Commentary 12: Rainy Day Women #12 & 35

Stopping the wedding was one of the first ideas I had for the book and ended up being among the first scenes envisioned and outlined. The movie cliché is to have someone who is secretly in love with the bride or groom object, but I thought having a blood relative with an equally impassioned statement was an interesting twist.

Other tidbits:

  • Originally the wedding scene was written to take place outdoors and in March (with the breakup of Soul Coughing being the blinkback memory for the narrator), but a few drafts in I realized I couldn’t have an outdoor wedding in New England then. I changed the memory to the Metallica/Napster lawsuit to move it up to April, but the historic weather still had it too cold. Not wanting to rewrite it yet again I mentally built a lodge, referenced the weather, and the wedding was suddenly inside.
  • In hindsight I should have made it rainy as well to connect to the chapter title, but it would have been tough to explain why the narrator doesn’t get wet. Still, the wedding can be seen as a metaphoric rainy day in the lives of the sister and her family.
  • There were several times when I contemplated changing the first line of the Prologue to “Is she really going out with him?” in order to start the book with a lyric, but it never felt right so I held off. Eventually I realized that quote fit perfectly here, ending my inner debate once and for all.
  • It really does boggle my mind that nobody ever steps forward in real life to say “Hey, the person you’re dating sucks.”
  • Personally I love it when a novel suddenly pulls a random “big font” stunt like this so long as it isn’t overused and works well with the plot.  I couldn’t resist.
  • Dad’s tensed shoulders are another hint that he can see and hear his temporally displaced son.
  • The actual objection speech itself if loosely based on a real objection I wrote but never read.
  • The Edmund Burke quote is widely regarded as one of the most famous “misquotes” in history. Burke never said it, but everyone attributes it to him. The fact that a narrator with a reporter’s background would still fall for it should tell you something about him.
  • In the constant mind time travel world of the book, one can make the connection that the Dad’s charm here pre-influences Mrs. Nelson to fancy him in the past, as she subconsciously remembers this interaction.
  • There are 23 known musical references in this chapter.

Read Chapter Twelve Online

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