Saturday, September 13, 2008

I Love the 70s

What is it with me and the 1970s? Clearly it wasn't the most fashionable and pleasant decade in our history, so it's a bit of a mystery why I'm so obsessed with it in my writing. Over 1/3 of the novel I've just finished takes place in 1975 suburban Chicago. A short story I'm working on now is about a woman who was a Bunny in the Hollywood Playboy Club in the late 70s. And last night I was plotting out my new novel about a young girl with a neglectful mother. I'm thinking of setting it in...wait for it...St. Louis in 1978.

Some of my favorite movies are One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, The Godfather, Taxi Driver, and Annie Hall. if I told you I liked The Clockwork Orange as a teenager, you'd think I was some sort of violent weirdo, so I'll leave that out.

In the late 1970s, I was busy peddling my bike round and round our cul-de-sac while my mom baked casseroles inside or ranch-style house. Pretty boring upbringing. So what's up with my fixation on the grit and sexuality of the 70s? Hmmm...best not to think about that too long.

What were you doing in the 70s? Were you even born? Or were you, as my mom would say "in the milk river?"

10 comments:

Janna Qualman said...

1978. 'Twas a good year. It's when I was born. :) And misterwrites was born the same year in St. Louis. So I like your thinking for the new novel! :D

Angie Ledbetter said...

Ah, the 70s! I was doing the same thing on my bicycle (looking for adventure and freedom) as you were, but only located in the sauna of the Deep Deep South. I think that era is/was fascinating because there was a strange feeling in the air of possibilities and the unknown. A good time to grow up.

Joanne said...

I was in high school in the 70s. My kids are envious of the era, school-wise, youth-wise, music-wise. They say it far outshines today's youth era in so many ways! (I'd agree, particularly w/music!)

WendyCinNYC said...

Yes, I'd have to say the music was much better then, for the most part.

And Angie, I'm also fascinated with the South, although I've never lived father south than Missouri myself. (Well, I lived in Southern California, but you know what I mean.) Most of my relatives live in Tennessee and Alabama. There are some strange and wonderful characters in my extended family, and my next book is inspired by one of them.

Melody said...

I was born in 1974. My memories are all of the eighties, starting with the cultural highlight of watching the Dukes of Hazzard. Yee-haw!

However, I like a lot of the easy-listening music from the seventies, Barry Manilow and ABBA and John Denver.

Melody Platz
www.writerscomfycorner.com

Brian Jay Jones said...

Ahhh, the 70s . . . as Bob Goldthwait once said, "The most culturally devoid period in history . . . wouldn't it be GREAT if K.C. and the Sunshine band got back together?"

I was a 70s kid -- more than that, I was 10 years old in 1977, the age group Star Wars was aimed squarely at, and I can align major events in my childhood as pre-Star Wars and post-Star Wars.

Ah, where are shows like Happy Days and Mork and Mindy when you really need them?

aaroncrocco said...

Well I wasn't alive in the 70's (born in '80) but I suspect you're on a 70's kick because it's a period you're somehow very comfortable with. Don't fight it!

Melanie Avila said...

I was born in '75 so most of my memories start in 79-80. I can see wanting to reconnect with a time period that shaped you into the person you are today - nothing wrong with that!

and LOL @ milk in the river!

WendyCinNYC said...

Melody--The Dukes of Hazzard was on just before Charlie's Angels. I loved those shows.

Brian--I still have my Star Wars action figures and my kids play with them now.

Aaron--I was born in '70. Feeling old now.

Melanie--it's funny, because I feel so much more connected to the 1980s in terms of growing up. But maybe deep down I'm a 70s girl. Guess so.

Janet said...

I was a teenager in the 70's, so I was babysitting when The Clockwork Orange came out. The mother came home and said, "Janet, be thankful you're not 18 and can't see that movie."

It was a very confusing time to be a teenager. All the rules were changing. Even approaching a door was a dance of political correctness. Guys didn't know whether holding the door would get them classified as chauvinist pigs or if refusing to hold the door would get them classified as a mannerless pig. Girls didn't know if hesitating by the door waiting for the guy to open it made them look old-fashioned and presumptuous or if opening the door for yourself would annoy the fellow with you who wanted to shower you with attention.

I made a habit of reaching the door two paces behind a guy. Then the "first one there opens the door" rule applied and he could be chivalrous by waiting for me to go first or just hold it till I had it.

And that pretty much summed up the whole social climate.