I have this idea – and feel free to steal it and run with it – for a column called Story and Song. Maybe it’s already been done, probably so, I don’t know. But it’s where writers combine a book with a record and discuss / explain / celebrate the connection between the two. Just like pairing a nice bottle of wine with a delicious meal.
For me, I’d start with Laura Marling’s marvelous new album, Short Movie, and pair that with Lust & Other Stories, the equally provocative collection of short stories by Susan Minot.
Marling, a British folk singer-songwriter, is 25 years old, about the age of many of Minot’s characters in Lust…, and both the real singer and the fictional characters are experiencing the appetites, insecurities and ambivalence (about men) of young women in their twenties. In ‘False Hope’ (shown above), Marling asks straight out: Is it still okay that I don’t know how to be alone? While in the story ‘City Night’, a young woman named Ellen goes home with a handsome cad. Minot writes:
The night flapped on, disoriented and dark. Ellen had given up trying to steer herself through it.
Both album and book are closely connected to place; Marling with Los Angeles and Minot with New York. Opposite coasts but parallel journeys – across attraction, heartache, defiance – in search of identity and connection.
I can’t be your horse anymore / You’re not the warrior I would die for*
What I like most about both women is how they can write about relationships and even one-night stands with intelligence and insight, so that the female characters can be smart and capable and yet still succumb to messy emotion. They’re complex women but not immune to being hurt or cast aside.
Check them out when you can & Have a good week!
*From Marling’s ‘Warrior’
Love your idea — you are off to a terrific start! Keep going! I want to know more. There is lots of cross pollination among artists.
I listened to a bit of Laura Marling when you last mentioned here and I thought she sounded a bit like Cat Power, whom I love.
I don’t yet know the work of Susan Minot, but ‘Im intrigued reading your insights.
I have often thought of trying to combine my art with my poetry…. it’s a long creative adventure and perhaps dialogue?
Last week was a bit of a roller coaster when Chris told me that he was sort of offered a chance to go to London for work. The fellow who does his equivalent job just resigned, so it would be a lateral move with no promotion or pay raise. Not great.
We immediately said “no thanks” but then I started to think about it, and think about it a *LOT* and went nuts connecting to a couple of friends over there, Lucy Killgren among others, and started researching schools. My gosh, I was quickly up to my eyeballs in research….It’s very daunting. I know nothing about London, and only visited for an afternoon over 20 years ago.
Chris is perhaps not so keen as it’s sort of a risky move for him in terms of his career (London is less stable than Asia at the moment and Asia is seeing better growth, etc), but we have been married 15 years now and we tend to move every 6 years or so….
I am feeling like a big change could be a good thing, despite feeling somewhat settled in HK, now in our 7th year.
Chris would definitely want to be here for our HK residency which comes up end of December 2015. Unless I stay here with the kids so they can go to school and he beings to work in London? It feels like a long shot at this point.
I would love to be closer to more ‘culture’ like museums and art galleries, where Lucy claims that “creativity is perhaps better supported.”
We shall see, a lot to figure out. It may not pan out… but I kind of hope it does…
Will keep you posted.
We are in Paris from July 16- August 1 and now may extend our trip by another week so Chris can go into the office in London.
What are you summer plans?
Sorry for the long email. I know you are busy trying to finish your novel. I got some nice emails from Lucy. She is making progress on her novel, slowly. Perhaps you two are in touch more regularly?
Oh my Lord, exciting news Allison! You’ve got wanderlust, yes? ha ha. Thanks for reading. I like Cat Power too – her version of ‘Amazing Grace’ is beautiful.
Keep me posted on your movements!