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Friday, February 1, 2008

Poetry Friday and a Great Book: A Deadline to Fight for What Kind of World do You Want?

I'm in love, thanks to Chris, of The Simple and the Ordinary. Let me introduce my new favorite band/singer, Five for Fighting, which features the talents of singer, pianist, guitarist and activist John Ondrasik. John has this wonderful charitable video website, inspired by his song World, called What Kind of World Do You Want? Basically, you go over to this site and view a video for a particular cause. Every time you view one of these videos, money is donated to a highlighted charity. All I can say is you're gonna want some tissues. For specifics on how this works, go here.

For Poetry Friday, hosted by Karen Edmisten's blog today, I wanted to share the lyrics of Five for Fighting's lyrics for World. I love these lyrics, and John Ondrasik's voice simply captures the hope, belief and spirit of the possibilities of our future despite past destruction.

WORLD
by John Ondrasik, Five for Fighting

Got a package full of Wishes
A Time machine, a Magic Wand
A Globe made out of Gold

No Instructions or Commandments
Laws of Gravity or
Indecisions to uphold

Printed on the box I see
A.C.M.E.'s Build-a-World-to-be
Take a chance - Grab a piece
Help me to believe it

What kind of world do you want?
Think Anything
Let's start at the start
Build a masterpiece
Be careful what you wish for
History starts now...
go here for the rest of the lyrics
listen to this song

Music plays a big part in my writing. It helps me to be in the moment and create a certain emotion onto paper. But ask me to identify a song or playlist for a book I'm reading, and sometimes that can prove quite difficult, especially when the emotive connection isn't there for me.

But when I finished reading Deadline by Chris Crutcher, (who I'm so glad I discovered--how could I have missed his books?), all I could hear was Five for Fighting's song World. Deadline is an awesome book that made me laugh and cry. Combine it with World as the theme song, and you've got a witty, funny tearjerker that is perfect for the Big Screen. I'm just saying.

Imagine this. You're a senior track star in high school with big plans for your future. You suddenly find out during a routine physical that you have a terminal illness with the possibility of one year to live. Aggressive treatment may help you live a little longer, but it will not change the outcome. What do you do?

Eighteen-year-old Ben Wolf decides to forgo treatment and keep his illness a secret--from his parents, his brother, his teachers, his friends. He is realistic that he won't be able to beat the odds with this disease, and wants to live the best he can and make his mark in the world in the time he has left. Talk about a scary and sad premise.

I had a hard time starting this book because I thought it would be too difficult to read. And as a parent, this premise killed me. But it was hard to ignore Ben's intelligence, his determination, the wise cracks, and the thought-provoking journey Ben goes on in search of the Truth as he realizes that nothing is what it seems to be. Forget about depressing. Yes, there are definitely poignant moments, but if there weren't, it wouldn't be the truth. And this book is all about Truth.

Deadline is smart and funny. Deadline is about taking the time to uncover the layers and searching for the Truth. And it's about hope and faith and the will to make things happen. Just wait until you see how Ben fights to makes his mark in the world...for a future he wants for his town and the world. Talk about making history.

Deadline is the type of book I love--one that makes me think, makes me laugh, and yes, one that makes me cry. This combination is deadly, of the good kind. Which is why Deadline goes on my 2008 lists for Cool Books for Boys and Great Books for Girls. Chris Crutcher, you are a master, and I bow down to you.

Book details:
Deadline
by Chris Crutcher
Harper Collins Greenwillow Books
Young Adult
Published September 2007
Borrowed from library

5 comments:

m. thompson said...

I love the song. Thanks for the book recommendation. I'll have to check it out.

Sara said...

I've seen this book several places, but haven't read it yet. Thanks for the push.

Gonna go check out that website...

Barrie said...

I, too, somehow missed this book. Glad you mentioned it. I sometimes listen to music when writing, but more often not. My house is often noisy, so I really, really cherish silence. :)

laurasalas said...

Five for Fighting is one of my favorites! I've seen him live several times, and he is fantastic. I tend to like lower voices, but his lyrics override anything as mundane as sound (ha!). 100 Years is one of my all-time favorite songs. And Superman. And...well, I could go on and on. He's got amazing songs that weren't hits, too, of course. Have fun discovering all the great ones.

And loved Deadline, too!

We're on the same wavelength today!

Chris said...

First, thanks for your generous comments about DEADLINE. I love it when a character or a book makes just the right connection. My assistant found this blog and sent it to me. Of course I'm always looking for the good music to write to (actually I can only edit to music... need silence for composing) but I'm downloading Five for Fighting like there's no tomorrow. Thanks. Chris Crutcher