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Further explanation

October 1, 2008

To build off what I was saying yesterday, I want to mention two reasons I feel it necessary to make such a mark.

First, I feel I owe it to the people I’m writing about to write a truly dynamic book. Aside from the fact that their artistic contributions have raised the bar for me, they’re at least letting me write about them, and I don’t want to let them down. Anyone of them could say, “No, thanks, don’t write about me,” and I’d be left with no recourse whatsoever, but that hasn’t happened yet, and I’m grateful.

Second, I feel a need to make this mine. Obviously, it’s not a story about me, but technically anybody could write this, and I want there to be a reason that it was me. I want it to be unique. I want to do with it what no one else can.

This sort of leads me into part of the reason I want to write this book in the first place.

I aspire to be an artist. I’ve painted and drawn and written plenty, but I hardly consider myself an artist. At some point, I’d like to. To be more specific, I’d like to be a fiction writer.

As it stands, I have on my computer about thirty or forty short stories in various stages as well as comprehensive outlines for at least three full-length novels. Some are farther along than others, but there are a few that are nearly in a publishable draft.

But they’re not publishable yet, and let me tell you why.

Before I do, let me first explain the most pressing anxiety one gets from being a music journalist. Basically, there’s a ceiling: no matter how good a job I do, my writing will always be secondary to the musicians whose stories I help tell, even if I’m a million times more talented than said musicians.

I had the opportunity to visit the Georges Pompidou Centre while in Paris this summer, where I was struck with an inverted sort of anxiety: amid the wealth of provocative art in the museum, I questioned my own artistic merits. I was surrounded by the work of geniuses. In what way did I deserve to be an artist? What did I have to say that was worth saying to the masses?

The synthesis of these two anxieties quelled both. In telling the stories of others, I gain the perspective required to eventually tell my own. To solely tell others’ stories is unfulfilling; to solely tell mine is at best selfish and at worst irresponsible. To do both is entirely rational.

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