Monday, October 29, 2007

Music and Literature

I like to think of essays as songs in prose form. Now Diana is preparing a promotional site for her forthcoming book of essays, and she's trying to match songs to the essays she's written. Some suggest songs easily, and others cause problems. As always, I'm available to lend my bent mind to any project.

I read Diana's manuscript last year, and I enjoyed all of the essays. One of those I liked best, though, was about her first husband--mostly because I knew nothing about that time of her life previous to the reading, but also because of the depth of her analysis about him. She didn't slag on him (which would have been out of character anyway), and she seemed to understand him even in the ways she knew she didn't like.

The link to where the essay is published online as fiction is here.

The song I suggested for that essay was Tom Waits's "I Don't Want To Grow Up." The title might lead you to believe I'm poking fun at Darry (that's the name given in the story), but I'm not--because Waits isn't. What Waits derides here is the supposed requirements for conforming in American society once one is of legal adult age. Here are the lyrics:

I Don't Want To Grow Up
by Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan (his wife)

Here's the video.
Here's the Ramones cover.

In the first stanza Waits says that he wants to be a dog. Dogs play a part in this essay--especially those who shouldn't be pampered. And the treatment of dogs ties into the treatment of people in the rest of the essay.

Diana mentions Darry's hair, and how it's thinning, so the lyric, "I don't want my hair to fall out" would be appropriate.

But the bulk of the appropriate material resides in the materialistic verses:
"I don't wanna have the biggest amount" seems a natural, and so does " I don't wanna live in a big old Tomb/On Grand Street."
He wants nothing to do with materialist culture, with the American Dream.

I'll accept additional support from these pasages:
"When I see the 5 o'clock news/I don't wanna grow up/Comb their hair and shine their shoes"
Image isn't important.
"Stay around in my old hometown"
She mentions specifically that he always wanted to leave Pennsylvania.
"I don't wanna get me a big old loan/Work them fingers to the bone"
She mentions his preference for the barter system.
"I don't wanna float a broom/Fall in love and get married then boom/How the hell did I get here so soon/I don't wanna grow up"
This seems the heart of the essay/story. This guy doesn't even know who he is, so he can't competently marry another human.

I'm going to adjust this a bit. This is a first draft, even though I've found my main points.


Diana said...

Dude, you sold me on this. I knew there was a good reason to put you in my acknowledgements.

Now what other perfect suggestions do you got?

Jason said...

I'm giggling. I thought I'd have to push harder for this. I love the song and I thought it matched, but . . .