The following is the first of three posts dedicated to the upcoming fifth anniversary of my debut novel, Enso. You can purchase Enso here.

The chronology is fuzzy.

Which came first? The girl or the song?

I met both, so to speak, on the same trip, and from that trip sprang a journey, but was the song hers or was she born from the song?

The song in question is “Voyager” by Bump of Chicken. Though quite a success in their native Japan, they were – sing you fates, sing – simply an “it”band the week that I happened to be in Japan on that trip.

So why the reaction? Simple. That trip to Japan was the one that launched 65,000 words. That trip led to my first novel, Enso, which turns five years old this week.

It’s funny how we react when first the novel bug bites. For me, I was terrified of losing the momentum. Terrified of losing my focus.

Over the next five plus years, Voyager became my go-to recall device. Enso was largely written to music (for more on all of the songs, see here), but it always started and ended – as I re-read the book again this week, in fact – with Voyager.

Voyager became Maruko’s song, and absolutely would be used in certain scenes were a movie I’ve thought way too much about ever cast.

So present was this song in my process that it was added, if anonymously, to one of the last pieces I wrote before Enso’s release…

They continued walking until they heard the gentle harmonizing of two young, male voices. They walked towards the singing and joined a small group gathered around the two teenage boys, each wearing vintage leather coats, jeans and canvas sneakers. Each boy had a different colored fedora and one wore thick-rimmed black glasses. They each had well aged acoustic guitars. These boys sang ballads with such passion and yet were themselves so nondescript. Perhaps for both reasons, many in the crowd looked around at all the other listeners instead of focusing on the appearance of the two performers. This was where their eyes wandered, but the entire mood of the group was fully owned by these two young troubadours.