When I was in high school I lived in a small town. Well it was more of an existence than a town. It was a Wyoming oil town. There were a lot of oil riggers living there, they outnumbered the rest of us and we had a small library. My friend’s mom ran the library, she was a wonderful woman who always greeted my sister and I when we walked in the door. It was the 90’s and in our part of the world CD’s were something we had to go into town to get at the main library.
There was one album that I listened to over and over. Now it is an album that I rarely listen to, but when I hear it reminds me of walking in the snow, the cold Wyoming wind and the wonderful voice of the librarian.
It is the band now that I think of now that my wife has turned me on to more of their albums. Albums that, growing up I should have listened to, but for whatever reason never did.
Recently I was listening to one of their albums on my iPhone and thought of Wyoming, of my friend’s mom, the smell of the little library in the small house they used, the crunch of the snow under my feet, my sister and I talking about school or whatever and the warmth of opening that door.
The band is U2, the album is Achtung Baby. Now that I am older and my wife has introduced me to more of U2’s catalog, most importantly Joshua Tree, which I recently bought on vinyl for my wife.
Listening to Joshua Tree while I was writing yesterday, especially “Streets Have No Name” made me think of a lot of things. It is one of the few songs I’ve never truly listened to the lyrics, which is odd because that is one of the first things I do. When I heard it last night I knew I had to write a post about it.
I’ve struggled with my book for a while. I know what needs to happen, I have an outline. There is a direction it needs to take, it just doesn’t want to get there. I’ve tried writing this book six times and it still sits. I think the problem is with the way I write. Nearly everything I write has dark themes to it. It has monsters, demons, and creatures no one else has heard of. The problem with this story is it is straight fiction, no monsters! That is where the problem lies. When I heard “The Streets Have No Name” last night I knew I had to figure out a way to do with this story what I’d done with my others.
I write stories with creatures in them. It’s just finding a place to put them in this story. Sometimes the story calls for something darker, and with this story I’ve found the darkness. It took a song like “Streets Have No Name” to make me see that I was looking for something that was there. I was just looking in the wrong place.