Sunday, January 16, 2011

To my sweet little Gazette -- A Letter of Apology

You're so neglected these days. As neglected as the police in a Martin Scorsese movie! As neglected as the laws of gravity in Independence Day! As neglected as Beatles fans during the Yoko period!

You have my apologies. Your creator's been busy.

Pulled near perfect PSAT and exam scores, thank you. Still editing the novel, still writing short stories. Trying to get articles published so I may have some creditability when the time comes to court an agent. Maybe court isn't the best word to use here...

Tack on guitar and piano lessons, academic team, and the bevvy of other interests that require tending. How can I watch movies, read, and play video games when I've got articles to write! Applies in reverse order as well. How can I write articles on this stuff when I haven't yet done it?

While I'm untangling myself from this paradoxical cycle, feel free to check out some other projects I'm working on:

Presented in Cinemascope! -- Reviews, previews, and little-known-facts about classic and modern cinema. Have a favorite movie? If I mention it, I assure you that you'll learn something new about it.

Our Blog is in Another Castle! -- All of the hottest news and rumors of the video game industry, plus tons of articles on the classics! Top tens, reviews, previews, retrospectives, trivia, and even some parental guides. Consider me an expert on the topic, parents. Feel free to toss me an email regarding a game your child wants. I'll give you the whole story.

On top if this, my novel is inching closer to complete completion. I'm hoping to finish the editing process by summer break.

I've been preparing a few articles for humor site Cracked. Not sure how that'll work out, but I'll be sure to keep y'all updated.

So where does this blog fit? What's its purpose? Well, it's my personal blog. I'll talk about myself as well as share my thoughts on writing.

Oh, by the way, I turned sixteen. Guess I have to change my banner.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Whose (First) Line is it, Anyway?

A wise-beyond-her-years teacher once said to me, "You have thirty seconds to capture the reader's attention. In those first thirty seconds, they've decided whether they want to continue reading or not."

When I began to scribe the products of my imagination in a serious manner, I included this in my ten golden rules. You want your reader to be enraptured from start to finish, right? So why not make this a rule, I said to myself. And just look at the most famous writers of the twentieth century! It seems they had a hankering for powerful first lines, too.

The methods vary: shine a small ray of light onto a mysteriously dark subject or blast a cannonball-sized hole into your reader's chest. Regardless, the purpose of the first line stands. We want total control of our reader's imagination so that our story may engulf them.

Consider this opener from Thomas Pynchon's 1973 novel Gravity's Rainbow:

"A screaming comes across the sky."

Those of you familiar with this excellent novel know that it's set after World War II and centers on the design and dispatching of V-2 Missiles by the German military. This is an example of the more subtle first line. While a first-time reader would have no idea about the V-2's, a screaming across the sky paints a vivid, yet vague picture. Curiosity ensues, and the reader can't set the book down.

Consider another, this opener only five words:

"I am an invisible man."

This comes from 1952's Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison (shocker, I know). Considerably less subtle, and just as poignant. It continues like this: "No, I am not a spook like those who haunted Edgar Allan Poe; nor am I one of your Hollywood-movie ectoplasms. I am a man of substance, of flesh and bone, fiber and liquids—and I might even be said to possess a mind. I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me. Like the bodiless heads you see sometimes in circus sideshows, it is as though I have been surrounded by mirrors of hard, distorting glass. When they approach me they see only my surroundings, themselves, or figments of their imagination—indeed, everything and anything except me."

This is a good example of how your first line can dish on the basic idea while the rest of the paragraph can strengthen the poignancy. Nicely done, Mr. Ellison!

Oh, and how can I leave this one out? It's one of my favorites! Coming from Hunter S. Thompson's 1971 Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas:

"We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold." Now already some excitement has been roused. This journey will involve drugs, eh? How positively psychedelic!
"I remember saying something like 'I feel a bit lightheaded; maybe you should drive . . .' And suddenly there was a terrible roar all around us and the sky was full of what looked like huge bats, all swooping and screeching and diving around the car, which was going about a hundred miles an hour with the top down to Las Vegas. And a voice was screaming, 'Holy Jesus! What are these goddamn animals?'"

How curious does that make you? See, these authors knew exactly how to illicit emotions and desires at the very beginning of their stories.

Somewhere in between the subtle and not-so-subtle lies humor. What better way to entrance the reader than to tickle their funny bones? No one was more masterful at this than Douglas Adams. His 1979 blend of sci-fi and humor The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy starts in an especially memorable way:

"Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Western Spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun. Orbiting this at a distance of roughly ninety-eight million miles is an utterly insignificant little blue-green planet whose ape-descended life forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea."

This perfectly sums up the hilariously aware narration of the rest of the novel and even the entire series. Garnering laughs is a good way to garner attention.

Let's wind down and periodically cast away the 20th century literature. Some of you (like myself) write young adult and middle-grade fiction. Let's look to Rick Riordan's 2005 middle-grade masterpiece and magnum opus, The Lightning Thief:

"Look, I didn't want to be a half-blood."

Anyone familiar with Greek mythology instantly gets this, and even those who aren't are curious as to what exactly a half-blood is. Riordan has an especially straight-forward style that dishes the action and the humor in rapid succession. I could talk about the benefits of reading this series all day (Great way to teach your kids Greek myths, parents), but I'll contain myself. This opener speaks for itself.

There is one more method of opening the story that I find especially effective: a phrase that provokes deeper thought. Graham Greene was a master at this, and his 1951 novel The End of the Affair has a particularly thought-provoking first line:

"A story has no beginning or end; arbitrarily one chooses that moment of experience from which to look back or from which to look ahead."

Such a line makes you say,
Huh... I never thought about it like that. This is where the power comes from. This is generally a pleasant thought, and who doesn't want to experience more of those? Just make sure your prose can back it up.

In conclusion, you can be as subtle as a light breeze or as a shotgun; you can make your reader giggle or make them arch back their heads and rub their chins thoughtfully; no matter what, said reader will not put the book down.

I have so many favorite opening paragraphs/lines! I may as well end this post with a few more. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed!

"We started dying before the snow, and like the snow, we continued to fall."
Tracks by Louise Erdrich, 1988

"You don't know about me without you have read a book by the name of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer; but that ain't no matter."
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, 1885

"Some years ago there was in the city of York a society of magicians."
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke, 2004

He was born with a gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad."
Scaramouche by Raphael Sabatini, 1921

"It was a pleasure to burn."
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, 1953

"When Mr. Bilbo Baggins of Bag End announced that he would shortly be celebrating his eleventy-first birthday with a party of special magnificence, there was much talk and excitement in Hobbiton."
Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien, 1954

Saturday, September 4, 2010

New blog news + a shiny new novel excerpt!

Summer came and went. Rather than spending more time writing without the burden of homework and tests, I actually wrote less. A good 20,000 words of the novel, but still less than when in school! Somebody explain that to me.

On second thought, don't. I know exactly why. Summer brought out the lazy schmuck within me. Now that school has arrived and AP classes are kicking my rear, I'm banishing that guy to the farthest corners of my mind.

I've been busy as of late, beginning with the new blog.

Presented in Cinemascope! is my latest project. You may not know this, reader, but I consider myself a knowledgeable film buff. My brain is loaded to the point of bulging with movie trivia and opinions on films, actors, directors, and those dusty LaserDiscs in your closet. From the Universal horror gems to today's summer CGI-fests, I'll be talking about them all. Please support!

Next on today's platter, my novel. As you may know, I finished the first draft a few months ago. It was the first time I've ever seen a single story all the way through. I let it sit for a few weeks so that I may come back to it with a fresh perspective. As I read it in its entirety on the first day of summer break, I laughed, cried, whooped with joy, cursed, and couldn't believe my eyes. Mom heard, "Great execution!" come from my room as often as "What is this piddle?!" There were certainly flaws, but overall I couldn't have been happier.

I began the second revision at the start of summer. I'm halfway in and going strong. Many changes were made, all certainly for the better. "To a world of gods and monsters!" is the tagline I've chosen. You might recognize it as a line from Bride of Frankenstein, 1935.

I'll end this post with an excerpt. You're at least a little curious, right? Our scene picks up immediately after main character Atticus the Sixth (who is plagued by a voice in his head) is pulled into the river by a demonic pony. He thinks he is going to drown or, worse, have his soul devoured, but just as his oxygen runs out and his eyes close, they open again. The water is gone. He finds himself in a vacant music store. Well, almost vacant. A shadowy man sits in a recliner in the middle of the store, strumming away on a guitar.

CHAPTER 9 - The Man in My Head Knows How to Rock

Have you ever been so dumbstruck and in such immense disbelief, that you can’t speak? I opened my mouth but only rapid breaths came out.
“Please, have a seat,” said the voice. Er, the man.
He snapped his fingers and a recliner appeared. I plopped into it, still on a quest to find my voice. Where are we? Who are you? Am I dead? Am I insane? A frenzy of questions swam through mind like pestered sharks.
“I can see you’re mute in surprise. No biggie," he said. "Let your fingers do the talking."
“Huh?” I finally managed.
He snapped his fingers again and a guitar unhooked itself from the wall. It floated toward me as if it were possessed by some musically inclined specter. As it gently landed in my grip, I gasped. A 1979 Gibson “Flying V” with a custom silver finish. The one with sound that can’t be written in onomatopoeia form. It was the guitar from my dreams, and this was the man who played alongside me.
“Who are you?” I instinctively wrapped my fingers around the neck and strummed a chord.
A minor. Nice choice,” said the man. He played a bone-chilling riff, his fingers dancing over the neck with pristine grace. This guy was good. “I’m afraid I can’t answer that yet.”
He seemed to be in his mid-twenties. Wavy blonde hair jutted out from underneath the brim of his bucket hat. He might’ve been wearing a hoodie, but I wasn’t sure. Like in my dream, he was only a black silhouette unless I squinted hard, and even then I couldn’t make out his facial features.
“What is this place?” I asked.
“My sanctuary.” He reached over and poked me on the forehead. “Your subconscious.”
“If you’re the voice in my head,” I said, “that means you’ve been here since I was a little kid. You’re hitching a ride in my brain?”
“More or less, yeah.”
Uneasiness settled over me. I felt violated. There was a spectator to all the embarrassing moments of my life? All those times I thought I was alone, I wasn’t?
“You should leave,” I barked.
“We meet face-to-face for the first time and that’s the greeting I get?” laughed the man. “Haven’t you ever heard of Greek hospitality?”
“Haven’t you ever heard of breaking and entering?” I countered, setting aside the guitar.
“Hey, I’m here for a reason.”
“Oh, this ought to be good." I crossed my arms. "For what reason could you possibly be here?”
“So that we may vanquish demons. Remember the Fucanglong dragon fiasco? That was just a taste of my power. Now I’m lending you the whole thing. The real deal. The power of a god.”
Before I could speak, he vanished. A glistening handle appeared in my hand. From it sprouted a gleaming silver blade. This sword had appeared in my hand in front of the hospital. I had swung, eyes closed in fear, and saved Lee by slicing off a Chinese dragon’s tongue.
That’s right, said the voice, emanating from the sword. Now it’s going to defeat a blood-thirsty bronco.
The recliner began to melt away from beneath me. The instruments faded from the walls more and more with each blink of my eyes. Within seconds the music store was gone all together. I stood in a world of stark white nothingness, but I didn’t feel alone. The sword sent shock-waves of power throughout my body. I closed my eyes, a determined smile creeping across my face.
It was time to vanquish a demon.
I opened my eyes and quickly felt the sting of river water. Inches from my face were two crimson eyes and a muzzle full of sharp teeth.

Hope you enjoyed, folks! It probably makes zero sense, so perhaps I'll give you a summary someday. Please don't hesitate to visit Presented in Cinemascope! and offer support. Have a wonderful day.

Alex Gartner

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Abandoned Work #1 - DENZEL & THE DEED

We all have abandoned ideas. Whether they're in a desk drawer or stored deep within your hard-drive in a forgotten folder, these are the ideas that didn't have enough substance upon further review. Maybe the characters weren't quite right. Maybe the plot wasn't interesting. Or maybe, as in this case, the beginning was incredibly cliched.

This is a work I might revisit in the future. As it stands, it was a writing exercise. Ya know, to work on my technique. I wrote this a few weeks after turning fifteen. I hope you enjoy.

Chapter 1. Denzel & The Deed

The silence of the night was not something to be broken. Denzel Sansone cherished the beauty of the city when the sun sank and the stars came out to greet the moon.
“No, don’t shoot!” cried Tommy Martillo. “Please, I’m beggin’ you!”
A flock of pigeons alighted from their spot on the rooftop in a mess of feathers and squawks. Denzel’s mouth twitched, but his face remained a blank slate. His finger tensed on the trigger. The barrel was pointed at Tommy.
“Cut me some slack!” continued Tommy in a high-pitch, nervous tone. “I can’t die in a place like this!”
A place like this? thought Denzel as he glanced around. There was nothing wrong with the rooftop. Below them, the city blared. Honking horns and cheery conversation were typical of Times Square. But at the top of Woolworth Building, these noises were hazy and vague. Denzel liked it that way.
The hustle and bustle of the “Crossroads of the World” wasn’t what he desired.
In a quick motion, Tommy drew a gun from his suit and took aim at Denzel’s chest. Staring down the barrel of the silver pistol, Denzel didn’t bat an eye. He didn’t need to move a single part of his body. Only a finger.
Gunshot rang out.
Tommy screamed and spewed curses like a broker on a bad day. Blood dripped from his mangled hand. The gun flew from his grasp and over the side of the building.
Tommy’s silver pistol spun as it fell all those feet. Just as it struck a dumpster, ping, and bounced to the ground in a vacant alley, another gunshot rang out.
Denzel’s face remained a blank slate. Black loomed overhead. His gun remained still in his grip.
The body leaked a puddle of rubies, staining the black Italian suit. A fedora rested next to a head it would never sit atop again. Its edged were frayed and it had a green ribbon wrapped flawlessly around the top.
“You don’t know what you’ve just done,” said Tommy in between short, ragged breaths. “Never forget, you Sansone bastard, that you were the cause of the biggest mob war in... New York City...”
His eyes closed, and Tommy Martillo grew very still.
Denzel headed toward the bar. A drink was exactly what he needed. As he walked along the busy sidewalk, gun resting in his suit pocket, emotions began to seep into the fortress of his mind.
Sadness, empathy, anger, regret. No, no, no. Denzel had stowed away his emotions since that night four years ago. That fateful night...
No! The gun suddenly felt heavy in his pocket. He was a mobster. His feelings would only get in the way!
Once a stout line, his mouth bent into a frown. Tears welled in his eyes.
Yeah, a drink would do nicely.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Time for a Blog Award!

Cue the music and dim the lights, folks!

When Jessie Harrell told me she was passing a blog award my way, I was thrilled. I've never received a blog award before. Yee-haw!

Then I discovered Cara gave me the same award. Hot-dog!

The icing on the cupcake? Bryan Sabol has also honored me. His blog is fantastic, and if you read his post concerning this award, you'll discover that he is a fascinating guy. Yep, Bryan and I go way back. Okay, maybe not way back, but he did mention me in an article of his.

Check it out if you like cupcakes. You can't say no, right? Everyone likes cupcakes.

Without further ado (Gee, I love saying that!),

Follow the Rules

The rules that apply with accepting this award are:

1. Thank and link back to the person(s) who gave you this award

Done and done. Next?

2. Share 7 things about yourself

Wait, you want to hear about little ol' me? Oh, alright!

1. I strongly dislike talking on the phone, and with good reason. I like planning. Put me on the spot and I stammer and usually spew unintelligent words like a fountain of awkwardness. But if you put me in front of a computer and give me a little time, I can craft dialogue that would make Fabio cry manly tears. Time is everything.

2. Well, number 1 was a mouthful. Let me make this one a little more concise. I have an unusual obsession with Japanese rock and hip-hop. Honestly, it's fantastic stuff. And as I tell my mother all the time, "You don't need to understand what they're saying to feel the beat in your bones!"

3. Hm. Still not concise enough. Oh well. I'm a bit of an exercise nut when soccer season rolls around. However, catch me the week after it's over and I'll be on the couch all day, eating big macs to reruns of House MD.

4. Mythology is rad! Norse, Greek, Egyptian, African, Chinese. It's all compelling stuff. The coolest thing about mythology is that it comes from everywhere. Where there are people, there are stories. Which is why the five listed above don't even begin to scratch the surface. The novel I'm currently revising (tentatively titled Atticus Six) features a world in which the monsters of all these mythologies are real. And while some of them are good, the Minotaurs and the Fucanglong Dragons need someone to keep them in order... That someone is Atticus Abernethy the Sixth!

Would you buy it?

5. Soccer is a huge part of my life and is easily my favorite sport. If I'm going to exercise, you can bet it'll be with a soccer ball. As far as I'm concerned, the World Cup is the most compelling sporting event since four years ago. And in four more years, this one will be trumped. The World Cup for the win!

[It's 2:30 AM. My brain is swollen.]

6. I'm a huge fan of cinema, from Ray Harryhausen (the stop-motion pioneer behind the original Clash of the Titans) to Tim Burton. I might write an article of my top ten favorite movies some day. And it will be grand.

7. I'm motivated by a note card I keep in my wallet. This note card is my list of goals. It contains small bits such as: Because they are adorable, I will one day raise a huskie from puppy to doghood. But this is a rather childish example. Others include: Master the piano and Get my first novel published by the age of seventeen. Whenever I have a few minutes, I pull the card out and read it. It is a symbol of what's to come.

There you have it. Seven random facts about me. If you had the tenacity to read through that muck, I salute you.

The final rule is to pass this on to fifteen other bloggers. This is going to be tough considering how many people I'm sure have already received this. I'm just going to pass it to as many as I can.

Nora MacFarlane of Lemons to Lemonade

Sheri Larsen at The Writers' Ally

Heather Kelly at Edited to Within an Inch of My Life

Lisa Amowitz at Why A? The Blog of Lisa Amowitz

Enjoy your awards, folks! I look forward to your fun factoids!

This post has taken days. It was worth it, I suppose. After all, your support is what motivates me to keep writing. And keep writing, I shall!


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

My Top Five Favorite Songs of All Time

Consider this a follow-up post to last week's post, Music as Inspiration. Wait, you're telling me that was eighteen days ago? Wow! Time flies when you're in captivity!

This captivity is, of course, the state-mandatory kind. The last two weeks of school were of were fist-clenching, teeth-gnashing difficulty. Exams.

But it's over now, so who's complaining? I've roped in straight A's and perfect exam scores all around, so let's celebrate! And what better celebration than music?

These are in no particular order. Oh, come on! It was tough enough narrowing it down to five!
Next week, I promise we'll get back to the bare bones of creative writing. But for now, we party. If I were an adult, I'd say, "I need a drink."

This list is the figurative cocktail of this blog.

I tried to get the original video whenever possible. Some of these songs just don't have music videos. But I still strongly suggest you give them a listen. Without further ado, crank up those speakers and bask in the beauty!

American Pie or Vincent (Starry, Starry Night) - Don McLean
By now, this choice is obvious, and I needn’t say more on the greatness of American Pie. Vincent is another one of his breathtaking songs. It’s open to interpretation, but it speaks to me as an ode to the late Vincent Van Gogh, a renowned artist who struggled with depression. It’s soft in tone but packs an emotional punch of meaning. Although these are in no particular order, this is probably my favorite song of all time.
“For they could not love you. But still, your love was true. And when no hope was left inside, on that starry, starry night, you took your life as lovers often do -- But I could have told you, Vincent: this world was never meant for one as beautiful as you.”

Mrs. Potter’s Lullaby - Counting Crows
I’m a huge Crows fan so this was a difficult choice. It was a toss-up between this one and Rain King, and Mrs. Potter won by a small margin. It’s funny I’d choose another eight-minute epic for the list. This is like the Counting Crows’ American Pie in many ways. The lyrics are abstract and poetic, and the piano riff playing the whole song is deviously catchy. The best part of this song is a line early in: “If dreams are like movies, then memories are films about ghosts.”
Who would have guessed a song inspired by Monica Potter would be so deep? “I know I don’t know you, and you’re probably not what you seem. But I’d sure like to find out so why don’t you climb down off that movie screen?”


Howard - Bayside
This is the newest song on the list, coming from Bayside’s 2008 album. The whole album is brilliant and catchy, but this is by far my favorite. Like Vincent, it’s an ode to a pioneer of our culture: visionary business mogul Howard Hughes. I don’t know much about Hughes aside from a few of his best quotes and what I learned from the movie Aviator. Coincidentally, it happens to be one of my favorite movies of all time. (Don’t worry, we'll get to that list!) What I really like about this song is the lyrics. It’s almost like a personal letter to Hughes. Heck, the first line is, “Mr. Hughes, how are you? I know it’s been awhile. But I’ve been dying tryin’ to catch your brilliant smile.”
It celebrates him as much as it recognizes how misunderstood his brilliance was. “Free thinkers only thrive in history books.”

Tom Sawyer - Rush.
Who hasn’t heard this song? The opening still echoes in my head. “A modern day warrior; Mean, mean stride. Today’s Tom Sawyer; Mean, mean, pride.” I could have picked a dozen Rush tunes to fit this spot, but this one really speaks to me. It’s the classic, iconic Rush sound. Neil Peart is one of the greatest drummers of all time, and it shows. There’s a message somewhere in this song, but I’m too busy rocking out to fully comprehend it.
“No, his mind is not for rent to any god or government. Always hopeful, yet discontent. He knows changes aren’t permanent. But change is.”

Pretty Women
- Sweeney Todd and Judge Turpin.
Didn’t expect a musical on here, did ya? Neither did I, honestly. Musicals have always been important to me. I would’ve felt guilty if I didn’t include a song from one. Sweeney Todd happens to be a favorite of mine. Everything about it oozes cool. The characters, the story, the music. It’s about a barber who returns from prison with one thing on his mind: Revenge. Throw in a colorful cast and some meat pies with questionable contents and you’ve got one great experience. I’m a big fan of “No Place Like London” and the reprise of “Johanna,” but this one takes the cake. Or should I say, the human meat pie? I’ve seen many performances of it, but my favorite is from the movie adaptation, directed by visionary Tim Burton.
We have Johnny Depp as our vengeful barber and Alan Rickman as the tosser Judge Turpin. The suspense during this song is unreal, but it doesn’t take from the beauty of the two men harmonizing. “How they [pretty women] make a man sing! Proof of heaven as you're living."


That's the list folks. Comments? Leave 'em below.
I'd like to hear some of your lists. Why don't you slap something together? Believe me, it's a refreshing experience!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Music as Inspiration

On a stormy night in 1995, a baby's crying can be heard. It floats through the halls and drifts under the crack of the door.

The father's eyes snap open. He stands, limbs groaning and creaking. Although he grumbles all the way, his expression softens at the sight of the baby. So small, so helpless. Such a miracle of life.

"A long, long time ago," he sings, his voice melodic and somnolent. "I can still remember how that music used to make me smile..."

He rocks the crib with gentle hands. The crying ceases. The baby falls into a deep slumber before the song is over.

"...And them good ol' boys were drinking whiskey and rye." He pauses to kiss the baby on the forehead and his voice becomes a mere whisper. "Singing, 'this'll be the day that I die...'"

I was that baby. My father and mother used to sing to me all the time, and I credit them for my love of music. Their songs left an impact on me that I'll never forget. I dip into the deepest recesses of my mind and draw these memories as inspiration for my writings. But in what ways do the melodies of my youth and today inspire?

It’s quite simply, really. Music is an art form, just like writing. And the similarities don’t end there. Both require planning and a poetic use of language and vocabulary. Like a good song, a good story has rhythm. Like the big finish of any symphony, a story has a climax. And like a true mellifluous masterpiece, a story leaves you with a satisfied feeling.

I remember Dad singing one song in particular: American Pie by Don McLean. I loved it when I was a baby and I love it still. Like a fine wine, the eight-minute, thirty-three-second aria has aged well. It still blows my mind, and I’ve heard it a collective thousand times over the years. It’s more than just a song. It’s an anthem to music lovers everywhere.

American Pie has some of the most abstract, imaginative lyrics ever written. In this respect, it’s similar to famous poetry. If you will, breathe in this excerpt:

" And in the streets, the children screamed.
The lovers cried, and the poets dreamed.
But not a word was spoken.
The church bells all were broken.
And the three men I admire most:
The father, son and the holy ghost.
They caught the last train for the coast
The day the music died. "

It gives me chills. The greatest thing about this song is that it brings poetic words to an audience with no interest in poetry. By setting his epic to music, McLean made it more accessible. We can all learn from his masterful writing. Musicians, poets, novelists, journalists. Anyone with a love of writing and the craft.

Tune in next time for a list of my top five favorite songs. We'll get a peak at another McLean masterpiece and sample some Counting Crows, too. And an ode to Howard Hughes? You'll have to follow my blog to learn more.

Alex Gartner

If you've never heard American Pie, what're you waiting for?