The content of my upcoming book of short short stories, Shake Away These Constant Days, originated as a project called Our Band Could Be Your Lit, in which I wrote a story under 1000 words every week. To generate this much content, I based the stories on songs suggested my musicians and writers from around the world. The original idea was 100 songs, 100 stories: find the creative common ground between two mediums and cultivating the virtue found therein.
Until September 25th, I'll be doing a blog post a day about the stories in the book. After that, it's all up to you.
(Read "Back and to the Left" in JDP's gracious preview of Shake Away These Constant Days.)
Originally OBCBYL #21. This was the first story I wrote after coming back from a long hiatus. I think around the time I wrote this story I also wrote a song called "Sex In Your City," if that gives you any indication as to where my mind was.
"Brain of J" is, I'm pretty sure, about JFK. The only thing I was more positive about than the world not needing another spin on the JFK assasination was a strong affirmation of my own laziness. So, a JFK assination story it became.
I like to think this is one of the better ones--it kicks off the book, too, so Mike Sweeney at Jersey Devil Press must have thought the same thing. I figured I could get away with a story like this if I took the aspect of saving JFK's brain and sort of manifested it in a living JFK, one who didn't die but is now, for real this time, dead as fuck.
Plus, I think a small part of me just wanted to see JFK die twice.
The reason there's a small part in the story about anagrams and Scrabble is because, in addition to spending a lot of time writing songs about cunilingus and stuff, I spent a lot of time thinking I could be a really great Scrabble player. I read a book called Word Freak and watched a documentary called Word Wars, both about Scrabble. The Scrabble/anagram related part in this story is about all I really got out of it.
It's got a nice flow to the end, a really solid rising cadence. The last line is lovingly cribbed from The Maltese Falcon. In it, Sam Spade says the closing simile as a tossed-off description of suddenness. Mine's a commentary on a county finding satisfaction through grief, which, in itself will always remind me of the William Matthews poem "Why We Are Truly a Nation" and is, therefore, a mini-crib of its own. (A post-modern, collage-based mindset is a wonderful thing when it comes to justification.)
The title is taken from one of the many creepy scenes in Oliver Stone's JFK that dissect the Zapruder footage. Unfortuntely, I was unable to fit any odd references in about my Jr High history teacher who was obsessed with JFK. I think he eventually got fired for getting busted with a Playboy in school, but don't quote me on that.
Tomorrow: A story named "Sergei Avdeyev" that is based on the song "Traveller in Time" by Uriah Heep. Suggested by musician Mike Conte of Early Man.
SATCD on Goodreads
Pre-order the book so I can love myself again.