Fill The Empty Crate of Vinyl

p.22/365 | vinyl.

When I decided one of the locations for The 20 Year High School Reunion in Post Marked: Piper’s Reach–The Old McCracken Place–I immediately saw a record player and a stack of old vinyl there. An accumulation of more than 50 years service as a holiday home.

Music plays a major role influencing the narrative, as well as featuring in the letters. The reunion of Ella-Louise and Jude after twenty odd years was going to pivotal to the narrative. There needed to be a soundtrack attached to the house and to their meeting.

My intention had been to open up a crowd-sourcing style opportunity to the fans and readers (and generally anyone who wanted to throw something into the mix) to create the collection of vinyl in the beach house and then use that to influence what happened across the weekend.

But, it didn’t quite happened. Partly because I didn’t get motivated to launch it. Partly because “what happened at the reunion” fell to Adam and not me.

Now I’m faced with the need for those albums and I don’t want to rely solely on my ideas, or Adam’s ideas. As I discovered with ELYORA the richest ideas come from beyond.

This morning I opened it up on Facebook, for friends to suggest several albums that may have collected over half a century of service? And for a change, I’m opening it up here on my blog as an adjunct to the stream of suggestions coming in on Facebook.

Your suggestions will shape the soundtrack of the Sunday afternoon Ella-Louise and Jude spent in the house together (if you want to know what they got up to the night of the reunion I suggest you read the first, second, third and fourth letters of Season 2). Your suggestions will also influence the direction of several of Ella-Louise’s letters in early November.

I’ll start the suggestions with my two albums: Hendrix’s “Electric Ladyland” and The Stone’s “Exile on Main Street”.

Step up and drop your vinyl in the empty crate.

Image: Ryan Anthony Martin via Flickr

Reflecting on the Piper’s Reach Interviews

When Adam and I considered another round of interviews for Piper’s Reach, as a chance  to build some space between Season One and Season Two, we knew one thing: we weren’t doing nine interviews (I think the addendum was “ever again”).

Starts With Write Club

We had recently convened an online writing group with Laura Meyer and Judge Whisky and decided we’d keep the interviews “internal” so to speak, as we started to brainstorm and flesh out what a writing collective might mean for us as a group of emerging writers. Self promotion within the group seemed like a good start–especially since (for me) Piper’s Reach had brought Judge into my sphere of interest.

Today’s Interview

Laura got the first of the hiatus interviews. Judge has the second today.

While Laura followed up on her previous interview, Judge got a first crack at digging the dirt. Like Laura he directed some questions specifically at Adam or I (because honestly, I have no idea on the question of jelly fish and breast implants). Instead I got to explore the erroneous first impression of Ella-Louise being gay when she first met Jude and Judge tried to get me to ‘fess up just what Jude was feeling guilty. Given there is no consensus among the readers on just what happened I probably just add more food for thought with my answers.

In Defence of Ella-Louise

I also defend Ella-Louise’s honour against assumptions Jude wouldn’t, but she would. Yes, she comes straight out with her heart very much on her sleeve in the early letters but when Jude calls it quits on the self examination of the past, she does whereas he keeps dropping his memories of her into his letters.

It’s easy to skip over Jude’s baiting because it is far less obvious as Ella-Louise’s, but it still very much there in the letters. Perhaps it is because Ella-Louise is audacious enough to think of Jude and her in the future, whereas Jude’s musing is firmly planted in the past?

Re-reading Season One’s letters I really see what Laura meant when she wrote:

It’s a classic theme of regret and love lost, however I found myself reading Jude’s eloquently worded confessions of his past feelings, and wanting to punch him for pouring salt in Ella Louise’s open wounds.

Reflecting On Interview as Introspection

There are two things I love about the process of being interviewed:

1. There’s a chance to see what people think of what you are doing. It’s like a review by default.

2.  You are forced to step back out of the narrative and consider it dispassionately.

For something like Piper’s Reach, where we are so deeply embedded in the narrative, I honestly think it’s a good thing to garner the views of other people and your own taken from a distance.

Everytime I answer a question about Ella-Louise I get to know her a little better. She may have arrived fully formed back in January, but nine months on I’m still getting to know her, trying to understand just what makes her tick.

The impact of Laura and Judge’s interviews will be felt in what Ella-Louise chooses to do next.

Up Next

It’s seven days until Jude’s next letter and everyone will know just what is eating Jude Smith. Both Adam and I are sitting on the edges of our seat waiting to see what the reaction will be. We’ve both got our own assumptions of what those reaction will be.

And while we’re talking about what’s pending in the near future…

Our new promotional post cards should be ready soon and I’ve already got ideas brewing on just how we can use them, but I’d love to hear your thoughts.

New Piper’s Reach Interview

Post Marked: Piper’s Reach is currently on a two week hiatus. To fill the gap between Season One and Two Adam and I shared interviews with Laura Meyer and Joshua Londero – our fellow Monday night Write (Chat) Clubbers and avid Piper’s fans.

Laura hosts us today and does a stellar job of putting together an insightful interview interlaced with her own incisor commentary.

Here’s a bit that ended up on the cutting floor:

“We’ve opened a closed medium, allowing readers into a private space that protects and fosters the intimacy and raw honesty between two people who care about each other. I think readers enjoy the socially sanctioned voyeurism, though they’d be loath to admit it.”

Drop in and read what didn’t get cut to accommodate the word count, and if you do, please leave a comment, reflection or a question of your own. I’m waiting for someone to ask Adam why the quest for the perfect cardigan has so far been unsuccessful and if he intends to give up the quest with the warmer weather approaching!

Oh, and here is the final letter for Season One, just in case you missed all the hoo-hah last week.

Telegraph Road: a Treatise on Being Broken

“I’ve run every red light on memory lane
I’ve seen desperation explode into flames
And I don’t want to see it again…”
Mark Knoffler – Telegraph Road

It’s Tuesday and that means a new correspondence over at Post Marked: Piper’s Reach. We’re back to Ella-Louise this week and the darkness which has been scratching and whining, finally bolts through the crack between the door and jamb.

When Ella-Louise arrived on my doorstep in January with bulging suitcases of emotional baggage I had an inkling she was troubled (I’m quick, aren’t I?). I saw glimpses of her past in the early weeks; people she’d lost, the jobs she’d worked and what she’d done out of duty which almost killed her. But it took writing the 22nd February letter to see Ella-Louise wasn’t troubled–she was broken, and the extent of the damage.

My descent into the dark with her started when I tried to work out why Ella-Louise hated Grace Wyatt so much: more than a teenage tiff and much more than competition over Jude. Ella-Louise’s seething hatred is the kind which doesn’t mellow with time. What on earth could have happened to make her feel like that?

What came out surprised me, but no spoilers, other than to say when you read the letter you’ll understand Grace’s part in Ella-Louise’s departure from Pipers Reach in 1992.

Adam always said there was beauty in the brokenness of Ella-Louise… with distance I can see it. Even if I still feel the razor blades of Ella-Louise’s past flowing through me, down my fingers and into the ink staining the page. Where Ella-Louise took me for three weeks–I haven’t been to such a desolate place before with a character. Felt such raw depth of grief, confusion and regret all underpinned with hopelessness. A kind of warped destiny: once soiled, always soiled.

I see now how Ella-Louise’s darkness mirrors my own last year.  I shouldn’t find it surprising that in January she found her way to me. She didn’t come with promises of adventure or escapism. In fact it was a case of what you see, is what you get. No bells, whistles and certainly no satin bows let along the ability to exchange or get my money back.

Together we’ve traveled the road back to wellness. Found our place in the world again. In May 2012, we’re both in a better place. I’m not sure if it is art imitating life, or life imitating art here. Either way, at the end of the day it doesn’t matter. For once it’s all about the destination and not the journey.

But in the world of Pipers Reach it is still February. Summer. Ella-Louise’s first crashing steps out of the safety of the tentative, newly-forged connection with Jude. The 22nd February missive is the start of Ella-Louise’s descent. Like Inna into the Underworld Ella-Louise will be stripped of everything, she will be forced to face up to a past she’s been running from and will be left naked, hanging on hooks of her own fashioning to decay and die. And you’ll be there to bear witness to it across the next three weeks.