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 #14. I used to have an old Bill Nye the Science Guy VHS where he taught the viewer how to rip a phone book in half. It was physics, not force. I never figured it out because I couldn’t think past my hands. All the phonebooks in our house ended up with minimal damage, bent down the center with a few pages on the front slightly torn.
I’m interested in writing about strength because I’m interested, outside of writing, in its opposite. I like when Hulk Hogan body slammed Andre the Giant. I like when Magnús Ver Magnússon deadlifted a 981 pound tire. I like it when Juggernaut runs through walls. I can only think of all the times I’ve never been able to do any of those things.
I like how in this story the narrator and his friend Neil are both strong men with weak wills, how one never equals the other in their lives. And Neil’s strength is mythical when you consider his size, which is a little fantasy element I always want to use and never really do. It feels good to accept a mismatch.
The scene in the rock quarry ended up in the story only because my friend Shawn was drunk a couple days before and telling me about where he’d stash a dead body if he had to. I had an ex-girlfriend accuse me of writing this story about her, which was untrue. (“. . . rock quarries by parent’s house and people who have nothing to be proud about . . .” was her argument.) She also accused me of referring to her negatively in a discussion I had online about the merits of Mandy Moore. This was also untrue.
Recently, a girl I know named Courtney told me that she went through a phase where she was really into getting drunk and ripping phone books in half. She weighs about 100 pounds and is often crying, and I am constantly amazed by the ways in which humankind can be so many things at once.
Tomorrow: A story named "The Vikings" that is based on the song "Smoke On the Water" by Deep Purple. Suggested by musician Kristian Dunn of El Ten Eleven.
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