Music / Writing

The music that inspires

I’m into about week three of planing my five pulp serial novellas. I’ve probably done more exacting planning for this series than any I’ve worked on. That might be because I’ve put impossibly high expectations on myself for the series, or it could just be because I find myself happy to get lost in the strange nouveau-Auckland setting I’ve brewed for myself.

In the many influences I listed in my notes that I wanted to draw on, I somehow ended up with bossa nova. Music generally plays a part in whatever I’m writing somewhere, but bossa nova has ended up a source in this series more than any others that I’ve listed.

Bossa nova was big in the 1950s and 1960s, and when it comes to brewing up a certain sort of noir crime setting, it seems like an obvious choice. Except I’ve decided to set my novellas locally, and during the summer of 2012. While driving through the glitzy city streets of an Auckland rife with casinos, people playing jai-alai, and drinking Hennessy (neat, thank you), I bask in what is obviously a bossa nova revival. It spills onto the streets from small cafes, and drink-dives.

It might be that alone that keeps me stuck where I am; trying to come up with an exact plot for volume one of this series. While I’m stuck for ideas at this moment, I have the pleasure of exploring musical genres and influences that I wouldn’t otherwise have done so.

Locally, we’re about to drift into hopefully as hot a summer as I’m about to write. I hope to have the series out to warm the American winter. Why not check out some Sergio Mendes, Astrud Gilberto or Stan Getz and join me in an Auckland that never quite was. For those that can’t quite get into the swing of the style poured neat, there is a rather nice and recent album mixed with contemporary influences.

In the meanwhile, I have to come up with a punchy first introduction to a world I see all too clearly in my mind, thanks to three weeks of nothing but bossa nova.

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