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.
This is Chapter 3 (day 45):
“Windy” Written by Ruthann Friedman Performed by the Association Recorded at Western Recorders, Hollywood, CA 1967 Drummer: Ted Bluechel, Jr. (concert); Hal Blaine (studio)
” The first time I heard ‘Windy’ I wanted to change my name. I love the Association. They are my favorite band. I love the way they harmonize and all the feeling they put into their songs. // Barry looks like their leader, Terry Kirkman, with the same blond hair, long sideburns, and crooked mouth with the gap between his two front teeth. And that smile! Just like Barry’s.”
“I want to ask Mom what planet we’re from, if she thinks I can get away with leaving home to find Barry, that Dad would allow it, or that Barry would even come with me, if I could find him. It will never happen. But Mom thinks it will.”
The plot begins. :> A girl who loves the Association, and her cousin who loves Iron Butterfly, and an old school bus between them — their chariot — awaits.
Back to Norman — who knows this trip is a terrible idea in every way — in chapter 4.
One more interruption to Summer Reading posts, to share my remarks about the forthcoming ANTHEM, Book 3 of the Sixties Trilogy, that I gave at the Scholastic Literary Luncheon at ALA in Washington, D.C. last weekend, June 23, 2019.
It was a fabulous afternoon spent with lovely school librarians who took galleys from each of the five books with them. I felt so lucky to spend time with my four colleagues and my Scholastic family, as well as our moderator, Paige Battle.
Along with my remarks I showed some stills from ANTHEM. Here they are, in the order I presented them, remarks interspersed. I can’t wait for y’all to hold the actual book in your hands! As teachers said in our signing line, over and over, “We’ve been waiting forever for this book!” Me, too. I hope you love it. xoxo Debbie ========
The year I was 17 I “had a moment” with Socrates, thanks to a philosophically-minded English teacher.
A bestie of mine – also 17 – gave me a Bible that year, to remember her by. She inscribed her name in the front of it: “from Jan.” I still have that Bible.
We lived in the Philippines, at Clark Air Force Base. My dad flew C-141 Starlifters into Vietnam with supplies, and out of Vietnam with bodies, and although I was just as caught up in the feelings of teenage spiritual fervor as my friend was, I also felt something else vital and important stirring in me, courtesy of my new friend, Socrates.
So I opened that Bible and wrote on the inside cover: “The unexamined life is not worth living.”
And then I went off to examine life. I rode on this bus:
And I’m told I had a really good time. 🙂
And now there is Anthem, a story about those late-sixties years, and what I didn’t know then – so much I didn’t know – and what I came to understand in my quest and pursuit of wisdom, through Socrates’ methods of questioning and logical argument, by examining and by thinking –
A life-long quest, often derailed, often stumbling, and very much still underway.
In Anthem, teenage cousins Molly and Norman are on this quest as well, whether they know it or not, as they travel across the country from Charleston, South Carolina to San Francisco, California, in an old school bus, on their way to find Molly’s brother – Norman’s cousin – who left home under dire circumstances the year before and now has been drafted.
Molly – who is 14 and opinionated – and Norman — who is 17 and long-suffering – spend tons of time on their trip arguing with each other – furiously defending their points of view, frustrated, exhilarated, exhausted, lost, found, and totally missing the point, in what my ardently enthusiastic husband (who has just read the novel for the first time) calls “a buddy novel, a quest novel, a coming-of-age novel, and a road novel – ALL IN ONE! “
Socrates, I thought, as I wrote it this book, would be proud. And appalled. hahaha!
BUT! Along the way, Molly and Norman, and those they pick up and drop off, discover America. They shift their points of view. They come into new understandings. They learn and grow and become bigger than they were:
And — there is a lot of rock and roll. Molly – the emotion machine — loves the Association:
Norman – who longs to be a rock-and-roll drummer and get out of high school marching band – loves Iron Butterfly:
Anthem is a love letter to America in 1969, and a challenge to young people today.
It is BOOK 3 of the Sixties trilogy, written in the same documentary format as Countdown and Revolution, asking the same question as those books do – and perhaps, the same question Socrates posited, in his own wise way, so many years ago:
MFA in Writing, Vermont College, I have taught teachers at Towson University (“Writing Techniques for Teachers,” ECED 422), and have taught in the MFA programs at Lesley University and Vermont College.
Pioneer of the Documentary Novel containing scrapbooks with primary source documents — photographs, song lyrics, newspaper clippings, etc., and opinionated biographies alongside the story/narrative, mixing fiction, non-fiction, and biography in one book/story in a trilogy about the 1960s. COUNTDOWN 1962; REVOLUTION 1964; and ANTHEM 1969 (to be published fall 2019)
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I’m a Southerner born in Mobile, Alabama, where I lived until I was five years old. My parents were Mississippi born and bred, and I spent most of my childhood summers there and grew up in Mississippi and all around the world as an Air Force dependent.
I’ve lived in:
Mobile, Alabama Jasper County, Mississippi Honolulu, Hawaii Washington, D.C. Prince Georges County, Maryland Charleston, South Carolina Clark Air Base, Philippines Northern Virginia Cherry Point, North Carolina Millington, Tennessee Frederick, Maryland Atlanta, Georgia
After living in the Washington, D.C. area (Frederick, MD) for 25 years, where I raised a family, I moved to Atlanta 14 years ago, and now live in a little house with a purple door in a little woods. I married musician/composer Jim Pearce 12 years ago. You can hear Jim profiled by Susan Stamberg at NPR right here.
Where to find me online:
I use Pinterest as a visual resource for my books. You’ll find primary source material for my books archived here, including playlists for COUNTDOWN and REVOLUTION.