Posts Tagged ‘Fester’

Fester Commentary

Sunday, January 27th, 2013

The Coachella Lineup announcement reminded/inspired me to work on the long delayed commentary for my “Fester” short story. I’ll use the same bulleted stream of consciousness format from the old series of Timely Persuasion commentary posts.

Warning:  Some of the below contains minor spoilers. If you haven’t read “Fester” you probably don’t want to read the commentary just yet. “Fester” is available as an eBook from the Apple iBookstoreBarnes & NobleDieselSony, or Smashwords.

First the background & origin story. “Fester” is a chapter in a novel about jury duty I’ve been writing on and off (mostly off) for the last few years. Working title is Duty Calls, though sometimes I think Jury’s Out might be better and other times I think both of those titles are lame. So TBD, but for simplicity I’ll keep calling it Duty Calls for now when needed.

That said, “Fester” as a standalone has nothing to do with jury duty whatsoever. Concept was to do an ode to Coachella-esque summer music festivals. A road trippy adventure that turns into a comedy of errors around getting there, getting beer, and getting home.

Why do a standalone? That was never really the initial plan, but one day TP fan Scott Schnaars sent me a Facebook message asking when my next book was coming out. I didn’t have a new novel ready, but that got me thinking as to why I couldn’t start chunking out Duty Calls as one-offs when each story reached a logical conclusion. Could serve to both build demand for the real deal and allow an avenue for reader feedback — much like I promised a couple of critics I’d consider on future works. Felt like a win win all around, and here we are.

On to the proper commentary:

  • Much like what happened when I was writing the first chapter of TP, I wasn’t sure on where this music festival story should start. And much like what happened with that chapter of TP, my past self came to my rescue. I had written a short story called “Wrong Number?” based on a real life incident involving many calls from a mysterious international number. Felt like a great answer to a “why are you late today?” question so I made some modifications and ran with it as the intro.
  • Back when we were in high school, the last 4 digits of my friend Jon Mack’s number used to spell “BOYS.” Shawn’s number spelling “COCK” was half based on that, and half on the referenced Jeff Tweedy monologue.
  • I couldn’t resist the subtle LOST reference with the “We have to go back!” line.
  • I am a firm believer in the rules around not listening to the band you’re seeing that night beforehand and not wearing the shirt of the band you’re going to see.
  • The list of bands Bobby introduces Shawn to are mostly earlier projects by artists who later became more famous either in a different band or solo. I also included a few easter eggs of bands my friends have been in. (Which may someday satisfy the same criteria of early bands by people who became more famous later…)
  • The Handoff is an unfinished screenplay I wrote back in 2001 or so. I’d send it in serialized format to my friend Nate Pepper for feedback, mainly to motivate me to keep the story moving. He’s the only person who will get the deeper meaning of the reference besides me. I re-read it for the first time in ages a couple of months ago and was surprised by how much I still liked it.
  • The state police really did shut down part of route 95 leading into Lollapalooza one year, which led to a similar parking lot party on the freeway.
  • The spilled beer on the lap was something that happened to me in college when I was a passenger on a late night drive from Syracuse to Boston in my friend Farley’s car. My spill was coffee rather than beer, which was a bit worse…
  • In high school I knew some people who often used the Moscow Symphony Orchestra ticket trick to get into shows at clubs in Providence. It was amazing how rarely the ticket taker noticed that the ticket was for the wrong event.
  • I first encountered “scrips” at Jack Johnson’s Kokua Festival in Hawaii, and to this day I still don’t really understand the purpose.
  • The wordplay with the bolding and the exclamation points about the loud band is one of my favorite parts.
  • “Cacophony of controlled chaos” is one of my favorite phrases. I’ve used to to describe Nirvana for as long as I can remember (and used those exact words to do so in Timely Persuasion), but a quick Google seems to show the phrase isn’t as original as I had thought. At least I still seem to be the only person to have written that phrase while referring to Nirvana in Google’s wide-reaching eyes.
  • I don’t remember if it was the same Lollapalooza referenced previously, but I did once accidentally leave Jon Mack at Lollapalooza in Rhode Island, inspiring the ending here. We had many Jo(h)ns in our circle of friends, leaving Jon Mack with the nickname “Jon Jacob Left At Lollapalooza.”
  • Because “Fester” is a small part of what is intended to be a much longer work, we’re left with quite a few dangling plot threads. Though it’s somewhat subject to change, right now I know (or think I know) that the mysterious phone calls, Doug’N Donuts, The Handoff, Bobby’s bookie & hooker, the girl Shawn meets at the festival, and the impact the events of “Fester” have on Shawn & Bobby’s relationship will all be explored further in the larger Duty Calls novel.

Fester Cover

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

After utilizing the wonderful artwork by Jose Roberto for the cover of Timely Persuasion, I opted to go the do-it-yourself route for the “Fester” cover.

My original idea was to take a photo of a pile of “scrip” tickets, a normal concert ticket, and a paper bracelet all scattered on a lawn alongside a ringing cellphone with the title on the phone’s caller ID display.

Assembling all of the props without turning it into an advertisement for phones or beer or bands or clubs proved difficult.  The “title on the cellphone screen” thing also seemed a little too ambitious for my amateur skills.

With the idea still on bounce in my head, I found myself at the final Friday wine tasting of the summer at Barnsdall Art Park with a handful of drink tickets.  I whipped out my phone and took these photos:

The pile was in line with my original concept, but on a total whim I decided to arrange the tickets in the shape of a letter “F” — and realized I might be on to something.  When I got home I typed out the rest of the title and cycled through fonts until I found one I liked…

…which by total unplanned coincidence ended up being the Rockstar Font Project Wichita font by Chank Diesel based on the handwriting of Mike Doughty.  (Guess I dig what I dig.  And I honestly think it looks even cooler here than it did as Local Boy’s writing in TP…)

And there you have it.  But wait, there’s more!

Recently I’ve been fascinated by The Book Designer Blog.  He’s been doing a monthly eBook cover design contest for a little over a year now.  Proud of my handiwork (hacky-work?), I decided to enter the Fester cover into the September edition for consideration.

I didn’t win (nor did I expect to), but I was flattered to be called out as a favorite by both of the individual design winners in the comments.  Special thanks to Kit Foster & Matt Hinrichs for the vote of confidence, and to Joel Friedlander for the opportunity to participate in (and learn from) such a great contest.

“Fester” – New Short Story

Saturday, September 8th, 2012
Fester by Jacob LaCivita

“Fester” available now as a free eBook from Smashwords

My new short story “Fester” is now available as a free eBook on Smashwords.

Background:

Been working on and off (mostly off) on a novel called Duty Calls for the last few years.  Inspired by a 6 week stint on jury duty, it’s mainly a tale set during the long idle times at the courthouse.  Hours and days spent hanging out with other jurors, exploring the building, telling stories, etc.  The book alternates between these “hanging out” scenes and “flashback” scenes of the jurors in their normal, non-jury duty lives.

“Fester” is one of these flashback chapters, and one that works pretty well as a standalone.

Along with being a preview of things to come, it’s also an ode to summer music festivals, and possibly my retirement from “2 dudes in a car” storytelling (though you can never say never…)

Enjoy!