Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Olde Times

Twitter isn't working, so I'll post this here:

my 20 year old (baby) sister is downstairs making up a dance to Hilary Duff's "Coming Clean."

So I've been reading too much Pitchfork Reviews Reviews, which I really do love. I love it, primarily, because the guy who writes it is not a writer. And I really love that I can read about raw thoughts and feelings without them being burdened with big words, proper sentence structures, and tightly-edited points of view.

Not that I'm saying that all writing today (especially music writing) is tied down by these creativity-suppressing conventions, but I do think that I sometimes spend too much time having to think about the proper way to word things, when I really should be focusing and distilling my thoughts in the most fluid, stream-of-consciousness kind of way.

I struggle between two types of writing - my professional writing, which sometimes seems to me stiff and unforgiving, and my for fun writing, which I would not let see the published light of day (in a legitimate, reputable journal/magazine/newspaper). I prefer writing more fluidly, but that isn't really acceptable in the journalism world. And I truly hate reading spelling and sentence structure mistakes, like the ones I'm making now with all these run-on sentences.

Anyway, with the PRR blog that I was talking about, the great thing is that the guy who writes it knows that he's writing terribly. In fact, in his reviews of Pitchfork's reviews (get the title? pretty straightforward stuff there), he notices all kinds of typos and misspellings, and picks those things apart. So I know he could be a better editor of his own work.

But that's not the point of the monster. He's distilling his thoughts and emotions in a way that I find so captivating. I can't figure out why it doesn't bother me to no end, reading this "amateur" guy dissecting some pretty well-respected music writers when he can't even put periods on his own sentences.

I think it's the fact that what he's doing is genuine, and he is a true fan of music and DIY culture, and all the things he's writing about. I left a very liberal college town a year ago, moved into the suburbs with my parents. Away from many of my weird-culture-loving friends, and with other great friends, most of whom just wouldn't really get my obsession with this song by Tallest Man on Earth or wouldn't waste a minute of their time checking out local shows and artsy things that you kinda have to seek out if you're living in the suburbs.

I miss the discussion, and I miss the weirdos involved in it. And through his blog, I almost feel reconnected with an old friend. He's not a close friend - he was probably one of the guys I worked with at the radio station, or a guy who was at all the same parties as me. But he's one of many in the my sphere of friends who likes to have the conversation.

Maybe I'm just a freaking hipster starving herself off from the SE Ohio hipster congregation, or maybe this PRR guy is really onto something.

The way he writes about music actually makes me excited to listen to it, and although I haven't tried anything he suggested, I did download the new Wavves album for when I get a hot second, just because he loves it so much. He's practically calling it that that guy is going to be the next movement or something. I'm willing to try. (And I love "Post-Acid," a great little flashy tune that found it's way into my inbox a few weeks back (thanks music publicist gods).

Another thing that I really enjoy is reading reviews of music writers' writings. (Not to, you know, make that sentence as redundant as possible, or anything.) I never really do hear feedback from people who actually read the things that people like me post on websites and in magazines, and it's kinda fantastic to see that there is an appreciation for the skill.

I know I endlessly worship some of the writers who I think are great, but it's good to know that people who aren't writers can still appreciate the craft. I guess that's what is keeping journalism afloat. I hope it lasts.

I want to work a more informal sense of feeling into my reviews and features, but oftentimes it seems to break the mold of the publication(s) for which I write. And I forget that I have a blog, where I can express these feelings to everyone in the world - not that anyone would really actually care about my feelings on issues, but maybe I can use it as a personal exercise for myself, to test my limits and see what I can get away with while still calling it journalism.

Is what I do considered "criticism"? I don't like that thought, and I prefer to think that I am more interested in the stories behind an album or an artist, but sometimes that story can be so hard to crack through indecipherable lyrics and shady phone interviews. I was really thinking about just the ability to find a journalism job where I can explore these things in-depth, where I can contribute days upon days to finding more out about people and situations and ideas in this world around me, and learn about the most efficient and interesting way to communicate these things back to the world.

I guess I'm in the mood for dialogue tonight.

What do you guys think? Are you non-writers with huge talent-crushes on writers? Does informality kill creative journalism, or does it make it thrive? Where do the lines fall on what constitutes of interesting writing? Does it have to be edited? What is legitimate, anyway? Who can we trust? And in this creative arts arena, do we need to trust? How much of what we're writing is real, and how much is contrived through perception, opinion, bias, and past experience? Who is your favorite writer? Do you know any other blogs that address these issues, or feel extra passionate?

I'm sick of reading music blogs with literal reviews and lofty descriptions that don't mean anything, and don't have relevance to my life. I'm ready for the real. I want someone to make the comparison between the struggle of climbing mountains and the sound of an album. I want things to relate to my everyday life. I want the M.I.A album to remind me of that time I got an MRI.

I want realness. I want discussion. I want the olde times to be the current times.

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