Real Boys and Real Girls

Music, more than any other art form, I think, viscerally conjures moments in my life: Modest Mouse's Good News for People Who Love Bad News is the sound of the summer I was a temp at Houghton Mifflin. My 1995 was the entire Beatles catalog. But there are certain songs and albums that, for whatever weird kismetty reasons, fuse themselves not only to a memory or a moment, but to my understanding of that memory or moment. Collective Soul's Dosage is inexorably tied to my experience of going nuts for The Matrix in the spring of my freshman year of college: melodies and lyrics that I'm guessing were never meant to evoke a cyberpunk popcorn blockbuster nonetheless did, and if anyone ever wants to make a super edit of The Matrix that turns it into a Collective Soul musical, I would probably marry you.

(Ok, I don't want to overpromise, but I'm exhausted and it's making me hyperbolic: if you made a super edit of The Matrix that turns it into a Collective Soul musical I would think you were THE COOLEST, we can talk marriage later.)

Anyway, the point, the point: right. I am exhausted because I've just come back from my second AWP conference (that's Association of Writers and Writing Programs) in Seattle, and I am stuffed to the gills with ideas and excitement and gratitude to know (and to have just met!) so many incredible people—people who are writers and teachers and makers and artists and, above all, humans. Right before I left Boston I bought St. Vincent's incredible eponymous new album, and "Prince Johnny," which I listened to again and again during the course of the conference, has fused itself to my AWP '14.  I doubt St. Vincent had in mind the experience of moving through a crowd of bright, hungry artists—whether they were in Seattle in body or in spirit, as a face or a book or a Tweet—but so much of this song resonated.  We're all sons and daughters of someone.  And we're all writing, we're all hoping, we'll all trying to feel real.



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