days 4-12 as a mute

is blog was originally posted to The Dresden Dolls Diary.


you fucking people are radical. i love reading your comments so much and i am struck helpless in the face of how much i want to be friends with all of you but here we are, stuck on the internet. the internet. i can’t figure it out completely but i’m working on it, because it’s obviously Real. i think we’re making it what it is, as novel as that seems in this fucked culture. the future really baffles me.

mute life suits me so much i am seriously considering staying here for a while longer.i am going to reflect upon this separately.

i am upstairs and downstairs max and becca and sienna and some other people are celebrating sienna’s 20th birthday with a box of wine and a bunch of becca-dj’d ipod music played through terrible speakers.
i may leave my writing of this blog on occasion to visit said party and refill my plastic cup of boxed wine. i am not supposed to be drinking. but my throat feels healed. alcohol is also an astringent and general antibiotic.

i have had a generally basic routine here at home for the past week.
i wake up at around noon.
when i am being good, i stretch or go to yoga. sometimes i sit.
when i am not, i begin immediately emailing. i have written, literally, over 950 emails in the past 6 days.
i am answering shit from august. i am answering fanmail from 2005.

while i do this, i spend the morning cleaning.
i have been on tour for about 5 years. seriously, i do not keep house. my kitchen is covered in CDs. i do not clean when i am home; i arrange and avert disaster and straighten….when i am feeling ambitious.
there is dust and caked shit in corners like out of a fucking bad b-grade horror movie. me and this shit, we hang. we communicate, then i pull the trigger. i am like an excited silent ninja with my windex all-purpose cleaner and my dr. bronners-soaked washcloth.

while i do this, i listen to things on my stereo.
mostly to vinyl. i have a collection of about 400 vinyl records. many of which i’ve never given much attention because they were purchased during my pack-rat-heavy high-school and college days when i would go to yard sales and buy every pice of vinyl that looked even remotely interesting (e.g.”1963: walk in space”, “exploring swedish in hi-fi” and “dances of the scottish highlands” – these are just a few of things i’ve been spinning). i’ve also been listening to ols musicals and frank sinatra. i haven’t wanted to hear anything new.

while i do this, i email.
i get a SHIT-TON of emails. i tried to average it out recently day and i get around 100-200 emails a day, not including spam. many of these are emails i am copied into, but most of them need responses. i have struggled over the years about what to respond to and what to let go. i used to answer every single piece of email that came through the dolls website, and to do that i would stay up until 4 am and get no sleep. at a certain point, about 3 or 4 years ago, i realized it was a losing battle. so we transfered the band web email over to our beloved management and they would go through it and forward me a condensed email with every week’s worth of email in one file, which i read when i get the time. the really important shit (gig bookings, lost cousins and friends trying to find me, people offering concrete services or having problems, etc).. that they forward to me immediately.

but i still get hundred of emails from people that i have Shit Happening With, friendships with, people i have met on planes …. and so on. i am a hoe this way…. i am known to give my email to just about every person i sit next to on a plane or a train. seriously. i do. i dig a serious hole. after years, this started to seem patently stupid. wy must i keep wanting to communicate with every person i meet on a plane??? why? because i want to, desperately. but i can’t keep up with all of it. i am a total communicationholic and it gets in the way of…art? life? i don’t know. but i do know that i realized about a year ago that i as reaching out too much and not having the energy or the time to reach back to what i was reaching out to. i was, as they say, spreading my self way too fucking thin. so i tried to cut back. i didnt’ really succeed. but i recognize that i have a problem, that i have no control over this problem and am willing to give myself over to a higher power … and i am wiling to make steps to change. hi.

i go through these phases where i let the emails pile up and pile up and pile up and as they mount i tell myself i am going to get to them at a very specific reckoning date in the future.

now i reckon.i take occasional breaks to watch youtube clips, but mostly, i read and write.
i have been watching the emotional parallels between answering 338 emails leftover from november and cleaning out the gunk from the wooden-carved spice rack above my stove and it’s really – honestly- the same thing,
with every passing day i feel about 3 pounds lighter. i zap every old-but-easy-to-reply-to email with the passionate enjoyment of squeezing an over-ripe zit.

i have also been cleaning out the drawers and the tables. my drawers and tables and desk are full of Items

it is impossible to explain, but everyone understands it.
STUFF. THINGS. ITEMS that have no home but but be reckoned or dealt with.

i travel all the time and accumulate dozens of ITEMS per day that must be dealt with.
cds that people give me.
weird clothing items.
things to read.
things to watch.
these THINGS, over the course of many tours and then returnings-home, become an albatross of doom.
i look forward to going through these ITEMS…..in theory……and am REALLY attached to their THINGNESS, but never seem to clear them away to make counter space.
so i drown in a Sea of Things.

in the past four days, i have ejected 4 giant bags of THINGS to Away – to the trash, to the recycling (god only knows where that shit actually goes – i grow more skeptical by the second), to goodwill.
to max, to lee, to people In The Mail, or other purveyors of Thing who might find my discarded treasures interesting for a while. who knows.

and while i do this, i listen to Frock.
Frock is what brian and i have come to call what used to be called “Friend Rock”, later shortened to Frock for brevity.
“friend rock” used to refer to friends (or acquaintances) who would give us their CDs, which would then join the Mountain Of Items In My Apartment.

i have to hand it to myself. for the first 2-3 years of the band, i was religious about listening to every single CD that was given to me.
i even started FILES in my FILING CABINET with ALPHABETIZED DIVIDERS for every band we knew and wanted to play with.
in said file i would put their CD, press kit, and any other promo or photos they had sent.
why? because we would bill shows together with these bands and i would send their materials out to the local press when they were on our bill. pay attention, this is Struggling Band In the Internet Age 101: Step One, be your own publicist.
i just emptied out that entire filing drawer (including tons of old bank statements from 2003 and instruction manuals for windows 98 and letters from the DMV from 1997) and threw that shit AwAY.

back to Frock.
Frock then came to refer to anything given to us, at all. when i tour, i am handed several CDs a show. multiply that by an 8 week tour and i return home with a bag of shit.
a lot fo it i deal with on tour. i can tell form the death-metal artwork and the band titles like “cleopatra’s tears” that i am not going to dig the club promoter’s girlfriend’s sister’s band.
in such cases, i do what we call “flinging frock”.
you take said CD and with a great amount of relish you say “FLING” and you jettison the Item in whatever direction you wish. the Item usually does not survive the journey to where ver your Fling takes it.
but before i start sounding like an asshole, i keep about 85% of what i get, because most of it usually looks interesting. and i want to hear it.
so it comes home with me and joins The Mountain Of Items In My Apartment.

when listening to Frock at home, i listen to the first 15 seconds of the disc, and if i like it, i listen to the whole first track. if i like that, i listen to the rest of the disc and look for the and online. if i dont, i Fling.
i often unearth frock from three years ago and love it and get online only to find that the band became defunct two years ago. thats always depressing.
if i really, really, really like it i will email the band if they’ve included a contact or i’ll message them through their website.

while i do this, i clean the bathroom and do laundry and throw away clothes.
somehow i manage to accumulate a ton of clothes on tour…..they get given to me. i can’t throw them away.
so they join the Mountain.
for some reason, i can let go of something psychologically if it’s been rotting in my apartment for 6 months. my brain goes: ok….you gave it a shot. but you’ve never touched it. Fling.

i still have dresses i bought six years ago that i am convinced are awesome in theory but i’ve NEVER worn them.
but i cant throw them away. this is an awful, and may i submit possibly very american, dilemma. i have a love affair with My Shit.
I did well this week, I am proud.

i have found that the only way i can get rid of my Shit is to give it to other people, thus making me think that my potentially-valuable-Shit might have second life with someone who love this Shit as much as i did.
i was really psyched when brians’ little sister maia came on the scene because i started unloading all of my unwanted clothes on her. she was psyched at first.

to this end, i began a fantasy and started a huge box on my kitchen floor into which i started purging & Flinging every weird-ass THING and otherwise unusable and semi–but-not-totally-sentimental tchotchke i own.
in my fantasy, i am going to send every one of these Things Away in the mail, along with a CD of Frock to anyone who sends me an empty self-addressed envelope. i’m still waiting to hear back from my management
about whether they are willing to aid me in the organization of such a task (if i had the envelopes sent here, the mailman would fire me). more on this later.

while i do this, i drink tea.
i collect tea and infusions, and find that brewing cup after cup while working at home is soothing.

while i do this, i look for pens i can throw away. i mange to accumulate ballpoint pens. where do they all come from? hotels? i hate them.

i had five bottles of carmex. i buy carmex in winter in drugstores in the midwest when i have no carmex when my lips are chapped. i consolidated them into two jars.
why do i have so many teaspoons and yet so few forks? when did this happen?
i had three jars of cinnamon.i threw one away.
i had 7 corkscrews. i threw 4 away. 3 were technically sentimental.
i had two staplers. why? i took care of this problem.
there are big questions at work here. why do i need more than one thing of each thing? why didn’t i just reject that second stapler when it appeared in my life?
i don’t know, but i understand that past person who said : “yes!!! that second stapler may indeed be very necessary!”

life is uncertain.

i am going to write a spiritual sequel to the I Ching called the I Fling.

i threw away my VHS collection. lucky for my green-mind, i found this lovely site: www.greendisk.com. they take technotrash.
i had over 100 VHS tapes leftover from the 80s, mostly 3-to-a-tape movies on EP speed from cinemax and showtime, channels which – by some fateful coincidence – my family got free in the mid-eighties due to a mistake at our cable company.
though it was difficult to part ways with revenge of the nerds, fatal attraction, spies are us, romancing the stone, dangerous liasons, the flamingo kids and trading places, i did it.
plus, i re-bought dangerous liasons on DVD last year.

i read a book about frank sinatra. it was great.

at night, at around 3 or 4 am, i take a bath if i am feeling ambitious. then i go to bed. in fact, i am going to go run a bath right now.
when i go to bed, i bring my mac with me and watch twin peaks. i am almost done with the second season.

i go on occasional walks to obtain food.
i am sometimes accompanied on these walks by loved ones.
i communicate via blackberry. these meals are enjoyable. i enjoy them more than usual

i’ve spent three afternoons and evenings so far at brian’s house, sorting through endless photos to make selections for the new songbook.
brian’s house is already very clean. brian has No Mountain, he’s not the type.
we spend half the time working and half the time eating foods and making each other laugh.

i do not play the piano. i did vacuum the piano yesterday. the idea of playing it is Not Attractive. i don’t feel guilty.

i agreed today to give my very first piano lesson. to a random Boston University student, who emailed the band, in april.
i don’t know why i said yes this time. people have been asking me if i’ll give lessons for years. i just felt like it.

i cleaned under the bathtub. i havent hit the bedroom yet. the bedroom is where the Letters are. the Letters and the Photos and the Songs.
thats very frightening territory.

i am supposed to be writing the text for the new songbook, i am procrastinating.

i threw away kitchen utensils that i have always had and never used, but that looked cool. like the tongs. and the big antique poundy wooden smasher. how could i throw that away?
it was hard.

i have gotten out a few times. i went down the street the other night with a friend to a night students’ music pieces at jordan hall.
very experimental shit, the night was titles “notes on the theater of cruelty” and was based on artaud. i expected it to be awful but it was, for totally avant-improv shit, awesome.
the students made frequent use of the audience space (often you’d be surprised by a student next to you in a chair busting out a sax or muttering found text as part of a piece).
one student played cello upside-down. while i was there i was inspired to jot down the entire running order and events of my touring show in the fall.
it’s going to be fucking amazing. i left inspired and excited. thought-based live art will do that to you. bad rock show in bad bars will not. i should go out more to Good Things.

on the Uggs.
jesus, people. hit a nerve, eh?
and the CROCS. such dramatic feelings! it gave an an interesting insight into the demographic here. you australians couldn’t help it.

spinewillsnap said…
RE:Ugg boots…ugg.

That actually reminds me…a couple of friends drove me out to a mall so i could raid the hot topic there and buy a david bowie shirt, but as payment i had to go to abercrombie, a&f, american eagle, hollister, etc. with them.

it got to the point where i was so sick of the smell, the lights, the music, that i sat in front of a potted plant and began to meditate.

i love you. sit on.

elise said…
blogging at 1:19 in the morning? You MUST have a lot of time on your hands. Make sure to enjoy it while you can, although I do miss your singing. Hell, maybe your true calling was blogging…

a truer word was never spoken. i sometimes wonder if i will ever be inspired to write music again now that i have found this handy and direct vehicle.

the deviant tart said…
god i hate today’s fashions. the best is when they have faux-fur on the top of those boots, and wear their pants tucked into them. it looks like they are trying to pretend they are on some sort of ski trip. Now, am i correct in assuming that the sweatpants of which you speak are the variety with words written on the ass? because i have noticed that the people who are most likely to wear those are the people who least need to draw attention to their ass!

pope, who was raised in manhattan, once told me that baggy pants were the OPPOSITE of cool if you were truly bad-ass in new york growing up, because you CANNOT RUN FAST IN PANTS LIKE THAT IF THE COPS ARE CHASING YOU. take that as you will.

altho, further to madonna/feminism/allthatjazz, someone the othr day proposed to me that they were the “ultimate feminist shoe”; comfy and unconcerned about their appearance. i think this is wrong, but i did stop to consider it. thoughts, o muted singer?

Posted by Ben on Friday, March 07, 2008 at 7:11 AM

ahHA! i think you’re onto something here. it seems that BOTH footwear and madonna have stumbled into feminism by default.

just want to reply to the guy above who said ugg boots could be considered the ultimate feminist shoe…what the hell are you talkin about?? they may be comfy but i’ll tell you this they give no protection whatsoever, my doc boots would stamp them out good and proper and they on the other hand represent feminism more accurately than those mushy things…doc martins depict the strength that feminism stands for and are not to be messed with…

also i know for a fact that 99% of the girls who wear uggs have never even heard of feminism..
get well soon amanda:)
although it is good when u cant speak,you start to see the world from a different perspective:)

Posted by Lorraine on Friday, March 07, 2008 at 7:31 AM

oh shit lorraine. you are actually correct. they may be comfortable but they probably provide zero arch support, and obviously no protection from actual riot grrls wearing steel-toed boots in the pit. fuck my theory.

I’m the 1% that totally rocks my 3 different pairs of Ugg boots & is a huge feminist.

What can I say… they are perfect in the snow – even though they are ugly!

Posted by milkshake & honey on Friday, March 07, 2008 at 9:02 AM

and the last word is spoken.


my clogs.

these sheepskin boots (evidently some yanky asshole put a world patent on the word Ugg) are best viewed with naked silky smooth pegs of shapely design reaching high to an angulated gap factor, clad in scottish tweed, etc

Posted by glenn on Tuesday, March 11, 2008 at 3:58 AM

of course, glenn, you would say something like this. fucker. i’m siccing madonna on you.

have you ever watched “the piano” ?

the main character is mute. its a fucking good movie.

random question: do you ever have trouble deciding how you are going to paint your eyebrows on that day in the morning? i imagine it would be like deciding what to wear. i mean, you can express a surprising amount of emotion through the eyebrows. confusion. anger. surprise. cynicism. anxiety. quizzical. its all there man. i know these things because i am one of those people who stands in front of the mirror sometimes and makes different shapes with the eyebrows. its a good procrastination mechanism. i feel that i somehow am accomplishing something because when somebody asks me why i didnt do it, i know i will have a GREAT facial expression, eyebrows and all, to explain why im a lazy ass.

but seriously, watch the piano.

Posted by George. on Friday, March 07, 2008 at 8:17 AM

amazing film, one of my favorites. re: the eyebrows, it’s a very short moment of the day. i consider it at least a .0001% moment of the day that must involve some creativity. it’s sort of an Art-Drill. one must alwats be armed with a liquid eyeliner, which is against my lo-maintenance state of being. however, life is full of paradox. dig.

hey amanda,
being an avid finger-picker myself, i was wondering if you still had the habit, and if you don’t, how did you stop because i really think i should but i just can’t do it! i’ve tried everything but alas, my fingers are still all red and picked apart. every single one of them. it’d be great if you had some advice. see you with the pops. i can’t wait(my mom was so impressed haha)!


you know, the finger-picking is like a stress-indicator. i pick most of the time, but really badly (like, to the point of bleeding) when i’m super-stressed – then i know things are Not Good Around Here.
it’s like a barometer. when i’m feeling really ambitious, i have found that one thing helps: i get a manicure. with clear nail polish if you’re not into the color shit. they scrape every single hangy-thing away. and for about a day, you go to pick and there’s nothing there to pick and you are taken aback. it’s an eye-opener, at least. do it, the cheap place it town should only cost like fifteen bucks.

dave said…


I’m wondering if you can advise me a bit on keyboards. I’m looking to buy myself my first one – I don’t know how to play – yet I intend to stick with it, so I’m not just looking for some $40 beginner’s synthesizer off eBay. basically, I want something simple, preferably with the full 88-key range, weighted keys, and a good sound. I’m less concerned with having a million effects and voices and more with just finding a good, solid keyboard to play and record with. I’ve been looking at the Yamaha S80 and the Kurzweil PC88, which are both reasonably priced on eBay at the moment. my price range is around $600, more or less.
any thoughts on this would be most appreciated.



i love the live sound of the kurzweil but it’s a real subjective choice. it depends whether you want built-in speakers. i would assume yes, yamaha makes some good ones. go to the store and test that shit, thats really the best way.

eli said…
uuhh ? what drugs were u on ?:P

or was it something else ?

funny video but prefer the Nine Inch Nails Downward Spiral Spiral project ..gues you know it ?

love from the Netherlands

2:54 AM

you know, someone from the netherlands WOULD ask that. trent had more budget and it was 3 am, ok? don’t knock it, fella. fuck it

This is absolutely ridiculous.
And you know, it’s silly that I’m bitching about this, because, I honestly don’t give a fuck about what people wear. They do what they want, I do what I want. It’s something I’ve striven for most of my life, as for most of high school I thought I was the biggest riot grrrl in the world and wore bondage pants from Hot Topic and band t shirts etc. RED AND BLACK allll the time. And I was constantly made fun of. I just wanted to be left alone. But at the same time, I remember one day…I was out of clothes, and one of the only shirts I had left was A&F or American Eagle or something like that. I liked the design, but it had the brand name on the front–something that, to this day, I still argh over. In any case, I covered the shit out of this shirt with duct tape (my own personal Jesus) and wrote Anticrombie and shit like that all over it. Man, I thought I was so badass.

Posted by Persona non grata. on Friday, March 07, 2008 at 1:57 PM

oh man, that opened up a floodgate of memories for me. i remember the whole year of 1989 when i would only buy black items of clothing. ocassionally polkadots and paisley and floral (somewhat random, doens’t it seem? nay. i was following my idol, robert smith). i also got in the habit of rocking hospital gowns over long-johns and boxers (yes, with requisite doc martens. blue ones). i thought i was The Shit. i had all of these leftover clothes that were black…. but brand-name. so i went to town, ripping off all logos and brand-names with a vicious fervor, using scissors, bleach and sharpie.

it was the opposite extreme. and it was so sudden. it literally happened overnight, i remember it….i was getting ready for school the night before eigth grade started and i happened upon the combination of black jeans and black shirt and looked in the mirror. and i thought: that’s it. this is me for a while. fuck all these people. fuck those other people at school. fuck my family. fuck my sister. fuck the mall. fuck the tv. weird. but probably not that weird. i went from trying to get in with the popular kids to wanting to torch them in 15 minutes. it was as close to a full epiphany as i;ve ever had in my life.

I have a question, totally non-UGG (stands for UGLY) and non-surgery related. A friend of mine and I were wondering if you and/or Brian had any “formal” training in performing? Such as acting classes, piano lessons, voice lessons, and the like. Experience counts as training.

Posted by Kellsj on Friday, March 07, 2008 at 7:05 PM

well, depends how you define formal. i was way into the drama shit in high school, and i had a genius director, who i still work with to this day. but i never acting school. by the same token, i was in a jazz improv band diuring school hours at high school because he has a kick-ass department, and i took some lessons on the side. but i was never very serious about practicing. i spent a lot of time alone, improvising and playing, but not a lot of time practicing. i still have practicing. i’ve been at home for over two weeks now and haven’t wanted to play the piano once, that should tell you something. you said “experience counts as training”. i couldnt’ agree with you more, if you’re passionalte about your experience. if you really want to be in a rock band and you already know what you want to do and play, fuck school. it might only defer your experience.

as for voice lessons, i’ve been taking lessons from a vocal coach occasionally since i started touring, i felt i had to since i was losing my voice so much. but i havent spent a lot of time on technique.

I work at a mall, and I’ve noticed that even though we’re in the Northeast and even though it is COLD(tm), the big thing to do is wear Ugg(ly) boots with a big huge puffy coat…. and a denim mini skirt. It is as if someone did not tell these girls’ vaginas that it is winter. Their upper bodies and feet were informed, but no one told their vaginas. Or their thighs. I can’t wrap my head around it. 60% of your body is wrapped up like Nanook of the North, while your waist to knees are on a permanent Hollister-cponsored vacation in South Beach.

I’m so glad I’m in my late 20’s and done with the adolescent THIS IS WHAT I MUST LOOK LIKE OR NO ONE WILL LOVE ME! bullshit. Because that is the only overriding logic I can think of to justify all these little girls all thinking that they must dress like this. I want to wrap them all in a blanket.

And PS– Uggs are ugly no matter what you wear them with. I don’t care what anyone says.

Posted by Hell On Heels: Red Hot since ’81 on Saturday, March 08, 2008 at 2:41 PM

those poor deaf vaginas.
hallelujah to the end of adolescence. fucking hell.

Oh, and I have a question for the mute.
When organising tours, solo and with Brian, how do you choose the Support Acts? Do they have to come to you, and audition? Like a ‘Dresden Doll Suport Act Idol’ and get voted off every week?
Just wondering about the process.


Posted by ALICIA. on Saturday, March 08, 2008 at 6:16 PM

oh my god. no, but you just gave me an excellent idea for a reality web tv show. with all of my free time, i shall do this.
honestly, i keep a list. the Frock contributes to this list, and people send me links and tips all the time. sometimes i will see bands. it’s always different. i hear about reigna because i was at my old high school helping out with a show and a student was playing her on the stereo in the drama club room. i was like, WHAT IS THAT, I MUST KNOW. i foudn the red paintings because i posted to the forum asking about good aussie support acts, and they wound up following us to the states. faun fables were old friends from when we toured with sleepytime, who brian knew from his old days as a pure fan. devotchka were recommended by a friends we had at management in denver. key ingredient: just be good. people will talk.

Also, after watching the brilliant video, I am fairly sure you need a keytar.

done. i have an omnichord. that’s close. i’m also thinking of auctioning off My First Keyboard (a 2 foot casio i got for christmas when i was 9) for Obama. i can’t handle looking at it anymore…..and, to be honest, i boight a better-working duplicate of it at a shitty fleamarket in leeds or somewhere godforsaken in the UK when i was there two years ago.

ok i stop.

while Flinging, I was very excited to find this shirt that i bought at dollar-a-pound 3 years ago.
i’d forgotten about it. i never wear it but i figured i might has well immortalize it, because it’s awesome.


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