The pop artisan operates within the received formulas–gangster movie, radio-ready A-side, space opera–and then incorporates into the style, manner, and mood of the work bits and pieces derived from all the aesthetic moments he or she has ever fallen in love with in other movies or songs or novels, whether hackwork or genius (without regard for and sometimes without consciousness of any difference between the two): the bridge in a song by the Moonglows, a James Wong Howe camera angle, a Sabatini cannonade, a Stan Getz solo, the climax of The Demolished Man, a locomotive design by Raymond Loewy, a Shecky Greene routine. When it works, what you get is not a collection of references, quotes, allusions, and cribs but a whole, seamless thing, both familiar and new: a record of the consciousness that was busy falling in love with those moments in the first place. It’s that filtering consciousness, coupled with the physical ability (or whatever it is) to flat-out play or sing or write or draw, that transforms the fragments of jetsam and familiar pieces into something fresh and unheard of. If that sounds a lot like what flaming genius gods are supposed to be up to, then here’s a distinction: the pop artisan is always hoping that, in the end, the thing is going to fucking kill.

Michael Chabon, “The Killer Hook”, Maps and Legends (99).

This is a great passage. I love it, and it speaks to me. But I can’t help but notice, in Chabon’s mini-recitation of Things He Loves, there isn’t a single piece of creative work made by a woman.

YouTube – A.C. Newman with Neko Case / The Hudson River Session – Part 1 and Part 2

I wasn’t the biggest fan of Carl Newman’s first solo record. But that’s the point of side projects. Everyone in The New Pornographers goes off to do their own thing, and then they make another New Pornos record. I’m not complaining.

But Neko Case is singing on his third A.C. Newman record. I’m there. This is a 3-song session they recorded together for La Blogotèque. (Bonus points for Neko holding Carl’s baby. This is a woman who likes animals more than humans and, on her live album, advocates for feeding unwanted children to the endangered tigers. It’s adorable.)

Words: 815

Words: 815
Minutes: 34

today wasn’t really a great day. i got to spend time with sophie and the girls, and we had a good dinner. but i didn’t sleep last night, i didn’t write this morning, and i have to move back in with my parents. i’m so happy for them buying their first house, but it sucks. it sucks so much. i’m not going to cry over this, but over my whole fucking life right now. i can’t make anything so the way i want it to. for now, i’m trying to focus on the good. it gives me a chance to clean out my parents’s basement.

it’s a bigger space, and it’s more mine. it’s a project to focus on. it’s even bigger motivation to work to get out of it. i’m going to write more. i’m going to write a letter to send to people and companies i want to work for. i’m going to try more freelance, more commission-type work. i’m going to turn cameron house press into, not just a product company, but a service company. i’m going to try busking for real. i’m going to start at the bus stop. i reject the idea that anything good happens downtown.

this is one reason i wish i was still on a university campus. it would be so easy there. but i didn’t do it then, so i don’t know. i didn’t have the idea then. i was still trying to be someone i’m not. i’ve been trying for so long. but what am i. i’m 30. i should’ve figured this out by now. i can’t just decide to be a person who doesn’t do well in a 9-5, customer-facing, regular job. that isn’t an option. i need to be making money. somehow. but how. i feel like a failure because i can’t figure this shit out.

i’m also, ugh, really not up for writing tonight. i just have to do a few hundred more words so that i don’t lose my streak. remember when getting a hundred days was easy. it doesn’t feel easy now. this is why i like to write in the morning, or before my day starts at least. i don’t like leaving it until the last twenty minutes of the day. because then i have to write it and i can’t enjoy it. it’s all about watching the word counter tick higher and higher.

usually, having the word count right there helps me. that’s why i like to write in scrivener with the project targets box up on the screen so i can see how much i’ve written today, how much i’ve written total, and how much more i have to go. i especially like the automatic parser that calculates for you how many days and how many words you need. i don’t have a lot of words for country messes yet, but my daily number is just over 300. that’s no big deal. i just need a few thousand word days to make it all feel more manageable.

i just need one good day like the second day i was writing my teen wolf story. it’s usually the second day. the middle parts are good. it’s hard to start, and it’s hard to find the ending, but i like the middle, when i’m familiar with the characters and where the story is going, and everything’s just sliding along. that’s how i write a few thousand without really trying. the teen wolf story nearly topped out at 8k words. that blows my mind. and that was at a time when i was struggling to find the end of human events.

the first day of writing country messes, i didn’t let myself get too stuck in. i just wanted to get something down and stretch a little. get a feel for how the story might go. i’m getting a better handle on the characters. i wanted to link the blog from my blog, so i rewrote the summary so it wasn’t quite so embarrassing, and in that process, i got a little closer to what this story’s all about. writing a synopsis summary at the beginning is like writing a thesis statement before you start an essay.

i liked to write that sentence separate from the others. sometimes i liked to put it up on the top of the sheet of paper so i was always looking at it. i think i need to start putting more things down on paper so i can keep them in the front of my brain. i have a file in nvalt where i was brainstorming business ideas. now that i’m moving back home, i can do sewing lessons in my basement room. i want to get away from classic tutoring and editing, but i want to do more creative writing services. i want to make people think about new ways to use words.