Friday, July 12, 2002

Hiya, Muffin Men!

Frankly I'm sick of hearing myself talk about the White Stripes, so I'll just briefly mention that a certain my-favorite-band-in-the-world is playing tomorrow night at First Avenue and I'm going to be there with my soul brother Jim and my superGF, Hillary, and basically I can't hardly think of a better way to die. Not that we're going to die. But you know.

A group of us are going to drink at the Irish bar across the street first, O'Donovan's.

So let me just say that I know I have been completely sucking at maintenance of Superhero Thursday, Poetry Friday, and Six Degrees of Separation Sunday. But can we just say that I am on vacation, which I technically am, and so I don't have to do anything normal?

For example, today I could say this is Music Zine Friday, and tell you about my friend Mark's new magazine, Lost Cause.

Mark Baumgarten is only 23 but he's wicked smart, and he hates writing bullshit for The Man, and he believes in pursuing your crazy youthful dreams, and going for broke--literally. So he quit his job (which also used to be my job before him) as a music writer at the St. Paul Pioneer Press and decided to make his own local music magazine, which would treat the local (Minnesota) music scene with the same seriousness usually given to "national" music.

Six weeks ago he hadn't even started it, and today it is out there in the clubs like it had always been around.

Mark works as a waiter to support himself. He rides a bike. He likes to drink and smoke too.

He wrote in the first issue of the magazine, "All real music comes from desperation." That's where his magazine came from, too.

Desperation isn't necessarily painful. For a writer or any creative sort, it's pretty much normal.

His statement reminded me of the X song that says, "We're desperate/Get used to it."

It's maybe my favorite lyric of the entire new wave era.

It's funny--I quit the PiPress and moved back to L.A., Mark quit the PiPress and started a magazine, and now the great Jim Walsh, probably my fave music writer next to Lester Bangs, is quitting the PiPress too (and going to Stanford for a year to have a heavy relationship with his muse). He's got a similar sense of desperation, the same one he's always had: Desperation for the future.

And desperation for writing.

Jim's desperation always awakens my desperation when we talk, or when I read his writing. Writing-desperation is contagious.

Sometimes Jim reminds me how unsatisfied I am, when I've been going along, treading water, pretending I'm happy. I talk to Jim and I remember, wait a minute: I'm fucking miserable. And wait another minute: It doesn't have to be like this!

It's super-liberating to admit you're miserable. The amazing thing about it is, the world doesn't explode. Life doesn't end. You don't develop weird horns and scales.

It's very odd to admit when you're happy. It's almost harder, because you're afraid it'll end if you admit it.

So tonight I won't say I'm happy. I'll just say the sunset was lavender and peach as I was driving home from St. Paul, and the air was balmy, blowing through the car, and the Twin Cities Federal building said it was 8:49 pm and 81 degrees. The grasses alongside the highway were deep green and overgrown, buzzing with crickets and whatever those buzzy-things are. There was a train sitting on the tracks that run along I-94, as always--a long yellow train doing nothing. When I got home, LakeCalhoun had turned lavender and was as still as an empty swimming pool.

Now, my tooth kills so I gotta go.

Goodnight, Junebugs.


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