LBDG Commentary 2: If Only No One Won

Easily my favorite chapter title. Could’ve also been the subtitle of the book (and is now the subtitle of this blog…).

Chapter 1 closed with Local Boy running off to write “If Only” even though the first book told us this was supposed to be when he wrote “Won One.” The chapter merges both titles for some phonetic wordplay for anyone paying attention to such things. “If Only, no Won One?” is one way to read it. Or you could sing both songs in the round You would see if only…as I lift my head from yours girl I assure you no one won…

For a while the actual chapter title was “If Only I Assured You No One Won” but trimming kept it simpler.

On to the tidbits:

  • Local Boy has a tendency to tell his tale out of order, which was fun to incorporate as part of the folksy charm of his inner voice. It could also be I reprogrammed my brain to think this way during the whole L Extreme experience. At least I’m cured of my old tendency for everything in the plot to happen sequentially and with every skipped over minute accounted for.
  • There’s a throwaway line by adult Local Boy in TP1 where he says “Don’t mock one of the greats.” This became his core mantra in this book. He references “greats” 20 times and “great” singular another 50 or so, always with the same sense of awestruck deferential reverence.
  • Behind the bad lyrics: “Eat all day, go to bed early” is a real mnemonic for learning the letters of the open strings on a guitar. “Mow that lawn, flirting with the curly” is Local Boy’s girl-craziness getting in the way of quality songwriting.
  • A visitor from the future sets right what seemed to be going off track by pointing out what readers of both books already know: “It’s the wrong song!” The other subtle nod here is Local Boy has no idea “If Only” is really “Only” stolen from Anthrax. He’s actually trying to write an original. The old man knows exactly what’s going on. “Sorry to take this out of your hands.”
Eventually Assisted Done
Gone Boy’s Elopement
  • I decided the best way to do a standalone sequel was to refer to the first book enough in dismissively casual ways to make it clear you know there’s another book but it doesn’t matter if you read it later or not at all. “You can guess what happened if you read that other book, but if not you’re about to find out anyways…”
  • The old man claims he’s the older version of Local Boy, but acts an awful lot like the man who claimed to be the older version of the narrator in TP1. Coincidence, genetics, or is he the same guy and in one of the iterations he’s not telling the whole truth? That’s the intended mystery here, reinforced when he says “we” wrote “Won One” as we could mean “our older and younger selves together” or “me & you, Dad” ala TP1.
  • Back to the title of this chapter and the title of the song being re-introduced here, Local Boy Done Gone has the basic premise that “Won One” is the most important song in the history of music. We’ll get more into why as the story progresses. Another reason I love the “…Done Gone” title is it nicely hides the song in plain sight: “DONE GONE”
  • “I’m genuinely curious if the reading sequence changes your perspective” is a real question I have regarding more than just two books…
  • “That Zeppelin’d into my next big question” still makes me smile.
  • “Does the her we can’t lose have a name?” echoes Local Boy’s “Does this girl have a name?” closing line regarding Nelson’s mom in Chapter 14 of TP1. And it’ll segue nicely into that topic when we return for Chapter 3…

Check out Local Boy Done Gone

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