29 September 2012

69 Love Songs, Illustrated

I absolutely adore this site, where individuals illustrate 69 Love Songs by The Magnetic Fields.You should adore it too.
Credit: http://www.timothybird.co.uk/

 69 Love Songs, Illustrated
(Click above for full site)

21 September 2012

Covers of Love Songs for Friday...

 "This is a promise with a catch, only if you're looking will it find you, true love is searching too, how can it recognize you unless you step into the light..."

I mean, who doesn't love a little Cure to get you through a Friday afternoon....

No one says love like Jarvis....

And one last one...by unknown covering Bright Eyes...

First Day of My Life- You Are The Quarry

20 September 2012

"It's getting cold out, you know?"

That one solitary trip to the mountains in Fall 2009 to write my thesis.

One night last year around this time, I sat out on the stoop with one of my neighbors. We were talking about how you could feel the chill of fall. We were talking about relationships. Both feeling wistful and nostalgic, he turned to me and said, "It's getting cold out, you know?" 

Instantly, I knew what he meant. Oh, it's fall. I want to share it with someone. 

Just like when spring rolls around, I find myself having a crush on everyone I meet, listening to happy songs about people who hold hands and run through the waves together at the beach. We call it twitterpation.

But when fall rolls in, I want to be in love. I want to nest and hibernate. I want to spend early fall mornings as a chill fills the air, holding hands with someone I love while wearing hoodies (non-negotiable, there must be a hoodies involved). I want us to seclude ourselves for days at a time in the apartment, slow cooking meals and dancing to the warm sound of the record player. I want blankets, knee-socks, and lazy Sundays, the ones where you do nothing but drink hot chocolate and watch terrible romantic comedies, all tangled up on the couch. 

This morning, as I waited for the bus as the sun rose over Nashville, I was bundled up in the brisk air, thinking to myself  how different life was four years ago, two years ago, hell, one year ago. And despite how different things feel from year to year, I've also discovered they haven't really changed much in the last few years. If you think back to my New Years Resolution, it was to change absolutely nothing...and nine months later, I've realized, THIS is not working anymore. The way I've organized my life, it just isn't working. Yup, I've fallen into a rut, which was both produced by and manifest itself in my relationships, my habits, and unfortunately, my work.  

I've recently decided to make some major changes in my life. Changes that began at the beginning of the end. Changes that followed me as I fell all the way down that hole. Changes I've been thinking about for a couple of years now.  I don't want to get into the specifics, but they are metaphorically related to the season. During the fall, as the leaves litter all over porches and stoops, we have to sweep away the old leaves. We have to take those things that are stagnant in our lives and let them go. Because if we don't, we never make it back to spring, where we get to start all over again. 

This sweeping away feels like a coming-of-age in some ways to me. I'm making choices about how I want my life to be lived day to day...choosing it, instead of letting it choose me. This means re-evaluating all sorts of things-- not just my personal habits and behaviors, but also that of those around me. Yes, I'm starting to sound like a self-help book. For this, I apologize.  But as the darkness of fall and winter arrives, I plan to let in the light. To be honest, I'm quite simply just tired. I'm tired of negativity. I'm tired of hopelessness. I'm tired of always thinking things are not what they should be. I want to be in the present. (For some reason re-reading this, I couldn't help but listen to that old song, Right Here, Right Now by Jesus Jones, in case you didn't already know that I'm older than dirt). 

Oh right, so I was at the bus stop...wow, I really got side-tracked there with the optimism. Oh hell, wait, there is more. As many of you know, I met a young man back in March. We begin to carry on a long distance love affair. He came to spend 17 days with me in June. Those days were filled with not only some of the sweetest memories of this past summer, but also the most painful days, marked by the of loss of my grandmother and several friends. Then "things" got rocky. There was a whole bunch of fear, confusion, and running. There were days of silence and hours of screaming. The last two and half months, we spent breaking up, making up, having the "conversation," making up again, "talking," breaking up again, not "talking," reiterating that we were broken up in case it wasn't clear the first time...and all the emotional burden that comes with a tenuous, long distance relationship. 

However, regardless of the chaos and confusion I felt, I realized it was still him I wanted to talk with after a long day at school. Nights when I needed someone to talk to about my sadness over my grandmother, he was always there for me. Even as we started to drift apart, he stayed. We didn't want to be apart. 

And then, one day, there was just acceptance, by and for both of us.

In the last couple of weeks, we decided to give it another go, but to really be present in it this time, to choose to be together. And so, I'm taking that leap, I'm jumping off the cliff, and I'm radically accepting this young man for everything that he is and isn't. 

I'm going to choose love this fall. Choose love as I walk home from school, kicking up the yellow and brown and red and orange leaves. I'm going to wrap up in a blanket once a week to watch Doctor Who with him across the distance (yes, we are total dorks and sync up and watch the show at the same time, so we can discuss it while it takes place...I won't tell you how many shows and movies we've done this to in the last six months). And then, I'm going to count down the days until he comes for a visit (since my iPhone is installing an update)....I can only guess is about 42 days from now. 

Oh right. That darn bus stop. After mailing out a package of trinkets and fun stuff to him and sending messages of smiles and love and hopefulness back and forth as I waited for the bus, I heard this song and it reminded me of him...so this one goes out to you, pickle. 

I can't wait for those magical 10 days when we get to hold hands, bundled up in our hoodies, kicking around those leaves, listening to music at the Ryman, and kissing on park benches. 'Cause you've got the magic key. 

And while I'm premiering some of what will ultimately end up on my end of the year compilation...there are tons of great new albums coming out this fall...Astro, Tilly and the Wall, Dinosaur Jr., Aimee Mann, Avett Brothers, and Tegan and Sara. Some are already out. Some are coming out. But here is the latest one from Tegan and Sara, because like my neighbor said, "It's getting cold out, you know?"

So, cheers to ch-ch-ch-changes and to letting myself choose to be in love with a wonderful person. I cheers to all my friends and family that I get to share my life with on a daily basis. I cheers to happiness and health and productivity. Let's do this folks. Cheers to a new season. 

(FWIW, I'll try to keep the self help mumbo jumbo to a minimum from this point on, I promise. Seriously.)

19 September 2012

This, I told her, is how I feel.

"Ana Iris once asked me if I loved him and I told her about the lights in my old home in the capital, how they flickered and you never knew if they would go out or not. You put down your things and you waited and couldn't do anything really until the lights decided. This, I told her, is how I feel."

-Junot Diaz from This Is How You Lose Her

Since I've been mostly posting these on FacialWorld, there are tons of great interviews and articles with Diaz about his latest book. Check it out.

Two items on NPR worth checking out...

Fidelity in Fiction: Junot Diaz Deconstructs A Cheater

And particularly one of my favorites is when Diaz guest DJs with Jasmine and Jose on Alt.Latino on NPR, which you can find here...

Guest DJ Pulitzer Price Winning Author Junot Diaz on AltLatino

Lastly, this is a great interview, where Diaz is less constrained by censors, so you get a better feel for him, as a person. Not to mention, I think he gives some great advice for young writers, but in general for people struggling through the beginning of a career or anything really.

Barhopping with Pulitzer Prize Winner Junot Diaz

"What can I do?" Díaz asks, smiling, his palms turned up and out. "What can I do? You wanna fuckin' work faster. No matter what you say, there's a part of you that thinks you're doing something wrong, that says, "It really shouldn't take this long." I live under so much inside pressure — it's like being hit by an 80-foot wave, repeatedly."

10 September 2012

Barbecues and k.d. lang CDs

"For the first time in my life I felt as though I'm in an episode of thirtysomething rather than an episode of...of...of some sitcom that hasn't been made yet about three guys who work in a record shop and talk about sandwich fillings and sax solos all day, and I love it. And I know thirtysomething is soppy and cliched and American and naff, I can see that. But when you're sitting in a one-bedroom flat in Crouch End and your business is going down the toilet and your girlfriend's gone off with the guy from the flat upstairs, a starring role in a real-life episode of thirtysomething, with all the kids and marriages and jobs and barbecues and k.d. lang CDs that this implies, seems more than one could possibly ask of life." 

-Nick Hornby, High Fidelity. 

03 September 2012

Rainy Days and Mondays...

"Really why I'm drawn back to Yunior consistently, persistently has a lot to do with who the hell this guy is. Yunior is someone who recognizes at an intuitive level, at an emotional level and at an intellectual level how fucked up and flawed he is. He has a heart with a utopian impulse. He wants to be in love. He wants a normal, healthy, nourishing relationship. He knows that one of the great challenges of the human condition is to connect with someone else, fundamentally and intimately, and he longs for that. He has all these recognitions, but he's not capable of stopping himself from doing all the fucked up things he wants to do. He's got this tragic condition where he can recognize in himself his limitations, but he doesn't have the strength to transcend them. But he's also aware that there's a social dimension for his problems. I don't think he looks at the social dimension to escape responsibility or blame. He's the kind of guy who in condemning himself throws a light onto the world we live in. Which is quite different from condemning the world as a way to avoid recognizing the part we play in it."

-Junot Diaz interview in BookPage, about his new novel, This Is How You Lose Her

I can't wait until Diaz's book comes out. I've got it pre-ordered to arrive next week. I had the pleasure of hearing him speak at the Caribbean Philosophical Association meeting last year. And yes, he does in fact say fuck constantly.

In other news, we've got a September full of new albums...check out the 10 September Albums that Paste Magazine is excited about.

And more over, you can go here to stream the new Jens Lekman album for a rainy and overcast Monday.

02 September 2012

When I'm speechless...

When I'm left speechless, it is best for me to communicate via song...

Here are two Sunday night dedications...

Sam Cooke's That's It, I Quit, I'm Moving On...


Etta James and Sugar Pie DeSanto's Do I Make Myself Clear?

A moment of clarity, finally. And it feels oh, so good. Shut it down.