Measured Extravagance

31 July 2003 - 6:31 p.m.

Still on hiatus, but Trotter [1] has a hardware issue and a frayed power cable, so it seemed like a good idea to post the current cache.

[[1] Yes, my iBook is named after Charlie. No, I haven't dined there yet, but reading about him entertains me.]

In memory: Susan Abrams. Shafali Lal. Skip Litz.

At Skip's funeral yesterday, one young man went to the microphone and said something along the lines of, "I want to get this right. . . According to the doctors, Skip should have been dead at least five years ago. So he had time to think about what he wanted when the time finally came, and he told me he wanted me to be sure to come up here and make sure to tell all of the women in the room, Has anyone told you today how fucking beautiful you are?"

And as several other people who spoke made note, when Skip said that, he meant it.

(Tuesday night I heard the BYM snickering at a note sent from one of the organizers of the wake. "It says to 'bring a covered dish -- and by that we don't mean one of Skip's many girlfriends!'")

Room full of musicians: "Amazing Grace," rich with harmony. At the bar, listening in on Tony Laiolo and Jack Silverman and a couple of other guys ("Jody" and "Ian," if memory serves) talking about music, Tony having noted that being a substitute teacher tends to alter one's perspective on what it means to play to a tough crowd. The night before, the BYM and I had listened in on part of Tony's show at Radio Cafe, where he'd played the hilarious "Wrote Me A Hit," the chorus which goes something like:

Wrote me a hit
Piece of shit
Heart and soul
It ain't got one bit
Wrote me a hit
Gonna make me rich
Son of bitch
Wrote me a hit. . .

(His tag in last week's Rage: "a former Music Row writer who confesses to hating most every country hackjob he wrote in the '80s. . .")

[26 November 2003 - Got a note from Tony. He's playing again at the Radio on December 10, and the actual lyrics are: "Wrote me a hit / powerful shit / Heart and soul / it ain't got a bit It's so damn bad / gonna make me rich / son of a bitch / Wrote me a hit." ]

Oh, and hey, I've got a line in this week's Scene as well - one of my entries made the "You're So Nashville. . ." cut. As the other guys at the table lamented, it's a lot of fun but it just ain't easy. (And, yes, listening to their war stories tends to put a new spin on keeping publication roulette in perspective.)

"The New Testament's message, on the other hand, is fairly steamlined and makes a lot more sense - until you hit Revelations, and you have seven-headed dragons eating the world. For which I blame a plentiful supply of crack on the Isle of Patmos." -"Medium Lobster" weighing in on a thread at Tacitus

"But then again, rationalizations are more important than sex. Everyone knows that. After all, how many days has have *you* ever gone without a rationalization?" - Misia, commenting on an Elizabeth Bear entry.

Delany has a following large enough not to be called "cult" and small enough that he has never threatened the best-seller lists. But he said he has never paid very much attention to the sales of his books, that he's grateful when people read him at all. The standard situation for most writers, he pointed out, is that people don't read them, so he's never surprised when they don't read him.

"I feel lucky when I get something published," he said, "and doubly lucky when somebody reads it and triply lucky when someone likes it and writes a positive review. But all that is secondary. One works. As Isak Dinesen said, 'We write every day, with neither despair nor hope.'

From M'ris:

I'm not a believer in the cult of Doing Something, Even If It Backfires, but I am a firm proponent of Small Actions. (I'm also fond of large ones, but they tend to be harder to fund or manage.) And I think a recognition that our own pain -- as a person or as a profession -- is not the center of pain in the universe is a good start towards being able to behave constructively and compassionately towards other people and other professions.

Take care, y'all. If anything of mine gets into print between now and September I'll give it a yell here, but I'm still playing catch-up with my offline life. This afternoon I got the tetanus shot I should have gone in for last week (the doctor: "You probably could've used stitching-up, too." Me: "Yeah, but at least I didn't bleed on the paper!"). Also suddenly hunting for an evening gown that fits properly in the right places (including my budget). Onwards!. . .

Two years ago: go -- go up the lightning's coming down

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