Shimura Curves

Monday, June 12, 2006

Shimura Frocks



Hot, sweaty rehearsal at the weekend, with the sun chasing us across the living room, but we were all wearing pretty summer frocks to beat the heat. Ate ice cream and drank vanilla vodka floats and worked on new songs, which are sounding really, really good. Hurrah!

Artistic differences are funny. I needed to use AMPy's 'puter to listen to the School of Seven Bells stuff because I've not got sound on my computer at work. And about two minutes in, AMP is all "ugh, turn this droney shit off" which annoyed me because I was liking it in a spooky Opal/Espers sort of way, and then she put on "Here I Go Again On My Own" which is, like, the most played song on her iTunes (no, really, I lie - The Postal Service's Phil Collins cover is, like gag me with an emo haircut!) which had me going all "Ack! Ack! Get this fist-pumping soft rock crap off!" But then she messaged me at, like, midnight last night to tell me that Girls Aloud is, like the Best! Thing! Ever! and now she does want to do a mathsrock cover of "Wake Me Up" so everything is groovy that ends groovy. Yeah.

The single is finally finished and (hopefully) turned in. There comes a point where you just have to let it go, and stop working on it. My former art teacher used to tell me "You get a painting to the point where you think it's just ALMOST done, and then you step away from it and call it done." I'm just sick of the sound of it at this point, and never want to hear it again. But hopefully it'll be done in time for Truck now.

Good to rehearse and feel good about the band again, when it all comes together and we sound good. I get so wrapped up in writing and recording and mixing, and start to feel vaguely resentful, like I'm the dogsbody that has to do all the work while everybody else runs around getting laid off the back of it and I never do. :-( Bah. But then I was reading interviews with Xenomania and I decided that in the back room with the boffins was where I'd much rather be.

...and then yesterday was one of those gorgeous days when I didn't have to do ANYTHING. I went to the laundrette super early, then put all my clothes out to dry in the sun, and just lay on the sofa listening to music and writing. And it's moments like those when, despite my whinging about missing "the smell of a boy" that I realise I don't want a boyfriend. I like my freedom. I like being able to go out when I like, and stay home when I like, and not worry about someone else. I tried Noyfriending for a bit earlier this year, but I just didn't see the point. If I wasn't even that into someone to rearrange my schedule to include them, what was the point?

So I write my way through it. This is what I've always done. I was talking to Mela about creativity after a weird exchange on TSM board. I started writing "stories" at the age of 22 (the first time) after the massive nervous breakdown that landed me in jail, rehab, then a mental hospital in quick succession. It wasn't just fantasy and projection, it was a way of trying to work through emotional things I couldn't deal with, in a symbolic setting removed from the situations which were tearing me apart. I've done it ever since, really as a way of "digesting" events I couldn't control or handle. I discovered later that this was what writers like Andre Gide did, they invented a fictional version of themselves in order to explore or kill off aspects of themselves they found harmful.

I always thought this was good for you, both creatively and psychologically, rather than letting it built up and explode and destroy your life. But every now and then I wonder, when your rich fictional life seems more... *real* to you than your real life. Is there a point where literary escapism actually hurts you on an emotional level? I don't mean on that genuinely psycho level where you think your fantasies are real. (I know that it's fiction and have no desire for it to be otherwise.) But I do worry that spending so much time in a world that I have total control over may not actually help me deal with actual IRL friends who are *not* just puppets in a novel I'm writing.

(Though that brings up another kettle of fish - how much *do* you have absolute control over your characters in a novel? Sometimes they're more like children. You give birth to them and you shape them, but sometimes they behave in unpredicable ways that aren't necessarily what your fantasy would have been. When Mela asked "Do you ever write anything that scares you? or think 'whoa, where did that come from'?" my answer is a resounding yes.)

But I suppose, as they say - if you're still worried about losing your sanity, then you are probably still sane. (I've been mad. It doesn't feel like madness. It feels like some kind of preternatural *sense*.)

6 Comments:

At 1:28 PM GMT, Blogger Mistress La Spliffe said...

When you write you have a responsibility to your characters, even if they're your creations - they still do what they would do and not just what you'd have them do, if they're good creations. There's an emotional aspect to that as well as just the need to write believably - it sounds like you allowing your characters to behave as those characters would, which sounds like what you're doing, isn't a divorce from the real world at all, but an emotional engagement with it. I think.

 
At 5:45 PM GMT, Blogger melanie said...

sometimes also you have to do horrible things to your characters because it's what The Story requires.

 
At 7:41 PM GMT, Blogger AMP said...

aw kate you're so sweet sometimes! i defend 'here i go again on my own' to the death of course, while postal service is just shimmering gorgeousness that nobody with a soul can not get. also anna was totally nodding about the droney shit comment! but fuck yeah. i've been listening to girls aloud all day, they rule. they've been driving the emo from my brain. ps... sorry about getting laid. ;) though if it's any consolation, that's been causing me 'nuff angst anyway. and that, my friends, is why i love the postal service. x

 
At 10:38 AM GMT, Blogger Lex said...

i like that xenomania interview - a nice insight into the nuts and bolts of constructing a pop song. i'm with him on mutya's voice, and the mania song 'looking for a place' referenced throughout is really really good - like a more summery, laidback version of sugababes' 'round round' - even though it flopped.

 
At 3:00 PM GMT, Blogger Miss Daiquiri said...

I did not mind the drony shit too much, but it was definitley background music for me. Then again I made you all listen to Portuguese fado and the Pet Shop Boys last night, so, you know...

Kate, I know I said this yesterday, but I just wanted to go on record as saying I really appreciate a lot of what you wrote there. It's good to know you're thinking that way. x

(Ha ha! Word verification! jooxax! It sounds like a cleaning product from Holland!)

 
At 3:01 PM GMT, Blogger Miss Daiquiri said...

I love that blue dress so much too. Best £5 I've spent in a long time. *ends realy vain fashion moment*

 

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