Remember the good ole days of mixtapes, those little plastic time capsules? Remember painstakingly choosing the perfect song and, as important, the perfect order, and how—when done well—the tape told a story? Well, Ryan Blacketter has made you a mixtape! You can find his whole playlist over at Largehearted Boy. Ryan’s mix captures both his experience of writing Down in the River as well as the book’s aesthetic ethos—including narrative, characters, and landscape. Ryan starts Side A with “Gardening at Night” by REM:
“When I was a kid growing up in Eugene, Oregon, a friend of mine went on to rob a mausoleum years later, when I didn’t know him anymore. This song came to remind me of him. He was a bit off, slightly cracked, out doing something peculiar in the dark. Writing Down in the River became another kind of night gardening. I cast the protagonist as a very good but troubled kid with bipolar disorder, Lyle Rettew, who steals a corpse after the death of his sister. But going into this world for hours every day was not so frightening. Lyle was a gentle guide.”
For seven more songs, how they influenced Down in the River, and to listen to his playlist head over to Largehearted Boy.