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2016: Confessions of a procrastinator (2017 edition) - The Annals of Young Geoffrey: Hope brings a turtle [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Young Geoffrey

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2016: Confessions of a procrastinator (2017 edition) [Jan. 2nd, 2017|05:49 pm]
Young Geoffrey
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A New Year's post-mortem

Cover of Self-Loathing Comics #1, by R. Crumb. Click image for more information.
Image from the cover of Self-Loathing Comics #1, by R. Crumb. Published by Fantagraphics Books. Click image for full cover.

It's a sobering fact that Neil Young manages to make records faster than I can absorb them, and that Kristine Kathryn Rusch writes books faster than I can fucking read them.

As John Lennon put it, "And so happy Christmas, and what have you done? Another year over ..."

Am I going to manage to do something with the new year just begun?

Let's take a look at the projects I've undone ...

  • The ghost-writing project: closer now to 10 years in the fucking making than five. That my client is still telling me to "Take your time" isn't helpful, but, y'know, it's still my fault.

  • My erstwhile publishing company, is still a House with but a single title in print and a pretty moribund website.

    Yes, we have one novel in the pipeline, with (the author promises) more ever-so close to ready for prime time, but pretty close to fuck-all has happened since 2014. And it's (mostly) my fault.

  • Reviews. Nalo Hopkinson interceded with her agent to get me a comp of Sister Mine years ago. I've read the novel twice, taken copious notes, and drafted the review — probably twice. But finished the review? Er, not as such. Same with Peter Watts' most recent novel, Samuel R. Delany's brilliant Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders and several others.

  • I've also left unfinished reviews of Neil Young's memoirs — now two volumes of 'em! — and Patti Smith's beautiful book about her relationship with the photographer Robert Maplethorpe.

  • And on and on ... Where's my thoughts on the redoubtable Eddie Campbell's most recent graphic novels, or that critical appreciation of (a small sub-section of) Kristine Kathryn Rusch's oeuvre?

  • And speaking of Neil Young, I've wanted to say something about his most recent record. Only before I got that done, it was his two most recent records. Then three. And suddenly he's put out four god damned albums and what have I done?

  • And speaking of music, I went to see a concert by Canada's own Grimes last December — no, not December 2016, December 2015! And, once again, I managed to draft a write-up of that good-but-flawed show, and — again once again — I managed to not finish it to my satisfaction. And so it languishes on a stick, waiting for le môt juste. Never mind the major series of critical appreciations I've been planning on each song of Emmy the Great's first two (now three!) full-length albums.

  • In fact, this journal post threatens to become one of my never-finished projects. Not what I intended when I started it a couple of nights ago now. Seeing as how it's 04:36 on a Wednesday morning as I type this paragraph, I think ...

... I think that's enough — though I could go on. And on. And on.

Somehow, I need to (somehow!) make the time to get done that which I want to get done.

Yes, I'm pretty happy with my quotidien life. I am approaching the 7th anniversary of the night I told Raven I was sweet on her. I don't hate my job (though the hours sometimes get to me, the pay is lousy and it offers neither security nor benefits).

And arthritis aside, I am in better physical shape now than I was a decade ago. I'm still playing soccer and I recorded more than 1,500 kilometres(!) on my bicycle between August 23 and the end of the year. (I missed a few rides, too!)

In truth, I am, on the whole, actually pretty happy.

So it's not all bad, not by a long shot. But I'm not satisfied with where I'm at, either ...

Dare I hope this rant/whine will serve as some sort of spark to get my creative juices uncoagulated again?

For this morning, at least, I dare.

"You say you love me like a sister
Then you walk me to the cafe
where the drinks cost more than music ..."

This entry was originally posted at http://ed-rex.dreamwidth.org/287481.html. Comment there using OpenID, or here as per normal.

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Comments:
[User Picture]From: jade_noir
2017-01-03 04:12 pm (UTC)
I feel a connection with the cultural things that you are mentioning. I have been spending time since coming home learning my favorite tunes on acoustic guitar to sing to myself before bed. I find the process extremely therapeutic and a different experience than just listening to the records. I sing some Neil Young and Emmy the Great although I was thinking that I really don't know Young's music as much as I would like to.

Not to mention that you are reviewing the book of neighborhood writer I sometimes meet. Here, I am faced with the question is it more troublesome to a person with obvious arthritis to be helped because it embarrasses them or do they appreciate help down stairs and picking up things that they've drop?

I wish you all the happiness in this coming year and look forward to reading your reviews or whatever you decide to work in. ;)
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[User Picture]From: ed_rex
2017-01-03 10:43 pm (UTC)

I won't say it, I won't say it ...

Oh hell, I will. You are one of those people against whom I measure myself — and come up short. So doing my best to use your multifaceted talents and accomplishments as an inspiration.

In terms of your question about how to help, as a rule of thumb, when dealing with people with disabilities (or "cripples", as my semi-crippled parents put it), the way to go is to politely ask if they would like a hand. If they say no, drop it and don't offer again until/unless they ask.

Most people would rather do things for themselves if they possibly can.
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[User Picture]From: jade_noir
2017-01-05 01:00 am (UTC)
Géoff ! I'm not sure how to respond to your comment! I'm flattered but you must know that I appreciate you in my life and am forever impressed with you, your writing and your dedicated consumption of culture but most of all your thoughtfulness and character.

Lately I am really behind on writing much deserved thank you notes and emails. That's something I've always admired your ability to follow through with.

Thank you for the advice. I will follow it and hope that I show myself as respectful in doing so.

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[User Picture]From: ed_rex
2017-01-05 09:55 am (UTC)

Ain't no society like a mutual admiration society

Your first paragraph frankly makes me blush - thank you. For what it's worth, I've been just as honoured by your friendship over what is now quite a few years.

Thank you for the advice. I will follow it and hope that I show myself as respectful in doing so.

Unless you're dealing with someone especially sensitive (I was going to type "an asshole"), if you are respectful you'll almost certainly come across as respectful.

P.S. It's hard to know where to start with Neil Young. He's had what might be the most varied career of anyone in pop music. From folkie to "godfather of grunge", to film-maker, to hard-rock jammer. Some of his best songs are so simple they are almost laughable —

There is a town in North Ontario

Where dream comfort memory to spare

And in my mind, I still need a place to go

All my changes were there


Helpless, helpless, helpless [repeat; Chords: C, A, D]


— while others are wordy, image-rich stories ripped from his subconcious. And still others are topical, political, personal ...

Problematically, he works so fast, that the vast majority of his records contain songs that are utterly forgetable (though fans will probably disagree as to which ones are the bad ones. (Incidentally, he was once sued by his own record company for making albums (which they released! Yes, the company lost the law-suit) "uncharacteristic of Neil Young".)

Anyway. It's late and I'm letting my enthusiasm turn me incoherent. Youtube is your (spying, judgemental and untrustworthy friend). My personal favourites tend toward live recordings with Crazy Horse.

I recommend "Powder Finger", "Ohio", "After the Gold Rush", "Walk Like a Giant" and "Monsanto" as a somewhat varied sampling, in time and in tone.

Fanboy exuent!

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