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March 31, 2006

Book Notes - Dirk Jamison ("Perishable")

Last week I took a well-deserved vacation, and packed several books to keep me company. The book I most enjoyed was Dirk Jamison's memoir, Perishable, which had been recommended by a friend. Jamison manages to tell the tale of his often troubled youth with charm and humor. The book grips you with the drama surrounding the author's young life, and is compelling throughout.

In his own words, here is Dirk Jamison's "book notes" submission for his memoir, Perishable:

I can't listen to music when I'm writing. But music that I associate with writing (music that gives me ideas) tends to be melancholy. Sadness is a very difficult thing for me to capture on the page, or experience in life. I'm afraid of it. And I'm always worried that it smells like self-pity. But when sung, it becomes a kind of power. There's a strength, or clarity, in sad music that I need to learn from. The following songs, for me, embody a kind of hope by default. Hope can be a horrid Whitney Houston ballad. But more often it's a last resort. What else can we do but wait for tomorrow?

1. "Superstar," Sonic Youth

This is a Carpenter’s song, so the sadness is exhausting.

2. "Round About Midnight," Miles Davis

Melody sounds like someone whispering a love story.

3. "Forever Young," Alphaville, Napoleon Dynamite Soundtrack

Like every song from high school prom, 1984. Marshmallows & butterflies.

4. "Sweet Jane," Cowboy Junkies

Falling in love. Literally falling.

5. "We’re Going to Be Friends," White Stripes

Marching to your first day of kindergarten.

6. "Hey Hey, My My, (Into the Black)," Neil Young

Nastiest guitar you’ve ever heard. Sounds like someone beating an aluminum trash can with a live badger.

7. "Danny Boy," Willie Nelson

The loss in this is haunting.

8. "Hurt," Johnny Cash

A man ready to die.

9. "Over the Rainbow," Willie Nelson

Scary hope.

10. "Morning Has Broken," Cat Stevens

Opening a window on a dark room.

see also:

Bookslut's review of Perishable
Previous Book Notes submissions (authors create playlists for their book)
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
52 Books, 52 Weeks (2006 Edition)
52 Books, 52 Weeks (2005 Edition)
52 Books, 52 Weeks (2004 Edition)


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