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Thursday, July 3, 2008

Want to host a different kind of family Fourth of July barbecue this year? Why not go literary with your playlist!

Your family, no doubt, still has no idea what you mean when you say you're a "writer." This Fourth of July, we're suggesting a playlist to teach them a little something about that. Or about rocking out. Either way, not a bad way to celebrate America.

"Wrapped Up in Books" by Belle and Sebastian

Use this song to tell your family how magical books are, and how they keep you dry:
"We've got a fantasy affair
We didn't get wet, we didn't dare
Our aspirations, are wrapped up in books."

"I Typed For Miles" by Jets to Brazil

Jets to Brazil knows that writers are cool:
"I live in a hotel
must keep writing
if I'm to be better than everyone else."

Perhaps distract your family from the later lyrics, which paint a different picture of the writing lifestyle:
"I need a word to change my life
I've tied my ankles to the table legs with wire
he can't write so much as type"

"The Engine Driver" by The Decemberists

Even a non-book-lover whose heart is made of ice can't help but be touched by these words. Make sure your family understands that, still, you know nothing about engines.
"And I am a writer, writer of fictions
I am the heart that you call home
And I've written pages upon pages
Trying to rid you from my bones"

"Type Slowly" by Pavement

Pavement might not shed much light on what writers do, but when your family asks why your book still isn't finished, this song title might serve as an explanation. If they're still asking questions, help illuminate the differences between writers and other people with these lyrics:
"One of us is a cigar stand - and one of us is a lovely blue incandescent guillotine."
I bet that shut them up.

"Say Something New" by The Concretes

"say something new, something new.
about something you do, something you do"
Aren't all of us writers trying to do just that? And wouldn't it be nice if our relatives would do the same?

"Writing to Reach You" by Travis 

Who can't empathize with the lyrics below? Besides, any relative can understand an English degree as long as you bring up "teaching."
"Because my inside is outside
My right side's on the left side
'Cause I'm writing to reach you
But I might never reach you
I long to teach you about you"

"Book I Read" by The Talking Heads

Pretend like The Talking Heads wrote this about your MFA thesis:
I'm writing 'bout the
book I read
I have to sing about the
book I read
I'm embarrassed to admit it hit the soft spot in my heart
When I found out you wrote the
book I read

"Publish My Love" by Rogue Wave

Still not published? Let Rogue Wave explain.
"you could never publish my love
you could never publish my love
you could never publish my love
you could never publish my love"

"Everyone Needs An Editor" by Mates of State

Work with words? The first line of this song is "I feel right all the time." It's the most concise description of the need for editing ever put to song.

"Ghostwriter" by RJD2

Considering ghostwriting to make extra money? This song has no words, but let it groove you. It's also on a commercial for Wells Fargo bank. If you can get your parents to associate "writing" with "money," well, wow. 

If your family still doesn't think anyone cares about books, writers, or the relatives of writers, provide these songs as evidence:

"Wuthering Heights" by Kate Bush
"Bukowski" by Modest Mouse
"Hey, Jack Kerouac" by 10,000 Maniacs
"Sylvia Plath" by Ryan Adams
"Walt Whitman's Niece" by Billy Bragg and Wilco (covering Woody Guthrie)
"Shakespeare's Sister" by The Smiths

If they still don't get it, provide this song as a counter-point. 

"My Son Spells Backwards" by The Victorian English Gentlemans Club
"My son, he spells backwards, he spells backwards, he spells backwards.
Yes, my son spells backwards, he spells backwards, he spells backwards.
And he wears sun-colored glasses. To school, to school."

At least you didn't end up like that kid.

Any songs we missed? Let us know!

2 comments:

jeannine said...

Maybe "Invisible Ink" by Aimee Mann?

Adam said...

Here are a couple more you could use:

Paperback Writer by the Beatles.

If the most famous band ever really wanted to be writer´s, it´s gotta be good enough for the likes of me, right?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pwap79uy1G8&feature=related

We Call Upon the Writer by Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds

"I say prolix! Prolix! Something a pair of scissors can fix

Bukowski was a jerk! Berryman was best!
He wrote like wet papier mache, went the Heming-way weirdly on wings and with maximum pain
We call upon the author to explain"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4k2Hf6Vc2FE

Metaphor by Sparks

"Chicks dig, dig, d-i-g, dig, dig metaphors,
Chicks dig, dig, d-i-g, dig, dig metaphors,
Chicks dig, dig, d-i-g, dig, dig metaphors

Use them wisely,
Use them well,
And you'll never know the hell of loneliness

Whose up for a metaphor?
(We're up for a metaphor)
Are you chicks up for a metaphor?
(Yes, we're up for a metaphor)"

Could there be a better reason?