“Jean Rhys said to an interviewer in the Paris Review, ‘Listen to me. All of writing is a huge lake. There are great rivers that feed the lake, like Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky. And there are mere trickles, like Jean Rhys. All that matters is feeding the lake. I don’t matter. The lake matters. You must keep feeding the lake’.” ― Madeleine L’Engle, Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art
“Writing is not difficult, what’s hard is sitting down to write”– Stephen King
- No electric guitars (broke this one, but that’s ok)
- Always choose the weird way – between two choices, I’d choose the one more elaborate, baroque, or rabbit-trailed
- Drum programming over live drums
- Thinking about a fictional band and sticking to a lower number of tracks for the arrangement.
- Try to use more “live” instruments: MicroBrute, Juno, rather than in-the-box instruments. But if they sound better, then hey.
- I wanted to use a Rickenbacker electric through a Vox AC-30 for the backbone of most tracks. I wasn’t able to get my hands on one (if you have one you’re looking to lend me or sell, hit me up!) so I’m borrowing an SG. I’ve been sticking to single-coils the last decade or so, especially my Jazzmaster.
And then there’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens. As a Star Wars devotee, I was guardedly optimistic about the new J.J. Abrams-helmed trilogy. The prequels gave me buyer’s remorse (although if you are a serious fan, this “Ring Theory” has been making the internet rounds this week and it’s worth a look) and I believe in Abrams so so much, just based on his previous cinematic history, both on the silver screen and the small.
The several minutes of footage I saw backed Willams up, as much as any several minutes from any movie could. Case in point: At the effects session, Abrams was demonstrating his commitment to the more retro, more tactile filmmaking Kasdan had talked about. One scene featured an alien creature that abruptly pops up out of the desert landscape with glowing, flashlight eyes that make it look like a distant cousin to the Jawas of A New Hope. Abrams later called it “a classic, old-school seesaw puppet. We just buried it in the sand, and Neal Scanlan, the creature guy, pushed down on one side and the thing came up on the other side.” At the session, the scene, with the alien suddenly sticking its head over a dune, got a big laugh. Some perfectionist suggested a few digital polishes, but Abrams was wary. “It’s so old-school and crazy,” he said. “We could improve this thing, but at some point do we lose the wonderful preposterousness?” – VF (ht i09)
“I think people are coming back around to[practical effects]. It feels like there is sort of that gravity pulling us back toward it. I think that more and more people are hitting kind of a critical mass in terms of the CG-driven action scene lending itself to a veryspecific type of action scene, where physics go out the window and it becomes so big so quick.”
Listening: New Tame Impala singles
Superbowl SundayIt was this Superbowl SundayI took a jawbone of an assI went in to the house of jackalsTook a deep breath of laughing gasWalking through a thicket of antlersI thought I smelled somebody telling truthThen you flashed your Cold War glamourAnd said “We’ve been expecting you”I was fumblin’ thru the wreckageThought ’bout Jesus and his dadIt was last Super Bowl sundayThe best that I ever hadIt was this Super Bowl sunday“Dharma bummed” in your parlanceYou were my burnside companionA friend of friends of friendsA man born under hunchesI fought up into welterweightThough I retired in the Winner’s CircleBut caught the Legionnaire’s DiseaseAutopsy showed no foul playBut I know something hadOn last Superbowl SundayWith Jesus and his dad
Too many beginners have the idea that they know what they have to say–now if they can just find the words. Here, you give them the words, some of them anyway, and some technical problems to solve. Many of them will write their best poem of the term. It works, and I’ve seen it work again and again. While the student is concentrating on the problems of the exercise, the real problems go away fro a moment simply because they are ignored, and with the real problems gone the poet is free to say what he never expected and always wanted to say (pg. 31).
Cartoon characters–from Daffy Duck to Pooh–wear the same thing every day, right? My son smashes the day away with an Incredible Hulk action figure, and recently I found myself scrutinizing Hulk’s signature tattered purple pants. I realized that Bruce Banner must be wearing purple pants everyday when he turns into the Hulk in order for the Hulk ALWAYS to wear the aforementioned eggplant slacks. Maybe they’re his most hated pair of pants, and since Banner knows he’s gonna hulk-out after brunch, he doesn’t care if they get destroyed, and thus purposely wears them. Maybe Banner is a genius—(he IS the world’s most leading scientist on Gamma radiation, after all). Or perhaps Banner is familiar with “decision fatigue”, and with only so many usable hours in the day to do research-y stuff, he is going to stick to the purple slacks and white lab coat.
With our limited amount of creativity and willpower, let’s conserve it for the things that matter—your creative work, your relationships. This idea of “decision fatigue” haunted Madame Bovary writer Gustave Flaubert, who said,
“Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work.”
The president does the same thing. Interviewing President Obama for Vanity Fair, Michael Lewis records Obama saying,
“You’ll see I wear only gray or blue suits. I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make.’ He mentioned research that shows the simple act of making decisions degrades one’s ability to make further decisions.”
Mark Zuckerburg, (while not lauded for the choices) commits to a daily grey tee.
One of my favorite comedians, Jason Mantzoukas (aka “Dirty Randy” on The League), has a whole Tumblr devoted to his uniform of white BDCO’s and blue jeans.
Some songs take a decade to write. “Anthem” took a decade to write. And I’ve recorded it three times. More. I had a version prepared for my last album with strings and voices and overdubs. The whole thing completely finished. I listened to it, there was something wrong with the lyric, there was something wrong with the tune, there was something wrong with the tempo. there was a lie somewhere in there, there was a disclosure that I was refusing to make.