Silver Jews

I have always enjoyed writing. I never was sure if I was particularly great at it, but I loved it anyway. I remember being in first grade and writing a story about a bear. I don’t remember what the bear was doing. Most likely just doing some mundane bear type activities like shitting in the woods, eating rabbits, etc. But I remember being really proud of my story. And I remember thinking that I was going to be a writer. I held onto this dream well into my adolescence. When I was ten or eleven I told my grandfather I wanted to be a writer and go to college in New York. Not being a real risk taker and possibly having not one artistic bone in his body, he promptly shat all over my plans. He made it clear that being a writer is not a real job and that I should probably consider doing something that would make money.

I wasn’t too phased by his words. The opinions of anyone in my family began to take on a lot less meaning around that age. By the time I was 14, I had created an entirely separate life from anyone of blood relation and they knew next to nothing about my interests, dreams, and hobbies. When I was 15 I wrote a zine with my best friend. It’s full of so much angst. It is nothing you haven’t read before. But I was proud of it. I still am.

I don’t know where along the way I gave up on writing as a serious hobby, or even as a possible career. It faded into the past as most of my ambitions did. It sounds sad when I put it that way, but I’m not trying to make some statement about my unrealized dreams. I’m the opposite of sad about my writing and I feel like I’m ready to take it on again.

All that being said, what I wanted to clarify is the title of this blog. It’s not original. Growing up I have had a very close relationship to music and lyrics. I have always been able to give them a deeper meaning and connect them to what’s going on in my life. This is something I imagine a lot, if not most, people do.

The band Silver Jews has a song called “Punks in the Beerlight” on their album Tanglewood Numbers. The lyrics are as follows:

Where’s the paper bag that holds the liquor?
Just in case I feel the need to puke.
If we’d known what it’d take to get here,
Would we have chosen to?

So you wanna build an altar on a summer night,
You wanna smoke the gel off a fentanyl patch.
Aintcha heard the news? Adam and Eve were Jews.
And I always loved you to the max.

I love you to the max

If it gets really really bad, if it ever gets really really bad…

Let’s not kid ourselves. It gets really really bad.

Punks in the beerlight, burnouts in love.
Punks in the beerlight, Toulouse-Lautrec.
Punks in the beerlight, two burnouts in love.
I always loved you to the max
I love you to the max
I love you to the…

Max!

When I first opened this blog in 2009, I was in the middle of revisiting my past. I was taking stock.  I was turning thirty. I had kept a very private journal for a couple years that had a lot to do with my ex-boyfriend and all of my unresolved feelings. The contrast of my “new” life and my old, depressing one was hard not to think about. I read through old journals and had the idea that I might post them all on a blog. Maybe even chronicle my whole life leading up to this point, online. This song held a lot of meaning for me because it reminded me of who I used to be. Those four years I spent with my ex-boyfriend were some of the grossest, weirdest, rawest years of my life. And I particularly related to the part where David Berman sings “Let’s not kid ourselves, it gets really really bad. ” Because it does and it did. And it was hard to get through.

So I’m keeping this blog named after the song because it’s part of a catalyst that has forced me to start writing again. It’s also a damn fine song.

Over and out.

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  1. #1 by caledoniasky on May 8, 2012 - 10:14 am

    Sometimes I feel bad for not knowing how bad it got. But mostly I just feel grateful that I don’t have to worry about such things now.

  2. #2 by Jimmy Gottfredson on August 22, 2016 - 7:37 pm

    Just came across this post and really enjoyed it. I always have really loved this song as well, and for me I’m not quite sure why but it does bring a sad little smile. Good luck on the writing and I hope it has progressed. Cheers Jimmy

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