Words From The Midwest XIV

Good afternoon, you tumultuous hangers-on; you plaid or plain. Welcome to another edition of Words From The Midwest.

It’s a beautiful day in Cleveland and I am, once again, writing to you from my back porch. The air is thin, the sky is blue, and the breeze is playing fervently across my skin. It’s almost November. Someone forgot to tell Mother Nature. But I’ll take it. I will. Because in a matter of weeks it will be so cold that even stepping outside for a cigarette will be a chore, or, at the very least, something I’d rather not do. Maybe that’s redundant.

I’ve had a hell of a bad time writing lately. It’s one of those periods of time I go through where lyrics aren’t penned and the two novels I’m working on sit dormant; unversed from my tepidly creative mind. And so I give you another Words: strange and stupid musings or just plain nothingness I will one day compile into yet another book no one will buy. But I don’t want to sound jaded. True that I don’t write for you, I write for me and the simple truth that if I don’t amass a body of work I will feel I have not done all that I can in this life. And fuck, I’m twenty-six years old and I already have a life’s worth of work and I’ve only been at it for three years. And perhaps much of what I’ve done is simply too esoteric for the layman to enjoy. But I continue in earnest. And smile the same.

I’m listening to The Shins for the first time in a long time, and, as “Kissing The Lipless” slips from my speakers, I recall how this band once caught me by surprise. The first time I heard them was right around the time Garden State made them explode in circles far removed from the indie chic and the musically inclined. That first song I – along with nearly everyone, I suppose – heard was New Slang. It was in my creative writing class my senior year of high school. It was chosen by one of my classmates – who, years later, I would date for a short time, oddly enough – for a project for which we were made to discuss the meaning of the lyrics, etcetera. My pick was Holiday by Green Day. Oh how times have changed. But I do love the Shins now. I really do. But not as much as most people who like them; maybe I don’t love them. At least not in the way I love Okkervil River or even Of Montreal or The New Pornographers.

I love pop music, though. And I think I’ve already discussed how Pop music is basically all music, or at least that music which begs to be remembered. Buddy Holly pretty much invented modern Pop music and The Beatles made it into an art form of its own accord. We should all agree that nearly every genre of music is derivative from that Pop music of the 50s and 60s. Even the shallowest of pop songs tend to have something I enjoy about them. Though I could speak at length about just why I don’t like Madonna or that crossover “Country” which reeks of the worst of Pop at its worst. Though I’m not entirely sure I even know why I like certain music and loathe other music which has so much in common with that which I celebrate. Who knows. But, generally speaking, I know whether a song is good or bad in the first fifteen seconds. Maybe that makes me a snob.

Probably does.

But I really don’t mind.

Either way, The Shins are still playing. It’s my favorite album by them, I think: Chutes Too Narrow. It contains my favorite Shins song, Young Pilgrims. Check it.

So what else is there to say at the moment? I’m not really sure. I played a show at a little coffee house in Lakewood this past Friday and it went well. Although my guitar chord, I guess, doesn’t work and I had to play unamplified. It seemed to be alright, though. Whatever. Sold a couple CDs. All was as it should’ve been.

I think I’ll leave you here. Watch for another edition in the coming week and a new novella and album in the coming months.



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