Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Yet another theory why artists get more action

Beginning a relationship is exciting and followed by, in creative types, a sudden burst of energy and creation that comes out of the joy gained from someone else realizing how fantastic and interesting and great you truly are. It serves as a reminder to one’s inner self that these things are true. It is fuel for the ever burning fires of creation, like throwing a gallon of gasoline on sizzling embers.

But art by nature is against contentment. No great pieces of work have ever been produced while happily snuggled on with someone on a couch, watching a movie. Contentment is a giant productivity sucker, taking away your time in favor of long languid hours of shopping for furniture and eating ice cream. Contentment is the oppressor of the creative urge. It is the great equalizer, the stabilizer of the burning fires. It is low low heat on a stove, keeping things warm but never making them boil. Sure, great songs have been written about being “so happy together.” But most great songs are indeed inspired by the other detrius of love: by the first flutters of the heart; by unrequited love; by jealousy; by separation; desperation; loss.

Also, relationships just take so much goddamn TIME. And who has much of that these days? Especially artists whose gifts generally are not well compensated, artists who may have to hold down day jobs and squeeze the paint onto canvas into the wee hours. Often relationships can even become a source of resentment when people are demanding the time you’d rather be spending on your artistic pursuits.

Meanwhile, breaking away from someone is an aspiration towards a truer self, towards a better understanding of who you are and what you need. It is an assertion of said needs and identity. A reconnecting to the passions that existed before “he” came into the situation. It too is great fuel for creative pursuits, for hours of inspiration in front of easels, computer screens, with guitar in hand.

Therefore, I propose that artists have greater spurts of creativity when their “relationships” are in the beginning and ending phases; and that we are more inclined to appreciate these times and abhor the comfortable complacency of being “so happy together.” Thus we are more likely to have more partners because of this. Bullshit? Maybe. I’m ready to hear more opinions.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Love and Other Catastrophes: A Mix Tape

by Amanda Holzer

All By Myself, Eric Carmen. Looking For Love, Lou Reed. I Wanna Dance with Somebody, Whitney Houston. Let's Dance, David Bowie. Let's Kiss, Beat Happening. Let's talk About Sex, Salt n Pepa. Like A Virgin, Madonna. We've Only Just Begun, The Carpenters. I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend, The Ramones. I'll Tumble 4 Ya, Culture Club. Head Over Heels, The Go-Go's. Nothing Compares To You, Sinead O'Connor. My Girl,The Temptations. Could This Be Love?, Bob Marley. Love and Marriage, Frank Sinatra. White Wedding, Billy Idol. Stuck in the Middle with You, Steelers Wheel. Tempted, The Squeeze. There Goes My Baby, The Drifters. What's Going On? Marvin Gaye. Where Did You Sleep Last Night? Leadbelly. Who's Bed Have Your Boots Been Under? Shania Twain. Jealous Guy, John Lennon. Your Cheatin Heart, Tammy Wynette. Shot Through the Heart, Bon Jovi. Don't Go Breaking My Heart, Elton John and Kiki Dee. My Achy Breaky Heart, Billy Ray Cyrus. Heartbreak Hotel, Elvis Presley. Stop! In the Name of Love, The Supremes. Try a Little Tenderness, Otis Redding. Try (Just a Little Bit Harder), Janis Joplin. All Apologies, Nirvana. Hanging on the Telephone, Blondie. I Just Called to Say I Love You, Stevie Wonder. Love Will Keep Us Together, Captain and Tennille. Let's Stay Together, Al Green. It Ain't Over til It's Over, Lenny Kravitz. What's Love Got to Do With It? Tina Turner. You Don't Bring Me Flowers Anymore, Barbara Streisand and Neil Diamond. I Wish You Wouldn't Say That, Talking Heads. You're So Vain, Carley Simon. Love is a Battlefield, Pat Benatar. Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now, the Smiths. (Can't Get No) Satisfaction, the Rolling Stones. Must Have Been Love (But It's Over Now), Roxette. Breaking Up is Hard To Do, Neil Sedaka. I Will Survive, Gloria Gaynor. Hit the Road Jack, Mary McCaslin and Jim Ringer. These Boots Are Made For Walkin, Nancy Sinatra. All Out of Love, Air Supply. All By Myself, Eric Carmen.

Monday, June 26, 2006

The illustrated guide to the best places to pretend to be a writer and thus, get laid in Manhattan

Thanks L. I'll catch you later at Barbes. I'd rather pick you up in Brooklyn.

And thanks to the ever sassy Ptacin who reminded me that the other place to find writer booty in Brooklyn is the Brooklyn Social Club.

The best and worst limmerick ever written about me

I once met a girl named annie
Whose mojo was quite uncanny
I feel such sweet bliss
When she gives me a kiss
But mostly, I think of her fanny.

Ok, double standard time. If my best friend sent me this limmerick, I would think it was fantastically awesome. I would laugh aloud, and it would make me happy.

But instead, I received it from a "writer" dude I've been sort of dating. Now, artist dudes are generally more sensitive than other types of dudes. But, you know, after you've been dating someone for awhile, dirty text messages are still fun, but as a girl, you want to know that a dude likes you for more than a piece of ass. Yeah? Girls, are you with me?

Maybe I was supposed to be flattered by this. But, what would posess a guy to share this with the girl he wrote it about?

The "Purpose of Literature" - the Literary Darwinists explain it all

I must start out with a few posts from my previous blog. RIP.

"But what can the purpose of literature be, assuming it is not just a harmless oddity? At first glance, reading is a waste of time, turning us all into versions of Don Quixote, too befuddled by our imaginations to tell windmills from giants.....

One idea is that literature is a defense reaction to the expansion of our mental life that took place as we began to acquire the basics of higher intelligence around 40,000 years ago. At that time, the world suddenly appeared to homo sapiens in all its frightening complexity. But by taking imaginative but orderly voyages within our minds, we gained the confidence to interpret this new vastly denser reality.

Another theory is that reading literature is a form of fitness training, an exercise in "what if" thinking. If you could imagine the battle between the Greeks and the Trojans, then if you ever found yourself in a street fight, you would have a better chance of winning.

A third theory sees writing as a sex-display trait. Certainly writers often seem to be preening when they write, with an eye toward attracting a desirable mate. In "The Ghost Writer," Philip Roth's narrator informs another writer that "no one with seven books in New York City settles for" just one woman. "That's what you get for a couplet." *

Yet another theory is that the main function of literature is to integrate us all into one culture; evolutionary psychologists believe shared imaginings or myths produce social cohesion, which in turns confers a survival advantage.

And a fifth idea is that literature began as religion or wish fulfillment: we ensure our success in the next hunt by recounting the triumph of the last one.

Finally, it may be precisely writing's uselessness that makes it attractive to the opposite sex; it could be that, like the male peacock's exuberant tail, literature's very unnecesariness speaks to the underlying good health of its practitioner. He or she has resources to burn." ** by D.T. Max from this week's New York Times Magazine

Okay, here's what I want to know. Have any of you guys ever dated a "writer"? You know, someone who at the beginning of your relationship dug out his college notebooks over a bottle of wine and began reading to you about his pain? Who maybe wrote you a verse or two shortly thereafter? Who may have even handed you a dog-eared stack of sheets, the first chapters of his "novel"?

Inevitably, it seems though, that the “writer” disappears when the chase is over. Once they’ve won, there is no more talk of essays to be written, the “novel”, or what have you. They go back to being salesmen, or coffee house employees, waiters or whatever. So theory number 3 is correct perhaps?

Or, what about the last theory, that someone with the leisure time to write regularly is of a gentried class, thus has “resources to burn”? Part of me wants to argue that creative work is real work, because it IS, though in the grand scheme of things, generally it is those with enough free time to do it who do do it, and what is supporting that? (Ask yourself this question, girls. If its mommy and daddy, expect potential problems.)

Anyway, I’ve personally fallen for more than one of these “writer” dudes, who get over their writing habit when the chase is over. * In “Dead Poets Society” Robin William’s character says that the true purpose of poetry is to woo women. And I’m naïve for being as old as I am and having fallen for this sh^t so many times. But what can I say? I DO like poetry. I was raised with crazy poets coming in and out of my family’s house, drinking wine and telling stories late into the night, howling with laughter.

Well I’m using this forum to espouse my belief in theory number 5, that we tell stories as religion, to ensure our success in the next hunt by recounting the triumph of the last one. My point being, until I see the seven novels, I’m not convinced that you’re a writer. And, if Paul Auster is right, I’m probably not going there anyway. Like Marge Piercy writes, below, “The real writer is one
who really writes. Talent is an invention like phlogiston after the fact of fire. Work is its own cure. You have to like it better than being loved.”

For the Young Who Want To

Talent is what they say
you have after the novel
is published and favorably
reviewed. Beforehand what
you have is a tedious
delusion, a hobby like knitting.

Work is what you have done
after the play is produced
and the audience claps.
Before that friends keep asking
when you are planning to go
out and get a job.

Genius is what they know you
had after the third volume
of remarkable poems. Earlier
they accuse you of withdrawing,
ask why you don't have a baby,
call you a bum.

The reason people want M.F.A.'s,
take workshops with fancy names
when all you can really
learn is a few techniques,
typing instructions and some-
body else's mannerisms

is that every artist lacks
a license to hang on the wall
like your optician, your vet

proving you may be a clumsy sadist
whose fillings fall into the stew
but you're certified a dentist.

The real writer is one
who really writes. Talent
is an invention like phlogiston
after the fact of fire.

Work is its own cure. You have to
like it better than being loved.

Marge Piercy