Sunday, October 4, 2009

Weezer and the Fiction of the Past

I'll probably buy every Weezer album that gets released, even though the last 3 haven't connected with me all that much. And I'm cool with that - music is so bound by time and place, that I'm not sure if Weezer has changed, or if I have. I'll buy the albums because there is always a song that transports me back. More on that in a bit.

I just listened to the new Weezer song here. Check it out.

Inevitably, people will trash on this song....

...because it isn't 'old' Weezer
...because they've sold out
...because they've gone pop
...because all the purists out there want them to stay the same.

The last one hits home for me for a couple reasons. The first two Weezer albums are like a soundtrack for my last years of high school and my first years of college, when I'd go driving around the rural parts of North Carolina with a carful of friends, just sucking in all the abandon and wildness that comes with being a teenager. For any of you that have read my writing, this theme comes up often. It's the energy I try to harness, because no matter what the music is - that feeling of, maybe - like anything is possible and all you have to do is reach out and grab it - that is what I think people find in music, books - an everlasting connection to the important stuff in their life.

It is hope, maybe.

That feeling is the goal of my writing. Transcendence back to the confounding but visceral times in our lives when it seemed like everything at stake. I think that's why I write Young Adult fiction. Teenagers haven't lost that sense of urgency. They haven't lost the dreams of greatness, of being somebody who does amazing things.

Here's a part from my book. Let me know what you think...why you write.

Every time I’ve rewound to this place – this moment - it’s raining. She’s always smiling, and we’re always laughing like the world isn’t going to end in a month. The clouds blow us down the interstate and catch us here. Every damn time. My hope - the dream, maybe - is that the script will change and she won’t get carried away too. No matter how many times I do the rain dance, she’s never come back. The dream stays the same, and that’s the problem. Whenever you rewind, you know what you’re going to get: something unchanging. The only surprise is the first time.

An older woman with a visor and a fanny pack watches me for a moment before punching a series of numbers into the vending machine. Tears sneak into the corner of my eyes Danielle was right: it’s never going to be ten months ago. But, more. Sometimes holy places turn out to be gimmicks. And damn it, but I don’t know if hurts more being stuck in time, or finding out something so important has become a roadside attraction.

It’s like when Manuel and I watch Wrestlemania and we see Hogan and Macho Man strutting around. The camera flashes to Miss Elizabeth, and it takes me out of the moment. Her hair’s just a bit too feathered for this decade. Those gloves and that god awful dress are staring me in the face, a constant reminder that even high-flying Legends can’t escape time. And even though you might’ve been legendary in the past, eventually the rhinestone duality of fake tans and overly exaggerated speech patterns becomes kitsch. It sucks that time won’t stand still. It’s all around us, but that doesn’t make it any easier to accept. You see the giants of your childhood limping around on reality television shows and it’s sad to see them so feeble. The sun never really stops shining. It never stops casting shadows.

Oh, and here's a Weezer vid for you to be amazed with...;)


  1. Never figured out what drives me to write. I mean I think about it -- I just don't figure it out.

    Like a lot of things.

    I like why you write, though. I don't think my reasons are going to end up being that deep.

  2. Ha...well, 'deep' is definitely relative.

  3. I started writing to do something creative. Now I write because I get ideas while I'm running, before I sleep and need to get them down!
    I love Weezer by the way. My kids and I probably watched the Pork and Beans video 75 times last year and that is no exaggeration. They also love the Buddy Holly and Keep Fishin video. But there are certain Weezer videos I have not let them watch! ;)
    I have to listen to the new tune a few times before I make proper judgement!

  4. Mr. Cate and I walked down the aisle at our wedding to a Weezer song.
    Just to let you know where I stand on that issue.

  5. Well, Mrs. Cate - that officially makes you Awesome.

    (you too Kelly...)

  6. Nice to meet you Bryan. 'Looking forward to reading more.

    I think I have a new reason to write every time the subject comes up. But when I boil it down to just a handful sentences, it comes down to two things, one pragmatic and one, not so much. First, I like to tell stories. I want other people to read them and I want them to pay me money for them. Second, it's easier than not writing.

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