Originally published in Willow Springs 77
From the author
Notes on “Honeymoon Bandits”
My stories usually evolve from situations or characters rather than language, but when this line popped into my head—“We coined them the Honeymoon Bandits and we were pleased with our name”—I just went with it. That first line didn’t survive the final rounds of revision, but those original thirteen words told me a lot: the story would be written in first-person plural; it would feature a pair of young lovebird outlaws; and, most importantly, the community would feel a strong sense of pride and ownership for the Bandits. This is the only story I’ve written in first-person plural, and it took a number of drafts before I decided upon the scope of the “we.” For inspiration I turned to Alice Elliott Dark’s fantastic, “Watch the Animals,” told from the collective perspective of a small town. At first I tried something similar, by writing from the perspective of only Provincetown. I then extended the “we” to include all the mothers of Cape Cod, which in turn became all the parents. My hope was that the improbability of such an encompassing collective narration (the Cape is a big place!) would lend the story a slightly-absurdist, comic-booky feel that in turn would help the ending work. As for content, I began writing in early 2014, when I was living in New York and experiencing an acute case of Global Warming Anxiety because of an unseasonably warm December. I wanted to bring to life a cadre of people who don’t only worry about the fate of the planet but (unlike me) actually do something, and more than simply signing petitions or writing letters to Congress. A friend of mine, when I outlined an early idea of what I was going for, dubbed it “political fantasy.” What a fantastic name for a genre.
Music, Food, Booze, Tattoos, Kittens, etc.
In the morning, before coffee and writing, I like to jump in place to music for five or so minutes. Sometimes my wife joins me. It’s great for waking up, shaking out the sleep, or dulling a very tiny hangover. For well over a year I jumped to one of two songs: “Adelaide” by Chadwick Stokes, or “Home,” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes. Lately, however, I’ve been listening to the radio again and rediscovering the joy of coming across long-forgotten or entirely new songs. Social Distortion’s “Story of My Life” came into my jumping rotation this way, as did Le Tigre’s “TKO” and, thanks to 91.5 KUSC, the Italian composer Ludovico Einaudi. I think I’m secretly hoping to become one of those happy 103-year-olds who are always being asked, “What’s your secret?” I love simple self-improvement tips and short-cuts, and it would give me such joy to have one to offer: “Five minutes of jumping before breakfast! It’s that easy! Really!”
About Nick Fuller Googins
A graduate of the Rutgers-Newark MFA Program, Nick now lives in Venice, California. His fiction has been read on NPR’s All Things Considered, and has appeared in Narrative, ZYZZYVA, Oxford American, Shenandoah, The Common, and elsewhere. He volunteers as a writing mentor for the organizations 826LA and We Are Not Numbers.