25 April 2013

Writing and the Art of Rejection.

People love rejection.

We get crushes on girls who never notice us. We buy lottery tickets knowing the chance of winning is small, but the chance of SOMEBODY winning is great. We root for underdogs, who--more often than not--prove time and time again why they were considered underdogs.

We dream of jobs we'll never have. Sights we'll never see. Cars we'll never drive.In some ways, some of us spend our waking hours dreaming of lives we'll never live. And most of us are okay with living vicariously through actors and athletes and musicians and models and writers.

But some of us think we are smarter than the rest. Some of us crave our own share of the spotlight, the blank canvas, the new chord or reinvented melody. The camera's lens. Some of us even sit in dark offices or quiet cafes, staring at virgin Word files, seeing possibility where moments ago none existed. We see characters that don't sleep. Landscapes that terrify and inspire. We catch glimpses of that emotional chain that binds us to every other human on the planet. We convert our frustrations and dreams into stories that we can package and sell to publishers and readers and in the process we're inventing whole new ways to feel that sting, the bitter bite of a rejection that we so deeply crave.

'Inventing' because we invite that rejection into our homes. Sit down to dinner with it. Sometimes we even go to bed with it. Either way, we own it because we created it and requested it.    

Personally, I love life post-rejection. The legitimized complaining and self-analysis. The guilt-free trips into the bottle. The bitter smirk that's my little way of saying, "Just wait and see what I'm going to do next. It's going to blow your doors off." And no time is more magical than that first hour or so after receiving the rejection. For about sixty minutes the mind is clear enough to let the writer solve all of the publishing industries' internal problems--distribution, marketing, genre trends. For sixty minutes we know what readers REALLY want. With luck there's time left over to tackle politics or the relative superiority of East Coast rap before reality sets in. Before the mind clouds and logic stops making sense. Before we're back in the artificial reality of our Word files.

Because you know what people love more than rejection?

We love being proven right. It's in our blood right between the hemoglobin and lymphocytes.We love knowing that our hours spent looming over the Word file weren't wasted. We love stepping around the naysayers that litter the path like dog crap on a sidewalk. Even if we have to become better writers to do it, we want to show the world that they were wrong. So we embrace rejection. We take the feeling and bank it, because without that feeling we are satisfied.

Without it, we are no longer hungry. We get sleepy. Lazy. Everybody knows that nothing good creatively can come from satisfaction.

Writing, and the art of creation--by nature--relies on rejection or some form of destructive element. Just look at how mammals flourished and diversified after the Cretaceous mass extinction wiped out triceratops and its cousins. Maybe working through rejection is how we learn to finally get it right.

I suppose we suffer rejection to achieve acceptance. We want the industry, peers and readers to like what we do and give it their stamp of approval. And as nice as that is, acceptance is a goal. The end of a path. But acceptance can't motivate because it doesn't fuel the fire quite like rejection does. Acceptance tells us that everything is okay. And if everything really WAS okay we'd have no reason to suffer the process of creation. No reason to write or create.

I say embrace the rejection. It's a reward for the hours we put in. Battle scars, and all that.

21 April 2013

BOOTLEG: Radiohead, Later with Jools Holland, London, England on June 9th, 2001.

Because I'm tired of Preston Black getting all the attention...

So I decided to retire THE MUSIC AND PRESTON BLACK and replace it with this: JASON JACK MILLER'S SECRET STASH. The concept is the same--I curate the stuff that interests me. But unlike Preston, I'm mostly literate, and plan to diverge from the 'all music, all the time' format. You can expect to see books, film, videos, photos from the archives, and trip reports.

And lots of music.

You may not enjoy everything I post here, but at least you'll get more of my jokes. (Still scratching your head over than Cesar Chavez comment? Can't help you there.) My main interest is creating a personal archive of the stuff that I like. And I figure I may as well share it with you guys.

Let's kick it off with a little Radiohead. The way I see it, there are two types of people in this world--people who'd follow Thom Yorke into a collapsing star, and those who'd claim 'Creep' as their favorite Radiohead song. I'm going to try to remedy that with a little show from 2001, taped right after the release of AMNESIAC--an experimental album they recorded at the same time they made KID A in an attempt distance themselves from the success of OK COMPUTER. The pressure of constant touring created a bit of psychological strain on the band, particularly Thom Yorke, who said, "I always used to use music as a way of moving on and dealing with things, and I sort of felt like that the thing that helped me deal with things had been sold to the highest bidder and I was simply doing its bidding. And I couldn't handle that."

So here's the music, in a live format, which makes it a bit more accessible for new listeners. And if you're a fan, you know this show. And you know how amazing it sounds.