Notes on Creating a Story (part 2)

Following my prior posting (part 1) on how/why I came to write my modern fantasy, The Lords of the Summer Season (Amazon link: https://amzn.to/3uuH4vQ ), below is part 2. Other installments will follow.

The Lords of the Summer Season is mostly set during 1967’s “Summer of Love.” This period is too expansive and amorphous to be more than touched on by any one book, and, indeed, there is now a growing body of fiction set during this period with the requisite name checks for prominent musicians and pop cultural luminaries. For purists, this era centered in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury neighborhood (aka ‘The Haight’). However, I’ve expanded the geographic scope of my novel to include the Los Angeles music scene on Sunset Strip and in Laurel Canyon backyards. It all fits within the mid-’60s countercultural zeitgeist even though the respective groups of musicians in San Fran and LA didn’t always see eye to eye.

Why focus on the Summer of Love? It’s an intriguing period to explore in a fantasy, a genre that relies on magic as a key story element. The actual era may have been enchanted, having being mythologized to the point where its larger-than-life personages and their actions are bigger and bolder than prosaic reality. As noted in film director John Ford’s westerns, when legend becomes fact, print the legend. Further, that distant summer provides an interesting commentary on present times, sharing elements including vibrant music, political ferment, and civic polarization. If one had to pick the exact moment when it all peaked flower-power-wise, a strong argument can be made for the Monterey Pop festival in June of 1967 when the tribes gathered to hear three days of sometimes spectacular pop/rock music. Hence, The Lords of the Summer Season’s climax occurs there.

Readers interested in this period need do no more than search the Internet for sounds and images contemporary to that period; but, additionally, books including The Haight, Love, Rock and Revolution, The Photography of Jim Marshall, by Joel Selvin, Bill Kreutzmann’s Deal, Joel Selvin’s Summer of Love, Michael Walker’s Laurel Canyon, and John Glatt’s Live at the Fillmore East and West are interesting introductions to the mid-’60s music scene as well as the broader “vibe” of that time.

(musician image by Stocksnap from Pixabay)

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