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 #37. I write fondly and frequently about the destruction of gazing balls, those stupid decorative globes people in the Midwest keep on display in their front lawns. Once, in high school, some of my friends—I, honestly, was not there—went out and collected about a dozen from the main drag of houses in our home town. Once in their possession, the only thing they could think of to do was break them.
This random act of youthful terror informs the idea that we forgive people easier if they are on the cusp of becoming an adult. I’ve called upon that in several stories, but this is the only one, in which a man’s demure son wants piano lessons instead of a bike and his disarming wife agrees out of fear that the son will follow in his father’s young trespasses, where it’s examined from the more whimsical, feral side of nostalgia.
Kevin Wilson’s writing was a big influence on this story. I always comment on his ability to handle the absurd and the familiar in one felled swoop, and I hope I did the same style justice. I’ve always leaned toward that anyways, and this was one of those that rounded out nicely.
The man’s wife, Brenda Day, a woman “who has one of those names where everyone, even me, has to say both parts,” is named after a buddy of mine from high school named, of course, Brandon Day. The title plays into piano lessons, but has more to do with synchronicity: a B-sharp is a C and a C-flat is a B, but are named differently and in a more complicated manner according to which scale is being played in at the time.
Tomorrow: A story named "Flood" that is based on the song "Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands" by Bob Dylan. Suggested by musician Patrick Fleming of The Poison Control Center.
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Pre-order the book so my nose will stop bleeding.