Sunday, June 13, 2010
In a Springsteen sort of mood
Now I am very aware that I've made my true and everlasting love for The Boss very well known here, but I thought, since it was a very lazy weekend (on my part-- Mate and Chicken ran a 5K and did dance rehearsal) which featured a trip to see Karate Kid (but alas, not the A-Team), I could wax rhapsodic a little on The Boss.
When I was in eighth grade, I had, as it were, a friend beyond my social circle. In a big way.
Her parents were lobbyists, she lived in a big assed amazing house in Lincoln, and did things like shopped for seasonal wardrobes. I was, as I have always been, a dork, who had no idea that parents could save for your college fund or that the SAT's should be a religion. We were friends because in the sixth grade, when the only thing that mattered was being a dork, we were both in the same clique as Cheri Smith. Cheri Smith died in the seventh grade of Toxic Shock syndrome (sweartafuckindog) and the rest of our clique was, well, bewildered as to how to proceed. I was not as affluent or cosmopolitan as Stacey Muir, but we were both hella smart, and for a year (before high school sent me down to the pregnant/stoned mormon girl clique--and wasn't *that* a revelation) Stacey and I were bestest best friends.
Her brother, who was in college and therefor A. God. was heavily into Bruce. As this this was 1980/81, and Bruce was just on the cusp of achieving true godhood, as it were, I listened to Born to Run a zillion times, bought Darkness on the Edge of Town and The River with my birthday money, got to take a friend to the Born in the USA tour concert for my 18th birthday (thanks Mom and Dad) got the big concert collection FOR my birthday from another best friend (also named Stacey) the year after I graduated, and basically, felt smug as all fucking hell when my man Bruce totally upstaged Jacob Dylan during JACOB'S comeback in 2000 sumtin, and when my high school students were losing their fucking minds about that old man doing backflips on the stage two superbowls ago? Yeah. Total fucking vindication. I'd been with my man since the ground floor, and I got to look at the view from the heights, and you know what?
It was pretty fucking sweet.
And so was this:
This is John Stewart, honoring Springsteen at the Kennedy awards, and besides saying everything about Bruce that I'm not smart enough to say, it's also funny as hell.
And this is Bruce and my boys, being awesome. Because it seems that nothing says 'male angst and bonding' like the gravel voiced Springsteen and his episodic encyclopedic narrative set to music. Now, an encyclopedic narrative is something that comes up during every period of literature--and it's sort of a weird niche piece of literature. Usually there is one or two that arrive about twenty years before they're completely relevant. They are written, in short, right before the world changes, and they show us in full, layered color, our society from top to bottom--right before the change. Canterbury Tales was one example. Works of Shakespeare was another. Some say Gravity's Rainbow by Pyncheon was another.
The thing about the EN is that they cover every strata of our world. The guy cleaning the toilets and the guy with a gold-plated shitter. The dumbfuck construction worker, the noble garbage man, the arrogant prince and the knight of honor--all of them, given their voice and their due in one solid mass of work.
Given that, I think an argument can be made that our epoch's encyclopedic narrative can be found from top to bottom in the works of Bruce Springsteen. As Stewart says in the clip, when you listen to a Springsteen song, you're no longer a loser. You're a character in an epic poem. About losers.
Springsteen's work captures everything I love about the literature and pop culture that I go on about--and yes, that includes my boys dodging angels and demons. Because nothing gives you faith like stories about people who keep getting kicked in the teeth and popping up to take another round on the chin. Nothing sets true villainy boiling in your blood like a song about a villain who gets away with it. Nothing makes you think about getting up and taking another round like something throbbing in your blood, forcing your body to move.
So much about what I love to write about was inspired by Springsteen. I almost feel like I owe the guy a story or something. (Well, he does come up a lot in Making Promises... Shane is a HUGE Springsteen fan. I had to give the guy something--he's not a character made for coolness points. I could relate.)
So anyway, as I had nothing much goin' on the family front, and nothing is TRULY more boring than talking about writing, I thought I'd just be in a Springsteen sort of mood. Cause that's just the way I roll.