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All We Are Saying Documentary and Writing

I wore this shirt to see my doctor yesterday. (g) The color in this image is misleading. It’s actually a pretty shade of green and the material is thick, soft and nice.

In other news, I recently caught a documentary called All We Are Saying by Rosanna Arquette. I loved her first one, Searching for Debra Winger, and I have to say I loved this one as well.

Anyone who has been to my site, knows I’m a music fan. Subtle, I am not. This film kept me glued because I didn’t know who was coming up next and I enjoyed the candor of the musicians and the enthusiasm of Arquette. So, in no particular order, I thought I’d share “some” of the odd observations I jotted down during the special. Give you a glimpse into just how weird I can be. I say some because the rest might be a bit much…


Sting is 53. Not news to most I’m sure, but wow. I’ve enjoyed the ride of his career with all its unusual hills and curves and I look forward to the rest of it. To this day, I still say his jazz version of Little Wing is breathtaking– and I’m a fan of the original Jimi Hendrix version. Oh, good clip here on Amazon! Amazon.com: Nothing Like the Sun: Music: Sting

You have got to follow the link I’ll post later and watch the long clip on the official AWAS site. Priceless moment: David Crosby’s take on Britney Spears. “Deep as a bird bath.” LOL!

There’s a mention of popular music today lacking depth. Don Henley said, “No one is interested in songs with content. Not on the radio.”

For the most part I agree. However, not all good bands are on the radio. While the Internet has hurt the music business (and I’ll get to that), it’s also helped to get the word out on independent bands. I would have never heard of Over the Rhine if I hadn’t seen them mentioned on the October Project fan site.

And speaking of October Project, talk about music industry mistakes! This was an incredible band. Real songs with real depth. Some of the most beautiful and poignant lyrics ever. Described as “caviar for the sophisticated palate.” I got Kelli into them years ago and then they split up. Sorry, Kells. I’m not following the new lineup, but this original album was something else. Bury My Lovely is pure magic– poetry to music.

Okay, back to the show. (Tangent prone, aren’t I)

Peter Gabriel rocks. I’ve always been a fan but when he said that Radiohead is one of the most important bands of the last ten years, he went up even further in my book. I still listen to Radiohead’s OK Computer at least once a week. Now my 14 year-old daughter has discovered it…

Patti Smith is a someone I’ve never followed. I liked what she had to say, so I’m going to check into her music. If anyone has a reco, do share.

Maynard James Keenan is so… himself. Once again, another hot, bald guy. I’ve realized I like hot, bald guys– but only the smart ones. Like Keenan. I think my daughter borrowed my Undertow CD.

Note to self: get all CDs back from kid.

Sean Lennon is really all grown up. I feel old. My daughter doesn’t know who John Lennon is. I feel really old.

I need to buy CDs to replace all my Tom Petty albums. (Yes, I have albums– lots of them.)

Goldfrapp’s appearance surprised me. I have Felt Mountain. My husband calls it an acquired taste– right before he asks me to change it. LOL! It’s different, but so good! If you have time, go here and listen to the clips of Lovely Head and more. Amazon.com: Felt Mountain: Music: Goldfrapp One word. Atmosphere.

Okay, where is this all going you ask? I did have a couple of funny stories about accidentally being invited to a pot party in the Ozark Mountains where I first heard Yoko Ono. Unfortunately, I was like twelve and the person who brought me was a horrible excuse for a human being. I quickly left, but that music… well, I won’t go there. All I will say is they must have had another party right before they bought that album. A thick, smoky, hallucinogenic… you get my drift. But remember, I was twelve, completely freaked out and maybe didn’t give the sound a decent shot. Maybe.

I also had a funny story about my daughter showing her friends one of my albums. She held it up and over her head like the kid in Sixteen Candles with Molly Ringwald’s underwear. Only she said, “It’s kind of like a CD, just big and it sounds funny.”

But, I noticed that the music industry isn’t very far removed from the publishing industry. (Okay yeah, I get that music is published, but you get my drift, right?) Both are for entertainment and both are fickle.

Writing music isn’t all that different than any other type of writing. Sheryl Crow talked about facing that blank canvas every time… about how hard it is yet how worth it in the end. We can relate to that.

The really good stuff comes while playing lots of crap. Yes, inspiration comes while writing– not while you’re waiting for it.

I think that’s maybe one of those big secrets us “longer term” writers are supposed to share with new writers. The good stuff comes from crap. Lots and lots of crap. My friend Georgina Gentry told me about a million words of crap.

But then how many of us “REALLY” get this? I know I get frustrated. I want to sit down and write nothing but gems. Alas, I don’t. So what do I have to do? Work on my low frustration levels. Or as Randy on American Idol annoyingly says nearly ever time, “Work it out.”

In a nutshell, the music and publishing industries can be scary. They follow public whim and there will be times when the popular style isn’t to your taste.

So, I say write from the heart. It’s the only thing you can do. I truly believe that if you love what you’re writing, it will be better than anything you try to write to market, so it’ll have a better chance.

Here’s the link to the official site. It has a long, excellent clip of interviews. Stevie Nicks looks good, eh?
All We Are Saying – A Rosanna Arquette Experience

And last, my thoughts on downloading. STOP. There are few instances where it’s okay. If you’ve paid, it’s okay. If the band has posted it as a free MP3 on their site or another legit site, it’s okay. Steven Tyler said that Aerosmith’s catalogue used to be worth 24 mil. Now it’s worth 12 cents. I often publish links so you can hear music on this blog. I do think the internet is wonderful in that we can listen before we buy. But we still must buy. They need to make a living just like anyone else. Hell, it’s just possible that I’ve supported many of them myself. I have at least one album from all but like three of the people in that documenary. (grin)


  1. March 23, 2006    

    What a kewl post – laughing at Georgina Lynn’s ‘crap’ story – have heard that. (grin) Nice trip down memory lane on some of the songs – egad I hated Yoko, but loved Sting…still do.

  2. March 23, 2006    

    Now there’s a photo Kelli could do. That is one awsome performer.

  3. March 23, 2006    

    I have a ton of records. Even my 8 year olds love ’em!

    And yes, you should always buy your downloads. I’d hate it if someone downloaded a book of mine (I know, it’s the future I’m talking about here, but work with me) for free. I work my butt off for this stuff, ya know?

    Great post.

    (waving to Betty)

  4. March 24, 2006    

    You’re my new favorite blogger and I now find myself quoting you. 🙂

    Loved the similarities between music and writing because as a lover of both, I was also noticing that – except in music you get to “tell” and don’t always have to “show.” 🙂

  5. March 24, 2006    

    I wore a Harvard shirt to see my doctor once and he said, “You went there too?”

    Um, nope.

    I told him a Harper attends grad school there, but that I’m not that Harper.

  6. March 24, 2006    

    Why thanks! Think that’s my first quote. Cool.

    Yes, that is one of the great things about music, isn’t it? We get to tell. It’s how clevor you are in the telling that makes it good. The best songs are the ones where a writer gets a point across in a few well chosen words. I think that’s one reason I’ve always loved short fiction and poetry as well. It’s in the discovery of new ways to use words. Make them mean something else.

    Like these lines from Lifelong Fling by Over the Rhine. (I know! I’m on an OTR kick this week!)

    The moon blind-sided the sky again
    As we grabbed loose ends of the tide and then
    The slippery slide
    You know I can’t say when
    I ever took a ride that could slap me this silly
    With roiling joy
    Lazy as sin
    Lyin’ up in heaven with my special friend
    And the space he’s in
    It can make a girl grin
    In the beginning of a lifelong fling

  7. March 24, 2006    

    I think I’ll wear my “small blood sacrifice” shirt to my next appointment. Gotta make those icky visits lively somehow, eh?

  8. March 24, 2006    

    (1) I’ve done quite a bit of research on one of the points you raised. Actually, the internet didn’t so much hurt the music industry as the music industry hurt itself by not adapting to new technology and attempting to over-extend their control on music. (You can see and read the transcripts of an excellent PBS show on the subject online at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/music/)

    (2) It’s now come full circle. I once had a student remark to me, “You mean that Paul McCartney was in another band before Wings?”

    I once had to bring in an actual eight-track tape, because none of the students had ever seen one.

    (3) I’m sure you thought about wearing a tee-shirt with “Malpractice Attorney” written on it during one of your doctor visits.

  9. March 24, 2006    

    No, I didn’t, but that’s hilarious!

    I’m off to check that link. Thanks!

  10. March 24, 2006    

    Very true how the publishing and music industries parallel. I’d like to add the film industry, which functions the same way as the previous two. Dominated by corporations unwilling to take anything even akin to a risk, mass culture is over-run by homogenous, boring works. Luckily, independent presses, theaters, and labels are still out there (helped along by word-of-mouth and the internet) to bring us the fresh, provacative art that we crave.

    Support your indie art outlets! When they die, all we’ll be left with is Jessica Simpson, White Chicks, and Stephen King’s latest disappointment. It’s ok to like one or all of the above, but do we really want those to be the only options?

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