I think that in order to write really well and convincingly, one must be somewhat poisoned by emotion. Dislike, displeasure, resentment, fault-finding, imagination, passionate remonstrance, a sense of injustice — they all make fine fuel.
~ Edna Ferber
I was thinking about that first semester of our junior year at UT. I didn’t have a place to live and was crashing at yours for the first couple of weeks. And I remember you’d been talking about this new band you’d heard.
I remember standing in your kitchen making a sandwich or something, and you and your roommate were in the other room watching MTV. Back when MTV used to be what we remember as MTV. And I heard that song come on that was unlike anything else.
I put down my bread and my mustard knife or whatever and came out to where you guys were in front of the TV and I remember saying something like who is THIS? and you saying something like this is that band I was telling you about.
And we did not move again until this was over…
Smells Like Teen Spirit
I think I just stood there with my hands at my sides and my mouth open, or something. When the spell broke, the room was different. I knew it. You knew it. Your roommate knew it. The future had changed course.
It would not be glammy, or poofy-haired, or costumed, or artificial. The future was pain and anger. Honest and raw.
A couple of weeks later we went to Sixth Street. We parked a few blocks away and as we got out of the car there was another car across the lot with its doors open blasting Nevermind. I thought, okay, it’s official. This is what we’re doing now. Because those guys were not even music guys.
Here we are now, entertain us. I feel stupid, and contagious…
Those lyrics were social commentary back then. But there’s no irony or sarcasm left in those lines anymore. That’s just how it is now. And Nirvana is now classic rock. God, I feel old.
I’m writing because I couldn’t sleep last night. I woke up in the middle of the night thinking about this shit, which is crazy because I usually wake up in the middle of the night thinking about work. Waking up thinking about work is something I’m used to. I’m not used to waking up thinking about Nirvana. But I fell asleep in bed watching them on my iPad. And I woke up wanting to watch that MTV Unplugged show. (I still have a copy of that thing on VHS, and I have a VCR somewhere but it’s not hooked up.) What I wanted to see was “Where Did You Sleep Last Night?” I wanted to see Cobain’s eyes leave the planet at the end.
A lot of people can’t stand that Cobain guy because he was weak or selfish or whatever. At the end of the day, they’re probably right. I feel like what he had came from a place of pain. And maybe it’s wrong to say that the best art comes from pain. But I know that the songs or books or whatever that have hit me the hardest have always come from a place of pain. And I think I just wanted to share that with someone who would understand.
I remember how much you regretted missing them when they played Austin, but I don’t remember why we didn’t go. I looked it up online. The show was in October, so that moment in front of the TV would have been just a few weeks prior. How did we fuck that up?
I miss those days.
Hope you’re well.
Say hi to the missus and kids.
I’m not doing the Blogging 101 thing, but I did write this in response to the prompt about writing with a specific reader in mind.