Beer and Pavement

The Publishing Bug

Posted in Intersections, Life, Pavement, Records by SM on February 1, 2012

I’ve come to the realize that all I’ve ever wanted to do was write. There’s some regret that I didn’t use my college years to develop my writing more than I did. Instead, I decided teaching children was a better use of my skills. Boy, was I wrong.

Blogging has only been a hobby of mine for the past five years. Aside from a few posts picked up by the local paper, I’ve generally only seen my words in digital ink and not the soy variety. However, this is the closest I’ve come to both developing my writing and actually publishing what I wrote.

That’s about to change. As some of my regular readers are aware, I’ve often contemplated turning what I do here into a book of some sort. Obviously, these posts are a long, long way from being published, but the growth I’ve seen in my writing has me thinking that I could do this with some polish here and there. Plus, I am never short on ideas. Yeah, I go weeks with barely anything to say, but I’ve maintained several blogs at once over the years, sometimes able to post on a daily basis. Although I lack polish, I more than make up for it with ideas. I’m like the Bob Pollard of blogging. Sort of.

Although, I have been talking about writing for a while, I really got serious a couple of weeks ago while having beers with a friend. He’s “dabbled” in publishing and suggested that I should just start contributing articles or reviews to magazines. I don’t know whether he was a little drunk, actually enjoys what I have to say, or was seducing me, it made me realize how easy it would be to submit writing to a publication. Actually getting published might be another story, but the idea was to put something out there, to at least try.

So, I started considering publications to approach. I know a guy who wrote every-other record review for the year-end issue of Magnet. (Yes, they’re publishing Magnet again.) He’s an excellent writer, but he seems to appreciate some of my ideas now and again. It make me feel as if I could do what he does, or at least a fraction of it. It may be time to write a record review for submission beyond this blog.

Then, I flipped through to the last page of the March issue of All About Beer. The magazine closes with a feature called “It’s My Round” where people briefly tell their beer-related stories. This particular piece was written by a daddy blogger about his first sips of beer and how he wants to wait to share beer with his son. I could have written those words, but I didn’t. Then, I saw a note at the bottom explaining how to inquire about submissions. That was the opening I needed. I’ll write about beer and Pavement in a beer magazine. It might not get printed, but at least I’ll be able to say I tried.

Finally, the other night, semi-frequent commenter Holly sent me a link to a call for submissions. The venerable 33 1/3 series which features short book on some seminal albums is asking for submissions for new projects. The books are simply memoirs about some of the greatest albums of the last 30 or so years. Some editions just tell the story of the recording of said albums. Others tell a band’s story, focusing mostly on one moment in their history. Still, others tell the story of the listener’s relationship to the album. Whatever, I decide to do, this is a project I must try!

I had to drive for 90 minutes after learning of the call. So, I had time to think. My mind raced from album to album, trying to pinpoint the album most deserving of a 33 1/3 edition. I then had to consider my angle as the call implied that unique stories would receive preferential treatment. Maybe I could write about an album in relation to the rise of craft beer. Maybe there’s an angle I could consider that I’ve already explored on this site. Maybe I have a perspective no one else has…

So, I came up with a list of possible proposals for the series, but the publishers will only accept one. Feel free to submit your own, but all I ask is that you don’t steal any of my worthy ideas (if there are any). Tell me which I should pursue in the comments. I have an idea which one will stand the best chance of being accepted and actually completed, but I want to see what you all think. I also welcome any ideas you may have for me that I’m completely missing.

Terror Twilight – Pavement
This isn’t even my favorite Pavement record, but I feel there’s a story that hasn’t been told. For those who aren’t aware, this was Pavement’s last record. Between my experiences throughout the nineties with the band, my attendance at their final North American show (the first time around), my attendance at two of their reunion shows in 2010, and the stories swirling around their inevitable breakup during the recording of Terror Twilight, I think there is easily an entire book to write.

The Body, the Blood, the Machine – The Thermals
This album carried me through a tough time in my life and is just so ridiculously good. I thought that I might connect it to the rise of craft beer in Portland (or the rise of Portlandia in general). Plus, I have established a rapport with head Thermal Hutch Harris. Still, it might be a stretch to make the connections I’m trying to do here. That, and I’ve never been to Portland. I also considered albums by Cursive and Spoon during their brief sojourns to Portland or the transplanted albums by The Shins or Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks.

Number Seven Uptown – Swearing at Motorists
I always felt that this album just sounded like growing up in Ohio. Dave Dougman has an interesting story cutting his teeth in Dayton, before heading to Philly and eventually Berlin. He also seems really approachable. However, I don’t know that this album is known well enough for it to garner its own spot in the series. It’s certainly seminal to my experiences, but that might not be enough for 33 1/3. Other possibilities could include a Guided By Voices album not yet featured (Alien Lanes?), The Amps’ record, or Brainiac’s Hissing Prigs in Static Couture.

Other records I would consider but would probably just research the band, possibly leaving out my own experiences…

Perfect from Now On by Built to Spill
The Lonesome Crowded West by Modest Mouse
Come On Feel the Illinoise by Sufjan Stevens
Any album by Archers of Loaf
Funeral by Arcade Fire (Seriously, no one has written this book yet.)

Please come correct with your suggestions or your take on what I’ve cooked up here. Particularly, I’d love to hear the perspective of my beer enthusiast readers who know of a beer/music connection I must explore.

17 Responses

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  1. Barleywhiner said, on February 1, 2012 at 8:32 am

    Love The Body, The Blood, The Machine.

  2. Mike said, on February 1, 2012 at 9:25 am

    As much as I love me some of the other bands mentioned here, you gotta go with Pavement. They’re your band, man.

    This sounds like an interesting project. I’ve burnt out on the idea of writing, but the 33 1/3 project sounds like fun.

    • Zac said, on February 1, 2012 at 10:40 am

      I’m surprised you hadn’t read any if the series. Full disclosure: I was leaning toward Terror Twilight.

  3. carriethewade said, on February 1, 2012 at 9:47 am

    Yeah, i gotta second the Pavement.

    I’m thinking about doing this myself, not sure what context I’d frame it in or which album I’d choose–maybe Microphones The Glow Pt. 2. It’s funny that I’ve been realizing the exact same things about myself lately; I’ve always wanted to just be a writer, but have pursued other things to get a paycheck/do something tolerable.

    • Zac said, on February 1, 2012 at 10:41 am

      Do it! Your writing is pretty solid right now and it’s hard to get back if you let it go for 18 years.

  4. Alex said, on February 1, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    I was going to say that there’s already a Pavement book in the series, but since there are already two Radiohead albums with their own books, you should be fine. I really love the 33 1/3 books and own several of them. I particularly like that every one is unique in terms of style and focus, rather than working from a predefined template. Good luck!

    • Zac said, on February 2, 2012 at 7:47 am

      They only want one per album. So, I could offer to write all the remaining albums for Pavement.

  5. Steve said, on February 2, 2012 at 6:26 am

    I think most of us bloggers harbour secret publishing intentions or hopes. Good luck with it, keep us updated and don’t forget us when you’re writing for Rolling Stone!

    I have a few of the 33 1/3 series. I think it is a great concept, but they are a real mixed bag. I have the Wowee Zowee one but haven’t read much of it yet. I think Terror Twilight would be a fine choice. There has been a lot said about the early days of Pavement, but the later years feel somewhat neglected. I’m sure there is a tale to tell. Plus I think it is pretty underrated.

  6. Holly said, on February 2, 2012 at 11:55 am

    I’m glad you’re giving this a shot, Zac. Imma gonna go with Pavement. There’s just so much richness you bring to discussions of Pavement that I think it will bring out the best of your writing. And I think the idea of the story behind a last album for any major, popular group makes for an interesting story.

    Swearing at Motorists would be great, but so off their radar that I’d despair of them ever publishing it. You need to go somewhere else with that one.

    As a second choice, I’d go with Arcade Fire even though I’d personally be less interested in reading that one. 😉

    • Zac said, on February 2, 2012 at 12:03 pm

      The Pavement book is probably going to be the one. It has the best potential for a story I can tell. The others are mostly records I wish someone else would write.

  7. Zac said, on February 2, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    For those who are interested, I used to keep a Pavement oeuvre blog. It might have to be awakened so that I can finish writing about TT songs.

  8. Jert said, on February 2, 2012 at 7:49 pm

    Terror Twilight or Icky Mettle (of the choices you gave).
    More choices (that I think would suit you): On the Mouth by Superchunk, On Avery Island by Neutral Milk Hotel, Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like a Peasant by Belle and Sebastian (though maybe Carrie should write that one?)

    • Zac said, on February 2, 2012 at 8:18 pm

      At this point, it’s looking like Terror Twilight since I have a story to tell.

  9. Bill Farr said, on February 10, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    Another publishing opportunity for you:

    I don’t know what they pay (or if they pay…).

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