LIZ'S THING OF THE WEEK: Juliana Hatfield & Feelings
My friend Laura Fisher wrote this beautiful and brilliant essay about Juliana Hatfield's album Hey Babe, and it was published by The New Inquiry last week. It's called "Minor Feelings" and asks the question Why do we canonize female anger, and not female confusion or longing?, which is the best question that's been asked in my life in a long time. Here is one of my favorite paragraphs:
When you say that you "relate to" a song, generally that means it conjures a flash of self-recognition, essentially backward-looking (I have been there and felt this!). The song's prescience about you feels uncanny, even magical. But connecting to music can also involve a much stranger model of cathexis. I had felt awkward and alone, for sure - nothing too serious - but as I fell into the habit of listening to Juliana Hatfield day-in and day-out, I began to think about her songs not so much as a reflection of things I had felt or experienced already but as a script for the kind of person I might yet become. Hatfield's songs weren't aspirational in any obvious way. They were all about feeling shy, rejected, obsessive, silent, ugly, and powerless. They were a permission slip to grow up ambivalent, inward, messy. Still, it was a conscious decision to anoint Hey Babe the sonic bible of my coming of age.
And all of the rest of the paragraphs are amazing and head-changing too, and you should really just read the essay over and over, or at least three times. I wish it were a book, but I'm also thrilled with whatever I can get, when it comes to beautiful and brilliant writing about Juliana Hatfield. And it's so strange to me, Laura's point about how Hey Babe is sort of a forgotten album, because Juliana Hatfield's probably means even more to me now than it did when I was a kid and Hey Babe was shiny and new. I feel like I'm still discovering her and unraveling why she's such a genius songwriter, and then figuring out how I can rip off her genius in my own writing. Hey Babe is not my favorite Juliana album (it's Only Everything!), but "Nirvana" is just my world:
Right now I'm also going through a major Blake Babies thing, about a million years too late. When I was a teenager I heard their cover of "Temptation Eyes" by the Grass Roots on the radio very late at night, and then I bought Innocence & Experience at the Newbury Comics in Harvard Square, and quickly fell into the habit of playing the hell out of "Temptation Eyes" whenever I got into a weird love thing with someone impossible. But I'd never seen the "Temptation Eyes" video till about a month ago, and oh my god it's so heavy and dopey and artsy and wonderful. All of the Blake Babies in their underwear! Juliana shouting in French and playing that game where you plunge the knife between your splayed fingers and hope you don't stab yourself. Evan Dando yawning a lot and being objectified. Freda Love and John Strohm playing that game where you put your hands on top of the other person's hands and hope they don't slap you. One time in college John Strohm gave me a handful of cashews and almonds on a street corner In Rhode Island. It would have been cool to be a grownup when it was still 1990.
JEN'S THING OF THE WEEK: Daily Tarot Cards
On Thursday I pulled the 3 of cups which was all about Friendship. Oh, good! I totally hung out with my friends instead of resting the night before because I actually also needed the joy of these pals. This one is also about helping friends. I'm not sure if I really helped anyone yesterday but I do try to be as helpful as I can to buddies in general. After work I went and got a facial (REST!) and I think I feel asleep during it. I came home and made pesto. I did not do anything else. I rested.
This morning I pulled the 10 of cups which is about peace & joy & family. So, we'll see.