For, and inspired by, Amy Klein.

It's no secret I'm a big fan of Amy Klein. Especially if you follow me on Twitter, I link her there almost anytime she writes something, and the various music projects she's involved in -- Titus Andronicus, Solanin, hilly eye -- have pretty much taken up permanent residence on my iPod. On her blog, she recently did a longer-ish post about staring down 26, turning that age when there's officially more of your twenties behind you than in front of you. To get anything at all out of my post, you should go read hers first:

"A Woman of A Certain Age."

I'm turning 26 in June myself, and a lot of what she wrote about has been on my mind, even, in some ways, the things she accredits to be more of a worry for women than men. I don't exactly feel like I'm getting more handsome or distinguished as I age, and I feel like a lot of men in their 30s aren't looked to for what's cool, or smart, or cutting edge. Like somehow not be prodigal will keep me from ever being significant. Ever doing... whatever the hell it is I want to do.

Still, she's right. It's all disheartening, and when you see something happen to someone whose work you value, who does something that makes it so you don't ever want to see them discouraged, there's that impulse to reach out. In a short discourse on Twitter, I tried... but the medium failed, and me trying to express myself in haste [that need to stay relevant] jammed me up too. 140 quickly typed-up characters just doesn't do the job. I don't know if Amy reads this, but if she does, this is just my quick do-over, something I was trying to say, something that I discovered recently that after reading your thing, I wanted to share.

Norris and I are standing around the Panhandle and Norris is telling be how it is all set up for a friend to take me to Big Sur. I say what I really want to do is spend a few days with Norris and his wide and the rest of the people in their house. Norris says it would be a lot easier if I'd take some acid. I say I'm unstable. Norris says all right, anyway, grass, and he squeezes my hand.

One day Norris asks how old I am. I tell him I thirty-two. It takes a few minutes, but Norris rises to it. "Don't worry," he says at last. "There's old hippies too."

--Joan Didion, "Slouching Towards Bethlehem" (1968)

I don't know if that will do the same for her as it does for me. Explaining it to others isn't something I've been particularly adept at, either so... here's hoping.

More importantly than all that, and still concerning Amy, is the release of her solo album "I Know What You Want." I've only had the album for a day, but I'm really taken with the sound, and like how it feels as much about storytelling as it is about the stories she's telling with the songs themselves. There's so much going on in each song, but it never sounds over-produced either... it's just all quality, with the opening track, "Fireflies" currently my favorite. Speaking in pure economics, the albums just six tracks, but as each of the songs come in at least four minutes [some of them more], five dollars is more than worth the download, and I wholeheartedly recommend you check it out. It's well worth it.


As to where I've been [going more than a week without blogging is a little strange for me], I really don't have much in the way of excuses. Seth sent me a nice note on Facebook about my previous entry, and it meant a lot to me that it meant so much to him. It was a little exhausting to get out, and I felt kind of... sideways about doing it here, but I just knew I could write what I was feeling more comfortably here than I could any other way. It reminds me a lot of the lyrics from "Wingo Lamo," Zapata's claim that she "can't make any sense/Unless it's in a song." Sometimes I feel like this blog is the closest I get to my song.

Then again, there are probably a lot of people who would debate that I make any sense here, either.

I guess I've been a little down lately. Half-way through last week, I kind of got sick of everything, of "social media," because as great as it is when it brings me things like Amy's stuff, the writing and music I talked about in the beginning of this post, it never really stops. For every awesome thing by Eric, or Lauren, or John, or Hannah, or Dave, or Kimberly Kaye [or so many others], there's also a never ending stream of bad news, stupid news, or just banal intolerance. And what's hilarious is, it's not like there isn't an off switch -- there is, it's right there on my keyboard. But walking away isn't the problem, it's just the weight of it, and the possibilities inherent in the medium. I constantly look at this blog, Twitter, even Facebook, and think I must be doing something wrong, I am somehow failing to take advantage of this in the proper way. It's like the first time I saw Youtube -- the potential was apparent immediately, and the fact that I didn't immediately order a video camera haunts me to this day. And even if I had, I'm not entirely sure what it is that I'd do with it.

Ultimately that... impotence just got to me. I had to get away from it from a little while. Had to get away from all the amazing things people were doing. I'm not... proud of that. I just haven't figured out how to cut a place for myself yet, and eats at you when you realize so many others have. Especially if you're worried there won't be any places once you figure it out.

Oh, yeah. And there's this. Which I'm just... god. If it were anything else, if it were something smarter, or more significant. I mean, I know there's nothing in the way of original ideas left out there. But it just seems almost too close, and too stupid for what it is because of that. Discouraging. Like every time I show "Nova" now, it's going to have the taint of that... abomination all over it.

So there's that. The Oscars also happened. I sort of came back online to a lot of people really excited/dreading that, and then the waves of disappointment crested pretty high after the night was over. I can't really complain -- "The Kings Speech" is everything that an Oscar winner should be, and that's sort of the point. People bemoaning that the Academy is out of touch aren't wrong, but we shouldn't be expecting a group of industry people to somehow represent our generation. That's... wildly unrealistic. So those upset by "The Social Network" not taking home the big prize, it's important to remember that if it truly is the film that captures some aspect of us, the twenty-somethings, then nothing better encapsulates that fact than the Academy not getting it, not giving it that recognition. It's not why they're there. The same is true for the other films, like "The Kids Are All Right" and "Toy Story 3." Both are fine films, but in the former's case, I think we all have to admit it's more about the boundaries it broke as opposed to quality of the movie itself, and in the latter's case as moving as it was, it really didn't do or say much more or different from the previous two movies in the series -- that is, they're all about faith.

If you wanted "Inception" to win... I don't know. Here's a consolation prize people seem to enjoy.

I personally think the best film of last year was "Winter's Bone." That it only got a nomination because of the ten nominee field tells me we have a much bigger problem than the Academy just being out of touch with the Facebook generation -- I feel Hollywood may have forgotten everything a good movie's supposed to be. As for the rest... well, I could talk all day about each one. I had the rare pleasure of being able to see everything pertinent before the big night. But I don't feel up to it, and that's one of those things that could just go on and on if I got started.

So, all that happened, and there was a dentist appointment in there too. All and all, it's just a lot of hemming and hawing that I haven't really been writing lately.

I've talked about this recently, but I haven't felt overly inspired these days, nor have I had that one big project to put the bulk of my efforts towards. I've been toying with some older stuff and not getting anywhere, but when I got up this morning, I just felt like I had this germ of an idea starting to form. I am not sure... I guess you could say I'm being cautiously optimistic here, but the three or four hours I spent after that, scribbling into the moleskin notebook my friend Beck gave me, led me to believe things might be looking up. I'll write more more comes, I'm sure. Look out for that new label at the end of posts, as always.

Related to that, if you're reading this and you know anybody who is big into roller derby - whose actually played, or been involved in some way, I'd be interested in talking to them, if you think they'd be willing. I sort of need a crash course in it [no pun intended], and as sure as I am that I could pick up the basics and such from Wikipedia, or even some book snagged off Amazon, I'd prefer to get a first hand account of things like the atmosphere, the psychology, the camaraderie or derby life, not to mention a quick and dirty way to pick up the rules. But mostly, the pathos.

Probably be an entry later in the week just about that, to try and use the title to grab some helpful people through Google. I've also got some postcards scanned in, that I'd like to get posted. I'm a little behind on them.

3 comments :: For, and inspired by, Amy Klein.

  1. Drinking the discouragment is part of downing the ambition. Ride the wave.

    (PS: Amy's a peach a helluva writer, huh?)

    And I agree--Winter's Bone was one of the year's best. Quiet dread just building like that, over the hour, into the water, a single tear tattooed on a man's face...FUCK that movie was good.

    (PPS: I am so very happy you liked the banjoetry.)

  2. So many things to agree with here I don't know where to begin. Social media makes me want to rip my hair out, but then I realize that I'm so in touch with the rest of the world and so many people who are a part of my life who never EVER would have been otherwise (hello, Randall).

    And the Oscars...sigh. You know how I feel about them.

  3. @Kimberly - Amy is amazing. I feel so glad to have found her.

    And it would take a hard heart to not be moved by the power of the banjoetry.

    [P.S. All this agreeing with me is agreeing with me.]

    @Adria - I feel absolutely the same way. It's not all that different from real life, in that respect.