STILL CHASING THAT RHYME
by Norman Warwick
‘Still Chasing That Rhyme’ is Norman’s entry for the ‘outline for a novel in 500 words’ competition, judged by author Harry Dunn.
Norman has the background knowledge and experience to make this a social history charting the development of popular music, hooked onto a strong story line and credible characters.
Molly is a fourteen year old schoolgirl, living on an overspill, North of Manchester, in the nineteen sixties. Although she has the task of looking after her mother, a recovering alcoholic suffering from depression, Molly enjoys her early teenage years and every afternoon she is walked home by her playground sweetheart Ian and together they talk with her mum and listen to her thousands of vinyl records as she tells them mysterious stories about the singers and the songs.
This is all eventually blown to pieces by an explosion of claim and counter claim of rape and seduction.
Molly and Ian never see each other again and Molly soon moves to America where she builds a career as a songwriter and emerges on to the scene under an assumed name and a newly created identity. As so many new stars did in those days, and still do today, she builds a new back story for the press and initial coverage of her tells of an idyllic teenage spent in a seemingly magical woodland cottage looking down a beautiful valley. She claims to have been introduced to music by a mysterious Romany boy who seems able to appear and disappear at will. He ‘introduces’ her to his friends, some alive, some dead, some real and others fictitious. She meets blues icon Robert Johnson dealing with the devil down at the crossroads, speaks to the ghost of Elvis Presley and listens to old jazz players making new music.
Ian meanwhile has undertaken a similar change of name and identity and built a career as a European broadcaster on a Lanzarote radio station. He has also become a hugely influential rock and roll journalist.
Finally after forty years and more, Ian and Molly see each other, although she does not recognise him, at her mother’s funeral, which she attends incognito and without publicity.
After the funeral, though, she comes into possession of some family papers which seem to shed light on old secrets. The truths struggle to emerge from the lies and mythologies that have been wrapped around them for decades but reveal who Ian has become. She is mortified to realise that he and she share one very dear mutual friend.
When Ian begins to receive hate mail accusing him of terrible crimes in the past he suspects they must be from Molly, but of course does not know her real identity. Only after an interview by Molly with the legendary, but fictitious dj., Rex Bob Lowenstein, does a final confrontation come about with Ian and Molly. Shocking accusations and a startling revelation reveal a secret that has destroyed many lives.
The popular music of the twentieth century is full of such stories but none is as vivid, profound or dramatic as the story about each other that Ian and Molly are forced to believe to be true.
Copyright © Norman Warwick
March 2016 word count 475
Norman wrote to Sue at writersend:
‘I’m actually just writing to ask you to thank the judge of the synopsis competition for his really useful comments amid what seems to be a generally positive response. It was a genuinely helpful exercise and his comments have given me real pause for thought’.
This surely demonstrates the value of sometimes submitting your work to scrutiny even in its early stages. Thanks again Harry from us all at the writing group.
Category: Members’ work. Tags. Creative writing, Starting Points, Invention