All Is Not Lost

We are, after all, gaining daylight.

Stubbornly trying to keep indoor plants alive in 2018.

I had the pleasure of hanging out with someone I don’t often see a couple of days ago. The primary focus of our getting together was the book she’s writing – I relish this conversational topic, and I’ve been insanely curious about what she’s working on. As we talked, sitting on the stage of a very busy downtown Champaign record store, the conversation drifted into the area of primary source material, including ephemera. She mentioned that, at some point along the way, she and her bandmates had gotten rid of some of the memorabilia/letters/other records from the period of time about which she’s now writing.

I think ditching old paper is something a lot of people just do now; I do it myself. I’m especially fond of getting rid of administrative paper when the time comes. Recycle! Toss! Shred! Burn! I couldn’t tell how she felt about unknowingly getting rid of what could have been primary source material – whatever got jettisoned might not be germane to the story she’s telling, and I honestly don’t expect normal humans to feel the same way I do about what most people would think is garbage. But – since you asked, how I feel about it is this.

While I certainly would not classify myself as a hoarder, I definitely had a penchant for acquiring and saving letters, postcards, bits of paper, matchbooks (remember those?), receipts, writings scrawled on napkins, venue calendars, to-do lists, that sort of thing… and moving them around with me. [Many of] those scraps and bits from the 1980s and 1990s are still with me,  ignored (for now) and, by now, probably degrading in some old file cabinets in our garage. [I still lament the Dumpstering of tons of old British music magazines before we moved here. Oh, god, it still stings! What was I thinking?! It’s not like they were Michelangelo’s grocery list or anything, but… gah!]

Note to self from a small notepad labeled “REAL LIFE” [2014-ish]
I say had a penchant because, lately, I generate way fewer physical records than I do digital records – though I still do take copious notes and keep them (see above). I type a lot, but I actually write less, for example – my journaling and general faffing-around writing output, including doodling, is way less than it was even 10 years ago. So much of my own primary source material used to be physical, tactile, tangible. It seems like now I have less and less to save, and the work I generate – and the things I keep – are largely kept “safe” online or on drives somewhere.

Until they’re not. I (and others) recently experienced a catastrophic data loss for projects we were working on – hours of video, graphics files, etc that can’t be reproduced. Primary source material. Gone. Poof. Just like that. Epic fail. I’m grumpy when I lose tweets to the ether… and this was a whole ‘nother beast. I’m still crushed. The loss is real to me. I can walk away from the computer and read a book or talk to my family or watch the Australian Open or cook something, but that loss is still very real despite the fact I didn’t lose anything I could hold in my hands. In a way, it feels worse: Great God Technology couldn’t keep our work safe, but stuff we say via Twitter can follow us around forever. We live in weird times.

I’m not sure where I’m going with this. Have redundant redundancies for your redundancies? Be weird about saving things, then get even weirder about it? Let go of any illusions you may have about being able to hold onto anything? I have saved this draft at least 8 times. That should tell you where I’m at.

Temporary tomato cage installation on 909’s grounds.

I have two seed orders in front of me as I type, which should also tell you where I’m at, which is: Mid-January, which means it’s practically February, which means I need to whip 909’s Basement Seed Lab into shape. I imagine the day my orders arrive at my office, I’ll be like the hearts-for-eyes emoji, all squishy-feels about the eventuality of variegated collards, Easter egg radishes, Scotch bonnet peppers, black peony poppies, and the like.

And that’s why I plant, every damn year. Spring never fails.

Satisfaction

IMG_4573

April = satisfaction. Leaves emerge. Birds sing. Severe weather threatens. We survived winter, friends. WE PREVAILED.

Some things:

– I’m doing some writing about music – very amateur! I’m rusty as hell! – at Innocent Words. This link will take you to a thing I did about Hüsker Dü drummer Grant Hart. Another piece about (well, sort of) Donita Sparks from L7 was just published yesterday (language, y’all). I’m pretty insecure about my music writing because I’m not a critic. I’m not an academic. I just write about how music makes me feel, or how I remember it made me feel at a certain point in time, and describe those feelings through the lens of now. I don’t think about music as much as I used to. I don’t even listen to music as much as I used to, although that’s changing as a result of this assignment. I think about how old I was (25) when my dad was the age I am now (46) and how he was not even trying to understand “grunge” or Britpop because it all sucked and the music HE had in his 20s was better. JEEZ, DAD. But… while I totally love a lot of the stuff I hear in passing today, I find myself writing about the days of yore. You cannot take the Hugo out of the girl.

– Speaking of the days of yore and writing, I read Viv Albertine‘s memoir while I was on vacation and I loved it so much. I read it in 8 hours. I wanted more. I wanted five hundred more pages. And the device she uses as a “bibliography” – is brilliant.

– Speaking of brilliant, my daughter is doing some fantastic writing for Rookie. She’s a deeply-feeling athlete who doesn’t speak in coachy/jocky platitudes about “gutting it out” or “finding a way to win” – she’s writing stuff like I pour myself so wholeheartedly into the game that when my voice is silenced and my strength sapped I don’t know what to do with myself, how to react, how to adapt. I LOVE HER SO MUCH.

– Tomorrow is video release day and I’m pretty damn excited about it. I’ll post the link when it’s live! Yes!

I’m kind of excited about… everything! All the things! I have a lot to learn about saying yes and saying no and standing up for myself and holding my ground and managing my time and doing the work and basically figuring out what it all means. There are days when I freak out that I’m still doing this at my age, trying to get my shit straight, but I’m starting to realize that it’s never too late, and everyone’s always working on something.

LOTSA (Lisa’s Open Tabs Saved Aggressively):

How to disrupt public radio

Being Boss is my new podcast obsession

I used to work at this bakery in St. Paul and I think this might be the ever-elusive bran muffin recipe

I’m making this for Lilly’s soccer team next week because Smitten Kitchen knows what girls like

My friends Brett and Bonnie talk about art, ecology, Scandinavia

Who’s read Good to Great?

Jealous Curator

Early days of the B-52s

Lessons learned from writing a cookbook

Case made for wearing the same thing to work every day – do you do this?

Rejection is awesome