Washing dishes. Doing laundry. Offering myself as a human Kleenex during cold season in a preschool classroom. These are just a handful of things I would rather do then sit down and write when I need to write. Dorothy Parker said it best, “I hate writing, I love having written.” I’ll say it in another way– writing is motherfucking hard. Anyone one who boasts writing comes easy for them probably should be doing a pinterest page instead. Whatever it is bursting forth with great ease and being committed to page I am willing to bet is about as engaging as lifted photos of baked goods, shoes and pets.
I can’t pinpoint the time when I began to identify as a writer because I can’t remember when writing was not somehow incorporated into my life. But this I do know. My feeling about the act of stringing words together into something that is affecting and intriguing has remained the same. It is motherfucking hard. I imagine it to be like knitting a scarf. Placing fingers around pen or upon keyboard is as mind-boggling and primitive a feeling as it is to take couple of sticks, clack them together and create something from a pile of fibers. Like a scarf, once finished you hope your writing might bring warmth on a chilly day, but more often it becomes a noose to choke the life out of you. Exhilarating, necessary and motherfucking hard.
Style or length of writing makes no difference in the ease factor for me. When I was writing upcoming show highlights for the section the LA Weekly used to call “Scoring The Clubs,” I needed to get 150 words per article on the page. That’s it. We had a Monday morning deadline, so every Sunday evening I’d begin the process. I’d listen to the band’s music and stare at a blank page. An hour in this scenario would evolve into head pounding, tears, rage and overwhelming regret for pitching the show idea in the first place. Eight hours later I would begin crafting excuses to send my editor as to why I could not make the deadline. And just as I was about to decide what sounded more legit, “my vision just disappeared” or “my typewriter broke,” I’d feel the spark of inspiration. I’d turn back to the page and that beautiful first sentence would come to me. From there, I’d bang out the assignment usually having about fifteen minutes to spare before I had to wake up for my day job.
I was brought back to all this when I put the 360’s CD into my computer and gave it a listen. I didn’t remember them and was expecting a 90’s shoegazing English band (for some reason), but instead was treated to some pretty decent Pretenders influenced rock and roll. Not a bad disc at all, but there were tumbleweeds blowing across the page when I sat down to write about this album’s place in my music library, and life. And then it came–that spark. Why don’t I plagiarize myself?
So good readers, here is my “review” of the 360’s album Illuminated, stitched together using a few lines from some of my favorite reviews of the past:
“Like a fallen knick knack shelf,” (1) “there is a certain brilliance to music created by a toddler banging passionately on pots and pans on the kitchen floor.” (2) “No tangible boundaries between the silly and the bleeding heart,” (3) [this band] “is more likely to slap you on the ass and give you a ‘hey baby’ than plant a tender little peck on your cheek.”(4) “Get your panties revved up and ready to be slung on stage,” (5) because 360’s “have given a flappy lipped condition a new meaning.” (6) They are like “having a Midol tablet, two chocolate bars and a car load of junk food when you are riding the cotton pony.” (7)
(1) Guitar Boy at Highways. LA Weekly June 30th – July 6th 2000
(2) Old Time Relijun at The Smell. LA Weekly April 16 – 22nd 1999
(3) Babe The Blue Ox at Spaceland. LA Weekly October 9th – 15th 1998
(4) Downgirl at Meow Mix West at The Garage. LA Weekly July 17-23rd, 1998
(5) L7, The Donnas at The Whiskey. LA Weekly March 26- April 1 1999
(6) Cameltoe, Woodpussy at Club Sucker at The Garage. LA Weekly February 26-March 4th 1999
(7) Patsy, The Need, Red Aunts, Automaticans at Saint Lucy’s at The Fais Do Do Ballroom. LA Weekly August 21-27th 1998