LX Chapter Commentary #6: Cornfields

When I hear the word “cornfield” I immediately think of Quantum Leap‘s third season premiere episode “The Leap Home” from 1990 (or 1969 if we go by the leap date). Sam Beckett leaps into himself as a 16 year old, and running through the cornfield on his family’s farm features prominently in two different scenes.

Since this song from A Love Extreme is an instrumental, “cornfields” was the only word I had to inspire me. Musically it feels like the soundtrack to a chase, which kept running through a cornfield front and center in my mind. The first instrumental dream had a movie/music tie in with Lovers & Other Strangers, so the precedent existed.

I was already running (pun intended) with the QL parody/tribute piece when I found a Star Trek podcast Benji Hughes guest hosted called “Treklenburg.” Midway through the episode he mentioned how much he always loved Quantum Leap. (He also mentions Enterprise and says “Put an instrumental theme song on that!”) My tenuous connection was serendipitously validated, and the rest is history.

Other tidbits:

  • Mirroring the “Two _____. Both w___… Sometimes…” opening on all of the instrumentals was a fun bit of synergy to work out. For the longest time the intros started “There are two…” Shortening it up was inspired by the novel Foe by Iain Reid, which starts with the line “Two headlights.”
  • The song starts with what I’ve always heard as the sound of wind chimes, which is very similar to the sound effect when Al the hologram from Quantum Leap would appear or walk through an object. (Not to be confused with the sound of the imaging chamber door.)
  • As an obsessively nerdy fan of Quantum Leap, I wrote the first draft mostly from memory of this episode plus other references. I screwed up on the number of cheerleaders and the color of Sam’s attire, but worked those mistakes into the plot instead of correcting them to add some dreamy realism.
  • If you want a great proxy for a mini Season 6 of Quantum Leap, check out the novel The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stewart Turton.
  • Does the handlink access Ziggy directly, or is Gooshie the go-between? That’s a legitimate question.
  • “Al likes girls. And girls love shoes.”
  • I entered an early draft of this chapter (minus the album references by removing Benji’s last name) as a short story for a NaNoWriMo writing contest. There was a requirement to include the number 1667 (the number of words you need to write per day for a month to “win” NaNoWriMo with a 50K word manuscript), hence Ziggy giving a 16.67% chance Benji will remember the party.
  • The saga cell parody at the end still makes me grin every time I read it. An old Benji Hughes mailing list email about tour dates called him “Dr. Hughes” which directly connected my brain to the famous QL opening narration.

Check out L Extreme

Watch “The Leap Home, Part I”

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