It’s Sweat or It’s Songs: Happy hundred to me

Spoiler alert: My true writerly identity

Spoiler alert: My true writerly identity

Much hoopla has been made about the anti-writerly, anti-grammar practices reinforced by social networking. I don’t need to add much more to the peanut gallery, but I will instead quote Heather Havrilesky, authoress of the rabbit blog, who eloquently spells out the dilemma: “Why would we want the writer, dull know-it-all that he or she so often is, to go and pollute our lives with his or her steady stream of opinionated tripe?”

It’s been a thought that often crosses my mind when I sit down to produce and vomit my personal stream of tripe for all the Internets to peruse. Since the beginning of 2009, I have put myself and my handful of readers through this routine a total of 100 times. Some of these excursions into my musical and otherwise-minded psyche have been as painful and laborious for both parties as regular trips to bikram yoga. Believe me, I used to attend bikram yoga at least three times a week maybe five years ago. But ultimately, I hope that my best efforts, the entries I would actually be pleased to attach my real name on, leave you with a similar feeling of triumph and enlightenment that a good yoga workout imparts (albeit, a smug and entirely cerebral one).

Half the days I do this, I feel like a little girl playing dress-up with her mother’s castoffs in the closet. I’m not a real writer, but I might look like one. In the same vein, some of the criticism for networking sites like Facebook and Twitter involves the traditional and sometimes stodgy notion that writing honestly and thoughtfully about one’s life should not be an activity confined to 140 words, should not be something the writer does in easy bids for attention (unless your inner workings really bleed themselves out when you list all your potential lunch options), and should not be so readily, you know, shared. Because writing, at its black and coal-laden heart, is a solitary pursuit. You as the writer can forward drafts to friends and ask for feedback, but when the product meets paper, when you present your stack of papers to a publisher or a jaded editor, the effort becomes your property. You own it, no matter how much help you had along the way, because at its nebulous beginning, it was your own silly idea to make it a thing to be completed at all. And it’s yours to bask upon when it’s sunny and clear outside, as well as yours when the neighbors decry your use of prosaic analogies and obviously cheap paint.

Some make the argument that the act of listening to music went in the opposite direction. Historically, music was a social activity consisting of dances and big bands that infused a pulse into parties and events. But as musicians’ attention became primarily focused  on the wealth of tricks to be figured out in a recording studio, maybe around the time the Beatles became more Sgt. Pepper and less Meet the Beatles, music became a pastime any individual could easily enjoy alone. Indeed, some of the best moments of life have involved lone walks with my ear buds tucked into the appropriate canals and the songs that ushered me along that moment.

But somehow, this current writing exercise  has helped me feel more connected to a community than I ever have before. As a result of this blog, I’ve learned just how rich my cute , bridged city is in terms of musical entertainment and resources for emerging mods and rockers. I’ve communicated with a couple real-life musicians and found introductions to artists and songs I wasn’t aware of through other bloggers. As I continue to post here, I don’t always expect to write something of head-spinning import or humor, though I will continue to give it a shot here and there. But this intersection, this compromise between the writer and the music lover, has never failed to surprise me. There is so much music out there, and so many fans, and so many different interpretations of a time signature here and a lyric about eggs there. Even though the underslept loon hunched over a keyboard never really vacates the premises, she’s found a lot of like-minded voices to keep her company as she crazies her way through the bandwidth.

Or I guess I could have just said: Here’s a playlist – some new favorites, a few you’ve heard about here before, and a couple re-discovered joys. I’ve had fun, hope you have too. Thanks for reading.

June 2009 mix ~ It’s Sweat or It’s Songs

Harlem Shakes ~ Strictly Game

The Kills ~ U.R.A. Fever

Fol Chen ~ Cable TV

Lisa Hannigan ~ Lille

Andrew Bird ~ Fitz and Dizzyspells

Okkervil River ~ Unless It’s Kicks

Chicharones ~ Taco Wagon

The City and Horses ~ Little Finland

The Dodos ~ It’s That Time Again

John Vanderslice ~ Exodus Damage

Plushgun ~ Just Impolite

Department of Eagles ~ Teenagers

Dirty Projectors ~ Cannibal Resource

Neko Case ~ Don’t Forget Me [Harry Nilsson cover]

Otis Redding ~ These Arms of Mine [The link to this song has been removed by request.]

The Builders and the Butchers ~ Down in This Hole [Daytrotter session version]

Laura Gibson ~ Postures Bent

Apples in Stereo ~ King of Carrot Flowers Pt. 3 [Neutral Milk Hotel cover]

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3 Responses to “It’s Sweat or It’s Songs: Happy hundred to me”


  1. 1 Marc June 18, 2009 at 1:41 PM

    This post proves that you are a writer. Well done!

  2. 2 Anna B June 26, 2009 at 4:01 PM

    I feel as if you deserve some hoopla for this. So humble, you are.

  3. 3 Danielle June 29, 2009 at 2:41 PM

    Christ almighty girl. You has devotion! It took me like a year to get 100. CONGRATS. 🙂


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