Thursday, March 27, 2008

New Adventures in Funny Stories

Continuing from yesterday's post...

So anyway, I was in the middle of this writer's block. I remember that the block was caused by being depressed about something. I can't remember what exactly, but I know it began in November 2004.

It lasted almost a year... seriously. And then, one day, it was gone. Just like that. Determined not to let it happen again, I was looking for a strategy to approach the next book. I've always been a music fan, and a fan of R.E.M. in particular, and for some reason I began playing their record New Adventures in Hi Fi a lot around this time. I was just looking for some "rockin' tunes" for background music, but it suddenly struck me that this might be the template I was looking for.

For those of you who aren't familiar with the group, one of R.E.M.'s great claims to fame is their willingness to experiment. As a fan, you never quite know what to expect from them. I've always loved artists who were willing to grow and change...The Beatles, Charles Schulz, Brian Wilson, y'know, people like that. But what I found special about this particular record was that it somehow managed to move forward by taking all of the elements found in the band's previous output (strong melody, jangly guitars, brooding lyrics, riff based rock, etc.) and mixing them all up into a new musical stew. Where previously one or two of these elements might be the focus of an entire record, here it was their synergy that made the record pulsate.

So I thought to myself; Can I do that with Amelia? Rather than going off in a completely new direction, as I had tried to do with Superheroes, could I take what people had already come to expect and heighten the work by allowing all of the elements I typically worked with to bounce off each other in new and interesting ways? With that thought in mind (and New Adventures playing in the background) I began writing "Funny Story."

Which I will deal with in greater detail tomorrow...

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