THE UNFINISHED LIFE OF ADDISON STONE is a novel about a troubled, brilliant young New York artist, now deceased. I told it as an oral history, fully illustrated with full-page art, plus photos, magazine and newspaper clippings, sketches, and candid snaps of Addison’s life. When I am actually writing, I can’t listen to music with lyrics because they get too deep in my head. But a lot of writing is not-writing, and I like listening to music when I think through a book-- maybe while I’m walking my dog or on yet another coffee run.
At some point in revisions I heard the song Chandelier by Sia, which is one of those uncanny book-meets-playlist moments. Anyone who reads it will know. People are starting to send it to me so I want to give it a nod.
Addison was a gorgeous It girl, but she was also dark and complicated. I moved between voices I enjoyed, usually female, like Ellie Goulding or Florence and the Machine—whose voice is so Addison-y themed. I especially loved dreamy haunted Heavy in Your Arms.
Sometimes I listened to this strange song by Daniel Johnston, who is a big force of inspiration for me. Johnston is a songwriter and an artist. The recording of The Story of an Artist has been covered by M. Ward to sound really beautiful here:
but I love it most this way:
the weight of his lyrics: we don’t really like what you do / we don’t think anyone ever will/we think you have a problem / and this problem’s made you ill is so different when sung by Johnston himself, with all of his pain in them. Johnston’s fragile mental health is well-documented in the film: THE DEVIL AND DANIEL JOHNSTON, and I can feel the echo of that movie's impact in Addison’s own character. The book released on August 12 and is in stores everywhere. Soho Press will have lots of "mini-documentary" footage coming soon. Keep up with everything Addison and find more clues at www.iamaddisonstone.com. Hope you enjoy!
Big thank you to Adele Griffin for sharing a few songs of inspiration and a look behind the scenes at her process. I insist everyone go to their local bookshop and pick up a copy of this book and see how gorgeous it is. You won't want to put it down!