Or, April showers and all that. Today the city is rainy with a bit of sleet. There’s a thing I’m helping with at work so I’m going in. Too bad, this would be a great “mental health”, call in sick day to work on Eastlight. I would thrive in Seattle, like a low light plant or happy mushroom. There is nothing better to me than a day on the couch, hand editing or free writing with a big mug of coffee. Instead I’m out the door and on the bus now. The caffeine is starting to kick in and the ipod is serving up some Spoon mixed up with the National, so I’m picking up and thinking about my listening habits.
The Republic begins with a dinner party. Socrates is pleasantly forced to attend and when he attempts to reason with Polemarchus, the son of the host, Polemarchus replies that you cannot “convince us if we refuse to listen.”
I’m in heavy editing mode right now, trying to trim “my words like kudzu” as Miss Snark suggests. It makes me feel like I’m operating with my blinders on. On the bus, head in the world of Aegea and face glued to laptop, I don’t even notice the woman who sits next to me. She’s well dressed and comments sideways that I’m obsessive for working on the bus. I give her a quick sideways librarian finger to the lips and get back to work. This is my time, precious, and I won’t be distracted. I’m not listening.
Lately, I’m on a delayed signal. Marnie Christenson, the goddess of indie rock goodness, gives me great album after great album and they sit. I listen to them and put them aside. Then a few months or weeks later, it will click in my head. I go back to it and fall in love. Not driving, I’m almost wholly disconnected from the radio. I’ll often discover a song in a television show or movie and think it’s new. Having been raised without access to secular music in junior high and most of high school, I thought Duran Duran was sparkling new in 1989.
I’m not trying to live some intellectual, aesthetic life. I keep my eye on pop culture and watch what TV I find clever. But lately, I find myself having cut down a lot on my reading and this I think, is a mistake. I can’t just write in a vacuum, spinning out what I think is gold. I need to measure it, get the pulse of what’s popular and what is selling. I need to thicken my skin and open myself to more criticism and input. More importantly, I need to remember that writing is all well and good, but without an audience you’re just talking to yourself.
I turn to the lady beside me and ask her where she’s from. Detroit it turns out. I let her know I’ve heard it compared to “bombed-out Beirut” but never been. “Yep,” she replies. “Beirut on the Lake.”
See? There is someone with a life experience I’ve never had. The rest of ride was informative and colorful, as only public transportation can be. Writing and editing are important David, but they aren’t much good without life!