(I wrote this letter last Thursday, but it got stuck in “processing” and never arrived. I don’t know what happened, but I’m sending it along again with my apologies for missing last week.)
Last year, I bought a record player and listened to my parents’s record collection. This year, I made 10 playlists in iTunes, one for each year from 1991 to 2001. I spent hours looking for just the right cover image for each year. For all that I’m craving something new after two years in my house, sometimes the very old is good enough to be new.
This morning, “One Headlight” by The Wallflowers came up on shuffle. It’s actually the first song on the album, Bringing Down the Horse, from 1996. I was 14. I loved this kind of straight ahead guitar rock that was dominating the radio: Counting Crows, Matchbox Twenty, Tonic, Big Wreck. All of them, bands of men.
In my 30s, I decided there were too many male voices on my playlists and my bookshelves, and I deleted every album, donated every book. For an entire year, I read only women and listened to only female voices. Of course there were people I missed. I saved the Stevie and Christine songs on Rumours, but Lindsey had to go.
Eventually, my faves found their way back, and then everyone else. The music you love when you’re a teenager sticks with you your whole life. Over the first months of the pandemic, my mom spent her time at home ripping our entire family CD collection. Those 10 playlists I made this year, they’re mostly albums I bought in my teens and 20s, the last years before digital took over. (The last CD I remember buying at A&B Sound before it went under is Powderfinger’s Odyssey Number Five from 2000.)
I probably haven’t listened to The Wallflowers since the last millennium, not the whole album, in order, on purpose. But for a few years in the late ’90s, they were my band. My dad won us tickets to see them and Counting Crows on a double bill at The Gorge in Washington state. August and Everything After was banned from the living room stereo because I played it too much. But the concert shirt I bought that weekend was The Wallflowers’s.
The last few weeks, I’ve tried a new habit. I have a document in Craft called “Newsletter,” and throughout the week, I gather links and notes about what I want to write here for Thursday. But today, I opened it up and found a blank space. Usually, when I find a blank space, a song pops into my head. That’s how I wrote this letter to you this morning.
It’s November now, and I’ve set myself a new goal. I’m not doing NaNoWriMo, but NaMaZiMo, National Make a Zine Month. I’m going to make ONE zine this month (because my book is also due!), and you can watch me write it in this thread. Every day a new lesson on zinemaking.
If you want a little more inspiration for making your own zine, I did a talk on my Twitch channel about NaMaZiMo. It wasn’t too bad for my first time live on camera! Let me know what you think about Twitch because I have some ideas for the new year: workshops, AMAs, and of course, games. (Like crosswords?)
It’s another dreary day here, so I think I’ll hunker down with my manuscript, see if I can match the word count of this letter. Let’s hope I didn’t use up all my words today :)