On Thursday, May 11, the Third Street Writers of Laguna Beach are set to celebrate the release of their anthology “Beach Reads: Here Comes the Sun,” at 5:30 p.m. , at Laguna Beach Books, 1200 S. Coast Highway. Join us for snacks and light refreshments and excellent writer’s reading their work from the new book. Would love to see fans and friends there!
The anthology of 30 short stories, poetry, and personal essays explores the sun as an agent of transformation, and includes my short story “Island Girl.” an excerpt from my concluding, soon to be released, Enchanted, Book 2 from THINGS WE LOST IN THE NIGHT, A Memoir of Love and Music in the 60s with Stark Naked and the Car Thieves.
Enchanted covers the final three years of my experiences with love and music in during the late 1960s set primarily in Hawai’i, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, and Southern California. It is a rich and complex adventure balancing the emotional power of music and the search for success and happiness in a turbulent era. As the decade of change is eroding into the early 1970s so are changes that effect the band and people at the center of this journey are challenged in ways they’d never imagined.
Night People, Book 1 of THINGS WE LOST IN THE NIGHT, was published in June of 2015 and is an Amazon Best Seller in Biographies and Memoirs > Arts and Literature > Composers & Musicians > Pop.
Kiana Davenport’s book House of Many Gods is a wonderful generational novel, beginning in the mid-Sixties and running to present day, along the Waianae coast of Oahu, a neighborhood largely unknown to the outside world. It houses the third-largest homeless population in the United States, made up of mostly ghettoized native Hawaiians. In this novel, set in a house shared by many and various mothers, their children and the occasional father, a story about a young girl takes place. Abandoned by her mother, she struggles within a culture clash within the only home she’s ever known, her expectations, the outside world, and how to love. During the book she finds a way through much of the tragedy and poverty around her to become a doctor, eventually connect the pieces of her life, and travels halfway around the world to rescue a man, also struggling in his native culture, that she’d refused to love. At least as important as the story she tells, Kiana’s descriptions and narrative, as lush and rich as a tropical rainforest, brings along the deep abiding spiritualism of a Hawaiian spirit subjugated by a profusion of foreign influences, from the missionaries to the more recent intrusions of Asian, and most of all, the United States, influences. It’s as if Kaui Hart Hemmings (The Descendants) meets Gregory David Roberts (Shantaram) in Hawai’i. I rank Kiana Davenport alongside my favorite, and most influential authors, Hemmings, Donna Tart, Marisa Pessl, and Dennis Lehane. This will be a read you cannot put down and will never forget.
As a side note, Kiana’s books about Hawai’i, especially this one, have influenced my new book, Enchanted. This review about a year and a half ago, and I feel as strongly about this book now as I did then.
Things We Lost in the Night, a memoir of love and music, Part Three of Five, final draft is finished, and available to beta readers. If you aren’t a beta reader and wanted to be, just let me know. Parts One and Two are available now. One slight caveat, I still have a couple of people helping me edit the Hawaiian English Pidgin in some of the chapters, so that will change as I get back edits from them. In the meantime – Aloha.
DON”T MISS IT. Tonight The Sixties on CNN, 9 pm (EST), 6 pm (PDT), plus there are usually several re-runs. Covers the war from its beginnings through 1968. The face of war changed forever with this escalation. Combined with the pictures that brought the brutality of the war to the home front, a new sense of power and disenfranchisement from the country’s youth, and the hangover from the loss of a young and popular president, the support for this war faded as the commitment to it by the government went up. Up until this war, as Bill Murray exhorts his army buddies it in Stripes, “We’re 10 and 1!”
For me, it was trying to find a way to stay with my band when the army was bound and determined to induct me. I had no political viewpoint in the beginning, and to the degree I did, I tended to trust the government implicitly then. That all began to change when it started to impact my life and I had to figure things out.
My most personal experience was when Stark Naked and the Car Thieves performed for a couple of months at a nightclub in Honolulu in April of 1968, as the buildup of American forces followed the Tet Offensive during the height of the Vietnam War. 80% of the guys in the club were either on R&R coming from the war or going home. The emotional power of the songs we played to remind these warriors of home, girlfriends and wives, high school, families, and buddies, some of them lost by their side, came through to all of us there. As the messengers through our music we became instant friends, somehow passed into the intimacy of one solder to another, and it was all we could do to hold onto our own feelings sometimes. We heard many stories from the battlefield, reminisces from home and witnessed soldiers at the outer limits of their ability to endure. But as humans do, they found humor and understanding and love in their experiences. While they thought we were enriching their lives, it was they who were enriching ours.
Over the last few years I have received a surprising number of messages from soldiers who saw us at the Lemon Tree on the beach in Waikiki. To a man they remember us for the music and how it helped connect them to the things most important to them. God love them all.
Here’s a little quiz about the 60s you might enjoy – What 60s personality are you?
Larry J Dunlap, Things We Lost in the Night, a memoir of love and rock n roll music