Wednesday, April 19, 2006

I want to be like David Crowder

OK, that sounds rather strange coming from a middle-aged woman, but in a way, it's true, and here's why. When I listen to the David Crowder Band's most recent album, A Collision, I am in awe of the way he has blended different musical styles into one coherent whole. Instead of being locked into one musical style, he has borrowed and adapted from a whole range that includes blue grass, rock, a bit of ska and some techno-pop. And it's not just a mish-mash of styles; the style of each song is an integral part of the song itself. I can't imagine a song like "Foreverandever Etc." in any style other than sort of a ska/punk fusion. And "I Saw the Light" could only be bluegrass. The whole album works as a unit that is greater than the sum of its parts. (It's a truly excellent album!)

What does that have to do with me, a middle-aged female writer? I want to resist pigeonholing. I want to be a writer -- I am a writer -- who writes a story in whatever way is best to tell that story. So some stories are cozy small-town mysteries but others are grittier crime stories, and some stories are not genre specific. Right now I'm working on a fantasy story for this contest. The story is called The Dragon in the Basement and it's fun to write.

But I am beginning to notice something about my stories. I tend to gravitate toward tales of outsiders (believe me, a guy with a dragon in his basement feels pretty much out of the mainstream). So I think there's a common thread or theme to my writing (in a general way).

I don't know if this is a viable option for someone who wants to be published. It seems that most writers become pretty firmly entrenched in a genre and don't break out of it until they become very famous and wealthy. But I think that I should tell a story the way it needs to be told, not mold it to fit some notion of what "type" of writer I am. Thus, I find David Crowder to be an inspiration.

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