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“Everyday I Write the Book”

By CATHERINE

Recently I posted that I’m on the brink of publishing the first Veronica book. A friend from my San Francisco days wrote:

Can't wait. And you still write with Elvis Costello in the background?

My reply:

Yes, always.

In fact, the other day I was listening to “Everyday I Write the Book,” realizing that this song title is my motto. I am in a state of constant writing, of storytelling—even if only in my head. Every day. Every day. Every day I write the book.

As soon as I heard this man's ineffable voice and music, I was a fan. My first CD purchase of his was Spike. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the protagonist in the Infinite Veronica Series is named, well, Veronica, given that "Veronica" is the title of his highest-charting Top 40 hit in the United States. (Note: I am a Top 40s product of the 1980s, so it made sense that I was introduced to one of the least Top 40s artists of them all this way.)

I did not become a superfan until my first trip to New York City in May of 1989.

A bit of who I am today hinges on my introduction to New York by a friend from college who’d grown up in the East Village. My friend had a scar on his back from a broken bottle during a West Side Story-esque brawl while playing basketball as a teenager; he knew the basement bars on the Lower East Side where we and his friends could shoot pool and drink beer all night long; and he had a dad who pinched my butt when we ran into him on the street.

I got to see the deep places within the places that I never would have seen as a tourist. 

To top it off, my friend had every one of Elvis Costello’s albums and CD’s, from which he played me at least 50 songs in a row, jumping across decades and back and forth between the different styles.

From then on, these songs became the background music of my life. To this day, when I need some pep, I put on Elvis Costello. I am instantly taken back to the time and place when I first heard the songs, a sort of launch point for my mind to wander creatively through the years of my life and consider how my understanding of the song has changed. And I’m still loving every one of them as I write the books. Every day. 

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