I’ve had it in my mind for quite a while now that at the end of the summer I would take a hiatus from blogging. Though I know that writing will definitely be part of my life in the future, for now, I’d like to spend more time listening to other people’s ideas, composing my own music, and, y’know, graduating from college and stuff. Upon reflection on my first blogging experience, I’ve come up with at least ten life lessons I’ve learned from the past six months of thrusting my opinions into the public. Let me see now…
- Avoid sweeping generalizations—or at the very least, own up to them.
- Avoid charts.
- When in doubt of what to talk about, fall back on queer theory, feminism, or identity politics.
- Luck brings you lots of potential professional opportunities, but it’s up to you to follow up on them and make them happen. For example, if you just so happen to meet the editor of a website who mentions he might need a writer, aggressively follow up on your lucky opportunity, or else you might miss out on something special.
- Somebody really, really needs to do something to stop the trend of “magically discovered” pop stars – the most recent annoying example being Nickelodeon’s Big Time Rush, with such encouraging lyrics as:
“Do you want to
Ride in a big limousine?
Tell me do you want to
Take a little bite of the fame machine?
If you wanna be discovered
And end up on the cover’ve every star-studded supermarket magazine
You can do it
Stick right to it.
It could happen tonight.”
Big Time Rush makes me feel the way that Roger Ebert felt about Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. One day, thousands of years from now, after the devastating effects of climate change have successfully wiped out the majority of twenty-first century American culture through some cataclysmic disaster that leaves only ruins to be studied, much like how our society now studies ancient Babylon, the children of the future will be sitting in their futuristic classrooms watching the only remaining DVD of our era, which just so happens to be the first season of Big Time Rush, and the teacher is going to say, “This was the pinnacle of twenty-first century American musical achievement,” and somewhere in the ethos (*insert name of composer who you feel best represents twenty-first century American musical achievement*) will cry out in despair.
- The difference between songwriting and composing is less clear than I originally thought. And maybe ambiguity is a good thing.
- Be open to criticism. Every single opinion from every reader comes from someplace genuine and contains something you can learn from. The more attentively you listen to potential flaws in your argument, the stronger you can make it later.
- Theodor Adorno essays should be read more than twice, preferably in the morning, with a large mug of coffee and a highlighter.
- You can shave your head but you can’t cut your deadlines too close.
- No matter how vast your knowledge of obscure music may be, rest assured that somewhere out there in the world there is a man named Frank J. Oteri, and he knows more than you do.
Thanks so much for reading and commenting. This experience has been very important to me and I’m so grateful to have had this rare opportunity to write and to learn. I look forward to having more discussions in the future!