Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Music, Spring, etc.

Finally, consecutive days of sweet, rejuvinative Spring weather. It's getting hard to want to go to class, it's getting markedly more difficult to even contemplate going to work (ugh, saying the mere name of that association strikes fear and loathing into my heart) and music seems to fill my ears everywhere. My dad is playing his home-made banjo, a gentle, soothing sound drifting through the house even if I don't like bluegrass and even if my dad hasn't mastered the thing yet. I've rediscovered hardcore and heavy metal (major Mastodon jags, and I'm looking into the Dillinger Escape Plan's new one right now) and feel of the sweet air pushing through the open windows never fails to remind me of Manchester Orchestra's Mean Everything to Nothing. So I've given that a couple whirls.
Spring. The season of lost and found. The season of the cruellest month. The season of Green. Of plans. Of hope, maybe. The hope and the planning are the things that brings the music out, I think. Or maybe it's not that the music was ever gone, but that it means something different in Spring than it does in other seasons. It serves mainly to keep you warm and unalone in Winter. In Summer, it's (unfortunately, sacriligiously) a mere soundtrack. In Autumn, let's see, what poetic yet sort of true thing can I say here...In Autumn, music keeps some fire alive. It keeps you moving so you don't slip into hibernation. But in Spring... That's the season when you discover songs that mean something to you and always will. Maybe it's a part of the rebirth. I wonder if the pagan's pulled out the instruments more in Spring, to chase away the emotional havok wreaked by Winter.
Who's to say? All that is meaningless, except music. Music is life.
So what's new with me? Started a comic (again) with my sister illustrating. A zine is in the EARLY, early stages of planning. Restarting my alt-history story, which has been playing hard-to-get with my mind since I started on it months ago. I think I've been using the wrong perspective all along. We'll see how it works out. Enjoy your music.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Sunn O)))

I'm not a metal fan by any stretch of the imagination; too lugubrious, even for me, too much association w/ local meth-heads, etc. I can hold a vague appreciation for the instrumental abilities of the practitioners, and I have some nostalgia for the days of my early teens, before I discovered punk rock and the Pixies, when I actually did listen to Godsmack, Metallica, and Tool on a regular basis. But aside from that, I usually forget that the genre exists.
Except. . .some reason I bought a Sunn O))) album on Amazon. (I think I'd read that John Wray, a favorite writer of mine, listened to them or something.) And I can't fucking stop listening to it. They sound like an H.P. Lovecraft story. Like something huge coming up from underneath. I feel an unusual sense of anticipation when I hit PLAY, something I don't even feel when I put in Grizzly Bear or Radiohead. It's. . . exciting. Not that those other bands aren't exciting. Both are filled with ur-talented musicians who write insanely great, original music. But, as original as it is, one grows to expect it, to intuit the next move, like a that of a friend with whom you've played chess for years and years.
I guess it's just time to change it up a bit. Sunn O))) will never be my favorite band (still Radiohead, I'm afraid,) but they'll always be the sip of something hard I keep hidden in my desk drawer.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Butterfield, Mo

Let's say, as a description exercise, I describe the town in which I live, Butterfield, Mo., to all of you adoring readers. It's a physical microcosm of Cassville, centered on a bow-shaped offshoot of HWY 37, with administrative faculties (i.e., "city hall,") located in the northern bit. Actually, geography-wise, that's about all it has in common with greater C-ville. You could start walking through it from any side and be on the other side in about 20 mins. Politics overwhelmingly conservative. Across from my house is the sewage treatment plant, which is the source of much managerial pride and scoffing at any questions of pragmatism thereof, as well as the town's (village's, hamlet's, insignificant outpost's,) exorbitant water-billing. There's a baptist church smackdab in the middle of the town's anatomy that is probably the nicest building within metro B-field. (A swanky McMansion lies on the outskirts of town, there since before "McMansion" would've been used to describe it.) Outside of the church is a small basketball court on which white and hispanic children can often be seen playing. Venerable melting pot, despite oft-overheard rascist complaints of elder white-folk. (Bit o' trivia: according to rumor, a black man spotted in the town of Cassville after midnight can be legally lynched. It's a law that's apparently still on the books. Liberal mecca, this place.) I've been to this court late at night, and the air was still and cool and tickled every bit of my lungs. I've walked every bit of this town. I wrote an essay on this that got me a B in Eng 101. The most notable features of the town? Maybe the railroad that splits the town in two. I've written stories on that, too. Maybe the bridge that goes over the tracks on the "southside." It's a covered bridge. With beams the color of a river and riverbed. There's a plaque posted to one of the beams that I can never quite read when I drive by, and always forget on the few occasions that I walk to the bridge. Maybe it would explain why such an expensive bridge was built on such a minor road. There's a small wedge shaped park that is the subject of many a photo by me and my sister Jerika. Once we lay on the two picnic tables in the park and hollered Ray Bradbury stories at each other through the wind. Many plans made there, few fruitful ones. But late, the streetlight there is an orange teepe of illumination spotted with moths and when you sit inside it you can see all the ghosts of your childhood pass before your eyes and cast you a dismissive wave that reminds you that it'll all be over before you know it.

I can't seem to let it go. Writing I mean.

So what makes me so drawn to writing---as a career, as a past-time, as release---anyway? Was I born to do it? (Though if that was the case, shouldn't it be, like, way easier?) Does it appeal to some aspect of my nature? (I do like being shut up in my room, away from everybody and the world, quite alot.) Maybe it's storytelling that's in my blood, or maybe just record keeping.
I did enjoy making up scary stories to tell my siblings and cousins when I was pretty young, in keeping w/ my very early love of all things horror/dark fantasy related. The first books I encountered as a burgeoning reader? Goosebumps, baby, as well as the Time-Life Books Enchanted World series. (Anyone remember these gorgeously illustrated texts? Ye gods, imagine what effect those pictures had on the four-year-old mind. They were delicious.)
These were stories. Had something akin to morals in 'em. I ate them up. Made up my own. I can't remember ever trying to write any of my own down, just telling them in clubhouses and on Sundays down by the creek by my Grandparents' place, when my cousins and I would tromp out to explore after the family feast. I relished the moment, the climax of whatever D-movie-grade monsterfest I'd come up with, when my beloved cousins visibly squirmed and told me I was one sick customer.
So yeah, the storytelling part has always been there it seems. This is a proud tradition, and I'm proud to be drawn to it.
The exact moment I knew I wanted to write though, that came a lot later. It was simple. My family went to some cheap pizza place, and it happened to have a gorgeous west view. You could look down on the town, the factories (urban/industrial settings always put me in a creative mood. Another story,) and above it all, the sun was setting. It was, well, toxic-looking. But beautiful. Like the sun was burning out, and we were all just sitting at the bar. I felt like I had to write it down. In such a way as to make even someone who'd never seen a town or sunset feel exactly as what I was feeling just looking at it.
It took a while, to get it just right. It took the form of poetry, flash-fiction, longer fiction. I even dreamed about stories in which I could incorporate this scene. I finally wrote a good one down, though I'll be damned if I can find it anywhere now. But it was such a special experience, the act of creation. The failure and experimentation. Finally getting it right. Beautiful.