Chapter 1: Blue
*Spoiler alert for Chapter 1: Blue
This is a movie and there is a soundtrack
"Alive" by Pearl Jam. I don't know why, but this is the song I heard when I envisioned the first scene in Gone to the Movies. Knowing the story would be set in the nineties probably influenced my subconscious. I love the movie Dazed and Confused, and for some reason the scene where Randall 'Pink' Floyd picks up Mitch with (I think) Frampton Live playing on his radio sticks with me. It is so very subtle, buts adds so much to the scene. For me, it says so much about Pink as a character.
I chose to write a book, but I really see things as movies or comics, and I hope that someday this story is told as a movie; let's get that out of the way right now. One thing I've always loved about movies is soundtracks. Scoring movies, or developing musical placements in movies, are some obscure day-dream jobs I always thought I would enjoy. If someday a director (or whatever) asked me to suggest music for a Gone to the Movies movie, I would be over the moon...and very prepared!
What about the title of the book?
Some of you may have figured out by now that the main influence for this story, and of course the title, is an obscure song by the band Semisonic, Gone to the Movies. If you've heard the song and only read the first chapter of the book, you may be wondering how in the world this story will relate to the song at all. Well, it doesn't pull directly from the song...it is a loose interpretation of it.
I always assumed that Dan Wilson (Semisonic songwriter) wrote this song about about a girlfriend who took off to Hollywood. That is not what this book is about. In any case, it's a great song, and you should go check it out (link below).
What a weird dream car
When I was a teen, I always thought I would like to have a 1978 Ford F100 truck; either two tone, or some shade of blue. Dustin being a carpenter, it made sense for me to have him in a truck, so why not this truck?
His attachment to it is directly pulled from my attachment to the first car I ever had, my 1987 Monte Carlo Super Sport. Serendipitously, my uncle gave me that car, and he had a 1978 Ford Bronco at the time. That particular year of Bronco looks very much like the F100 from that year!
Yes...it is a twisted web I weave. I still have my Monte Carlo, and anyone who knows me, knows that car is an extension of me.
I hope my description of the scenery is vivid for the reader. One of my goals with this book is to create a rich aesthetic. The green of the trees, sunlight on the roadway, and the sound of gravel crunching under tires. I hope the reader can see and hear these things in their mind, and even smell what it would be like to be in the scene.
To go along with this is the aesthetic of the rural farmhouse that Dustin is introduced to at Dora's property. My grandparents' property in Gilroy, CA had all the hallmarks of a rural farmhouse: rusty old farm implements, gravel and dirt drives, and sheds full of tools and junk that I found fascinating as a kid.
Setting the story in the nineties and placing many of the scenes on the farm property should bring a sense of simpler times to the reader. I know it did for me while writing it.
Why forest fires?
Finally, the reference to forest fires. I now live in Sonoma County, CA, and we've been hit hard by fires recently. It has basically become a constant threat during the summer.
Growing up, my best friend lived in the Sierra mountains above my hometown of Fresno, and they had a forest fire threat or two. Well, last year that area was nailed by fires. I was sad to see this on the news, given how much time I spent up there as a teen.
The visual of chimneys and concrete steps looking like a cemetery is directly from the 2017 fires in Santa Rosa, CA. The neighborhood behind my work campus was completely wiped out. It seriously looked like a bomb went off. During my first trip there, the air was filled with smoke and ash, and all that stood was the cement and brick of people's homes. It looked just like a spooky graveyard to me. Obviously, there are so many layers of meaning in this metaphor, and I felt it was a visual and an aesthetic I wanted to share in the story. Albeit a sad one.
Whew! I don't think the next post will be this long, and I hope you'll stick around and read along with me. Next time, find out who I would cast as Dora if this were a movie!
Soundtrack (thus far):
Bonus Track: Interstate Love Song - Stone Temple Pilots
Follow as we build the soundtrack on Spotify!