One of the best pieces of writing advice I received from an editor turned out to be one of the best pieces of career and life advice I have ever received:
You’re writing within the biosphere of your enthusiasms and subjects; the reviews communicate in a code that’s shared by a coterie that only…
I think this is good advice and there is a lot of truth here, but I also think it might overlook something. I don’t know that any given piece, band, record, amounts to much, but an individual person’s relationship to music (or other art) can be hugely important, something that in fact makes life worth living. I think honoring that and trying to get to the core of how that works and what it means is actually an activity of deep significance (and maybe that is what Jessica means about taking your work seriously).
Also, the last comment here made me think of the early days of KISS, and how they treated every gig in a high school cafeteria or shithole bar like they were headlining the Garden, and I thought, that sounds like it was probably pretty fun!
This is old now but I periodically go back to certain tumblrs and read them for what I’ve missed, and Mark’s is one of them. And I think I would go even further, and say that there are ways in which this stuff can, in fact, be a big responsibility, and affect lives. I hope that doesn’t sound corny or self-important. Sometimes, I really wish this job didn’t feel like it had such an impact; I wish that I could write wholly about might personal relationship with songs, and write those things for my friends, and that it truly was pretty minor in the grand scale of things (and that someone would care about that personal relationship enough to pay me for it, for why Astral Weeks reminds me of my first crush, or whatever). And maybe I need to take these responsibilities with more of a grain of salt, to say “It’s in god’s hands” more often. I don’t know.
I don’t mean to romanticize or over-exaggerate some, like, troubled writer’s burden, or something. Nor do I want to suggest that I don’t have agency in getting myself into situations where I was required to take this job very seriously. On the other hand, I definitely don’t want to trivialize what we do. But I think I will quote Junot Diaz from an interview with Ross Scarano on Complex:
“As a writer, everything you publish gives you privilege; it’s what you do with yours that matters.”