Saturday, August 13, 2011

Is *This* Your Card?

By Jeremy Edwards

People sometimes assume that because I’m a songwriter (among other things), I always have music at my elbow. “What have you been listening to lately?” “What’ve you got loaded onto your mp3 player?” “What’s that by your elbow?” Well, okay, I can’t swear I’ve been asked all these specific questions, but I think they represent some of the expectations that surround me. (I don’t know about you, but I’m constantly finding myself surrounded by expectations; I suppose, given how tall expectations can be and clocking in personally at a modest five foot four, I’m lucky I can find myself at all.)

At one time, I enjoyed having music playing in the room almost every waking minute. This was decades ago now. My relationship to music has changed a lot since then—from compulsive immersion to love largely from a distance—and the value I place on psychic space has grown, as has my (over)sensitivity to words and to music-borne emotions.

But here’s something neatly narcissistic. (Do I sound proud? Hey, I may as well own it.) I often have songs spinning in my head as I do this and that ... and these days it’s often my *own* songs—a couple of them in particular. And lest you think I’m *not* an artistically masturbatory kook, I must disabuse you of any notion that these are new songs I’m currently incubating—that I’m somehow *working* on these pop ditties while I load the dishwasher or walk down the street. Nuh-uh. These are songs I wrote, recorded, and washed my hands of long ago, that have somehow become my personal, internalized signature tunes. Evidently they resonate with me. And, I ask you, who better?

I also read my own erotica.

And my own back correspondence.

Why go to strangers, right?

When I was about seven, I used to imagine, like many kids, that my life was a TV show, and that theme music—the specifics of which I only vaguely imagined—accompanied me to and from school. So in a way, this fantasy has come true—minus the TV show, but with the theme music nicely fleshed out. I especially like that vibraphone bit.

Now that I’ve cleared the air by showing you all what a nut I am, I hope you’ll bear with me as I proceed. (I told Kathleen I could fall back on card tricks if I couldn’t find anything to say ... but I subsequently realized I don’t know any card tricks, so I think you’re stuck with this essay.) To return to the music-listening, psychic-space issue: Yes, I sometimes listen to music, sometimes even music that I didn’t personally create. But I do so sparingly, for a few reasons. First, because my tastes are very narrow and specific in all sorts of ways, despite the benefit of exposure to the wealth of choices that are out there, it’s hard for me to find music I like. (Absurd, I know, but I never said I wasn’t.) Even my tastes *within* my tastes are very narrow: an album by a “group I like” (if it’s actually the one *album* I like, and not any of their other albums) is an album on which there are perhaps three songs that didn’t either bore me or depress me or irritate me or go stale on me after two listens. So even when I’m in the mood for music, there may not be anything to put on from this limited stockpile that I’m ready to hear again just yet (if ever).

Second, if I’m by myself or alone with my wife (who, by the way, uses an mp3 player with headphones much of the time, at a volume that doesn’t preclude conversation), I rarely put music on unless I want to actively listen to it—the music being a focal point, attentionwise. And these days I’m rarely in the mood to make music a focal point, attentionwise. I’m not sure why; it certainly used to be different. Then again, I also used to have a full head of hair. It’s not that I’m completely jaded—or, for that matter, completely bald—I *do* still get very excited upon hearing that great, great song by a new-to-me band that makes me feel good all over. In fact, I think I experience that brand of euphoria even more intensely than when I was a teenager. But this kind of epiphany only happens a couple of times a year for me.

(You have probably guessed by now that I do not write my erotica while listening to music.)

When we have friends over for dinner, I often put music on—usually something from the small library of my favorite 1950s and early 1960s sessions by the jazz greats. (No, not *that* jazz great ... Yes, okay, this one, but you have to flip it over to side 2 ... No, skip that track ... Okay, yeah, this cut .... but only up until the tenor sax comes in.) I love those discs, but it’s good that I mostly save them for these social occasions because, again, I can only listen to them so often. That said, when we’re entertaining company, the music *is* more like background music for me—though if a dinner guest brings a date who proves to be a crashing bore, it’s nice to have the option of something else to focus my ears on ... or even to divert the conversation to:

Crashing Bore: ... and then we were going to put a new window in the garage door, but the frost was really heavy that year, so I called my brother-in-law in Florida, and he drove up here with his truck—he has a five-and-a-half-wheeler—and we spent two weeks separating the copper piping from the flat tires, and finally we’d salvaged enough brick that we could take it down to my sister’s place—she lives down the dirt road by the school—to try to get the air pockets out. Well, my sister had just traded her Jeep in for a Chris-Craft, and ...

Jeremy: Oh! Listen, everybody! Here comes my favorite chord change on the whole disc. Stand by, it’s right after this 256-bar piano solo. I wonder if you might like it, too, [INSERT NAME OF CRASHING BORE]. Do you like C-major-seventh chords over D root notes?

*Music.* It brings people together.

~~
JEREMY EDWARDS is a widely published author of erotic short stories, and the author of the erotocomedic novel Rock My Socks Off.

Though he is aware that most of the planet’s sentient species manage to enjoy copulation without ever putting on their reading glasses, he personally feels that a judicious turn of explicit phrase can be worth its weight in primal bliss. His lascivious prose embodies an enthusiasm for sex in its sunniest form, as he strives to blend the sensuous and the playful, lighthearted laughter and erotic urgency. Jeremy writes heterosexual and lesbian erotica; his stories revolve around sensitive, cerebral, sexually self-aware women (a few of whom take a great deal of pleasure in peeing), and the men and women who adore them. One reviewer has referred to his writing as an “irresistible blend of raunch and romantic sweetness.”

Jeremy’s libidinous literary efforts are well represented at many of the erotica scene’s high-quality online venues (Clean Sheets, Erotic Woman, Fishnet, Good Vibrations, Oysters & Chocolate), and his stories have appeared in some fifty anthologies offered by Cleis Press, Xcite Books, and other publishers. His work was selected for the three most recent volumes in the Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica series, and he has been featured in the literary showcase of the Seattle Erotic Art Festival. Out on the newsstand, he has contributed frequently to Scarlet and Forum (Foreplay) magazines.

A popular guest on the Web circuit, Jeremy has been seen or heard such places as Erotica Readers & Writers Association, Lust Bites, LoveHoney, Dr. Dick’s Sex Advice, and Cult of Gracie Radio. In the nonvirtual world, he has read his work at the In the Flesh series in New York, the Erotic Literary Salon in Philadelphia, and (via telephone) In the Flesh: L.A.

Jeremy’s greatest goal in life is to be sexy and witty at the same moment—ideally in lighting that flatters his profile.

11 comments:

  1. Yikes! I must have sent the wrong bio. Meant to send the 100-word version. Anything else you'd like to know about me? ; )

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  2. Hey Jeremy,

    Don't cut the bio, it's wonderful.

    And I think, to be honest, that you've actually ACHIEVED your greatest goal in life - at least from what I can read.

    I wish you'd told us more about your own songwriting history, though. That's a new tidbit for me.

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  3. Thank you for all this, Lisabet!

    My music career is under a different name—I'll e-mail you a link. (Same offer goes for anyone I know; I just can't present it in public.)

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  4. Jeremy - I liked this bio, but if you want me to cut it, I can.

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  5. Oh, heavens no, if you like it I'm delighted to have it there! I just knew I was sending you stuff while rushing around packing for a trip, and I thought I'd absentmindedly foisted it on you.

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  6. Do you like C-major-seventh chords over D root notes?

    Matter-o-fact, I do.

    Knowing a smidgen of Jeremy's musical taste, and musical alter ego, I can vouch for his specificity! He's not the sort of man I might presume to know what songs he might like unless he's already shared them with me, and that's actually pretty cool -- a sharp contrast to my own tastes which tend to be quite broad.

    I thoroughly enjoyed this very, very specific musical interlude...

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  7. Thank you, Craig!

    [Plays C-major-seventh chord over D root note in tribute to Mr. Sorensen.]

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  8. I always think of you in relation to music, Jeremy. :-) Lovely post!

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  9. I've has a similar change in music habits over the past two years and haven't been able to determine its cause for sure. I used to listen to music all the time, always finding new bands I loved ( I do tend to like a lot of different music), but lately, it's rare to find a song that fully charges me.

    In writing, I know that part of my motive was being unable to find the book I wanted to read already written. Just as I'd turn to my own imagination to tell myself a story instead, I'd sometimes simply write what I wanted to read.

    But unlike you, I don't write music, and I don't have my own music to play in my head! I want music back in my life as fully as it was, to fall passionately in love with a song. I feel my focus is elsewhere these past two years and I can't call up the attention.

    Um, this is long, so I'm going to stop. You raised an interesting issue for me. And that's without going into living through boring conversation!!

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  10. I always think of you in relation to music, Jeremy. :-) Lovely post!

    Thank you, Kristina! And I'm honored by the association. (Not the Association the band, mind you—just the lowercase association.)

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  11. Very interesting, Patricia—it's great comparing notes (so to speak).

    Yeah, I first began writing erotica, in part, because I wasn't finding enough out there that pushed all the very specific buttons I especially wanted pushed as a reader.

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