hunger makes me a modern girl-carrie brownstein (more)

“Portland became a respite and a true hometown. Personally, as well as in Sleater-Kinney, I have always relied heavily on resetting. I venture out and take risks, but then I need to return to steadiness and calm.” (181)

“And even though I had never imagined myself on the corporate ladder, I had also never pictured myself peddling tuna fish on sourdough to those who were. So I quit.” (64)

“I was always so relieved to be in a band whose music could obliterate the before, tear through the moment and rip it to shreds.” (144)

“To me, it’s the perfect distillation of the disparity between being onstage and being off. For all the power you command in a live context, all the myth and mythmaking that goes into that moment, elevated by the agreement between performer and audience, when you’re offstage, you’re shrunk down to human size, to the humility it takes to endure the quotidian.” (190)

there is so much in this book. i feel like every time i come back to this book, there’s something more to love. she’s just so able to talk about the beautiful struggle that it’s hard not to love her concise bumbling. even though i never connected to her music, i always felt her feminism, and i believe that our comedy comes from a very similar place. we definitely share that dog love that only true dog lovers do. i admire carrie brownstein, i am inspired by carrie brownstein, and generally, i am glad to be living in a world where carrie brownstein is kicking ass and taking names.

“The dance I choreographed-and I use the term “choreography” loosely, the way you’d call adding milk to cereal “cooking”-was a combination of marching and punching, and probably resembled aerobics being done by a penguin.” (18)

“Despite our best intentions, we had the momentum and direction of a silk scarf being juggled by a mime.” (179)

“We formed a constellation of surrogates who likely should have been paying the dogs for therapy; it could have funded the entire shelter operation. We cried when the dogs were euthanized but also when they were adopted; we had been seeking comfort in the constant and could barely deal with change. The term ‘shelter’ seemed to apply as much to humans as it did to animals.” (227)

it should come as no surprise that images these power-full come from the mind of a self-made musician and comedy show innovator, but i just want to call attention to it again.

“We always wanted to bring openers that raised our level of playing and performance; we were honored and excited to do it.” (189)

“Being in a band with an ex, and both being songwriters and lyricists, takes a lot of compassion and understanding. Sometimes I think Corin and I fell back into a kind of platonic love by learning about each other through the songs we were writing.” (138)

“There is very little about being a working musician that is glamourous, which is why I have never understood people who get onstage and hardly even try. What else is there besides that moment? Why would you want to waste it?” (191)

“Tour is a precarious nexus between monotony and monomania-a day of nothingness followed by a moment that feels like everything……But most of the day feels shapeless, a blurriness that comes into focus only once you soundcheck and begin the progression toward the show itself.” (207)

“We ended the band at the best time we could, when people really wanted us to stay.” (218)

this all hits a bit close to home, fresh off my weekend with nomadic. it all just seems a bit unfair-that women still have to navigate the world(s) so differently, that simple logistics can bring a whole house down, and just how the stage is a magical buffer that bubblewraps the band and reminds us to be present and appreciate a moment because once the set is over, all of that life stuff just comes rushing back to punch you in the face.

i’m happy that i was able to sit with my sista while hoards of strangers came up to her to thank her for her beauty-full presence. it would be a tragedy if she wasn’t able to perform anymore. and i do not subscribe to the “well, at least she has a son that she loves”. no-it’s actually a crime against humanity to deprive the world of that talent and that influence. but hey-i’ve always wanted more.

and i always know what i want.

duolingo status: 536 day streak, 6001 lingots
holds/checkouts: 38/8
book that i’ve heard about twice in two days: a little life
this morning’s culinary game: breaded pepper trout with pineapple kale quinoa
social event of the night: comedy at the emerson


hunger makes me a modern girl (part too)-carrie brownstein

“While I had discussed my mom’s illness with my friends’ parents, I had never thought to talk about it with my own mother. And now there was a surrogate me. Breanna could share and understand the one thing about my mother that I never could, her disease…..Plus, I didn’t want a friend, I wanted a mom.” (37)

“Parents are supposed to be our storage facilities: insert a memory, let them hold on to it for you. Leave behind stuffed animals and school projects, report cards and clothes, they keep them so you don’t have to. I knew that wasn’t part of the bargain with my family. I’ve thrown out piles of things, taken them to the dump and never looked back. But still, to see my dad in a blank space, it only seemed to make him more blurry, like he had just appeared on a canvas, before the background was filled in. His sphere was borderless, and the sense of nowhere made me feel alone, unbound.” (46)

“We want our parents to be the norm from which we deviate. So when my dad came out, my instinct was that I needed to husband-up and get married.” (48)

“If you haven’t spent any time deliberately and intentionally shaping your narrative, if you’re unprepared, like I was, then one will be written for you. And if you already feel like a fractured self, you will start to feel like a broken one.
That’s how I felt the day I was outed: splintered and smashed. I had not yet figured out who I was, and now I was robbed of the opportunity to public do so, to be in flux. Though the writer had gotten it wrong, I also think there was no way he could have gotten it right.” (119)

“You acknowledged the unsteadiness and either braced yourself against it or let it transplant you somewhere else.” (180)

i’m a bit thrown off today. my work week has been shuffled and it’s been forever and eight days since i last, i am a day behind with this nocrush women wednesdays post-sue me. i am also glad to come back to this woman’s work that is rich with art and life. i’m focusing on parents today, to question (and not answer) nature vs. nurture. i mean, we’re obviously influenced by our folks’ absence and presence, but as john waters said, if you’re over 30 and still blaming your parents for stuff, you need to get over yourself. which is not to say that i think that carrie brownstein is in any way blaming her parents for anything, i just appreciate the tenderness with which she gives her folks a break, all while acknowledging the little her that both needed them and raised them.

i suppose music’s role in our lives is always something that will be at the forefront of my mind. it’s always there-to remind us of all the moments that it punctuated, and it is one of the first ways that we understand our parents, either by the music they make or the music they choose. i wonder if i’m the only second-generation vietnamese person who thought for years that the carpenters’ discography were classical vietnamese songs due to the bootleg “new wave” movement in 1980s orange county that trickled all the way up the west coast. i mean, in a lot of ways, there’s no wonder that i’ve always heard the lyrics that i want in songs-this is what ran through my veins. it’s also no wonder that i thought “emotions” was a destiny’s child original-i mean, what else would it have been?

i can’t remember when exactly i figured it out, but i do remember that it was just another thing that i found charming about a part of me that i didn’t quite feel connected to, but understand without question that i am it to a tee. i think i felt the same way when i was zipping past farms scattered with dragon fruit trees and goats on the way to central viet nam on a road that felt like it was being built as the van drove over it, like those bugs bunny cartoons.

would i be a singer already if my dad had pursued it as a career, rather than keep his daydream clandestine and his laser discs pristine? would he have been around more? to my knowledge, he seems separated from his musical heroes in a way that i’m not (completely). what did he actually think when i emailed him to tell him that i had met lionel richie? was he jealous? or could he just not fathom such a thing? today, i wish that he moves a touch closer to his dream of being a singer, now that he hasn’t had to worry about supporting me, he’s divorced again, and he’s retired. i also envision myself a little closer to my own dream to be a singer. and not just in my boo’s car, either.

homeworking soundtrack: joey bada$$, jamie foxx, bahamas, the carpenters, jeezy
duolingo status: 509 day streak, 5779 lingots
libraries lately: queen/saulter, parliament, city hall, the beaches, annette street
icp lately: dapper joe from field trip
nba finals that i’ve cared the least about since 1994: warriors up 2-1
motorcycle rides: 1
clove cigarettes: 2
kekou gelato flavours lately: durian, mangosteen, vietnamese coffee, black sesame, green bean coconut

hunger makes me a modern girl-carrie brownstein (part won)

“My story starts with me as a fan. And to be a fan is to know that loving trumps being beloved. All the affection I poured into bands, into films, into actors and musicians, was about me and about my friends.” (3)

“I was learning two sets of skills simultaneously: adaptation-linguistic and aesthetic-in order to fit in, but also, how to survive on my own.” (57)

“My entire style of playing was built around somebody else playing guitar with me, a story that on its own sounds unfinished, a sonic to-be-continued, designed to be completed by someone else.” (87)

“It was sensual and disastrous.” (91)

“I suppose we were better observers than communicators; we were all subjects to be worried over, complained about, even adored, but never quite people to be held or loved. There was an intellectual, almost absurd distance.” (34)

“An audience doesn’t want female distance, they want female openness and accessibility, familiarity that validates femaleness. Persona for a man is equated with power; persona for a woman makes her less of a woman, more distant and unknowable, and thus threatening.” (166)

“Here I was again without a family, my only identity a loner. A male loner is a hero of sorts, a rebel, an iconoclast, but the same is not true of a female loner. There is no virility in a woman’s autonomy, there is only pity. I was floating. I had created my own abandonment.” (232)

“Finally, nostalgia asks so little of us, just to be noticed and revisited; it doesn’t require the difficult task of negotiation, the heartache and uncertainty that the present does.” (4)

how much do i love carrie brownstein? let me count the ways. i knew that she was in sleater-kinney, and i’ve got nothing but love for riot grrrrrl, but the music never really spoke directly to me. i love carrie because of portlandia, and this book is nothing about that.

but i was immediately endeared to her hilarious childhood anecdotes of writing way too familiar letters to celebrities and flexing her performing chops in school. i missed her talk at the toronto public library, but i heard the podcast of her talk at the philly free library, though i wish she had a different, less self-absorbed interviewer.

what i didn’t expect was how relatable her voice and her story would be-how similar that raw need to see/create yourself in art is, and how articulate her deductions on the differences between men and women in music and the world are.

i love that she loves dogs, and appreciate how honest she is about how hard it is to accept that your parents are also just kind of making it up as they go along, too. i love her raw, open heart and want to give her all the hugs, or leave her the fuck alone-whatever she wants, because it really could go either way.

thank you, ms. brownstein.