Saturday, 26 July 2008
All Things Seventies
Long straight hair, flared jeans, peasant skirts and platform shoes have been making a comeback for the last few years. That Seventies Show still boogies across the airwaves in reruns. New shows like Swingers show the questionable side of married life when innocence took a back seat to exploration.
Late boomers are feeling nostalgic for the old Donny Osmond posters, Volkswagen buses and kitsch kitchens. Some never left the seventies -- that goddawful brown paneling is still on my basement walls.
My kids are discovering the cool sounds of the Seventies - no, not disco, but good stuff like Joni Mitchell, The Stones and The Doobie Brothers. Gotta love those classic rock radio stations.
I am currently working on a cross-genre novel in which half is written in the POV of a sixteen-year-old girl when she goes to an unfamiliar school in 1975 and falls for a boy who doesn't know she's alive.
The other half is in the POV of the boy, all grown up. He meets the girl, now a woman. He's a widower and a father of a young boy, and she's a divorced mom. They are drawn together by her son's illness and he helps her deal with the situation, since he lost his wife to cancer.
In writing this book, the seventies are taking centre stage. Memories are flooding into my brain with such clarity, I want to go back. I want to return to those days when we looked into the future and saw a million possibilities. As a young person, I still saw the world with clear eyes and mostly missed the political turmoil entangled amongst the Peter Frampton concerts and Saturday Night Live.
My daughter, who is now nineteen, says she likes the seventies because they were so weird, and hates the era because it was so gross.
How do we treat novels about the seventies? Are new novels set in the seventies still considered contemporary, or are they now seen as historical? Will publishing suddenly have a glut of books set in that era?
I want to go into the minds of agents and publishers to find out if books set in the seventies will fly in the next couple of years. I don't want to submit and get the answer, "No one reads books about the seventies."
Edited to add: A commercial just came on, selling the complete collection from "Midnight Special" - live performances from - you guessed it - The Seventies.