I’m almost done reading Drop City by T. C. Boyle. It’s an intense, and often hilarious, National Book Award Finalist, story of a 1970’s free-love, it’s-all-cool-and-hip commune that relocates from California to the roadless banks of the Yukon River. Some unexpected alliances form between two very different back to the land movements.
It’s the story of three boys who escape from a group home and set off on a journey down the California coast. I won’t tell you more because I don’t want to spoil the book.
In an interview with Sara Zarr, Matt talks about the ideas that inspired We Were Here, and a writing strategy he uses in general. Matt says: “When I was writing short stories I developed a weird strategy. I’d always take two partially finished stories and throw them together, no matter how odd the fit… For We Were Here I did something similar.”
Read the interview if you haven’t. It is one of the most delightful conversations about writing that I’ve read in a while. And, yes, it involves two of my favorite YA authors.
Last night a car full of older teens got stuck half-way up my snowy driveway. They said they were looking for a pet store and their GPS directed them to my place, and yeah, there’s no pet store out where I live, and my driveway is 500 feet long and snakes up a hill. The nearest store of any kind is three miles away.
A big kid in the back seat never got out of the car, not even when two other kids were pushing and one was driving. He just sat there on his cell phone. My first thought was he’s the top dog, drug-dealer, or whatever. Anyway, I was able to pull them out with my truck. Much to my surprise, one of the kids tried to pay me. I didn’t take the money but thanked him for the thought. It really was the last thing I was expecting.
And I thought of the unlikely Drop City commune on the banks of the Yukon River, and Matt de la Peña’s method of throwing two really different stories together, and then about my WIP and about how I’m going to give it a close look to see if I can mash some Mangoes into the Moose Meat.