The three snubbed nominees were Train Dreams by Denis Johnson, Swamplandia! by Karen Russell and The Pale King by the late, great David Foster Wallace. That’s right… one of the authors is farkin’ deceased and even that–even the thought of a final reward to one of the great writers and thinkers of the last metric crap ton of years–couldn’t push that 18-person committee to a final conclusion. I think I speak for every writer, of any genre, when I say “FIX IT.”
When writing about music the goal is to inspire some feeling of Frankenstein viscerality in the reader. Especially regarding a band you’ve probably never heard of. I assemble descriptive words and band names and familiar song titles in such a way that my reader(s) hopefully have some sense of the sound without having actually heard it.
No punches pulled, the place is a dive, though a dive in the best possible sense – a local joint where you’d go to see your cousin’s band play a set of Ramones’ covers but only because of the $3 Shiner Bocks. The walls held together by thousands of staples, the wallpaper comprised of the impressive shards of posters documenting past acts. Tattoo-sleeves on the bartender. Multi-colored Christmas bulbs dangled above the stage. Chiaroscuro spots at the side of the stage, that would in due time, obscure all of my attempts at in-concert photography.
For any open-minded, intrepid collector and music enthusiast, Reason #278 might be the best reason of all to support vinyl. The earliest lateral-cut discs (the precursor to vinyl as we know it) had been produced nearly a century before compact discs stomped all over its turf like Godzilla over Tokyo; therefore, it’s no surprise that the breadth and variety of available music for the turntable knows no equal.
We’re not all writing stories for the New Yorker, but based on writing workshop criticism and notes from many journal editors you’d sure think that there’s only one way to write. It’s akin to claiming that the five-paragraph method is the only way to write an essay. It’s asinine. And today is the day I choose not to sweep it under the rug with the rest of my rejections. We ditch the five-paragraph essay when we graduate high-school. Not so with outdated ideas for dramatic, literary short fiction.