: January 27, 2018

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First, it was really hard to find a rally picture that was not easily recognized as for a Presidential candidate, especially one particular recent one and I just couldn't make myself take one of those. So I finally went with a rally from a foreign country. Apologies if you are from that country and this pulled you out of the story.

The song is about the limits of love and I had been listening to a podcast where someone had been intoning that a person's perspective was a bit pollyannish. I imagined the person who might believe in love and the person in the song--and podcast--who labeled love as unreliable as the same person.

Then I just inflated the stakes to give a reason why this someone making this change might affect a lot of people not just him or herself. The idea of a political movement came from there (and the fact that the podcast was a political one as well) and the article got easy to write afterwards.


On Post: One Foot

Date: January 28, 2018

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There is a lyric in the song about the "Queen of Nothing" and that put me right into the fairy tale mindset.

With just that and the idea of walking--the chorus is about one foot in front of the other--I was off to the races. The idea of her coming back and making a sort of utopia did not occur when I started nor did her encounter with the barmaid that became her life partner. I did know that I wanted the action to hinge on someone actually asking her about herself though because, as a therapist, I think that kind of question can be huge, especially to someone who has felt isolated for so long.

If I had more time, I would've made this a lot stronger a copy of a fairy tale, really focusing on the language and making it feel deeply fairy tale like, not just glancingly so. I like all of it but that distance is a little frustrating.