I just received my copy of the Roky Erickson with Okkervil River album “True Love Cast Out All Evil“–and I can’t wait to listen to it. I might sit in my car on lunch and pump it through the speakers down by the river. I’ll devotedly pick up anything Will Scheff has his hands in, so this was a sure bet–and has been the theme for a while, I’m catching up on my musical knowledge (although, unlike Dylan, I’ve never had a single conversation where Erickson came up–that I can recall anyway), and everything else in my life.
It has been a pretty tough morning and night, Sabres playoff disappointment, not enough writing (there is never enough), opportunities missed and closed–really a series of significant let downs that cast expectations and achieve-ability into doubt. Or maybe this is just a stretch of learning. Either way, in an attempt to distract myself, I finally checked out Carrie Brownstien’s Monitor Mix blog on NPR. I like Carrie Brownstien, and her (currently on indefinite hiatus) band Sleater-Kinney. My friend and former band mate/Kinko’s coworker Dave exposed me to them back in 2002, and they influenced not only our music then, but the music I try to make now. So I should have been a little more proactive in checking up on her output (since I won’t have new music for at least 5 years).
Reading through her previous posts, I came across this lovely post about letters to your rock star idols. I got to thinking that I should finally get around to writing that letter to Travis Morrison I wanted to send back in 2004. And maybe finally write to John Vanderslice about how his album continues to shape a novel I’ve been writing for what seems like years. I thought, as I read Brownstien’s post, about writing to Will Scheff too, considering his music has been just as influential on my artistic output. But then I came along to this:
What I really wanted from these musicians…was validation; not for them to tell me I was cool or special or loved, but that I was here, that I was alive and real and not alone. I can’t say that ever really happened, and maybe it didn’t need to; perhaps the life line I was sending out to a stranger was just a means of anchoring myself.
So I stopped. I had a moment where that part of your brain takes in some piece of something, and puts it into the place of something else, and then it makes sense. It isn’t an epiphany–maybe I’ve overused that term in the past to describe this sensation (in that complete York peppermint patty way, complete with the sugar rush)–it’s more of an illumination. And I needed it–just like I needed to put a weatherman into my faltering Script Frenzy screenplay last night.
I’m not sure if I’ll get around to the letters–some of them are predicated on completing works that might not ever be completed–but I’m on the right track when I think some of my characters have already gone down this road, and might not have reached this same conclusion yet. Validation, in this instance for me, came in the alignment of imagination (expectation?) and reality (Confession? Emotion? Both?), resulting in expression (writing). Without that last part, I don’t think I could survive.