Field Notes

ANTHEM is coming, chapter 47

ANTHEM, Book 3 of the Sixties Trilogy, publishes on October 1. Each of the book’s 47 chapters begins with a song from the Sixties to set the tone, mood, and scene. Every day between now and October 1, come have a listen and read a snippet from each chapter. On October 1, these posts will be archived with a link at ANTHEM’s webpage for #teachingAnthem1969

This is Chapter 47 (day 1):

AMERICA
Written by Paul Simon
Performed by Simon & Garfunkel
Recorded at Columbia Studios, NY, NY 1968
Drummer: Hal Blaine

And so they journeyed home together….
They drove through a summer when men would walk on the moon and kids would throng to a farm near Woodstock, New York, and Wavy would be there telling them, “What we have in mind is breakfast for 400,000!” and people of all colors and shapes and identities would march against injustice of all kinds in an effort to bring down the established old order and re-establish the ideals of liberty and justice, equality and opportunity, safety and kindness for all.
The future of America drove home.

Without giving away just who drove home, you know that they do go home, and the circle completes itself, although our characters are much changed… and, perhaps, so are readers, for that is the magical, mysterious quality of art. And of America.

ANTHEM is love letter to America, in all its shapes and forms, all its people, and all its incarnations, trouble and good times alike. At our best, we are one nation, indivisible, and that’s what I wanted to explore.

I wanted to take readers through the time that… well, as Gail Zappa puts it in ANTHEM’s last scrapbook: “In 1965, half the population of the western world was under 25. You have an evolution and a revolution in consciousness when you have a situation like that.”

But that was then, this is now, I hear you say. So to Gail Zappa’s statement, I added one from Little Richard that ends the book: “It’s not the size of the ship; it’s the size of the waves.”

So I leave you with Simon and Garfunkel’s “America.” Substitute friends for lovers, and you’ve got, “Let us be friends, we’ll marry our fortunes together.” Yes. That’s what I want for America. And that’s ANTHEM’s over-riding theme. We’ve all come to look for America.

Here are a few more stills from ANTHEM’s scrapbooks that highlight our struggles and our triumphs as a people… work that continues today, work that we are lucky to be engaged in, in a country where we can still make change. Where we can still demand the best for America.

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And a last still that will lead us to the next book, KENT STATE, which publishes in April 2020:

Chapter 47. Of 47 chapters. Thank you for coming along. Publication day is tomorrow! xoxoxo Debbie

ANTHEM is coming, chapter 46

ANTHEM, Book 3 of the Sixties Trilogy, publishes on October 1. Each of the book’s 47 chapters begins with a song from the Sixties to set the tone, mood, and scene. Every day between now and October 1, come have a listen and read a snippet from each chapter. On October 1, these posts will be archived with a link at ANTHEM’s webpage for #teachingAnthem1969

This is Chapter 46 (day 2):

BEGINNINGS
Written by Robert Lamm
Performed by Chicago Transit Authority
Recorded at Columbia Recording Studios, NY, NY  1969
Drummer: Danny Seraphine

Cars rolled past them on the quiet street. The morning was bright and cool. The fog was burning off. It would be a good day for a journey.
“Music is the rhythm of our humanity,” said Eddie. “It’s the soundtrack of struggle and peace, birth and death, love and war, joy and pain. Music is the heart you open and the family you choose.”

When I hear “Beginnings” now, I think of the many 2am mornings I sat here trying to finish ANTHEM, trying to get this chapter right, trying to sum up the themes, characters, plot lines, symbolism, you name it… trying to get it right. Trying to touch what I’d wanted to say about 1969, and about the Sixties Trilogy as a whole… about the Sixties, about my own young life in those years, and about the nation as it struggled through those days.

“Beginnings” is what came to me. “Only the beginning/ only just the start.” Exactly. That was where to end, at the beginning, as storytellers know, as life shows us, too. Each ending is a new beginning.

As Molly and Norman come to the end of their journey — the beginning of the next trip — they gain a new rider for the miles home, along with a new understanding of who they are, what they mean to each other, and how they want to think about the world they are inheriting.

I wanted to include Chicago in ANTHEM, with their brassy, jazzy, upbeat sound… they were just getting started on their own journey in 1969, and bands everywhere would soon want to include horns in their line-up, including my husband’s… he was the self-proclaimed band geek who played the sousaphone in the St. Andrew’s Parish High School marching band in Charleston, South Carolina, and the trombone in concert band, and he was my inspiration for Norman. No wonder I love Norman so. I used to go to Friday night football games just so I could watch Jim in the band.

We have one ANTHEM chapter left, a very short one, and I’ll blog about it tomorrow… then it’s pub date for ANTHEM, and I’ll catalog all these song/chapter posts at the ANTHEM webpage.

If you are local to Atlanta, you might come on Tuesday night, October 1, to ANTHEM’s book launch, hosted by the Georgia Center for the Book and DeKalb County libraries, 7pm, at the Decatur Library at 215 Sycamore St., Decatur. I’ll be there and would love to see you.

All three Sixties titles will be available to purchase, thanks to bookseller Little Shop of Stories, and of course they will be at your local library as well.

The Sixties Trilogy turned into an 11-year project with Scholastic Press… what a risk they took, to being these documentary novels to readers young and old, everywhere. I’m grateful to them for their support, and for three gorgeously beautiful books. Phil Falco’s design wizardry and David Levithan’s editing skills created something special out of the stories I wanted so much to tell.

The end of the Sixties Trilogy gives us a new beginning as well… Kent State will be published in April, 2020… more about that book soon. Meanwhile:

Chapter 46.

ANTHEM is coming, chapter 45

ANTHEM, Book 3 of the Sixties Trilogy, publishes on October 1. Each of the book’s 47 chapters begins with a song from the Sixties to set the tone, mood, and scene. Every day between now and October 1, come have a listen and read a snippet from each chapter. On October 1, these posts will be archived with a link at ANTHEM’s webpage for #teachingAnthem1969

This is Chapter 45 (day 3):

PIECE OF MY HEART
Written by Jerry Ragovoy and Bert Berns
Performed by Janis Joplin/Big Brother and the Holding Company
Recorded at Columbia Studios, Los Angeles, CA and NY, NY 1968 
Drummer: Dave Getz

Molly glanced at Norman. “Where are we going?”
“Fillmore West,” Norman told the driver. “Corner of Market and South Van Ness.”
“What’s happening?” Molly asked. 
Norman rummaged in his pocket. “I bought these today,” he said, “at a pawn shop. The poster was in the window.”
Molly snatched the tickets from his hand. “Iron Butterfly! You love them!”
Norman almost laughed. Someone excited for him. It was a good feeling.
“Barry would love this,” said Molly. “Turn around!” she told the driver impulsively. “Norman you should take Barry!”
“Never mind,” Norman told the driver. “To the Fillmore, please.”…
“Norman, really…” said Molly….
“No.” Norman gritted his teeth. “I don’t want to do anything with Barry right now. Maybe never…. I want to take you… We’ll have this to talk about for years and years…”
“We’ve already got a lot to talk about. A lot. For years and years.”
“I want this, too. One day I might have to go to war. If I’m drafted, I will go. And I don’t want to sit over there thinking about how I could have taken you to see Iron Butterfly in San Francisco but instead I took Barry, who didn’t care two hoots about me….” He’s selfish. I appreciate you, Molly. Come to the concert with me.”

Hearts are breaking everywhere in Chapters 44 through 46. When I was trying to write LOVE, RUBY LAVENDER, my first novel, my editor, Liz Van Doren, at Harcourt Books, kept saying, “Let her heart break.”

It took me several drafts to take her advice to heart (ha) and do that. It opened up the story. We hate to break our beloveds’ hearts, and yet that’s what fiction is about, isn’t it? Let’s see characters in impossible situations, physical and/or emotional, and let’s see what they do, how they fall apart and put themselves back together, and thereby create a roadmap for us to do the same thing in our own lives, with our own heartbreaks.

In A LONG LINE OF CAKES, the fourth Aurora County book, which was published last year, I did such a good job of letting Emma’s heart break that my editor (David Levithan at Scholastic) asked me if I wasn’t going to put that thing back together that Emma tore up, so readers could see it at the end?

Well… no. Because Emma could put her heart back together emotionally by that point, and the physical didn’t matter as much. And that’s what’s happening here, with Norman, as he begins to determine he’s not going to spend any more emotional energy on Barry.

Norman is waking up to what’s right in front of him, the cousin who traveled across the country with him, who navigated them to San Francisco, who is a royal pain in the neck as well as –who knew? — suddenly, a fierce and loyal friend. Let the record show that Norman’s heart breaks, and he lets it. And he makes the decision to move forward.

“Piece of my Heart” and Janis were important to include in San Francisco chapters of ANTHEM, as Big Brother et al were a San Francisco band and I wanted you to hear that San Francisco sound, along with “Evil Ways” and Santana (Chapter 43), and, early-on in ANTHEM, CCR and “Bad Moon Rising” (Chapter 4).

You’ll also find, as we hurtle to the end, a repeat of Chapter 2’s Iron Butterfly and “In-a-Gadda-da-Vida” in Chapter 45, which serves as Norman’s theme song in ANTHEM. Norman finally gets to hear the Butterfly live — remember the drum solo? Watch what happens. I’m bringing it around full circle for Norman.

Iron Butterfly did play Fillmore West in late June 1969, on the very date I have Molly and Norman there. It’s details like this that delight a researcher when she’s trying to make a story come together and be true to actual events. Far out. Or, as Norman would put it, “Groovy!”

Fillmore West 1970 — the research on Bill Graham and the bands who played the Fillmore — and its locations — was its own amazing rabbit hole…

Chapter 45.

ANTHEM is coming, chapter 44

ANTHEM, Book 3 of the Sixties Trilogy, publishes on October 1. Each of the book’s 47 chapters begins with a song from the Sixties to set the tone, mood, and scene. Every day between now and October 1, come have a listen and read a snippet from each chapter. On October 1, these posts will be archived with a link at ANTHEM’s webpage for #teachingAnthem1969

This is Chapter 44 (day 4):

DAZED AND CONFUSED
Written by Jake Holmes
Performed by Led Zeppelin
Recorded at Olympic Studio, London, England 1968
Drummer: John Bonham

NORMAN:

“I’ve lived without family for over a year,” says Barry. He stabs a noodle roll. “It’s not so bad.”
Molly looks stricken. “You don’t mean it.”
“It was pretty bad for us,” I say.
“I don’t care if I never go back home,” says Barry. I can feel Molly steel herself across the table.
After a leaden pause, Jo Ellen asks Barry, “Did your attorney tell you about your draft notice?”
“Who’s being drafted?” asks Colonel Chapman.
“I am, evidently,” says Barry. “Yeah, she told me.”
“Your physical date is July second,” I say.
“I don’t plan to report,” says Barry.
Molly has taken a sip of her soup. She chokes on it.
“It was Mom’s idea to bring you home,” she says, coughing. “She said we would figure out what to do as a family.”
“No way am I going home to let Dad scream at me again!”
Colonel Chapman leans his elbows on the table. “I personally know young men — or knew them — who would be happy to have their parents scream at them again, if they could be here, on this planet, alive.”

This scene goes on for another two pages. It was a pleasure to write. Dinner-table scenes are full of possibilities. Get everyone around a table, talking and eating, airing their grievances, pressing their points, and move the story forward.

I learned to do this with EACH LITTLE BIRD THAT SINGS. I had an ensemble cast for that book, the largest I’d ever created at that point, and I needed a way for them all to be heard in conversation. A dinner table — or, in the case of THE AURORA COUNTY ALL-STARS, a ball field; or in the case of A LONG LINE OF CAKES, a gathering at an old man’s house and an impromptu picnic — accomplish so many storytelling tasks.

The dinner table scene in COUNTDOWN, where Uncle Otts waves Life Magazine and says, “We won’t have another Thanksgiving if we are all blown up!” or the dinner scene in REVOLUTION where the reader understands Memaw’s character and Uncle Vivian’s politics, and suddenly the relationships between all the characters and Sunny, our hero, comes into view…

These scenes contain a ton of dialogue, and dialogue accomplishes three major tasks in a story: 1. It provides information. 2. It characterizes. 3. It moves the story forward.

Even a small scene, like the one between Sunny and Laura Mae, the hired help, gives us so much information, and provides all kinds of emotional resonance, whether they are in the kitchen alone or sitting in the back of the car and suddenly, gazing out the window, Laura Mae reminisces about Emmett Till. Dialogue is rich territory.

So in Chapter 44, sitting at the big round table at Sam Wo’s in Chinatown, it all comes together. They process what happened earlier in the chapter, secrets are revealed, personalities are confirmed, backstory is given, exposition is laced in, and resolutions are begun for characters who are about to exit the stage.

There is so much confusion, and Molly is certainly dazed by now, but at the same time, this confusion is making a path for clarity… that’s how it works.
Dinner-time (or gathering) scenes are big payoffs for the reader. Nothing is so rewarding to write in a novel as dialogue.

As for Led Zeppelin and “Dazed and Confused,” the song title was perfect for what I wanted to accomplish in this chapter. Led and I (hahaha) were never close, but I knew the song, and knew how crazily-right it sounded for Molly with its psychedelic-rock overtones that mimic the Hendrix that Barry so loves. Molly is at a crossroads, just as the country was, in 1969. So much was being born:

While so many were also dying:

Dazed and confused. Yes, we were.

Chapter 44.

ANTHEM is coming, chapter 43

ANTHEM, Book 3 of the Sixties Trilogy, publishes on October 1. Each of the book’s 47 chapters begins with a song from the Sixties to set the tone, mood, and scene. Every day between now and October 1, come have a listen and read a snippet from each chapter. On October 1, these posts will be archived with a link at ANTHEM’s webpage for #teachingAnthem1969

This is Chapter 43 (day 5):

EVIL WAYS
Written by Clarence “Sonny” Henry
Performed by Santana
Recorded at Pacific Recording Studios, San Mateo, California 1969
Drummer: Mike Shrieve 

NORMAN:

Barry’s letter sticks in my craw like a swallowed chicken bone I can’t dislodge. I might choke on it. His tone is so cavalier, just like he always is. He expects me to say How high? Every time he says Jump. All my life, I looked up to Barry. I wanted to be like him. I would do — and did — anything for him.
 But when I wanted him to help me recruit members for my band, he was too busy. When I wanted him to put together a band and put me in it, he forgot about his promise and said he wasn’t interested in a band. When he wanted me to keep quiet about his whereabouts, or even the fact that he was alive, I did it. Molly is right; I should have told her. I helped break her heart by not telling her he was safe. Barry left her without a good-bye. Because that’s what Barry does. He does as he pleases. Has, all his life. Why do we let him get away with that?

Things are coming to a head in San Francisco, and it’s a toss-up as to which way they will go. “Evil Ways” highlights Norman’s dawning awareness of who his cousin is, and why his family has treated him as the golden child for so long.

And, in this chapter, Norman is a stand-in for the American people who were increasingly coming awake to what they saw as the evils of the war in Vietnam, and to those who wanted to right wrongs in other ways as they worked for equality and justice in America, as Jo Ellen does. (She has come a long — and unsurprising — way from her college days in COUNTDOWN, yes?)

No spoilers here, but a couple more stills from ANTHEM scrapbooks as we hurtle to not only the end of the story, but the end of our #47chapters47songs. (We cut the first photo, but I love it so much, I want to include it here.)

And one that did make the cut:

It was a heady time.

And one more:

Chapter 43.

ANTHEM is coming, chapter 42

ANTHEM, Book 3 of the Sixties Trilogy, publishes on October 1. Each of the book’s 47 chapters begins with a song from the Sixties to set the tone, mood, and scene. Every day between now and October 1, come have a listen and read a snippet from each chapter. On October 1, these posts will be archived with a link at ANTHEM’s webpage for #teachingAnthem1969

This is Chapter 42 (day 6):

DARK STAR
Written by Robert Hunter and Jerry Garcia
Performed by the Grateful Dead
Recorded live at Fillmore West, San Francisco, California 1969
Drummer: Mickey Hart

“My name is Molly. I’m a friend of your brother’s. Drew.”
Jo Ellen was concerned. “Is everything all right?”
“With Drew, yes. With us, no.”
Molly described their dilemma while Jo Ellen listened.
“I just happened to stop home to pick up some files,” she said. “Can you come to my office? I’m in the Castro. Do you have a pencil for the address?”
They were sitting in the waiting room when Jo Ellen returned. She ushered them into a small office, barely big enough for the five of them. Stacks of file folders lined the desk and more stacks on the floor threatened to topple over.
“I’m new here,” she said. “This is my first job out of law school. I’m not sure I can help you. We do civil rights litigation, mostly violations of the first, fourth, eight, and fourteenth amendments.”
“They’ve all been violated,” said Flo.
“Excuse me, who are you?”
“We’re the veterans. Moral support,” said Flo.
“We’re the adults,” said Eddie.
Jo Ellen raised an eyebrow and continued, speaking directly to Molly.

With apologies to Deadheads everywhere, I’ll confess that I was not a fan, and that I didn’t learn to be a fan as I wrote ANTHEM. I wanted a Grateful Dead song to reflect where we were in the story, and to honor the Dead, as they are a San Francisco band. You’ll find several San Francisco bands in this last section of the book, as we head for the end/finale.

“Dark Star” is a perfect title for a chapter where that dark star is revealed after so many hints and smaller peeks into just what Molly and Norman have been hurtling toward. Not to give it away, but to say that I did learn to appreciate the jam that is “Dark Star” and could imagine how the music could live on today as something quite special.

The version of “Dark Star” above is the jam recorded in 1969 at Fillmore West, which is where Molly and Norman may well be headed before it’s all over; keep reading. It was fun to research San Francisco bands, and Bill Graham’s Fillmore West.

It was meaningful to walk across the Berkeley campus and stand in the places where so much student activism had been born and nurtured, from the Free Speech movement in 1964 (which opens ANTHEM’s first scrapbook) to the People’s Park protest in 1969. More stills from ANTHEM scrapbooks:

I needed to know locations for various other venues in 1969. The internet and interviews can only take you so far. So I went to San Francisco for research and to get a feel for the Haight, the Berkeley campus, the San Francisco Zen Center, the Castro, city hall, the jail, pawn shops and coffee shops and more.

1969 was a pivotal time in this country, and a trippy time to be in San Francisco. I took my research and used my imagination for much in these chapters. The Grateful Dead took me there.

Chapter 42.

ANTHEM is coming, chapter 41

ANTHEM, Book 3 of the Sixties Trilogy, publishes on October 1. Each of the book’s 47 chapters begins with a song from the Sixties to set the tone, mood, and scene. Every day between now and October 1, come have a listen and read a snippet from each chapter. On October 1, these posts will be archived with a link at ANTHEM’s webpage for #teachingAnthem1969

This is Chapter 41 (day 7):

I-FEEL-LIKE-I’M-FIXIN’-TO-DIE RAG
Written by Joe McDonald
Performed by Country Joe and the Fish
Recorded at Vanguard Studios, New York, NY 1967
Drummer: Gary “Chicken” Hirsh

Flo repeated himself. “Our objective was to destroy the Viet Cong’s headquarters on the border of Cambodia in Vietnam. We used canopies to drop heavy equipment — jeeps, trucks, howitzers, supplies. And men. Eight hundred forty five of us flew under the silks that day, in two 26-second drop zones — that’s all the time we had.
“Let me tell you, you stand in the doorway of a C-130 aircraft 1500 feet in the air and leap into the turbulence of the propeller wash at 130 knots — your heart flies right out of your body. You have to jump out the door so you can catch it.”
The pride in Flo’s voice touched Molly in a patriotic way. 
“That’s amazing,” she said. Norman agreed….
Eddie appeared with a bucket of paint. “Flo’s a hero,” he said. “Got the bronze star.”
Flo waved off Eddie’s praise. “I like the uniforms. You shoulda seen me. Sharp.”

Flo and Eddie represent pride in their military service, pride in the men they served with, and pride in the brotherhood of soldiering, a viewpoint much needed in ANTHEM, and one that was important to me to represent, on a personal level as well, since my dad was an air force pilot who flew in Vietnam (you’ll meet him as Colonel Chapman in a future chapter), and I wanted to honor his service. I wanted to honor the soldiers who served.

Chapters 40 and 41 give the reader a window into different ways of serving as well, Eddie on an aircraft carrier as a plane handler, and Flo a “Sky Soldier with the 173rd Airborne Brigade, Operation Junction City, 1967,” the only combat airborne mission of the Vietnam War.

From an ANTHEM scrapbook:

There were many ways to serve:

Chapter 41.

ANTHEM is coming, chapter 40

ANTHEM, Book 3 of the Sixties Trilogy, publishes on October 1. Each of the book’s 47 chapters begins with a song from the Sixties to set the tone, mood, and scene. Every day between now and October 1, come have a listen and read a snippet from each chapter. On October 1, these posts will be archived with a link at ANTHEM’s webpage for #teachingAnthem1969

This is Chapter 40 (day 8):

ALL ALONG THE WATCHTOWER
Written by Bob Dylan
Performed by Bob Dylan
Recorded at Columbia Studios, Nashville, Tennessee 1967
Drummer: Kenny Buttrey

Performed by the Jimi Hendrix Experience
Recorded at Olympic Studio, London, England and
Record Plant, New York, NY 1968
Drummer: Mitch Mitchell

“So you didn’t have to fight in the jungle?”
“It’s a different fight,” said Eddie. “You work seventeen hours a day, seven days a week. Your job is to keep those fighters flying. You live with over two thousand people on your ship, and sleep in bunks stacked six high. You take care of your aircraft so the pilots can complete their missions successfully. You hope they return. You live in a twilight zone in the middle of nowhere, and eat a lot of powered hamburger.”
“How did you get there?” asked Norman.
“They take you there! Let me tell you, it’s a weird feeling when you’re on an airplane and you’re surrounded by only sea to the horizon everywhere you look, and then, suddenly, you see this speck down below, and that’s where you’re supposed to land. You start dropping like a rock. And when your plane hits that deck, you feel like a rock. You hope the handler is gonna grab the arresting wire on the first try and you’re not going to end up in the ocean!”
“Wow!” said Norman, clearly impressed.
Molly felt herself changing her mind about San Francisco. She pulled her rubber band off her wrist and began to gather back her hair.
“It was the biggest experience of my life,” said Eddie. “A nineteen-year-old kid joining the navy to see the world.”

The missing Barry loves Hendrix, so of course we need Hendrix in ANTHEM, and all those notes he bends with that wailing Stratocaster. He makes his appearance in the title of Chapter 40, singing Dylan’s lyrics. “There must be some way out of here” / Said the joker to the thief / “There’s too much confusion / I can’t get no relief…”

There were many watchtowers in play during the war in Vietnam, including those on aircraft carriers in the South China Sea. So Norman and Molly meet Eddie, who worked on an aircraft carrier, and Flo, who was an army paratrooper — another watchtower — jumping out of a C-130 flown by the air force — another watchtower — and so on and so on.

Another kind of watchtower, from an ANTHEM scrapbook:

and one more:

The watchtowers of war are highlighted in Chapter 40, manned partly by two men I named after the Sixties pop duo Flo and Eddie, two of the original founding members of The Turtles.

Watchtowers have always fascinated me as guardians of whatever they are appointed to protect. In this case, both Eddie Mullin and Florian Finelli are about to accompay Molly and Norman on the last leg of their trip, as they enter, finally, San Francisco and the drama that lies ahead.

Chapter 40.

ANTHEM is coming, chapter 39

ANTHEM, Book 3 of the Sixties Trilogy, publishes on October 1. Each of the book’s 47 chapters begins with a song from the Sixties to set the tone, mood, and scene. Every day between now and October 1, come have a listen and read a snippet from each chapter. On October 1, these posts will be archived with a link at ANTHEM’s webpage for #teachingAnthem1969

This is Chapter 39 (day 9):

SPACE COWBOY
Written by Steve Miller and Ben Sidran
Performed by the Steve Miller Band
Recorded at Sound Recorders, Hollywood, California 1969
Drummer: Tim Davis

NORMAN

“Drew!” says Molly. “Norman, it’s Drew!”
“You are correct,” says Drew. “I am surprised to see you here.”
“You’re surprised!” says Molly. “Norman! It’s Drew!”
I start to laugh. It’s so good to see someone we know. “What are you doing here?” I ask Drew. “I thought you were going to some air force base.”
“I am going to Vandenberg Air Force Base tomorrow,” says Drew. But tonight we are at the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles.”
“So I see!”
“I thought you were going to San Francisco,” says Drew.
“We are,” I say. “We are on the way.”
“The Apollo astronauts trained here,” said Drew. “They learned how to identify the thirty-seven navigational stars that their guidance computer uses. This is in case of equipment failure. Inside the observatory, there is a Zeiss refracting telescope in the east dome, so you can see the stars.”
Molly looks like she wants to hug Drew, she is so delighted to see him, but she settles for, “Good for you, Drew.”

Drew is the ultimate space cowboy in ANTHEM, representing the nation’s fervor about the moon landing that’s at-hand. You’ll recognize Drew from COUNTDOWN, where he was 9 years old and wanted to be an astronaut.

It was 1962 and Drew’s hero was John Glenn. Drew carried the book Our Friend the Atom everywhere he went, and spouted off facts about atoms and the atomic bomb, in the midst of his fear about the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Discovering Drew in ANTHEM is an Easter egg for COUNTDOWN readers, but it’s not necessary to know Drew from previous Sixties books, as each book in the trilogy is a stand-alone novel.

The Steve Miller Band came into its own in the early seventies, known better for “Take the Money and Run” or “Fly Like an Eagle,” or “Rock’n’Me” but I love “Space Cowboy” for its insistent beat and straight-ahead guitar hook. And it’s perfect for Drew, and for this chapter at the Griffith Observatory late on a June night in 1969.

Chapter 39.

ANTHEM is coming, chapter 38

ANTHEM, Book 3 of the Sixties Trilogy, publishes on October 1. Each of the book’s 47 chapters begins with a song from the Sixties to set the tone, mood, and scene. Every day between now and October 1, come have a listen and read a snippet from each chapter. On October 1, these posts will be archived with a link at ANTHEM’s webpage for #teachingAnthem1969

This is Chapter 38 (day 10):

ENTER THE YOUNG
Written by Terry Kirkman
Performed by the Association
Recorded at Columbia Studios (voices) and 
G.S.P. Studios (instruments), Los Angeles, California 1966
Drummer: Ted Bluechel (concert); Hal Blaine (studio) 

MOLLY

Finally we find it, and sure enough, there’s the line, snaking out the door and around the corner. “This is gonna take a while,” says Norman. “I’m bringing Flam.”…
The afternoon sun blazes all over us and everybody sweats. We listen to the talk in line, all about gigs and bands and best places to play around town, who’s playing at the Whisky, the Paladium, or the Ash Grove….
“Why don’t all these rock and rollers have to go to Vietnam?” says a woman with long red hair. “My brother’s got to go.”
I turn my body so I can hear the conversation.'”Barry McGuire was a Green Beret” replies a bearded man with the red-haired woman.
“He’s not a rock and roller,” says the red-haired woman. “Not really.”
A man wearing a hat and carrying a guitar case says, “I happpen to know one of ’em’s a fortunate son.”
“What’s that?” says the red-haired woman.
“His dad’s got money. Or influence. Or both. Listen to the song.”

The original title of this chapter was “Fortunate Son,” a song by Creedence Clearwater Revival. Molly and Norman meet one such fortunate son in the Laurel Canyon chapter of the book and he (and others) goes with them to the hoot at the Troubadour in Los Angeles.

This happens in a cut chapter, Chapter 37A, called “Both Sides Now,” Judy Collins’ version, which will appear at Anthem’s webpage after October 1. If you want to meet the Laurel Canyon musicians, they’ll all be in Chapter 37A, sitting on the porch of the Canyon Store, where Molly and Norman stop for directions after leaving Capitol Records and getting lost trying to find the Troubadour.

Laurel Canyon songs mentioned in 37A are “Our House,” “Monday, Monday,” and the Joni Mitchell rendition of “Both Sides Now.” I wanted to showcase the beginning of the singer-songwriter era, both solo artists and groups such as the Byrds and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, who were all, at one time or another, in the Canyon.

In the meantime, here is Molly and Norman, in Chapter 38, at the Troubadour, to listen to a band that Molly has long loved… not hard to figure out who, if you’ve been following along or listening to the Chapter 38 song, “Enter the Young.”

I had wanted “Enter the Young” to start ANTHEM, with its lyrics, “Here they come, some are laughing, some are crying, some are doing, some are trying, some are selling, some are buying, some are living, some are dying, but demanding recognition one by one.”

When we put the permissions budget together, the lyrics to “Enter the Young” were prohibitively expensive, and so we cut them and I’ve used it instead as a chapter title, with some acknowledgement of the lyrics inside the chapter.

In researching the Los Angeles/Hollywood section of ANTHEM, Jim and I spent some time there with son Zach, who lives in Hollywood and works at Universal Music Group, as a guide.

Zach took us to Capitol Records, to the Griffith Observatory (coming up), and to a raucous night at the Troubadour, where I sat in the balcony, and then stood at the stage, where Molly stands in this chapter, listening to the Association sing her songs, while at the same time, some truth about their trip begins to dawn on her in a real way.

Joy and heartbreak in the same moment, and isn’t that sometimes how life is?

Chapter 38.