And then the power went out on the laptop and then the lightning bugs made me wish they were spelled lightening bugs and then the feel of summer—all of the good, none of the humidawfulseat of the 90 degree 90 percent days—it all came back.
Grab a High Life and hold on to your whole life. Hold on to whatever you can, really. Your eyes are burning but I’m not scared, he says, and supposes you can’t fear when you’re the one leaving, right? Never forget the day when it all came back.
How do you become his star? What can you make of all of the words and the background that just tells you so much? I want to drive in a dusty road pickup and wear hats and be surrounded by all of the important people. They all came back.
I would like to write a book about writing some day. Although maybe I can pull together some kind of Charlie Kaufman-type magic shit and write a book about writing a book about writing. How many layers can we get back and still make sense? You know that scientific principle that says you can only have a certain amount of friends and then you lost track of who these people are? I bet our brains have problems with layers inside layers of things like that as well. If you hit the sweet spot, then you have a movie everyone talks about, like Inception. If you miss, you’ve got all those philosophy books no one talks about like…well, I don’t have examples, that’s the point. Accessibility can sometimes be king, because no one wants to repeatedly read above their level. Then again, no one wants to read too far below, except maybe for sentimental reasons. So my book about writing will talk about three things. One! Make sure you are writing as much as you can because that way there’s a lot of stuff to choose from. Two! Pick a hot beverage of choice and geek out about it as it helps to have something to warm your belly and something to do with your hands when you need to pause and stop typing or writing, whichever works for you. Three! Apply the three treasures of buddha, dharma, and sangha to this pursuit as well. For god’s sake, don’t write alone.
I come back to this album like coming back to a great book, or better still, visiting a coffee shop in that neighborhood where you don’t live anymore or maybe never did, yet this one place just fit. Or maybe there’s no metaphor, because any good music fan knows that here are just these albums that you can name right way when someone asks you for that list of the ones that you come back to (how come no one ever asks for that list? Why do we have so many stupid social networking spots but no spot to meet up with music fans who ask you that question?), that list of the ones you think maybe no one else remembers except in small pockets or regions. There are probably a lot of folks in Illinois who swear by Poster Children’s Junior Citizen, but out here in Portland? I’d be shocked to find anyone (other than me) who cares, and maybe that makes it even more mysterious. I wonder if the internet ruined that regionalism. I wonder if it makes any sense to bemoan that loss, if it did.
This album though, with that voice. Is it really from 1992? And how did Suzanne Vega, of all people, slip past the guards of grunge into our consciousness at all? I know that I got a tape of the album from my best friend; it’s one of those “I never knew the end to this song because the tape cut it off” albums, and I think that even though he often abandons music that isn’t the Clash, he might still have a soft spot for this one. I love the fact that the phrase is 99.9 degrees Fahrenheit but she mis-orders it so that the song works. I love that “Blood Sings” makes me consider, nineteen years later, learning how to fingerpick a guitar just so I can play it properly. I love the memories from that wonderful year when somehow she played here twice in few months, and I wrote about her for the Mercury and then successfully deduced her email from her .Mac website, and she wrote me back! She wrote me back, after the show, to ask if I’d made it. I know this all sounds like name-dropping. It’s really just that it was one of those moments when a little bit of kindness connects us, surprises us. Even more than that, it makes sense that her songs have so much humanity, because she does, too. Lucky, lucky me.