Crash Test Dummies Blog

Written by Brad Roberts

06 Dec

SUNDAY BLOG


If I were more conscientious, I’d do a once-a-week-blog. A Sunday op ed piece,

If you like. Too bad my editorial opinion isn’t worth much.

I listened to David Bowie’s “Diamond Dogs” this morning, and I have to say, it really holds up to the test of time. The first side of the record is one continuous piece, as though the band doesn’t stop playing for 30 minutes live in the studio. I wonder if they pieced it together by cutting tape, or if the tracks were recorded live in one pass, all in a row. Knowing what a stickler Bowie is, I suppose the latter is likely.

This is a record that I can warmly recommend, all these years later.

I’ve been trying to read books again, and picked up the biography of Katherine Mansfield, an early 20th century short storywriter. She died young, and left us with some uneven work, the best of which is genius and helped define the short story as a modernist genre. Though often isolated by virtue of her having contracted tuberculosis, she nevertheless travelled in circles with people like Virginia Woolf, Bertrand Russell, and many others of the so-called Bloomsbury Group.  She wrote volumes of letters whose pitch reaches an intensity that she never quite achieves even in her best fiction.  These letters were published by her husband, after her death, and he made quite a tidy sum, despite her having told him to “burn everything.” I’m glad he didn’t listen to her, but he was a bit of a bastard.

The history of literature provides us a few examples of this sort of posthumous publishing dilemmas. One  famous example is the case of Franz Kafka’s close friend, Max Brod, was instructed by Franz to burn all of his work when he died, and which was as yet unpublished.  Kafka died, and Max published anyhow, claiming that Kafka’s knew Brod, who loved his friends work, could never do this, and that Kafka was therefore tacitly telling Brod to publish.  Pretty flimsy rationalization.  But without, Brod, we wouldn’t Kafka.

I have lost all my papers that went toward the writing of my first 3 records. Notes, rewrites, etc. I wouldn’t want anyone looking at them.  But what if I did have those notes, and told my wife to dispose of it at the end of her death. What would you have her do? Dishonor my wishes, or put it out there?

There. My first Sunday op ed. (And hey, buy my Xmas record!)

Best,

Brad Roberts



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