Tag: Graceland

State of Graceland

State of Graceland

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Once upon a time, there was a teenager named Lance. Growing up in the pre-Internet era, Lance was still quite fond of media: TV, movies, and especially books and music. He read voraciously, started to figure out writing (though that would mostly come later), and always had the radio or a record or cassette playing in the background. This as the 1980s. There would eventually be CDs, but they were expensive in the early days and he didn’t have a CD player until the summer he was nineteen.

In the fall of 1986 he heard, “You Can Call Me Al” on the radio. Without knowing exactly why, he found it turning into one of his favourite songs and he bought Graceland on cassette as soon as his finances would allow.

And so it began.

It’s hard to say how many times I listened to Graceland, but I knew all the lyrics to every song within a week or two, and had my heart broken when the cassette got eaten a few years later. I immediately replaced it with a CD version, which I still have and from which I made MP3 versions of the songs for my iPod, and now in my phone. Yes, they’re all in my playlist.

In early July of 2009, listening to “The Boy In the Bubble”, I got the germ of an idea for the story that would eventually become “Miracles and Wonder”. Six months or so later, I wrote the first draft of “Pilgrimage” after something tickled the back of my brain listening to the title track, “Graceland”.

“Light Pressure” came near the end of 2010 with “Dancing in the Rain” following before too long. By then, I had an end goal in mind: there would be a story inspired by every song on the album. Perhaps, if they eventually proved worthy, they might become an e-book or a even, dare I contemplate, a podcast.

The rest of the stories were written across 2011, a strange and tumultuous time in my life, but they got written. In the first few months of 2012, I edited, polished, then edited some more until each of the 11 stories made me happy.

After which, I put them away for a few months. Letting things rest for a while helps me approach them with fresh eyes. When I read through them in October of 2012, I was still happy. Oh, I made some minor changes here and there, different word choices or alterations to punctuation, but nothing big. I started to think about what I should do with them.

But then, oddly, I put them away again. Yes, I had the intent to publish or perhaps submit them, but I never did. At this point, it’s been long enough that I felt the need to do another read through, and I’m glad I did. I made a few tiny tweaks here and there, some word choice changes, really but nothing big. The stories stayed the same.

Well, all but one which suffered a couple of structural alterations but kept the story intact. “Fingerprint Dreams”, the last story in the sequence, had a couple of odd POV shifts, with the main protagonist dropping into first person for what were essentially either interviews or flashbacks. I found this jarring when I read the story, and liked it less than I used to, so I changed them. As a result, the story got almost five hundred words longer, breaking over that magical 10k mark. It’s still the same story, but I think those scenes flow better now and the reader gets more out of them.

But I’m done reading, and that brings me back to what should I do with them? Try to find a publisher? Submit them to markets individually? Publish them myself? Publish them myself and send a copy to Paul Simon?

For the moment, I think I’ll go pop a certain CD in the player, but I’d welcome any thoughts or input.

Be well, everyone.

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Paul Simon Inspired SF

Paul Simon Inspired SF

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Once upon a time, there was a teenager named Lance.  Growing up in the pre-internet era, Lance was very fond of pre-digital media: TV, movies, and especially books and music.  He read voraciously, started to figure out writing (though that would mostly come later), chased girls, and always had the radio or a record or cassette playing in the background (yes, eventually CDs, but that took a little while–they were expensive in the early days and he didn’t have a CD player until the summer he was nineteen).

In the fall of 1986, he heard the song, “You Can Call Me Al” on the radio.  Without knowing exactly why, it became one of his favourite songs and he bought Graceland on cassette as soon as his finances would allow.

And so it began.

It’s hard to say how many times I listened to Graceland, but I knew all the lyrics to every song long before the cassette got eaten a few years later.  I immediately replaced it with a CD version, which I still have and I still play once in a while.  Not as often as in my youth, but it’s still in my playlist and I’ve ripped most of it to my I-pod, too.  Rhythm of the Saints didn’t speak to me in quite the same way.  It was good music, but it wasn’t Graceland.

Just about exactly two years ago, listening to “The Boy In the Bubble”, I got the germ of an idea for the story that would eventually become “Miracles and Wonder”.  Six months or so later, I wrote the first draft of “Pilgrimage” after something tickled the back of my brain listening to the title track, “Graceland”.

“Light Pressure” came near the end of last year.  “Dancing in the Rain” didn’t take too long after that and I had an end goal in mind by then.  There would be a story inspired by every song on the album.  Perhaps, if I and some beta readers agreed they were good, they might become an e-book or a podcast.

Life has intervened in 2011 (and in 2010, too).  There has been a lot going on and some of it keeps rearing up to get in the way of all of the projects I’m already supposed to be finished.  We survive and adapt, and sometimes we apologize profusely in the process.  But I still want to do “Graceland”, and I think it will be my personal writing goal for the rest of the year.  I’m slowly writing my way through “Hidden Songs”, inspired by “Diamonds On the Soles of Her Shoes”.  It’s one of those stories that keeps expanding—I originally thought it would be a 5 and then 6 thousand word story, but it looks like it might get close to 8k by the time it’s done.  “Hidden Songs” is the fifth of eleven stories in the Graceland set, and I’ve got at least the kernel of an idea for the rest.  None of them are in the least related other than by the theme.  I hope to be finished the first draft of the last one by the end of the year, but we’ll see.  There’s a lot of other commitments on my plate.

In the meantime, you’ll find a couple of progress indicators up top, just under the office hours.  One will let you know which story I’m currently working on and the other a total word count over what I’m projecting for the story in progress.  To get that started:

Hidden Songs (Graceland 5/11)

5824/8000 words

72.8% Complete

Oh, and they’ll all be Science Fiction stories, for most definitions of Science Fiction.

Now I think I’ll go pop a CD in, but in case you missed it at the time:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHxSuzTOc5A]

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