Last night AK and I caught The Airborne Toxic Event at the Troubadour. It was a transcendent show—and I’m pretty hard to please when it comes to live music. I like comfy seating, discernible lyrics, good visuals. In other words, I want all concert experiences to be Rent. The Airborne Toxic Event comes pretty damn close. Their new song “All At Once,” with its sweet howling chorus and violin, is a meditation on life and death that made me cry like “Seasons of Love” (don’t laugh or I will show you a season of hate). The last lines:
And we all had just one hope,
there was someone looking down
to return our bodies to each other
and the ground
Simple, but so is grief, right? I used to dismiss writers who wrote about love and loss as kind of dumb and apolitical. But that’s all life boils down to, and politics are just about powerful people trying to outsource all the loss to less powerful people. Even though I feel like my mid-thirties have brought on some kind of radical if obvious paradigm shift, when I look back at the stuff I wrote a long time ago, it too seems to be about love and loss. Because that’s all there is.
A piece of something I wrote a long time ago*, about the itchy excitement of the possibility of love (love previously forbidden by the powerful!), is in the Heyday anthology New California Writing 2011. I’m in the very good company of Susan Straight and Michael Chabon, among others.
I’ll be signing it around 3-ish and hanging out with some of the other featured SoCal writers at the Heyday booth (#58) at the L.A. Times Festival of Books on Saturday. The festival is now conveniently located at USC. At 3:30 I’ll mosey over to the Manic D booth (#953) to sign Lilac Mines. If you read this blog, you either already have a copy of my novel or you’re just not into reading books (it’s okay; I’m probably not into something you really love). But maybe your cousin doesn’t have a copy, and maybe she’s into reading books. I’m just saying.**
*Meaning Lilac Mines. Can you believe I started it in 2002? I had never left North America. No one had ever broken up with me. Facebook was but a glimmer in Friendster’s eye.
**What I’m saying is, make me look like a bestselling writer in front of my editor.