15 May 2007

Why I am not a Music Writer

First thing: this is not a coy denial to encourage the "oh, of course you are" response. I am venting and do not wish to be comforted or coddled. Sure, I am writing this right now and therefore could be called a writer. But we live in a predominantly literate society where really everybody knows how to read and write. By that fact, pretty much everybody is a writer. But did not say I am not a writer, I said I am not a Writer.

Norman Mailer once said something about the difference between a professional [W]riter and an amatuer writer is the ability to work on a bad day. That makes a lot of sense to me. Anything someone has a thought on can be written up nicely given the time and space to do it. But to come up with thoughts everyday and articulate them as fast and naturally as the rain falls down...I can't do that. I can't really write on rainy days, so to speak.

But I also said I am not a music Writer. I put that adjective in there because this is the type of writing I most often decide to make public, in a zine or a blog, and music Writer is what I am sometimes called (not by me.) But I am not a music Writer because I don't always have something to say. Sometimes I don't even really have much of an opinion about something I hear. But then nobody is expecting me to have one. Nobody is counting on me. If I don't have something I think is relevant, new or interesting to add to the conversation, I just don't write about it.

Why do I write about music when I do write? Because like every other music writer (and music Writer) I can make the corny but true statement: music has saved my life. Music saves my life. Repeatedly. I could not live without it and probably neither could you or you wouldn't be reading some music fan's blog.

Why do I have these blogs going? Because every once in a while I have a thought I do want to share. And I presume if you don't want to read it, you won't. You don't have to. It's a great thing about blogs.

And why do I write for zines? I wrote for zines in Kentucky that covered the local music scene there when I lived in Kentucky because I loved it. I now write for zines in Colorado because that's where I live now. And I love much of what is going on right here. Recordings are great and essential and good music comes from everywhere, yes, but you live where you live and the music that is made there could only come from there, at least exactly as it exists. It would be different if it came from somewhere else. Maybe just as good, but it would be different.

I write for zines because they support and exist in the local music scene, whatever state that scene is in, and local music scenes are the only sort of place that's ever felt like home to me. I don't make music, but I do possess the common skill of writing sentences. Occasionally a good one. So I keep writing and try to do my little tiny part for whatever it's worth. Times are that I think maybe it's not worth too much and I maybe I won't write anymore. But then I do it again.

But still, I am not a Writer.