[Editor's note: Due to circumstances beyond his control, Brian Copeland will be unable to blog for us this week. We are pleased to have Powell's own Kevin Sampsell as a guest blogger instead.
As I prepare to do the first readings from my new book, Creamy Bullets, I suppose I must hash out the truth about that title. It came about one day as my son and I were enjoying a stroll down some trails at Oaks Bottom. My son (we'll call him Z) was probably 11 at the time (he's nearly 14 now) and he was always gathering long sticks for spears or gun-shaped sticks. He'd point them at imaginary monsters and enemies. Suddenly he picked some berries off a bush and started firing them at me. I ducked behind a tree and avoided the splatter. You missed me with your juicy bullets, I said. We continued to walk and I thought about that phrase, juicy bullets. I laughed to myself and soon we had made up a song.
You missed me with your juicy bullets
So juicy and delicious
You missed me with your creamy bullets
You're not so vicious
Making up stupid songs is one of the best reasons to have children. There is no reason or logic involved. It's riffing at its worst and finest all in one. One second you're amazed at your own brilliance and then next you're looking around to make sure no one else is listening. I was cracking up over our absurd impromptu duet. I thought to myself, what a weird image that is. Creamy bullets. It would make a cool title for something. And so there you have it.
I know that some of you have dirty minds and probably think the title has something to do with sex, but really I am not that crude. The germ of this title comes from a childish mindframe. But then again, I like the way these words conjure various images and reactions. A melting bullet mid-flight, a splatter of half-and-half on a brick wall, a pearl necklace (oh, hi there, smutbrain). Also, I googled "creamy bullets" and found out that the phrase is used in the song "May 4th Movement" by the great hip-hop band Digable Planets. Here's the part:
We Creamy Spies
Tell you scheme-y lies
We let creamy bullets fly
I want to shift this back to my son now. Like I said, when you're riffing with a kid, freestyle rhyming, whatever, you can go beyond silly. When kids become teenagers, though, they get to be more self-conscious. At least I remember it that way for me. Z doesn't seem to have the self-conscious problem quite yet. Last year, he was one of a dozen kids that performed in an after-school lip-synching contest. He performed a song by KillRadio. While other kids did songs by Weird Al Yankovic, Raffi, and Justin Timberlake, Z headbanged and air-guitarred his way through this angsty anthem. It was pretty shocking stuff but it made a certain contingent of emo girls scream with glee. This year, Z tried out for the 7th grade talent show. Although he's been taking guitar lessons for two years, he has been pretty shy about his singing voice. Still, at his audition, he sang a song by Linkin Park without any accompaniment (he had to edit the swear words, of course). Last week, the director told him he would be in the show. I think at his age I was too nervous to speak during class, let alone sing a song. I do wonder if and when that self-censoring, self-conscious fear will creep into his head. A big part of me hopes it never does.