Friday, June 09, 2006

If I Had My Way, I'd Read Peaches Everyday

You know that Presidents of American song from a handful of years back? I used to think of that everytime I smelled a peach. Now I think of Jodi Lynn Anderson's book, Peaches. It's a mighty fine read filled with fabulous girl characters,

I know Jodi enjoys music quite a bit and so I asked her if any songs inspired her while she was writing Peaches. She said yes! So here is her answer and you can hear/download the songs below. I can't thank you enough Jodi... I just love the relationship between song and story and you've further illustrated the connection and process.

"Each of my characters usually reminds me of a song. Leeda reminds me of this Laura Veirs song, Spelunking, I don't know if you've heard it but I love it for Leeda because of this bit that talks about how if someone looked inside her they'd see fish without eyes and bats with their heads hanging down to the ground, you know, all albinoey and stuff, and I feel like Leeda, or at least what I want Leeda to be, is someone who feels cavelike -- who doesn't really know where her center is, she is sort of all these caverns inside that aren't filled up, because she's never been loved very openly or unconditionally -- just kind of repressively and remotely/politely. Birdie, in the second book, but as an extension of the first book, reminds me of that Tracy Chapman song She's Got Her Ticket -- because Birdie has tickets to do all these things (fall in love with a migrant worker, and in the second book, to branch away from home) but you don't know if she'll use it -- and the song is a very soft, tropical sounding song, and Birdie is soft and sort of has this tropical lushness about her (her body, her sweetness). And actually, what inspired me to do the sequel at all was the Bruce Springsteen song Thunder Road. I was lying in bed with it going through my head and just hurting over the story of the song, and suddenly it seemed, that was Murphy's song -- that she spends so much of her life wishing to get out of this town that contains her - but when she has the chance (when she graduates) will she do it? In the song you feel like they so desperately need to go, but that they never will -- that they can't escape their upbringing, you know? And there's the element of Murphy and Rex being in love - and what do they do if Murphy's only chance to really survive is to leave him and Bridgewater, but there's also this thing that Murphy thinks he's the only guy there is -- because all the other ones have let her down so much -- it could be years or never before she finds someone like that again. It's a gamble for her in every way, and it's this thing calling her out of town and away from ghosts, I guess."

Laura Veirs, "Spelunking"
Tracy Chapman, "She's Got A Ticket"
Bruce Springsteen, "Thunder Road"

Jody has also written another fabulous book recently, May Bird and the Ever After: Book One. You can (and should) buy that one and Peaches at or some other fine indie establishment.

Next month I'll bring you Ned Vizzini's musical inspiration for his latest (which I have in my hands), "It's Kind of a Funny Story."