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Stargate Alanis

Wait, I’m not in Glasgow. Damn it. DAMN IT!

OK, I guess I have to non-con blog. And resort to bad title puns.

I was listening-speaking of which!-quite inadvertently to the “new” Alanis Morrissette acoustic album of Jagged Little Pill, and if there isn’t a more useless album on the planet, I don’t know what it is. And I was thinking, how must have this sounded to her? Did she think that anyone would really be interested in such a thing?

But-mediocre music must sound GREAT in the studio, right? In perfect sound conditions? Sublime technological conditions don’t create sublime music. The trouble is when you get out of the studio, into stereos and ipods and into other people’s ears.

This is a cautionary note for myself. Because sometimes the interior of my own head feels like a tricked out (more or less) home studio. “Sublime technological conditions” can be mimicked in how a poem or story sounds in my head. If it sounds great in my head…what are the necessary ways to understand how it “really” sounds. That, I think, going back to the workshop discussion, is one of the awesome uses of a workshop. To enter this intermediary zone where the story/poem is STILL in your own head, but also in other people’s. But it’s not completely out there in the public world either.

Why do bands like Aerosmith and Rolling Stones (back in the day) record their music in crazy ass houses and abandoned mansions? It seems like a very 70s thing to do in many ways. And isn’t there a little 70s in all of us? Part of me, just psychologically, abhors the idea of writing retreats, or at least the way they’re narcissistically presented in Tiger Beat Poets and Writers. That is to say, non-working workshops, where writing seems more to be about lifestyle than life. (Just check out their writing conference feature to see what I mean.)

At the same time, there IS the allure of fucked-up abandoned mansions. Where the work gets down to the bone.

Fri, August 5 2005 » Fiction, Music, Poetry

2 Responses

  1. Elad Haber August 8 2005 @ 9:45 am

    Alan, re: our “folk” discussion at Wiscon. you need to buy/download/LISTEN to Sufjan Steven’s new album, “Illionis” immediately. like today. like now!

    (and i didn’t forget about your recommendations!)

  2. David Moles August 9 2005 @ 5:14 pm

    I’m sure Alanis thinks it’s ironic. Somehow.

    I notice that #1 on P&W’s FAQ is “Where can I find a writing conference or colony?” Which just goes to show why it’s not called Poetry and Writing, I guess.

    Three words about abandoned buildings: Racoon droppings. Meningitis.

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