column in last week's Juice really struck a chord with me.
Isburg writes about how she used to consider herself an "overachiever," but 2009 left her more with items lingering on her to-do list than sense of accomplishment. She keeps thinking about that paint she bought in September and hasn't put on the walls yet. Or the unpacking she hasn't quite wrapped up since moving. The friends who are having babies, getting advanced degrees, earning promotions, "cooking gourmet meals on weeknights." And all that time wasted on social networking websites. (Which, a recent study says, lead to bigger and more diverse social networks-- duh. But they don't give me the same sense of satisfaction as having talked with somebody in person.)
Anyway, I could relate. 2009 was the first year when I didn't feel like I was making big leaps in either my business journalism or my music writing. I didn't have my work published in any new publications or take on any major new roles. I didn't compose any sprawling think pieces that someone could recommend for one of the Da Capo best music writing books. My most ambitious idea never quite came to fruition, making me just another annoying schmuck with a half-formed concept for a book, maan. And, like Isburg, I moved-- from Brooklyn to Iowa, in my case, meaning that I was also removed from a decent barometer of how my year was stacking up against those of my peers.
Then again, I had one hell of a year. I moved! I bought a home! I decided living 1,000 miles from my employer and the center of my music universe was actually an awesome idea! I met a bunch of new people, got my head out of my Brooklyn/indie bubble (sort of), and continued to write tons of stories and discover new music that moved and entranced me. I made it so I could basically walk across the street to see the Japandroids. I went to the 80/35 festival. I went to the Pitchfork festival. I saw more movies. I took time to read more. It may have been below zero around here the past couple of weeks, but with the skywalk and all the great restaurants and bars downtown, I have been spending less time in the cold than I would have had to in New York. A guy I met the other night at Hessen Haus, a Greenwich Village native, told me living in Iowa "feels like cheating," and he's right. So what if I still don't have enough shelves for all my books and CDs, or if I haven't put anything on the walls yet in my "office"? I won.
Then why do I still feel as if-- right now, while I'm productively typing these words for publication to my friends and neighbors and relatives and even total strangers-- there are a million other things I should be doing? Yesterday! In more places! Harder, better, faster, stronger! For great internet justice...
Isburg's resolution this year is to give herself a break. I don't know if I can do that. In fact, I probably can't. But it's good advice to remember.
Lots going on here lately, not much I can comment on interestingly at length. Poison Control Center, Christopher the Conquered, and Wolves in the Attic sounded great as usual during the New Year's bash at the Des Moines Social Club (whole scene was a little crowded, though). Hanwell, a band out of Newton, Iowa, were a nice surprise at the Vaudeville Mews the other day, peppering their set of Wilco-tinged rock with covers of songs by the Kinks and Elvis Costello. I stopped by the Mews again Saturday night to check out another local band, Cleo's Apartment, who I recall being really fun this summer at 515 Alive, but as I realized the show wasn't going to start until the a.m. hours, I resolved to catch them next time instead. Lame, I know. But give me a break.
I noticed only too late they were giving away free pancakes.
UPCOMING: Asklandaganza on Saturday at the Mews (I'll be there fer sure), Pentagram 01/26 at the Mews, Jemina Pearl 02/05 same place, Headlights 02/23, A Sunny Day in Glasgow 03/04, Zoos of Berlin 03/28, Electric Six 03/31, Morning Benders 04/09. At bigger venues, Brad Paisley plays Wells Fargo Arena on Friday but I'll miss due to the cost and Mrs. Des Noise's birthday, Tim McGraw 02/13, Black Eyed Peas 03/25.