I’m reading Big Day Coming by Jesse Jarnow, about American indie rock, but mostly it concerns Yo La Tengo. Maybe you’ve never heard of YLT, but that’s all right. If you’re any kind of artist, this book should be read. Really it’s about perseverance.
Writing takes ambition and guts. Yards of guts, then resolve, determination. Reading about Ira Kaplan, Georgia Hubley, and James McNew’s tribulations, I find many similarities; the idea is there, so ethereal no way to grasp it. Then it’s hammered into something more cohesive, perhaps with characters, a theme (or three). The plot might get lost, but a heart thumps beneath it, so wanting to turn into more than a thread of idea, names and faces, or nuances. That’s where perseverance comes in.
It’s about believing in oneself and the dream. Maybe it’s writing. Maybe it’s music. Or sculpting or painting or insert your art here _____. It’s about practice, oh yes. And luck; sometimes being in the right place or occasionally the wrong place. It stirs tears, causes a headache, churns the soul. Those guts get whirled about, the process not always enjoyable. Sometimes it’s painful, why perseverance is so necessary.
Yo La Tengo released Painful in 1993, their sixth album overall, but first with bassist McNew, the fifteenth in the band’s tenure. Painful turned a corner for Yo La Tengo, but it didn’t turn them into R.E.M. or Nirvana. They just kept making music their way. They persevered.
Just had to pass this along. Writing isn’t easy, and I’m not talking about publication, just getting the story down. No matter how painful it is, I can’t give up, because some kind of big day’s coming. Now, back to the editing. Perseverance counts there too.