Sophomore year, I took an ethnomusicology class that focused on nationalism in music for a few weeks, and polarizing popular country singles from the months and years following 9/11 came up in conversation a few times. The example the professor used that launched one of these pointed discussions was Darryl Worley’s “Have You Forgotten?”, a ballad penned by a Tennessean about how his “neighbors” were blown away, one that speaks to the singer’s bitterness about waning patriotism between 9/11 and 2003. The reason why the song and that class in particular stand out from that semester is because it was one of the only ones where our professor—a soft-spoken, self-described vinyl geek with a ponytail—got angry and swore. A lot. “Your ‘neighbors?’ Those aren’t your fucking neighbors, man! Those are my neighbors!” stuck with me especially, and this vengeful, “patriotic” stance copped by this guy from Nashville was downright offensive to my New Yorker professor. (And to the rest of the class, but that’s a given—it was Sarah Lawrence, after all. Worley’s kind of thinking just didn’t happen there.)
the last drink zach will make me at @fortdefiance: the belafonte.
The idea that sex is something a woman gives a man, and she loses something when she does that, which again for me is nonsense. I want us to raise girls differently where boys and girls start to see sexuality as something that they own, rather than something that a boy takes from a girl.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (via floranymph)
this made me start crying.
i can’t sleep and when that happens i usually start wondering about the future. i think back to where i was this time last year & it feels like thinking of a person that’s almost unrecognizable to me now. i was so full of hope still about a dream and a job that i thought went together. i was so confident i had all the answers and probably, a little too much so. there was probably some snottiness in that. there’s probably some snottiness in me now, thinking i’m somehow better in the present.
i’ve been working on some of my favorite pieces and a plethora of opportunities have been handed my way that continually stagger me. and yet, it’s harder than ever to pay bills, make a schedule, feel adult. even the dishes piling up as i feverishly work on deadline for these big pieces remind me that this path doesn’t easily lend itself to stability and normalcy. it’s hard to decide if that’s a big enough deterrent. i’d like to feel organized, stable and financially solvent, especially now that i’ve entered the dreaded latter half of my twenties. to get to write all day and at my own pace is incredible and has helped me refocus on what i actually want, but it also has me stacking myself up against other writers. measuring my output in begrudging social shares and prestige. i wish there was no competitive edge in my mind at all times but it stays lurking there, snapping out when i see something that feels unfair, or just lucky. it’s so strange how much of this is luck, or just, liking. we’re all human and this industry is built so much on relationship.
sitting at a kitchen table all day, that’s what i miss most. relationship with other writers; something as small as talking out loud to another person! this time feels like a short, impermanent stretch, but the way it’s affecting me is fascinating to watch. i have never worked this hard before, nor so willingly. i guess maybe that’s why i want to catalogue it, to savor it in a way and remind myself: “once, you did this.”
It is not a truism that strong women aren’t what people want to watch on TV, because they’re watching it, and it’s leading to our success.
Anonymous asked: were you writing well at 23?
this feels like a very loaded question! but then i realize the question is more about you than it is about me. i assume that you are 23 and hoping that it’s going to get better. bad news and good news which do you want first? okay good news it IS going to get better and it’s more than likely that when a few years have passed you’ll feel like a much better-equipped writer. you might even look back on your 23-year-old writings and laugh with fondness at their now-amusing amateurish qualities. the bad news though is that you’re going to have to work. insanely hard. you’re going to have to write things that are shitty and then rewrite them and rewrite them and rewrite them and maybe even still scrap them. you’re going to send in stuff you think is good and have it turned down. you may even land a job and then realize it doesn’t allow you to grow as a writer or express your voice and be stuck with that horror. you, above all, have to get a sense for your voice and what you want to be saying. what do you want to put into the world? why is it that with everything else you could possibly doing that would give you more stability, money and probably even happiness, you still insist on writing? because if that is in you, then it’ll eventually win out. and you’ll keep writing and suffer through it and continue to get better. but if that’s not in then ditch your early twenties ideas that you’re going to magically get better or become a successful author out of nowhere, and get a steady good job doing something else. is this a brutal response? sorry if so. but also 23 is when i moved to NYC and actually began to write stuff not for school and not just dumb poetry in text edit docs so there’s that too! :)
i made an album review today for myspace, it’s about lavender country the first openly gay country album.
go read it here if you’d like.
my bitches my bitches 💘 (at Graceland)
i went to see st. vincent kick off her tour last night & reflected on her celebration of passionate, eager innocence + wei took some incredible pics!