On the drive home from work the other night I was listening to Catch 22's Keasbey Nights and the memories came flooding back. Driving around in Charlie's Econoline van, working with Jack at FYE, hanging out with the band and drinking forties in Joe's basement—which was really, truly bizarre because none of that actually happened. It was all stuff I made up for The Zeroes.
I remember listening to tracks from Keasbey Nights at the whim of the randomized 100-disc CD changer at the Hot Topic I worked at in high school (don't laugh), and I chose it to name it as the favorite record of The Zeroes' protagonists simply because it had left somewhat more of an impression on me than the other ska records on rotation. I never even listened to it from start to finish until after finishing the first draft of the manuscript (but I listened to on loop for hours while fleshing it out in the revisions).
Strange. I wrote the The Zeroes from a first-person perspective, and I guess being in that guy's head for so long caused me to absorb some of his music-related memories and nostalgia. I imagine this must be sort of what it's like for the stage actor who has be Prince Hal, Walter Younger, or Pryor Walter two hours a night for six months: the character they become gets under their skin and never really completely bleeds out.
Thinking on this makes me a little anxious about novel #2 (titled "All the Lonely People"), which I'm still planning to toss up on the Kindle and in paperback sometime in July. It's written in the third person and is much more impersonal—born of a concept rather than the kind of emotion that inspired The Zeroes. I don't think there's much of a chance I'll be getting myself and my memories mixed up with the main characters' anytime in the future. Should I be worried about that? Could that mean it simply won't be as good as The Zeroes?
Time well tell, I guess. In the meantime, I'm going to put it out there, expect it to be read by a handful of people, and then that will be that.
I guess all that's important is that I try, try, try.
(Also: trying to get better at replying to comments. Sometimes it takes me a week or longer, and I often don't have much to say, but I am reading and responding to them!)