Thursday, January 17, 2008

Anti-Castration Epic


Writing as life seems like one of the main currents of Seventh Draft, and frankly I can't see anything more writerly than putting your all into a MySpace comment. Sure, we're all addicted to the opus - but good is good and the stank of quality rises no matter how small the stain.

I think of it in terms of energy. You've got X amount of energy and you want to make something with it - want to bend the world and feel its kiss or disgusted slap or whatever. You do this because you're inadequate, a Castrato of moon-mash, too awake for an animal but otherwise powerful sleepy. So you doodle in your margins or write notes that no one will ever find. You lavish attention on the world the way you would lavish your hand on the back of a particularly lustrous golden retriever: because hair is soft and your hand can feel it.

The no "good" reason part is why art is heroic. I mean, I'm all for taking your shot at the title, writing a three-thousand page epic on the tobacco industry or rhyming enough couplets to get you into Guinness, but that's not really the point, is it? That's the world's work, and though art is always of the world, it needs to possess multiple dimensions to be real. It needs to have velocity, to be shooting off in all directions - to be shooting especially into those dark spaces and unborn minds that whose existence it can't even begin, at the moment, to imagine. Because it can't imagine them, it has to be as generous.

Art has no good reason and needs none. It's gratuitous, unnecessary - but if performed sincerely, it manages one of the most amazing inversions of existence and ends up being the most vital and useful thing in our toolbelt. Trusting in its utility doesn't have to be a faith thing, either. Think about how many beds you wouldn't have been able to get out of if it wasn't for Anna's squint. Or how you might not have been able to look yourself in the mirror if it hadn't been for Jens Lekman singing to his hairdresser,

"Your hands are soft.
Your hands are soft, just like silk.
You're a drop of blood.
You're a drop of blood in my glass of milk."

Words like these do more than just suffuse my life with romance - they shape my thoughts, give me a pattern to run myself through. They give off sparks that seem inexhaustible to me, and I know they have real effects in the real world. For one thing, they have made me prick my finger so that I could see exactly what a drop of blood in a glass of milk looks like. I think I know the girl he's talking about.

Art is art, writing is writing, and passion/emotion well-arranged will deliver itself, no matter what. Fuck the consta-poo-poo of masterwork and genre and follow delight, perversity, what ever you want to call it like a bird-dog. Because at this very moment, whether you like it or not, you are writing your life.



The Man Who Couldn't Blog said...

Jen Lekman.

Josh said...

Ahhh Jens...
I love the fact that he "doesn't remember" any Jonathan Richman songs. Uh, except for the ones TATTOOED ON HIS HEART!!

Seth said...

I for one like how Jens so unabashedly mimes the Beach Boys in that acoustic version of "Shirin". Right at the end, notice his cooing-- he's doing "Don't Worry Baby".

Josh said...

Yes! The Beach Boys are definitely there...a lot of great echoes in these songs. When I saw him live in New York he cut cut halfway through "Opposite of Hallelujah" to "Give Me Just a Little More Time" by Chairmen of the Board. Great, semi-forgotten r&b song, very joyous, the audience went nuts. It was like he had started throwing 100 dollar bills at us.

Tommy said...

When is the real time blog of the dance going up? I want to read what you guys had to say about whipping shower heads.

Josh said...

At this point, the alleged Warren Wilson dance blog is going to have to remain a bootleg, until one of us thinks of a good way to shape it into something excellent or at least non-embarrassing.

This may mean releasing only Tommy's sections, since they're the only ones that make any sense. (the sense they make is that they make no sense, but even this to my mind is infinitely better than Seth and my half-made senses)