Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Thoughts on music

Most of American music was made by people who never had any idea it would be listened to beyond the moment, and much of it will live forever. Somewhere around 1970 that changed. Every pop band thought they were making music for posterity, and most of it isn't.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Why it keeps getting harder

Thomas Mann once defined a writer as "a person for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people." And a corollary -- the better you get at writing, the harder it becomes. It pretty much has to. Your standards get higher -- you demand more of yourself. And as a writer, you're in competition with everyone else who's writing and everyone who's ever written. In a sense, that's a fairly steady level of competition, but in a more significant sense, it's not, because you recognize more of your competition's salient points as you get more experience.
And in an even more significant sense, it gets wildly difficult, because your main competition is always yourself, and as you get better, it means your principal competition gets stiffer.