Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Is it serendipity, or is there something else at work?

Otis Redding: The King of Soul
Okay, I’ve finished my work – at least for now – on the two publishing projects I’ve had on the go. Time to relax, right?

Actually, no. I’ve got a new project underway, and this time it involves playing music. You see, I’ve decided to go back to my roots and start a classic ’60s soul band. We’re talking James Brown, Wilson Pickett, Sam and Dave, and of course, Otis Redding (to name just a few). Since I played this music professionally starting at age 15, I know it well, and over the years, I’ve educated myself further. Incidentally, that’s where I was last week when I missed my blog post. I was right here at the computer, but I was arranging up a storm, and before I knew it, it was 10 o’clock at night and I hadn’t done anything for my spot on Type M. Big oops!

So why am I telling you about all this? Well, it’s just that my music project has also produced a bit of unexpected writing fruit. With no writing project on the go, I guess my subconscious went into stealth mode. I was completely unaware that it was working away in the background, searching for the subject of my next full-length novel.

The other night, being pretty well toasted mentally, but also being unable to sleep, I was on YouTube looking at recordings of some soul artists performing on old TV shows. I came across Otis Redding doing “Try a Little Tenderness” on Upbeat, a show that came out of Cleveland and which featured a lot of black artists. I remembered seeing that performance when it was first broadcast. Unfortunately, Otis was 24 hours from his tragic death in a plane crash into Lake Monona near Madison, Wisconsin on December 10, 1967.

Of course, I began to look up accounts of that day since I remembered how devastated I was when I learned my favorite singer/composer at the time had left this world. There is a lot of information (and disinformation) out there, and for the next 2 hours, I delved into it. As when anyone famous dies tragically, rumors abound. First of all, the crash has never been satisfactorily explained. Back in those days, when private aircraft were involved, this was often the case. There was no black box, no mayday, nothing. The plane just crashed into the water. One uncomfortable thing I did learn was that Otis had been knocked out in the crash, his head hitting the instrument panel. When the plane sank, he drowned. (Man, that made me really feel bad.)

Anyway, unbeknown to me, the wheels in the back of my brain began turning, and before I switched off the computer for the night somewhere near 2 a.m., I surprisingly (at least to me) had a plot that would do quite well for a new book.

So was it just serendipity that my music project brought forth the plot of a new thriller? Was it fate? I sometimes believe in fate, other times, not so much. But something happened on Saturday night and everything fell into place with no effort on my part. I had the beginning, the middle, and the end, all in one enlightening whamo. I was not looking for subject matter for a new plot. Actually, my plan was to leave off writing and do a bit of reading over the next little while, sort of recharge my creative
batteries. Now I’m off on another novel and eager to get to work with barely a stop for breath.

Go figure…

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If you’ve never seen Otis live, here’s a classic clip from Ready, Steady, Go. You’ll quickly see why I was so entranced with his music.


1 comment:

Charlotte Hinger said...

And that's how creativity works! and other things too.