from under the hood of the blogmobile.
so. i’ve had this blog for over ten years and i feel like i don’t know it at all. you know what i mean?
i mean…that’s not true, what do i want to say? i want to say that like my digestive system, or tax returns, or the phenomenon of gravity, i’ve always been very happy that they exist and i’m sort of instinctively allergic to over-thinking it and finding out exactly how they work. i despise looking under the hood.
once i’d started this blog (back in 2003) i always felt faintly guilty if i didn’t do it, and i always felt i had to have something significant to share, either emotionally or news-wise in regards to the band. there was no comments section. i had no way of knowing who was (or how many people were) reading.
i did notice that the more emotional blogs got mentioned to me, by friends or people at shows. and i also noticed the beginning of a phenomenon i now call “Blog Constipation”….a scattering of ideas and half-written blogs in my inbox. i think i have, at last count, about 30. sometimes the most significant events go unblogged because i want to explain perfectly, add the perfect photos, etc…and my enthusiasm wanes day by day as i don’t actually sit down and Do the Thing and meanwhile, the event itself is fading into the background behind the car as i careen towards the next Thing. my to-do list tailgates.
this is my current to-do list. yes, i still use a pen and paper. i stayed over at anthony’s house last night. i’m writing this blog from his study desk.
i am like this. in high school, i was an all-nighter person, writing the 12-page essay that was assigned 6 weeks ago starting at 6 pm the night before it was due – always very excited by my binging. (i had rituals back then. i would crack open the pantry, open a tin of general foods international coffee – hazelnut flavor – and spoon out two tablespoons every few hours as i sat at my little apple 2e and cranked out….whatever was due). it’s the same thing with songs.
and i am, in general, a one-sitting songwriter. i have to capture the idea when it’s fresh or it’ll probably never happen.
i once found the perfect metaphor, and i still love it to this day though it’s decidedly morbid: for me, songs are like babies.
you can’t take a baby, put it in bottom of the closet for three months, not feed it and love it, and then expect to come back and give it all your attention.
no amount of inspiration at that point will fix your problem. you gotta just start a new baby.
now this isn’t a HARD and fast rule…but it’s pretty true. i’m looking over the songs on the last record and with the exception of two (“olly olly oxen free” and “smile”) pretty much all of them were one or two-sitting affairs, with the second sitting being in close proximation to the first.
so the blogs are like this.
i’m blogging differently now that i’m off tour…and i’m sort of pulling up the hood and looking inside. i have learned things.
here’s The Things:
-my best blogs are the ones i write spontaneously when i wake up in the morning with a fresh head, or late at night with a melancholy window into the cosmos, and think “hey i’ll write a blog about what i’m thinking right now”.
-i’m a writer. i don’t normally identify as one, and i feel unqualified calling myself one (being married to mister whoozeewhatsit certainly doesn’t help), i cannot edit for shit, but when i look back at my blogs from 2004, my writing style has evolved. i’ve spent a lot of time writing. so i think, maybe, i can get over it. blogging is an unrecognized, unpaid art form. not complaining, but it does strike me as funny: the medium determines how seriously people take things. if i wrote a blog about this long (which’ll probably end up being…2,000 words or so) and published them in short-novella BOOK form…and hauled copies down to my local indie book store and tried to get critics to review it….it’d have a decidedly different feel, no? i’d be demanding people critique it and Take My Writing Seriously. Posterity, the cannon on english literature, blah blah blah. can this shit that i’m writing here be considered legitimate, even though it’s as disposable (MORESO, actually, given it’s digital-cloud nature) than a daily newspaper?
-this makes me wonder if the best writers of the young generation might indeed be bloggers, and nobody will ever find them in the future. unlike emily dickinson, they’re not going to print out all 8,238 pages of their entire blog oeuvre and leave them nicely wrapped in string in a collection of antique bureau drawers. it’ll just be gone. does anybody else worry about this? fuck. i wonder this about email too. we have books upon books of famous letters written between artists and lovers and writers and diplomats and and and….the email has killed the letter. will we ever have those beautiful windows to look into again? i wonder.
-speaking of Posterity, i live with a burning low-level anxiety that my blog isn’t actually very safe, as in: archived. most of it is probably backed up on hard-drive it’s not in a cardboard box i can put in a safe. it’s not fully archived anywhere and all the early blog photos need to be re-coded (due to maintenance problems that i’ve never been able to fully grasp). sometimes i fantasize about publishing a best-of of the blog – i think there’s enough good ones.
-like i mentioned up there, the blog tends to fall into two categories : 1) LOOK WHAT I DID and 2) HERE’S HOW I FEEL. the look what i did ones are the only ones that cause me panic when i put them on my to-do list and then don’t DO them.
-i always want to share what i’m reading (books), seeing (films), and listening to (music…well actually, that’s bullshit. i barely listen to music anymore. let’s be honest and say i want to tell you about the wonderful stories i’ve been hearing on public radio). and for some reason, i just never do it. i have no idea why. but i’m developing a theory that i do it subconsciously, out of a kind of need for a private life. i know that may sound weird…but there’s things that i share and things that i don’t and i feel like i need to keep a cosmic balance otherwise i live life like a full-time commentator and critic. i don’t WANT to have analytical, commentary-driven brain when i’m reading in bed, or sitting at a film, or reading a newspaper article. i want to just soak it in and let it hit my brain without feeling the urge to share share share share comment comment comment comment. i don’t always want to have to connect the dots. sometimes i just want to admire them.
-i understand now why the blog gets so overwhelming and anxiety-producing when i’m tour. MORE happens and i have LESS time and energy, and get constipated almost immediately.
when i go on tour so many noteworthy THINGS happen and i’m so fucking exhausted. i wake up in the morning thinking “i should blog about what happened at the show last night” and honestly, it’s the last thing i want to fucking do. what i really want to do is treasure those few two free hours of the day before i have to turn back into a rock machine and head to soundcheck and press.
i need to figure that one out.
-the comments section has evolved….it’s better. people connect more under the cut. i think it has to do with the twitter community having a bleed-over effect into the blog: over the past four years or so i’ve been more in conversation with everybody, and everybody with each other. maybe social networking in general has made people more talk-y. i dunno. i DON’T dig that everybody’s collected reflections on whatever topic i blog about are scattered and disconnected over various platforms (disqus on the blog itself and twitter, mostly) and i wish that conversations could stay ALIVE. it bums me the fuck out that a wonderful conversation starts and then ENDS abruptly when i post the next blog. people in general used to be much more active on the dresden dolls/AFP forum (theshadowbox.net), but i think my obsession with twitter drained a lot of that energy. in my fantasies, the conversation lives in ONE place, and stays going as long as people feel they have something to SAY. on the forum, a topic never really dies, it can be bumped back up into view YEARS later when information surfaces or people have new feelings to add. i miss that with the blog. (i’d love to hear any thoughts you guys have about this…esp if you see other artists who’ve managed to solve this weirdness…maybe the solution is just to post the blog to the forum).
AND SO…the very act of writing this has inspired me to get a fucking load off my chest and simply show you my blog to-do list.
maybe it’ll help. and i’m actually hoping to cross off a couple of them as i go.
-the insurance poll blog.
it was such a massively cool thing that happened, wonderful people helped me put together the data, and i feel like i need to take a half day to sift through the data, look at it, and think about what it all means. this is bullshit, i should just post the data and let you fuckers figure it out. i will, i will. dammit.
-the new year’s eve blog. i’ve had a draft of this sitting on my desk since january 5th. you know what? FUCK IT.
here’s the SUMMARY: NEW YEAR’S WAS AMAZING. WE PLAYES PURPLE RAIN BY PRINCE. EVERYBODY GOT DRUNK AND HUGGED.
i’m going to post my favorite pictures at the bottom of this fucking blog. the. end.
-a series of How To Deal with Tour blogs. i’ve also wanted to do this for years but every time i tour it’s the last thing i want to write about and when i’m off tour it’s the last think i want to think about.
-“Music I Love” blog. i’ve been wanting forEVER to write a long blog about my influences. magazines and press ask me to put together lists of this and that and i’ll take time to make playlists for radio stations and streaming services but it astounds me i don’t just do it directly for YOU.
-same with Books. but….see issue above. maybe i’m putting it all off for a reason.
-“the bed song” blog. this one is coming, i promise. i…have a long story to tell you.
-the Great Kickstarter Round-up Blog – how things look six months on.
-the How To Tweet blog. i’ve been meaning to write this for about a year. this isn’t just a “how you should tweet” blog, it’s a guide to “how to tweet AT ME”.
i can give you a preview: don’t tweet the same non-profit link at me nine times every time you see i’m online. it won’t make me retweet you. it’ll make me block you. and so forth.
-the Unsung Heroes of My Life blog.
-the Whole Truth about Roadrunner Records blog (including the HILARIOUS email i recently stumbled across from the “leeds United” video debacle days).
-the Marchesa Casati blog.
-the How Kurt Cobain Would Fare in the Era of Social Media blog.
-the Abortion blog.
-the Drinking blog.
-the Six Things I Will Not Blog About blog (i have, no shit, started writing this one).
-and……….Fill in the Fucking Blank Blog.
if you guys have something you want me to blog about, now’s the time to ask.
i’ve got some time on my hands and i’m in the Mood.
hit me. i’m as open as a 7-11 in boston which is now open 24 hours which is very funny to me.
love from anthony’s study,
p.s. yes…new year’s photos.
most of these are from @brooklynvegan (unless otherwise noted)…more – plus ze setlist – HERE.