Primary source material

On last week’s CMD+Space, Myke interviewed John Roderick, lead singer for The Long Winters and cohost of Roderick on the Line.

The majority of the interview covers the John’s method for creating albums, but when he’s asked what he likes to be known for, John talks about wanting to shift back to being someone who creates, not just someone who comments.

Around two minutes into the episode, he remarks:

I’ve been writing this sort of commentary on the world and what I was formerly known for — and what I prefer to do — is make primary source material. You know, if you’re making a song, or if you’re writing a story, that is source material. It’s primary. It’s the thing that did not exist before. You’re not commenting. Presumably, your song is not commenting on some earlier song, or if it is, it’s doing it in an inventive way. It isn’t this chattering sort of criticism and culture digestion that is so much of I guess what we call content — Internet content, which is just like, “Oh, this just came out and now I’m talking about it and now I’m talking about this other guy who was talking about it.”

You know, there’s a great wind that comes through that just blows all that stuff out to sea, and all that’s left is that primary stuff.

There were probably a million words written about the Beatles’ first few records when they came out, and none of that early criticism survives or matters. Nobody reads it.

The records are still there.

John’s comments really hit home. This year, 512 will turn six years old, and looking back over the archives, it’s clear that I’ve slowed way down, posting less each month. I think this has a lot to do with it. I’d much prefer to take time to write something of value than setup a linked list post and tell a joke. There’s room for that, and they aren’t going away. However, my work on The Prompt and at The Sweet Setup are steps in the right direction, and I’ll be bringing that sort of work back here more and more in 2014.