"In-a-Gadda-da-Vida" - #5 "Writing in the Wind" Blog - About Writing Category
Updated: Jun 16, 2019
Band in the Wind was written by an iPod. While recovering from a severe illness, I began to take very long walks. To keep from becoming bored, I listened to 60s classic rock music as it funneled through the old-fashioned turn-wheel style apple product. As I heard particular songs, various plot lines came to mind. After a short while, I started to bring index cards in my pocket to scribble little notes to myself. When I arrived home, I sat outside (weather permitting) and developed those notes into a two or three-page section of the book. If you have read Band in the Wind or Sound of Redemption, you will recognize these as Johnny’s journal entries, and you will understand where the “Music Doctor” had his origins. After years of doing this, I placed all the notes in cohesive order and created a plot. Unfortunately, the book was over 240,000 words. (I had done a lot of walking). The story of how it became shorter and two separate books is a case for later blogs. However, I just wanted to introduce you to my madness with this brief description of one tiny bit of setting.
In Band in the Wind, quite a bit of the critical action takes place in a location I christened “The Garden of Eden.” The real garden was located in the corner of the schoolyard, where much of the fictional action of my story takes place. When I was growing up and playing stickball in "the yard,” it was nothing more than an overgrown jungle behind a ten-foot enclosing fence. Therefore, my imagination created what could go on in there. Half a century later, my wife Marilyn revealed that she had indeed helped plant a garden in there with the rest of her fourth-grade class. She made me aware of this fact after the first book had already been published! I'm glad that she didn't reveal this fact before or the place might not have been so mysterious to me.
As I was accumulating my little index cards, I still had not come upon the location for three of the most crucial scenes in the book. It had to be a secluded place where there would drugs, music, and eventually death. On one of my long walks, "In-a-Gadda-da-Vida" by Iron Butterfly started to play. My memory was jolted back to 1968 and an article in a rock magazine that explained the title. The group had originally titled the song "In a Garden of Eden." In slurring the words during the many studio takes, it took on its more familiar title of "In-a-Gadda-da-Vida." The Music Doctor had given me my setting.