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.
Originally OBCBYL #7. A cool thing to say is that I never tried to do drugs, I just fucking did them. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t be true. I’ve never done drugs at all, and not just because there are some things I do that are definitely drugs that I don’t consider drugs—I know pill poppers and potheads who “don’t do drugs” too.
I’ve never tried a cigarette and I don’t drink and I only recently started to allow small amounts of caffeine back into my body. (Arnold Palmer, you’re killing me.) Cautionary tales are much more interesting, though, so I’ve studied them instead of the prettier opposites that are the facts of my life. Motley Crue and Robert Evans and Len Bias and so on.
The Circuit described in the story is based in Chicago. I was trying to write something that might work for Victor David Gyron’s Curbside Splendor journal, which was more urban-themed at the time. It ended up working out nicely, as I needed a place bigger and dirtier and weirder than the small faceless Midwestern towns I normally set stories in. It’s easier to believe the drug-addled weirdos in a bigger city as well. A guy like Drano Dave would surely die in my hometown of 1100 people, he can somehow exist in Humboldt Park with no problems.
The whole story has a sort of circus feel to it that I can really only compare to that of a Lifter Puller song. The Cramps are there, for sure—loose and forceful, the pain in recreation and vice versa—but Lifter Puller are everything ridiculous and harrowing about a scene built on drugs and confusion.
And that soft second person voice here. I think it works. I think it sounds like someone standing around outside a fountain somewhere explaining to you how things are going to go, which is exactly what you need, always.
Tomorrow: A story named "A Few Thoughts On Bloodlines" that is based on the song "Cure For Pain" by Morphine.
SATCD on Goodreads
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