It's been a while since I did one of these, so I'm going to kick this one off with a band that makes most people I know sigh exasperatedly, mutter angrily under their breath, or just involuntarily exhibit a look of mild disgust when confronted with an audible mention of their name. The Fiery Furnaces are a band I love, one of my favorite bands of the last decade and change, and a band that suffers from Rodney Dangerfield Syndrome among most of my local peer group. I tell you, they get no regard. Oh well. People are wrong about almost everything. People, eh? Can't live with them, can't buy beer without them. By the way, if the more challenging/irritating/proggy/musical theater aspects of this band drive you a little nutty but you do find some things to like about them, I urge you to check out Eleanor Friedberger's two solo albums. One of them is a catchy, poppy, gorgeous '80s new wave and indie-pop inspired record that reminds me of late fall, and the other is a catchy, poppy, gorgeous '70s singer-songwriter inspired record that reminds me of summer. Here's "Leaky Tunnel" for you curmudgeons.
Honorable mention: Pernice Brothers - "Blinded by the Stars"
I love the drums and how they're recorded. I love how Joe Pernice structured this song and how beautifully he sings it. I love the tone and the subtle yet awesome flourishes in the background from the guitar. This song's like a big hunk of enticing candy to me.
Thursday, September 26, 2013
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
1. Avoid Topical References
Too often, amateurs will pepper their work with references to the hot celebrities and events of the day, not realizing how dated these references to, for example, the Hot Pantzz Boyz 2000, Millicent Cyrus, and the country of Syria will seem to readers of the future. If you are going to reference a famous individual, make sure it is someone who has withstood the vicissitudes and whirligigs of the various decades, reputation intact.
For quick reference, here is a list of celebrities it is okay to mention in your work (you may want to print this out and stick it on your computer or typewriter):
Elvis ("the King of rockin' roll") Presley
the Vicomte de Noailles
the famous Pope
Carly Rae Jepson
that guy's dad who's always making sassy comments on Twitter
2. Don't plagiarize
Don't plagiarize anything verbatim. You will get caught. However, it is okay to find someone much smarter than you and steal their ideas.
3. Write about da Vinci codes.
Write about da Vinci codes. People love that shit.
4. Don't waste time revising.
I've been blogging for nine years, and I have three different blogs. Every post is a rough draft. I could have polished each post and made it better, in some cases a lot better, but that would have sucked up time better spent eating deli meats and watching "Dharma & Greg." Readers don't know the difference and they don't care. I've posted some seriously terrible shit and no one's complained.
5. Make up words.
Look what I did in the title to this post. I made up the word "blogcess." This is Method A, which is the method where you take one word and smoosh it into another word. I smooshed "blog" into "success" and now you can't stop saying it. It's probably already gone viral. Method B is also effective. Method B is the method in which you just make up a word on the spot. Wingodangle. I just did it. You can have that one for free. Use it as you see fit, and watch the website hits soar into double digits.
6. Listen to the vernacular of the streets and incorporate it into your work.
If you want your work to pop, to really jump off the page with verisimilitude and pizzazz, you've got to get off your sweet, sweet can and mingle with the people. See what makes them tick. Hear what they're saying and how they're saying it. For example, I had a story idea that would require me to capture the essence of three young children. Instead of just winging it, I wandered onto a nearby playground to soak up the verbal world of today's youth. As I wandered over to a group of kids playing on the monkey bars, I heard this opening salvo: "Mr. Walker smells like pee." Attempting to blend in with the tykes, I put forth a witticism aimed at their primitive level of humor. "I saw Sylvester Stallone on the television last night," I began. "He's sure aged. Sylvester Stallone, more like Sylvester Nursing Home. Right, dudes?" I then raised my right hand to await the many high fives I was about to receive. Oddly, this gesture was not reciprocated, but I absorbed their priceless replies, which were a veritable literary goldmine of childhood vernacular:
"Who's Stavester Stallone? Is he your dad?"
"Why are you here?"
"Who are you?"
"Why are you on the monkey bars? You are a man."
"Stranger danger! Stranger danger!"
Classic stuff. Get out there and listen, and then use it. The streets are always talking and always patiently awaiting a scribe with the vision to capture it all.
7. Stock your liquor cabinet.
Make sure you have plenty of booze on hand, in case I stop by.
8. Commune with the dolphins.
Just kidding. Don't do that. It's fucking stupid.
Alright, fans. Now that you have absorbed this advice, what are you waiting for? Get blogging. One day, you, too, may achieve my legendary status in the blogosphere and know how it feels to reply to the question, "How's the air over there on your side of the fence, the side with the greener grass?" with the answer, "Pretty damn clean and refreshing, my less distinguished friend. Pretty damn clean and refreshing."