SOTW: Olga Guillot, Dolly Parton, and Raul Rodríguez

Summer has always felt like an extended version of Sunday. For those of us in the  circus, summers off means writing and more writing (sometimes school really does suck). Creating the private space needed to write can leave you open to being kidnapped by certain ways of sounding, which means certain ways of feeling too. The sense of entrapment is real and it hurts: the rest of the world is at a big pool party, while you are abjectly hunched over a computer, dwarfed by books you dont read. The sense of abduction is real and it hurts: regardless of the circumstances, the music you choose or that chooses you contours just about everything.These days, most writerly energy is being (necessarily) invested in bookwriting – but Id like to take advantage of this fleeting and indulgent form to say that Im thinking much about  a kind of masochism involved in the writing about music. Much more on this later, but for now, Id like to consider the kinds of spells we subject ourselves to. Do we create achy conditions so that we can maintain a kind of intimacy with music in order to write about it? To be able to be next to it, in it, with it? First case in point:
Que sabes tu – Olga GuillotWhether writing on perfumed stationary or laptop, modeling the inquietude that is the form and content of Guillots work is familiar to many. Hers is an all-out voice that moves the pen or keyboard stroke in approximate mimicry with those fluid arm gestures for which she is so dearly known. The voice is a testimony and an instruction: one can learn how to creatively interpret hard feelings while fully taking a stage with confident grace.


And another, lady  Dolly Partons  “Just Because Im a Woman”:

I found Dolly, or I should say, Dolly found me during my  Bay Area moment. Since then shes always signaled the kinds of impulses behind going west to figure a few things out. The hardened girlishness of this song reminds that going west is something that just has to happen sometimes. Parton has done her fair share of intellectual rearing. Here she subtly encourages some trip (and risk) taking to alternative locations–in work, space, heart.
Just Because Im a Woman – Dolly Parton


And finally, I’d like to top this playlist off with the gutbuster live version of “La Ultima Carta” (The Last Letter) by  Raul Rodríguez. Theres no way to talk about summer of writing in New York without a Bachata substance. The lilt of Bachata, the sound of Dominican home-and-lovesickness, carries a productive stasis. The insides of this music feel like conditions for living, not things to get over or move past. Maybe that’s how writing is supposed to feel too?

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