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.
Exclusive to SATCD. Barring a total void of talent, the idea of a troubadour is one of the more romantic things I can think of. Shakespeare, too, is kind of a big deal when it comes to that shit. Combining them was another one of those simple, dumb things
The romance of being a troubadour isn’t just a matter of love—possibly not at all even a matter of love—but is instead a matter of excitement and mystery. The ill-fated nomadic hurt both inside and out along the musician’s path is, most likely, not really a thing anymore. I think the internet sort of hipped everyone to that idea and now everything is some base-level variation on irony. It’s a sad thing.
I got halfway through this one and realized I had fucked myself on an ending, so I gave away the ending in the middle, blatantly, through exposition. I pretty much forced myself to come up with something better, which I’m hoping I did.
A few words on the songs in here: “$1000 Wedding” by Gram Parsons is in there because someone, I can’t remember who, said it was the saddest song ever. I don’t necessarily agree, but it’s a great title to throw out there based on name alone. “Help Me Make It Through the Night” by Kris Kristofferson is a song I read a 20+ page essay on around the time I wrote the story, so I had to throw it in so I could feel I took some useable knowledge from it. “She’s No Lady” by Lyle Lovett is a song I used to quote when asked about my girlfriend, back when I had girlfriends. “The French Inhaler” by Warren Zevon is one of my favorite WZ songs that I didn’t discover until watching old Larry Sanders Show reruns. “Changed the Locks” is Lucinda Williams, so it’s great. No questions.
The story itself came together quickly. How could it not have? Steve Earle creates the sort of highway love songs that practically rise up from the speakers and lay themselves out in front of one’s vision, for as far as it will go.
Tomorrow: A story named "This Illusion" that is based on the song "Feel" by Big Star.
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