Sunday, March 7, 2010

Let the Novel Begin: #1

I've been outlining a novel since last summer. With the outline of more than 100 chapters in place, I need motivation to keep going on the writing. I've been stuck for a couple of months, but if I'm forced to continue writing publicly here on my blog, I may be able to finish it this year. We'll see. Anyway, I plan to unveil a few paragraphs at a time, a few times a week, right here. Feel free to tell me what you think. Who knows, if you've got good enough ideas, maybe we'll co-write it.

Here is the start of my as-yet-untitled novel. Enjoy ...


Chapter 1

Rory Cocksure
was deeper, more conflicted, and more regular than any of his biographers made him out to be. He was also deeper, more conflicted, and more regular than the stage name handed to him by the rock gods made him out to be. He never would have let me say this to him, but he would have agreed. And another thing about Rory: He taught me lots about how to live, and how to think about living.

Rory wasn’t all leather all the time. If that were it, I would have surely bored of his schtick. I’ve written hundreds of features on musicians for Rolling Earwax – the legendary magazine that I’m proud (and lucky) to work at as a senior editor – and it’s true what they say about rock stars viewed up close and personal: 90 percent of them are as dumb and affecting as a pet rock.

I could say the same about many of the young “writers” who have come in (and mostly right back out) the doors of the magazine at our offices in the Village. But Starla Matthews, like Rory Cocksure, is different. She’s one of the good ones, which is almost always difficult to say about an 18-year-old intern who, for all I know, may work only another month in the music-rag biz and disappear onto Wall Street or some other job that I would consider more soul-sucking.

In my view, Rolling Earwax is the greatest gig possible. It helps that my seniority allows me to do the jobs I love – reporting and writing – rather than dealing with the politics. I see Starla as a young me. How she got the internship I have no idea. But, modesty aside, she’s a natural at this, and has a nose for what readers want and also for what matters.

She looks like an outsider at Rory’s funeral. It’s hot in Woodlawn Cemetery on this July 2002 early afternoon, and she’s wearing a black jumpsuit more Hillary Clinton than Janis Joplin. While I’ve decided to go a little crazy and bust out my Tom Wolfe-like seersucker, I’m dressed conservatively by the standards of the hundreds of mourners in attendance. The hippies are here. The glam rockers. The indie rockers. Everyone loved Rory, even if most only knew him through his popular persona, most typified as the brilliant life-long rocker able to switch genres with the winds of fad but always with a great hook.

“You know this dump is where Irving Berlin and Louie Armstrong are buried. Not bad company for your friend,” Starla said, a little too loudly, as she approached me.


  1. rory's last name??????????????????

  2. You don't like that name for some reason, Anonymous?