Monday, 9 September 2013

“My Friends And I” Song And Story Collaboration

E-Book Cover
Various Artists | My Friends and I
CD Cover

 Thanks to Ruth for the original post, shameless larceny from which I humbly acknowledge!

I recently got involved in an exciting, perhaps unique, creative project where writers and musicians collaborate, with writers using musician's work as inspiration for stories.
Thirteen songs
+ thirteen stories
= one wonderful collaboration!
How did I get involved?
I received an invitation from the awesome Ruth Long to write to one of the tracks.
Ruth had put the idea to a friend, musician Big Earl Matthews, who was getting ready to release a CD put together by a handful of local bands in California.

What have we produced?
An ebook companion to the CD composed of stories inspired by the songs
Who wrote the stories?
Thirteen great writers crazy enough to donate 1,000 words to the project
M.L. Gammella; Ruth Long; Sarah Aisling; Lillie McFerrin; Jenn Monty; Jeff Tsuruoka; Lisa Shambrook; Lizze Koch; Samantha Geary; Nick Johns; L.E. Jamez; Jeff Hollar; Bradley Richter.
Who created the cover art for the book?
Micah Van Zandt – artist, musician, performer – who used the writer's pictures to design a cover that mimicked the CD cover. Check out his work on these links:-
Why get involved in this challenge?
To be part of a unique and first-of-its-kind creative collaboration
To support indie efforts ~ even across creative disciplines
To reach a new audience for their websites and books - and I was immensely pleased (and more than a little nervous) to be asked to write in the company of people who I regard as some of the best writers currently going around!

When will the book be available?
It is almost complete and we will share the link very soon (hopefully before the end of the week)

How can you be involved?
Read the stories (click on the writer links above)
Purchase the cd ( Amazon/CD Baby )
Leave feedback for the musicians and or writers
Support indie creatives across all disciplines

I have posted the story that I wrote for this brilliant creative madness.
It's inspired by the track "Darkness' by Bethany Joseph, (track 10 on the CD) which I was immediately captivated by! Here is the album on Spotify
I hope that she doesn't feel that I have done her song irreparable damage!

Nick Johns

I was dreaming about Becky when I felt a hand on my shoulder.
I turned slowly, instantly alert, the open mic night sounds fading into the background.
“I been hearing tales ‘bout what you been doin’. I’m here to tell you how it’s going to be for you from here on in...” he slurred.
“Do yourself a favour, Billy. It’s not your business what I do.”
“’cept if it’s with my girl, City Boy, then it’s my business.”
“Becky’s not your girl, Billy.”
The whistle of the cut off pool cue cut through the bar room drone. I jerked my head back. It just caught me across the shoulder instead of full in the face, and smashed a bottle on the bar. A girl behind me screamed. I kicked the bar stool away and backed up, flexing my arm. Not bad, just a bruise. I felt dry boards under my feet, some clear floor space, and stopped.
“Last chance, Billy. Walk away now.”
Billy’s face was red as his ball cap. He was breathing hard, shoulders bunched, pool cue held in two hands now, out in front, weaving it from side to side. I ignored it, watched his eyes, his feet. He was flat on his heels.
“Or what? This here’s my town, you ain’t got no business here, City Boy. And in here...” he gestured, “ kin, no buddies, no one to help you...”
The hubbub had died away - that tense, hold your breath quiet that always foretold the start of a fight.
I still had options. I could leave now or... but my mouth made the decision for me.
 “You think I need help? Against some flyspeck town football player? A shrivel dick steroid queen? A loudmouth, drunken redneck and his pansy pals?
 Billy’s eyes widened. “Redneck? Why you...”
He swung the cue back. A full, home run wind up, veins in his neck pumping, biceps straining at his tee shirt.
I’d warned him.
I stepped inside the swing, kicked the outside of his right knee, landing my foot behind him. I threw my left arm up to stop the cue, striking hard with my forearm, cracking his elbow, and hit him full in the gut with a straight right. Six inches, no more. He whooshed like a broken steam pipe and, as he jack-knifed towards me, I butted him full in the face. As he reeled back, I whipped my leg back from behind his knee and he fell away, toppling slowly at first, like a dynamited building, before landing hard on his back, head lolling to one side. Blood from his broken nose painted a crimson river delta across his slack face.
Out of the corner of my eye, I caught a shape scrambling towards me. I hit the bar tender’s wrist with a bottle, grabbing up the blackjack he released, then elbowed him in the face, sending him reeling back the way he came, crashing into the mirror behind the bar.
I looked for my guitar case, but thought better of it. I guessed I had about a minute before the stunned silence broke, so strode to the back door. I threw the blackjack into the weeds and jumped in the truck, offering a silent prayer to the God of broken down pickups as I turned the key. The engine coughed one, twice, three times then, deciding it had scared me enough, rumbled into life. As I reversed out, my headlights lit up some local boys, including a few of Billy’s team mates, bursting through the bar room door, like wasps from a dropped nest.
I swung the wheel around and sprayed them with parking lot gravel as I headed for the highway.
The night air through the open window of the truck was clean after the bar room’s close, stale atmosphere. Even the temperature had fallen a little from the tar melting daytime high.
The adrenaline shakes hit me and I gripped the slippery wheel tighter, staring at the road, thinking about how I had managed to screw up again.
I should have known better. I was meant to be keeping a low profile. Great work, genius.
A woman again.
I had only stopped to listen to her play her guitar. She was good. Sweet, pure voice with a twang; flowery dress and a real pretty smile. She saw the guitar case in the back of the truck and waved me over. I sat on the grass, sang some harmonies, played some counterpoint. It was fun. I lowered my guard, forgot who I was, what I was. I just wanted a moment of normality, of peace.
I gave her a flower, held her hand, talked about my life up north, well, the parts that wouldn’t identify me anyway. After a few days I even started to dream about staying here, with Becky. She calmed me and I made her laugh.
I mean, who would think to look for me out here in the boondocks? I could play guitar in the bars, do some farm work.
I mean, farm work? Me? Really?
No. If it hadn’t been Billy, it would have been something else. I’m just a trouble magnet, you see, like my Mother always used to say.
The dawning sun drove the night time shadows away and a whole country beckoned to me, one road at a time.
What about Florida for now? The Cubans keep it pretty tight down there. I may even find something more in my line.
So long Becky, it was great while it lasted.
That’s the trouble with dreams, eventually you wake up in the cold, hard light of day.


No comments:

Post a Comment