A personal diary keeping people abreast of what I am working on writing-wise.

Monday, January 29, 2007


The fine folks at the Indie Spinner Rack podcast have put 12 Reasons Why I Love Her on their best of 2006 list. This awards show is in two parts, so listen to them both to get a good list of books to try out, but we're the very first in part 2.

Download Episode 66 of Indie Spinner Rack.

I don't know how I missed it, but episode 61 is where they first reviewed us. At some point, we're supposed to do an interview with them, but it hasn't been set up yet. They're too busy ordering pizza, and I think are scared they'll have to face up to capping on me in the awesome Renee French episode and know they will whither in my gaze. (I'm kidding. The reason they even bring it up is I gave them some crap on their MySpace page. I knew they hadn't really insulted me, but you know me, I have to be the smartest ass in the room.)

Current Soundtrack: catching up on Indie Spinner Rack

Current Mood: superstar


Usagi Yojmbo #100 goes on sale this week, with two pages of material written by me and wonderfully embellished by Andi Watson.

By: Stan Sakai with special guests Sergio Aragonés, Guy Davis, Mark Evanier, Rick Geary, Frank Miller, Jamie S. Rich, Mike Richardson, Scott Shaw, Jeff Smith, Matt Wagner, and Andi Watson

Stan Sakai’s biggest admirers—who also happen to be some of the hottest names in comics—come together to celebrate one hundred issues of Usagi Yojimbo at Dark Horse! Featuring eight extra story pages for a total of thirty-two, Usagi Yojimbo #100 is structured as a good-natured roast of both Usagi and Stan, kicking off with an opening by publisher Mike Richardson and artist Rick Geary before launching into unforgettable contributions from Frank Miller, Jeff Smith, Sergio Aragonés, Guy Davis, Mark Evanier, Scott Shaw, Jamie S. Rich, and Andi Watson—not to mention Stan Sakai himself! This extra-special issue is the ultimate introduction to the world of the rabbit ronin and his inimitable creator, a perfect entry point for anyone who ever wondered why the adventures of this long-eared hero have been among the most acclaimed all-ages comics for over two decades!

• One of the longest-running, consistent-selling comics ever!

• Eight extra story pages in this issue, with cardstock wraparound cover.

Publication Date: Jan 31, 2007
Format: b&w, 32 pages
Price: $3.50

Currently Reading: American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang

Current Soundtrack: Like everyone else on the internet today...the Arcade Fire, Neon Bible

Current Mood: awake

e-mail = golightly at confessions123.com * The Website * Live Journal Syndication * My Corporate-Owned Space * ComicSpace * The Blog Roll * DVDTalk reviews * My Books On Amazon

All text (c) 2007 Jamie S. Rich

Saturday, January 27, 2007


Okay, so this didn't exactly come yesterday as planned. I had plans to go out dancing tonight with Joe Nozemack, but he asked if we could move it up a day and I suddenly found myself going out last night. I got about 80% through this missive before I had to leave.

I needed to get out, though. I've still been feeling a bit lost in the wilderness. From folks I've talked to, having this cold of mine for three or four weeks (I'm at three) is not abnormal. It's not that I've really been sick this past week, but the cough lingers just a bit, the scratch in the throat lingers just a bit, and you never quite feel like you've gotten out of it.

So, I danced some last night. Highlight of the evening was likely DJ Gregarious playing Justin Timberlake and Blur side by side. "Sexyback" into "Girls and Boys." After two whiskeys, however, I was getting my crowd tourettes, and was starting to mouth evil things to people who got in my way, and then slowly I got louder and louder, until I shouted at one dude who kept walking through the crowd with a rod up his ass, "Hey, you already passed me enough, motherfucker." I then realized the girl standing near me was looking at me in horror, thinking I was shouting at her, so I quickly said, "No, no! That guy! Not you!" I cut myself off after that.

The upside of being sick and trapped indoors is it has given more further incentive to stay indoors and be productive. In the last ten days, I've knocked out two manga scripts, finalized You Have Killed Me, and did the last rewrite on Have You Seen the Horizon Lately?, fixing some very big problems with stunningly simple solutions before passing the manuscript on to Lynn Adair, my copy editor.

I have to admit, I'm really sort of surprised at where I am. This really puts the polish on the apple. I've had my trilogy of novels in my head since I was 19, and fifteen years later, I've tied them up in pretty much the way I always envisioned them. Horizon has probably morphed the most, but it was also the most amorphous, the book that was always going to require some waiting on my part before I could actually be in a life position to have the knowledge to do it.

And I think I pulled it off.

It's strange to be at this crossroads, though. For the first time since 1991, if you asked me what I was going to write next, at least as far as prose was concerned, I couldn't tell you. This really is the end of Mark I of my creative career, and Mark II hasn't yet begun to reveal itself to me, at least not in prose. Comics, I've got more cooking, but that has more to do with having found my perfect collaborator than it does me as of yet. Or maybe that's selling myself short, because collaboration does require two people. It's just that Joëlle is the one who seems to be nudging me in the direction we should go. I would have never believed I would be writing hardboiled crime, and our possible next project is also pretty much her doing. I said, "Hey, we should do such-and-such," as a joke, and she responded, "Oh, that would be great!" So, I'm developing it. She even had an impact on Horizon in many, many ways--most notably by introducing me to Milan Kundera, whose books were like a telegram to me, saying, "It's okay. What you think you want to do, you can." It's why she's ideal to do the book's cover.

Also strange to me, though, is just four months ago, when 12 Reasons Why I Love Her, I felt like I had peaked. Between it and The Everlasting was released, I felt like I had really done the best I could do. Now, I know every artist is supposed to say their newest work is the best yet, but we all know when maybe something isn't as hot. I definitely have a hierarchy in my bibliography, and there is the feeling that, at least for myself, I can never top how exactly I executed my designs with The Everlasting and 12 Reasons both.

Except part of me is starting to think maybe I have. You Have Killed Me may be better written than 12 Reasons Why I Love Her, even with how much mine and Joëlle's first collaboration felt like lightning in a bottle (she's certainly drawing better than she ever has before). Horizon may also usurp The Everlasting. I am kind of impressed with myself. Even though there are parts that still baffle me, that I still wonder if the need of the material is beyond my talents, I also am starting to think I may have exceeed what I thought was my grasp and pulled something else off entirely. (And certainly, Maryanne Snell deserves some major credit for her insightful suggestions about fixing my structure, and her fearless ability to tell me that the first 1/3 of the book wasn't written as well as the back 2/3. All of her suggestions were right on, and they made the book what it is. Also, thanks to Christopher McQuain, Ian Shaughnessy, and Mason West, who read the novel and when I told them what Maryanne suggested, were able to say, "Actually, yes." (Catherine McCullar and Jennifer de Guzman also offered earlier, separate feedback and inspiration. And maybe even perspiration.)) Only time will tell if Horizon is truly better than The Everlasting, and even if the new books are better, they still my not be may favorite, since that entails so much more of the experience as a qualifier, but I definitely feel all the more confident.

Right now, Horizon is going to be out again for San Diego, so sometime in July, and You Have Killed Me is tentatively scheduled in October, but since it came in about 50 pages over the original estimate (it's 181), it may take slightly longer.

Killed Me doesn't have a soundtrack to share with you. Like I Was Someone Dead, music didn't play that big of a role, and so there was no mix to make. Not so for Horizon. Even though I barred pop music from the book, only breaking the rule for a very specific use of Depeche Mode, I still needed mood music, and I filled two CDs with songs.

Have You Seen the Horizon Lately? writing playlist, disc 1

1. The Who - "They Are All In Love"
2. The Who - "Blue, Red, & Gray"
3. Suede - "He's Gone"
4. Geneva - "If You Have To Go"
5. Suede - "By The Sea"
6. Faye Wong - "Moon at that Moment"
7. Elvis Costello & the Attractions - "Man Out of Time"

"The Iris Suite"
8. Lush - "Light from a Dead Star"
9. Dot Allison - "Tomorrow Never Knows"

10. Keane - "Fly To Me"
11. Cast - "Walkaway"
12. Sinead O'Connor - "Sacrifice"
13. Beijing Angelic Choir - "Kitty, Stop Your Meowing"
14. James - "Protect Me"
15. Gene - "You"
16. Elvis Costello - "Broken"
17. Geneva - "Have You Seen the Horizon Lately?"

Disc 2

1. Costello & Nieve - "I Want to Vanish"
2. Depeche Mode - "A Pain That I'm Used To"
3. Fiona Apple - "Never is a Promise"
4. Costello & Nieve - "Why Can't a Man Stand Alone?"
5. Aztec Camera - "Do I Love You?"
6. The Divine Comedy - "Too Young to Die"
7. The Divine Comedy - "Tonight We Fly"
8. Oasis - "Stop Crying Your Heart Out"
9. Elvis Costello & the Attractions - "Poor Fractured Atlas"
10. Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark - "Julia's Song"
11. The Rubettes - "Julia"
12. Simon & Garfunkel - "Kathy's Song"
13. Morrissey - "At Last I Am Born"
14. Geneva - "Have You Seen the Horizon Lately? (Aloof Mix)"

Put these together if you want an advance taste of what the novel will be like. As you can see, even though Geneva started off the process, the soundtrack is pretty well owned by Elvis Costello. The Divine Comedy appearance also shows where my head was at with this post. Tracks 6 and 13 actually show up in the book, and track 3 is in the epigraph. I am surprised Depeche Mode's "A Question of Lust" never fell into the mix, since it is referenced more than once in the prose. We'll make it a B-side of the single. (Oh, God, if Geneva could reform and cover it...!)

Anyway, the production work for all these books will occupy me for a while, and in the meantime, I can start to see what forms in my brain as far as fiction is concerned. I know I could bang off another Lance Scott novel no problem, but I don't want to do it for the sake of doing it, I'd want there to be a story, and right now, the only one I have is The Short and Happy Death of Lance Scott, but that exists as this sort of notion that it will not only kill off him, but end my career, as well, and I'm not ready for that.

Or maybe I am. I have often joked that I can die when two things have happened: I completed the Romance Trilogy, and Sadie has shuffled off this mortal coil, freeing me from my indentured servitude. Now that one is done, we only have one to go. She has many years left, I am sure, but even so, if you're participating in a celebrity death pool, you might want to put my name in the mix. And keep an eye on that cat.

Current Soundtrack: Camera Obscura, "I Love My Jean" CDS and Let's Get Out of this Country (I am thinking both the album and the single "Lloyd, I'm Ready to be Heartbroken" should have scored higher on my year-end list, as this is the main music to carry over into 2007 so far)

Current Mood: kisses

e-mail = golightly at confessions123.com * The Website * Live Journal Syndication * My Corporate-Owned Space * ComicSpace * The Blog Roll * DVDTalk reviews * My Books On Amazon

All text (c) 2007 Jamie S. Rich

Friday, January 26, 2007


Man, I've been quiet on here this week. I apologize. I hope to have an important post by the end of the day. In the meantime...


* The Alchemy of Art: David Mack, a profile of a truly individualistic comic book creator

* Bob Dylan: Don't Look Back - 65 Tour Deluxe Edition, a cool reissue of the legendary music documentary with books and a new compilation of old footage

* The Dr. Mabuse Collection, a barrel-scraping desecration of Fritz Lang's legacy

* Sherrybaby, a decent movie about a woman struggling to clean up her life made excellent by Maggie Gyllenhaal

* The Trashcan Sinatras: Midnight at the Troubadour, a concert DVD from one of my favorite bands, packed with a ton of bonus tracks

* The Twilight Samurai, a different kind of samurai movie

It's actually been quite a week for the popularity of my reviews. My Bob Dylan review has been the top read item at DVD Talk for the past two days. It's my first #1! And right under it at #2 is my review of the new edition of Brokeback Mountain.

And can I crow a little bit about how awesome I am at pub trivia sometimes? Okay, so my team only got an average score, but it was a tough week, and I'm the only one in the place that could name all five movies that John Cazale performed in before he died. How crazy is it that he was in only five, but all of them were nominated for a Best Picture Oscar?! The guy was Fredo!

Current Workload: script for The Antique Gift Shop vol. 5; proposal for next graphic novel

Currently Reading: Stagger Lee by Derek McCulloch and Shepherd Hendrix

Current Soundtrack: Charlotte Gainsbourg, 5:55

Current Mood: stressed

e-mail = golightly at confessions123.com * The Website * Live Journal Syndication * My Corporate-Owned Space * ComicSpace * The Blog Roll * DVDTalk reviews * My Books On Amazon

All text (c) 2007 Jamie S. Rich

Monday, January 22, 2007


A couple of quick links.

* First, the Most People are DJs program has devoted part of the most recent podcast to Love the Way You Love, including spinning our tune. Go here to the post about it and download it from the link at the bottom.

* Second, the Eagle Awards have opened up their nominating ballot. I'm listed under Best Writer, and Joelle is up for Best Penciller. 12 Reasons Why I Love Her is already up there, too, for Best Cover and Original Graphic Novel. Please vote for us, and write in some more of my endeavors and cohorts. Love the Way You Love can be considered for Best Black-and-White Comic, Best New Comic, and Best Story, and Marc Ellerby is also eligible for Best Artist should you choose. I wrote in my editor, James Lucas Jones, for Best Editor.

Please also vote for Andi Watson and Little Star in their various categories (though, it's not an original graphic novel), Oni for Best Company, and Ande Parks for Best Inker!

Current Soundtrack: various Trashcan Sinatras live downloads

Current Mood: just asking

e-mail = golightly at confessions123.com * The Website * Live Journal Syndication * My Corporate-Owned Space * ComicSpace * The Blog Roll * DVDTalk reviews * My Books On Amazon

All text (c) 2007 Jamie S. Rich

Friday, January 19, 2007



* Brokeback Mountain: 2-Disc Collector's Edition, a reissue of Ang Lee's tale of tragic romance

* The Motel, a strange yet dry tale of a Chinese-American adolescence

* The Puffy Chair, an indie road trip movie about relationships that is surprisingly good

Current Workload: Delivered the final first draft of You Have Killed Me (181 pages) to Joëlle as she finishes up as short story we're doing for a new anthology; nearly done with Gatcha Gacha vol. 5 by Yutaka Tachibana for Tokyopop

Current Soundtrack: Playlist of Smiths & Morrissey covers (feat. Magic Numbers, Sons and Daughters, Jake Hayter, Sandie Shaw (w/ the Smiths), the Killers)

Current Mood: creating

e-mail = golightly at confessions123.com * The Website * Live Journal Syndication * My Corporate-Owned Space * ComicSpace * The Blog Roll * DVDTalk reviews * My Books On Amazon

All text (c) 2007 Jamie S. Rich

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


I'm taking it as some kind of ironic punishment that the first day in over a week I wake up feeling fresh and ready to go, having slept through the night and maintained clear breathing, I look out my window and see that it's snowing. You may be ready to go out into the world, son, but the world is going to shut down. (Anyone who knows Portland knows that it comes to a screeching halt at the first sprinkle of white powder. Well, unless you're in a rawk club, but that's a different matter entirely.)

Ah, well...

Vroom Socko has pictures if anyone wants to confirm that snow looks the same everywhere.

Current Mood: crushed

Sunday, January 14, 2007


Just a quick update to let everyone know I am on the mend. Beginning yesterday, I was able to start carrying on short conversations. I still had to turn down a very lovely lunch invitation, as I didn't know how long I could maintain and be good company. Just talking on the phone dried out my throat. Even so, nice to be thought of.

Today I am getting pretty close to my original sound and can speak without having to do a phlegm clear first. I've got a cough and some aches, but that's a fine trade-off for not waking up in the middle of the night thinking my airway is closing over and I am going to suffocate. To celebrate, I made a Totino's pizza.

I hestitated even writing about being sick because I didn't want to be one of those whiny guys that falls apart when he has a cold. Yet, I thought I could offer a slightly different perspective on something, and given my inability to express myself, it served its own function. I have been getting some work done, and am in the proofing stage on Freak--which caused me to discover that at some point I had switched files on myself and jumped from my "rewrite" file back to my "translation" file, so I had to do some hunting to find the switch and stitch my work together. Yeesh. I'm also copyediting the first issue of the new Madman Atomic Comics for Mike Allred, which I am very excited about.

Anyway...thanks for bearing with me.

Current Soundtrack: The Lodger, various downloads; recent tracks from Mya

Current Mood: balanced

e-mail = golightly at confessions123.com * The Website * Live Journal Syndication * My Corporate-Owned Space * ComicSpace * The Blog Roll * DVDTalk reviews * My Books On Amazon

All text (c) 2007 Jamie S. Rich

Friday, January 12, 2007


God, I'm miserable. I guess not getting sick for the last 24 months has brought some penance on me. I've got to make up for all that clean living somehow.

I've been thinking a lot about the power of speech in the last three days. Not having the ability to form words out loud will do that to you. I'm discovering that I take it for granted in ways that are probably relatively unique to my situation. I think we can all imagine what it would be like to not be able to speak in our day-to-day social lives. If you have a regular go-to-work-type job, I'm sure you can start to instantly think of ways it would make it tough to get things done. If you live with someone, you can probably envision the obstacles of not being able to tell them what you are feeling.

Okay, well, I live alone. I don't go to a job. I've never thought about the fact that I could go a full day without uttering a word. I value silence, I value being quiet and letting thoughts form in my head, to just listening to the vague buzz of nothing; yet, I've learned that I don't actually spend all that much time being quiet. I make noises, I talk to myself, I talk to my cat. Midway through day 2, I started to wonder how Sadie was feeling about all this. Outside of a couple of whispers, I wasn't yapping to her like I normally do. Did she think I was mad at her? Cats can tell when you're ill, and she has been fairly clingy and maternal. My hands have been immaculate since I came down with this cold, because she licks them clean every time she gets near them. But cats are also routine-based, so how disruptive is this to her?

I've had to go out. I had stuff that needed to be mailed, and today I had to do a pretty complete restocking: juice, soup, crackers, cough drops, cough medicine. Once I step out the door, I immediately feel separate. Even if I try to fake it, try to carry on and push the words out, the listener's face instantly tells me that it's not working. They can hear every painful scratch of each individual syllable scraping over my vocal chords, and it freaks them out. One guy I knew saw me on the bus and tried to talk to me, and as soon as he heard my femmey, sand-papered excuse for a voice, he stopped me. Anything I tried to say after that, he'd hold up his hands and halt me. People pity me. I feel like I am in that Twilight Zone episode, "Eye of the Beholder," where they have removed the patient's bandages and before she can see herself in the mirror, she knows the operation has not worked because the doctors and nurses can't mask their revulsion.

And yet, I couldn't even use it to my advantage. My two-for-one rental coupon at Hollywood Video expired yesterday, and the very obvious reason why I wasn't in to redeem it was not enough to buy me an extra day. Then I would have at lest gotten something else for the $3.75 I wasted on The Last Kiss.* So, you pity me, America, but not enough to give me coins when I beg on the street.

* Fuck you, Zach Braff. I'm tired of your movies where you play an asshole and because you handpicked some shitty, sensitive-boy soundtrack, it's supposed to make me think you have a soul. When you are such a bad actor you’re outclassed by the girl from The O.C., it's time to hang it up. And why do they bill this movie as a comedy? Watching a bunch of jerk guys who aren’t mature enough to commit to the women that are obviously too good for them is not my idea of a Friday night.

Current Workload: Freak vol. 3 rewrite, an article for Shojo Beat, and working on a pitch revisiting an old idea in a new venue

Current Reading: The Left Bank Gang by Jason; DMZ, vol. 1: On the Ground by Brian Wood & Riccardo Burchielli; The Killer #s 1 & 2 by Matz & Luc Jacomon

Current Soundtrack: Low, Drums & Guns

Current Mood: losing it

e-mail = golightly at confessions123.com * The Website * Live Journal Syndication * My Corporate-Owned Space * ComicSpace * The Blog Roll * DVDTalk reviews * My Books On Amazon

All text (c) 2007 Jamie S. Rich

Thursday, January 11, 2007



I haven't actually been out to see much in the past weeks. My cold this week has laid me up something fierce. I lost my voice yesterday and have been generally miserable.

I did go see Miss Potter last week, the new movie with Renee Zelwegger as Beatrix Potter. I call it "Finding Neverland for girls," though I actually liked this one better. It's not so downbeat, and I really liked the animation they did with the Potter drawings. If there had been more of that, I might have found it better than woefully average. As it was, this little capsule was about as much of a review as it inspired, so I didn't write it up in full.


* Border Radio - Criterion Collection,the time capsule indie about L.A. punk rockers, featuring John Doe and Dave Alvin

* Chungking Express/Fallen Angels, an exquisite new Korean edition of a Wong Kar-Wai double A-side

* Extras - The Complete First Season, a riff on the outlandishness of the entertainment industry by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant also has some true heart to it

* Factotum, the DVD release of Bent Hamer's adaptation of the Charles Bukowski novel, with Matt Dillon as Hank Chinaski

* The Great Happiness Space, a chilling documentary about the male host business in Osaka

* The King and the Clown - Limited Edition, a massive set of Korea's biggest film from 2005, a historical romance.

* Martin - The Complete First Season, presenting the original 27 episodes of the Martin Lawrence sitcom

* Mouchette - Criterion Collection, an examination of human cruelty as it's visited on a young girl, courtesy of French master Robert Bresson

* Paradise Kiss, vol. 1, an update to my previous review of the Ai Yazawa-based anime

I must admit, I find it rather daunting to review films sometimes, particularly when it's an important release by a master like Robert Bresson. The Wong Kar-Wai double-set had my knees really knocking. I just don't even know where to begin when it comes to films I love that much, and I am so fearful of getting it wrong or looking foolish. I put my best effort in, and know I can barely touch the surface of what is there to talk about. It's a matter of gritting one's teeth, swinging blind, and hoping you hit something of substance.

Current Soundtrack: Roddy Woomble, My Secret is My Silence

Current Mood: still sick

e-mail = golightly at confessions123.com * The Website * Live Journal Syndication * My Corporate-Owned Space * ComicSpace * The Blog Roll * DVDTalk reviews * My Books On Amazon

All text (c) 2007 Jamie S. Rich

Monday, January 08, 2007


This weekend was a bit of a wash. I've caught some kind of cold where it makes my throat feel like a spiked room. You know the kind where a hero of some sort is stuck in this place and the walls have huge spikes on them and they are closing in on him--that was my throat. The most recent example I can think of is Matt Wagner's Batman & the Mad Monk #5, but I can't find an example online and I've already passed my copy of the issue on. Anyway, I hope I'm coming out of it, but we'll see.

Currently Working On: Ai Yori Aoshi vol. 16

Current Soundtrack: Renee French on Indie Spinner Rack

Current Mood: sick

e-mail = golightly at confessions123.com * The Website * Live Journal Syndication * My Corporate-Owned Space * ComicSpace * The Blog Roll * DVDTalk reviews * My Books On Amazon

All text (c) 2006 Jamie S. Rich

Friday, January 05, 2007


#00: A post-mortem...

Well, thank God that's over.

This past week, I haven't posted much. As Matt Fraction wrote, the first week of the New Year always feels like the world is in bed, hitting the snooze button and hoping to squeeze out some more dozing before getting back to work. I haven't had much to say, haven't yet recharged after last week brought with it a flurry of posts and cleared out the last of the information of 2006. It also brought us the last Permanent Records, and I know some of you won't agree, but I for one am glad to be done with it.

When I first read that Chris Tamarri was going to be writing about one record album a week for 52 weeks, I thought it was an exciting idea. He had created a list of albums that were important to him, and he would spend each week ruminating on why, trying on different styles and undertaking different approaches. I wanted in on the action, and my twist would be that there was no list. Sure, some albums immediately sprang to mind, but from week to week, I'd be free to pick whatever I wanted. I might discover something new, or unearth a previous treasure that I had long since forgotten. The picks had no rhyme or reason except that they meant something to me. Had I tried, I am sure I could have picked things that would have made me seem cooler or at least earned me my card in the predictable halls of music critic fame, but it wasn't about that. As it is, I barely shaved off a fraction of my actual music collection. I have a lot in my house I could write about.

Well, easier said than done. Somewhere in the early summer, I ran out of steam. I felt like I had said everything I had to say and done it all the ways I had the wherewithal to do it and hitting that Friday deadline seemed like a bigger chore as each week wore on.

But I did hit every one. Deadlines are a matter of pride for me, even if they are ones I set myself, even if there were no consequences. Perhaps more so because of that. If I could treat even the unimportant deadlines as absolutely crucial, then I would once and for all live up to my own edict from my days back as an editor. When asked how to not be late, I would answer, "Just don't be late. There is no question of 'how,' you can't even allow for the possibility of failure." So, I stuck with it. All 52 albums were up on Friday or earlier (and in one case, later, but that was for Father's Day and announced ahead of time). I made it.

I apologize to those who read them all. Some people have said that they enjoyed the series up until the end, and I appreciate that, but I know I checked out mentally and didn't always give it everything I had. Sometimes a column was about filling space, being done just to be done. Ironically, those were the ones I generally got feedback on. I'd toss off an entry in twenty minutes at 3:00 in the morning, and then wake up to an e-mail about how it was really good. Such is the cruel fate of the deadline chaser: often the most spontaneous, the least calculated, wins out over the piece that required the greatest investment.

I did learn some things about myself. For one, it seems the real watershed period for me in music was in 1996-1998. That's not totally surprising. That was the height of Britpop, when I chased music with the most fervor, going to tons of concerts and buying piles of magazines and drawing in every sound I could get my ears on. I also learned, though, that there are only so many ways we interact with our music. Comb over the entries and you'll find the same themes cropping up again and again. Off the top of my head, I remember writing a lot about heartbreak, standing alone, and maintaining one's own code in the face of obstacles. Those are really the themes of my fiction writing, too, so it makes sense that the music that would mean the most to me would be the most analogous to my own art. In that sense, we probably didn't need 52 entries, just three main ones, a single write-up for each theme, and then a handful of oddballs. We aren't as multitudinous as we think we are, folks; I'd say we'd need six weeks of columns to fully explain ourselves, and then most of us would be kaput.

I'll never say I'll never do this again, but I wouldn't count on it. Not unless someone sets up some kind of reward for the successful completion of each piece (i.e. money). In fact, if you count the disastrous attempt to create an iTunes playlist for the first half, where I ended up paying for several selections in order that they'd tie in to Apple's fascist standards, this stupid endeavor actually cost me money. It just figures, don't it?

There may be more Permanent Records, though. But with no deadline, no other purpose than the mood strikes me and I find myself wanting to write in-depth about some record or other. On the same tack, I may institute other regular features here on the blog, intermittent series that appear as they need to appear, but with no regular schedule. I'm toying with the idea of writing about my Criterion DVDs, for instance; if I watch one and am not reviewing it for another site, I'll write a little something here. We'll see. If I realize I'm not watching them just because I don't want to write something, this too will be out the window.

Anyway, even this entry is far less insightful than I had thought it would be. It was much more interesting in my head, but then, that's writing for you. Thanks everyone who stuck around for the last 52 weeks. Next time, stop me, won't you?

NOTABLE B-SIDE: For the entire year, only one entry in Permanent Records went unfinished. When I began last January, I had a couple of ideas for different kinds of columns. I did the conversation thing twice, talking to Christopher McQuain about the Auteurs and Ian Shaugnessy about Missy Elliott. I thought of doing one as a short story, and kind of touched on that for Spandau Ballet and last week's Suede entry. I also had wanted to do one or two as comic strips, and get Marc Ellerby or Chynna Clugston to draw them. The closest I got to that was the entry on the Smiths, which to be perfectly honest, was a complete cheat. I wrote it that way because I knew it would take me no time at all. I thumbnailed it in five minutes, typed it up in ten, and posted it right after. I suck.

But, I did do one serious attempt at trying to write a comic strip. Joëlle Jones had even agreed to draw it. It was going to be for Belly's debut album, Star. I began writing it, trying to find one line for each song to turn into an image and see what I could make out of it. Not much, as it turns out, and I never finished it. But, for the curious, here it is:

BELLY - STAR Permanent Records Comic Strip

Fifteen panels, five rows of three, each panel a significant of a song. My attempt is to capture the two feelings I get from the disc, something akin to a Grimm's Fairy Tale on record: child-like innocence mixed with darkness and mortality.

PANEL 1 - "Someone To Die For"

Railroad tracks, seen from above. A copy of Faulkner's Sound and the Fury laying between the rails. A shadow of a boy coming up from the bottom right corner of the panel, his head almost touching the book.

Don't you have someone you'd die for?

PANEL 2 - "Angel"

Tanya Donnelly, but three times, perhaps once in the foreground, and then flanking herself on each side in the background.

Instead he sent three angels.

PANEL 3 - "Dusted"

A Barbie doll, naked, lying in a box of junk. Perhaps another overhead shot, kind of like Panel 1. This is the baby in the cellar from the song, but we need not see the cellar.

Her hmm hmm goes to your heart.

PANEL 4 - "Every Word"

Something like the Suede single cover for "Stay Together." A boy sits in a chair, looking down, his eyes dark, his heart sad. A girl stands, perhaps facing or looking the other way. She is distant. The boy is the same as the shadow in Panel 1, if you want to match the silhouette.

I heard every word.

PANEL 5 - "Gepetto"

The boy from Panel 4, but as a wooden marionette. A Pinocchio.

That kid from the bad home.

PANEL 6 - "Witch"

Not a witch, but an angel, like one that would be on top of a Christmas tree, but instead on a solid base, a decoration that lights up, maybe a music box.

She lies all lit up.

PANEL 7 - "Slow Dog"

The iconic picture of Superman pulling open his suit and tie--shot from mid-level so just chest and stomach, no head--but instead of a costumer underneath, we see his bare chest, and through his skin, we see his heart.

He's shot again.

PANEL 8 - "Low Red Moon"

A crescent moon hanging in the sky, blood dripping off it's low hook like it's a murderous blade.

The heirs of nothing, and nothing means no one cares.

PANEL 9 - "Feed The Tree"

PANEL 10 - "Full Moon, Empty Heart"

PANEL 11 - "White Belly"

Current Soundtrack: Talib Kweli & Madlib, Liberation

Current Mood: beaten

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All text (c) 2006 Jamie S. Rich