The phone rang. I nearly fell off my chair. I should really turn that thing off when I’m in the zone. I’m so concentrated when I write that the ringing wakes a turmoil requiring quite some time to calm. I hit the hand-free button and greeted the caller monotonously.
“So how’s this song coming along?” The producer sounded cranky which meant a deadline was closing in. My internal sigh almost passed the dike of my lips.
“Not so good. Especially when I’m interrupted.” I complained, setting by pen down. I slid another piece of paper to the floor. Crumpling was a waste of time and, on some accounts, a regrettable action. You never know when a seemingly bad line can turn to gold.
“Come on. It’s just another theme song!”
“Oh really! I would like to see your client’s face if you told him he is ‘just another superhero’!”
That producer had a knack for getting on my nerves. The theme song is a monumental part of the definition of a new superhero’s image. It’s the background music that will play when the newsman talks about the hero’s latest glory. It’s the jingle they’ll loop when he enters the stage on Oprah. The theme song is a chunk of the hero’s identity and I made a point not to mess it up.
“Don’t be so dramatic. You know what I mean!”
“If it was so easy, you wouldn’t need me.” There is only so many ways to describe a pummelling that rhymes and has a catchy rhythm. The possibilities are thinning with every new song. Writing superheroes theme song literally is a dying art.
“Why don’t you steer away from the hand-to-hand combat and turn to… I don’t know… the figures described by blood splatters in a sword fight.”
“That’s Derek’s trademark. I can’t use that. Besides, it has nothing to do with the client.” Hand-to-hand combat scenes, and occasionally blunt weapons, are my type of theme songs. Samantha’s dealing with all the freeze rays, fire balls and other projectile-based powers. Derek is into blades and anything that cuts a villain in two. The minute someone steps in someone else’s turf, problems start; we each have a slew of superhero friends ready to defend us.
“Then go retro! People love retro! Boom! Pow! Kapow! Kaboom! See? It rhymes! I’m sure you can whip up a killer pop beat with that too.”
“Yeah… retro…” I sipped coffee which probably gave the impression I was thinking about the suggestion though I was really trying to hide my annoyance. “Let’s have another of those ‘Batman and the undroppable bomb’ thingy.”
“Oh come on!”
“Or maybe we could just have the superhero’s name repeated over and over with an arpeggio bass riff to accompany it.”
“Don’t be like that. That hero is waiting on you to start working.”
“Rockmaaaaaan!” I singsang while beating the rhythm on my phone with my pen, fully aware I sounded like a loony. “Rockmaaaaan! Rockman! Rockman! Rockman!” I’m sure it sounded awful on the other end of the phone which was totally my point.
“STOP!” The producer yelled.
“Thy wish…” I hung up. I hate being disturbed when I write. Especially if the person disturbing me attempts to help me do my job.
I refocused on the paper before me. After a couple of minutes and a few gulps of coffee, I spaced out. Reality feels different when I’m in writing mode. Words make more sense. They have a texture, a flavour, a musicality and a dance step. Which probably just makes them harder to piece together. You don’t want to end up with a curry-flavoured jazz.
After fifteen minutes, I began to read the result of my recent scribbling.
He has the strength of a monolith
And disposes of evil forthwith
Villains beware the rocky fist
Civilians trust in his tryst
That sheet deserved to be crumpled. I threw it in the recycle bin and settled down to go back to my writing trance.
The phone rang. I nearly fell off my chair. Of course, the producer had to call back. My hanging up on him couldn’t be left alone.
I should really turn that thing off when I’m in the zone.