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 #39. The question of “what makes a man?” is only slightly less interesting than “what makes a woman?” in that, after it’s been squared away that we’re all human, I think that there’s more depth to a woman. I don’t mean this in the manner of sitcom tropes—the Simple Husband, the Confusing Wife—but more in the manner that the world makes it more difficult to be a woman than it does a man, and the success or failure of any woman that is even tangentially related to their gender is, for better or worse, a point of curiosity.
I’m not saying I’m very good at writing in the first person voice of a woman. I’m not even saying that I’m a good feminist. I’m certainly better at both than I was when I was, say, twenty years old and thinking I was really doing some good by writing first person as a woman. As you can imagine there was a lot of internal dialogue about “supple-yet-firm breasts” coming out in a voice eerily similar to that of a sexually frustrated boy with good intentions.
The stories in the book that are told from the first person POV of a woman, this one and “Focus” and “Jests At Scars,” weren’t meant to be statements of any sort. I’m guaranteeing I would have fucked it up had it been my intention to do otherwise—I’m not entirely sure I didn’t fuck it up anyways.
If the stories succeed on any level, I think it’s one of delightful inoffensiveness. I want people to finish the story and think not about how I did writing in the voice of a woman or whether or not I painted a fair portrait of a female, but to instead wonder about the fate of the characters I’ve created, in all their human glory.
Also, the scene where the musician boyfriend is on set is based on the episode of the Valerie Bertinelli sitcom Café Americain where her real life husband Eddie Van Halen played a minor role as a coffee shop guitarist. And by “based on” I mean that I’ve never seen it but I know it happened. I will send $10 to anyone reading this who’s actually seen an episode of that show.
Tomorrow: A story named "Jests At Scars" that is based on the song "Hard-core Troubadour" by Steve Earle.
SATCD on Goodreads
Pre-order the book before the sun gets you.