Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Stars in My Eyes

I saw this, in different form, shared on Facebook a couple of weeks ago and haven't been able to get it out of my mind. In a panicky way. I don't understand how it follows, exactly, and the idea that life is THAT short just freaks me out. Maybe next year it'll seem like wisdom.


Over the weekend I went to see Florence + the Machine at the Hollywood Bowl. The Bowl itself was not what I expected and was extremely cool. I look forward to going there again with a picnic basket now that I know the rules. If I can find one. There were people walking around with traditional woven baskets with flap lids, like you see in period movies, and when I said to Matt "I don't know where you even get a picnic basket like that," he replied, "Bears. Well, one bear in particular."

This is why I married him. For wit like this.

In any case, Sunday was probably the second time in my life I've been to a big stadium concert. When I was a kid, my parents wouldn't let me go to such things, and when I was in my 20s I couldn't afford it. I've only been to a handful of concerts in my life at all - probably more operas and symphony performances than popular concerts, if I think about it (unless you count shows at the VFW when I was in high school, which isn't quite the same thing). There are lots of surrounding aspects I don't like about concerts - the noise, the people, the trouble, the expense - and it just doesn't often occur to me to seek them out.

I generally go when the artist is something special to me, or when I'm curious about what the live experience will entail. I really want to see Sigur Rós, for instance. What the heck do people at their shows do? Stand and sway? Check their watches? And I want to see Beck one day; he's special. I was so, so glad to see Joanna Newsom last year - both reasons coincided with her. She's one I'd like to see again, but she does her last tour date for a while in San Fran in a few weeks. Next album, I'll definitely catch her. Florence was special, and I'm glad I got to see her, although I wished I'd been a bit closer to the stage.

When I look back, I actually feel grateful that I didn't get to go to many concerts, because now I like for it to be special, a once-in-a-great-while kind of treat. If it's an artist I just like, I would generally rather not go, because the experience of having stars in my eyes when watching someone bring their art to moving breathing life is what I prefer to just having a good time with some live music. This is probably stupid. But it's how I feel.

I set out to write this post with a plan to tie Florence and Joanna to insecurities in my writing, but the connection isn't really forming on the page, so that might be all I have to say. Oh, except: I got a baffling rejection last week. The story was something I scalpeled out of the [non-]horror novel, something that I thought stood on its own pretty well.* The stand-on-its-own thing didn't enter into the rejection, to my surprise. The editor seemed to expect an arc for the main character that I had no intention of resolving, that wasn't really the way I'd built the story. Like expecting Humbert to straighten up and stop lusting after Lolita. But now I know that the story doesn't really work as a story, which is useful information. I'd sent it out as something of an experiment rather than an expectation, anyway.

And one other thing: I signed up for a five-day writing course at the Esalen Institute next summer. It's taught by Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond, and I am pretty sure I signed up for it the very moment it was available. I'd been watching the website like a hawk for the sign-up link to appear. I can't wait.

*For those of you who've read the book, it was that little diary piece about the arrogant jerk Caretaker who doesn't clean the storm and who meets the Authority in the shape of his father. 

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