Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Unearthing? Oh Well, Whatever, Nevermind.

Over the last several months, if not the last year, the focus of my writing has shifted from writing novels to music journalism.

I suspect a lot of that has to do with the fact that my first published novel, “The Unearthing” has performed so poorly, whereas my time with CONFRONT MAGAZINE has pretty much given me a real audience and allowed me to review a lot of good music and interview a lot of great musicians. I’ve also been able to use the magazine as a platform to discuss more serious issues, like the humanitarian crisis in Darfur.

I dare say I’ve even made a couple of friends out of it, and gotten to live a little of the life portrayed in Cameron Crowe’s marvelous film, “Almost Famous”.

But it’s been almost a year since I’ve been able to write fiction; oh, I start projects up but they peter out, either because I lose interest or, more often, because the stories don’t seem to go anywhere after the first few dozen pages. I’ve a couple of novels that I’d finished prior to this descent into the cold Hell that is Writer’s Block, but I’ve not successfully completed writing a novel since some time late last year.

Recently an old friend emailed me, having just purchased my one and so far only published novel. God bless her, she didn’t even try and finagle a discount. Being an avid reader, however, she seized upon the opportunity to pick the brains of the writer whose work she was reading. While dissecting “The Unearthing” we started discussing another novel that I’d finished work on last year and I even sent her some sample chapters to put under her literary microscope.

The novel in question, under the working title “Oh Well, Whatever, Nevermind”, chronicles the lives of six friends involved in a college bar band in the early 1990s, during the height of the Grunge era. Some chapters of that novel saw the light of day at PHYTE MAGAZINE, but other than that, not much came of it. Yes, it’s a novel I plan to eventually publish, even hiring an illustrator to do some artwork to include in the book.

But like so many other writing projects, I’ve been avoiding it, not feeling confident enough to pick it up for a re-read and revision. “The Unearthing”, a novel that I spent nearly ten years of my life writing, rewriting, revising and updating, a novel whose publication was oh-so very important to me has stalled and coasted to a halt in the box canyon of obscurity, has loomed large in my mind since I realized (and admitted) just how poorly it had sold.

But, having discussed it with my friend and having started looking at “Oh Well, Whatever, Nevermind” with her (and getting some much-needed critical feedback), I decided it might be time to have another look at that Grunge-Era novel, pick it up again and start working on readying the project for eventual publication.

The first place I started, however, wasn’t with the story itself, but with the music I listened to while writing the novel. Much of the music I listened to while writing “Nevermind” was, of course, from the 1990s. However, there were some old standards from the 60s, 70s and even the godforsaken 1980s. The playlist I built successfully captures the overall tone of the novel and probably did more than a little to inspire the novel’s writing.

All that to say that while I am now officially back at work on completing “Oh Well, Whatever, Nevermind”, I would like to start by sharing that playlist with you. Obviously I can’t legally share the music files with you per se, but using the list you can probably cobble together the music for yourself.

If you do decide to, I hope you enjoy listening to the selections. Maybe you could even suggest some music that I could add to the list.

Music Inspirational to the Writing of “Oh Well, Whatever, Nevermind” :

01 – “Tones of Home”, Blind Melon
02 – “Mellow Yellow”, Donovan
03 – “Dancing Days”, Led Zeppelin
04 – “Hunger Strike”, Temple of the Dog
05 – “Little Wing”, Jimi Hendrix
06 – “So What?”, Ministry
07 – “Head Like a Hole”, Nine Inch Nails
08 – “Dominion / Mother Russia”, The Sisters of Mercy
09 – “Love Buzz”, Nirvana
10 – “Hard to Handle”, The Black Crowes
11 – “Get Here”, Oleta Adams
12 – “Breaking the Girl”, Red Hot Chili Peppers
13 – “Detachable Penis”, King Missile
14 – “Riders on the Storm”, The Doors
15 – “Sweet Child O’ Mine”, Guns & Roses
16 – “Push”, Stone Temple Pilots
17 – “About a Girl”, Nirvana
18 – “Drug Buddies”, The Lemonheads
19 – “Kid Fears”, Indigo Girls
20 – “I’m Still Alive”, Pearl Jam
21 – “Take A Walk on the Wild Side”, Lou Reed
22 – “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”, U2
23 – “Locked in the Trunk of a Car”, The Tragically Hip
24 – “You Give Love a Bad Name”, Bon Jovi
25 – “Unbelievable”, EMF
26 – “Been Caught Stealin’”, Jane’s Addiction
27 – “Runaway Train”, Soul Asylum
28 – “Old Woman Behind The Counter”, Pearl Jam
29 – “Higher State of Consciousness”, Josh Wink
30 – “Think About You”, Radiohead
31 – “’Round Here”, Counting Crows
32 – “Time After Time”, Cyndi Lauper
33 – “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, Tori Amos
34 – “Closer to Fine”, Indigo Girls
35 – “No Excuses”, Alice in Chains.