Tom Schreck, author of the Duffy Dombrowski Mysteries
Doing what everyone else does and feels is boring.
You can sense it in an author's writing when they're being unimaginative and you can sense it in every day life when you talk to people who absolutely "L-o-v-e" what they're supposed to love. It's why the malls are filled and why you can always get a parking place at the museum.
When it comes to pop culture I experience this every time I choose my art by what the reviewers say. I read, listen or watch something that is supposed to be classic and I feel disappointed.
Well, I've quit doing that. Now, I like what I like without apology.
No where does this ring truer for me than in music.
Here's some examples:
Give me Etta James over Aretha Franklin
I don't think this is even close. Etta sings better and has way more feeling as far as I am concerned.
Give me Ben Webster over John Coltrane
Jazz snobs will cringe but I think most of Coltrane's stuff is unpleasant. Ben Webster's stuff is smooth.
Give me Sam Cooke over Marvin Gaye, James Brown or just about anyone else in soul
Voice, styling--it isn't even close
Give me Waylon over Willie
Though I like them both.
I just don't get the genius of Bob Dylan
Give me Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits over Clapton
Again, not even close.
Forgive me, but to me, all of today's country sounds the same...exactly the same.
Micheal Buble and Harry Connick don't sound like Sinatra
They don't swing and they don't have the pizzaz. Why not listen to the real thing?
Give me Louis Prima over Louis Armstrong
Sacrilege, I know, but for me he's a better trumpet player, better vocalist and funnier.
And the idea that Elvis's 70's music wasn't any good is just stupid. Most critics regurgitate what other critics write without ever listening or thinking.
I think it was Count Basie who said: "If it sounds good, it is good."
What does this have to do with writing? Probably not much but if you'll allow me to stretch the reasoning, think it over.
Are you writing stuff in characters without really thinking and feeling? Are you conjuring up stories because they are comfortable like all the other books you've read?
Think more for yourself and don't apologize. Just like in music reach for what YOU like, not what you're supposed to.
...and any other musical thoughts?