Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Book Title

My question for Stephanie today is...

You are obviously a Grateful Dead fan.  Of all of their songs why did you pick Scarlet Begonias as your book title?  Was it always going to be the book title or did you consider others?

Good question.  I picked this show (April 27th, 1991 – Las Vegas) as the backdrop for many of the chapters for three reasons:
1)     I was at the show, and I thought I could print a copy of my mail order ticket stub (and all of the notes I took all over it), but it turned out that I would have had to fight Rhino and Santana and the dancing skeleton artist in order to print it – so I scrapped the idea.
2)     The last song of the show is ‘The Weight’, and that fits perfectly with the missing mass from the International Prototype Kilogram mystery.
3)     I was granted permission by Robert Hunter and Ice Nine Publishing, Inc. to print a recurring line of obscured and garbled lyrics from ‘Scarlet Begonias’ which I use to bind the plot.
“Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right”

Once I picked the show, I wove in subtle bits from the other songs to tie the story all together. The end of the book has the Psycho-Cartographers traveling back through the continuum to try and rescue Suzi at the concert during a stellar version of ‘Scarlet Begonias’.

As for the title.  I had a short list of contenders (Suzi and the Psycho-Cartographers, Qualia Spectarum, The Interval of the Wolf, The Ouisa), but the clear and elegant choice was always, ‘Scarlet Begonias’.  Robert Hunter requested that I choose another title, even though there wouldn’t be any copyright issues. I have pangs of guilt about going ahead and using it anyway, but none of the other titles would do.  I hope he forgives me!  I sent a signed copy of the book to him yesterday via Ice Nine Publishing.

April 27, 1991
Las Vegas, NV

Touch of Grey
Walkin' Blues
Friend of the Devil
Mexicali Blues
Maggie's Farm
Loose Lucy
Might as Well

Sugar Magnolia
Scarlet Begonias
Fire on the Mountain
Playin' in the Band
Uncle John's Band
drums / space

I Need a Miracle
Black Peter
One More Saturday Night

The Weight

1 comment:

  1. I almost forgot! They played Cassidy at that show, so I added a five year old witch named Cassidy who...wait, I can't give away the secret about her. Just know that she thinks the band wrote the song for her...and who knows...maybe they did