Squawk Radio

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Lisa on "Eighties Redux"

Dear friends,
As some of you know, I'm writing my first contemporary novel. It is a bigger, more complex story than I've ever tried before, with a longer time span and a bigger cast of characters. It starts off with my heroine as a thirteen year-old girl who is a child of the eighties. Naturally I'm including tidbits of eighties American culture to give this part of the novel some framework and flavor. And the more I ponder the eighties, the more I can feel a primal shriek of agony welling up inside me--"What were we thinking???"

I'm not going to try and delude you into thinking I wasn't "of" the eighties. Some people do that, you know. They pretend they were innocent bystanders, that they weren't "into" Madonna, they never watched MTV, their hair was never that big.

Yeah, right.

Well, I was an eighties girl. My hair was spiral-permed every eight weeks, moussed teased and sprayed into a big brown helmet. I wore shoulder pads up to my earlobes. I resembled a five foot tall linebacker. In four inch heels.

I watched Dallas, Dynasty and Family Ties. And God help me, I can't believe I'm saying this in public--I danced to Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up" about a thousand times, and I adored it.

I saw the movie Wall Street, and I actually did have a little trouble buying the "Greed is Good" line. But I saw Flashdance and I cut the necklines of my sweatshirts and wore leg warmers. And big headbands that covered my entire forehead.

I owned a Rubik's Cube. I never ever ever ever ever ever got all the little colored squares to match.

I was shocked when I first heard of the strange new disease called "gay cancer" and later renamed AIDS.

So much to remember about the eighties . . .and so remarkable to me that some of my younger readers may not automatically recognize the references I'm weaving through my narrative. What was good about the eighties? What was bad? Anything you think I shouldn't overlook as I try to convey this gaudy, busy, fascinating time in our history?
Lisa Kleypas, 2:17 PM