gatsby in the 21st century.

Mary and I are thinking about submitting a proposal for the Fitzgerald conference which will be taking place next July in Lyon, France! The deadline’s the last day of this year so I think we need to get crackin’. Since Gatsby’s the most common of his works, we’re going to probably write on it. (I like it more than Tender Is The Night anyway.)

Ergo, I thought it would be a good idea to read it again.

After finishing the book, and listening to The National’s latest album for the bazillionth time, the similarity between some of their songs (“Conversation 16”, and “Gospel” on Boxer) and the novel are quite uncanny. The most similar one is Lemonworld. Here are the lyrics and read into them what you will!

So happy I was invited
Give me a reason to get out of the city
See you inside watchin’ swarms on TV
Living and dying in New York, it means nothin’ to me

I gave my heart to the army
The only sentimental thing I could think of
Cousins and cousins somewhere overseas
But it’ll take a better war to kill a college man like me

I’m too tired to drive anywhere anyway right now
Do you care if I stay?
You can put on your bathing suits
And I’ll try to find somethin’ on this thing that means nothing
And I’m losin’ my breath
Do do do do do do do do do doo…..
Losin’ my breath
Do do do do do do do do do do doo…..

You and your sister live in a lemonworld
I wanna sit in and die
You and your sister live in a lemonworld
Do do do do do do do do do doo…..

This pricy stuff makes me dizzy
I guess I’ve always been a delicate man
It takes me a day to remember a day
I didn’t mean to let it get so far outta hand

I was a comfortable kid
But I don’t think about it much anymore
Lay me on a table; put flowers in my mouth
And we can say that we invented a summer-lovin’ torture party

I’m too tired to drive anywhere, anyway right now
Do you care if I stay?
You can put on your bathing suits
And I’ll try to find somethin’ on this thing that means nothing

And now you and your sister live in a lemonworld
I wanna sit in and die
You and your sister live in a lemonworld
Do do do do do do do do do doo…..

Losin’ my breath, do do do do do doo *breath*

song free-write.

“Dream Listen” – West Indian Girl

Tonight’s talk with Mary is calming me down. The hookah subculture here in the U.S. – at least in Toledo and Cleveland (and from what Shawn says, Chicago) – is drenched in a heavy coat of douchebaggery that cannot be described in glowing words. I simply wanted to smoke the nargile I would always do in Istanbul when I had the urge to write, or if Jon or Jeff and I had the desire to face off in backgammon. When comparing the two worlds, it’s disheartening that when people think about hookah here, there is this judgment that comes along with it, that if one smokes the water pipe with a group of other friends, it’s mostly college kids, townies with nothing better to do, loud and immature twits who will take long pulls and then boast to one and all that they are “so high”…

I can see why people don’t want to pin themselves onto that group of people. But I still miss the taste of rose and mint.

“Recurring” – Bonobo

I think about the snow in Cleveland, how there’s precipitation from an Alberta Clipper there, how it’s hit quite a lot of the Great Lakes region, how it’s gone all around but here in Toledo. Reversal of the cartoon pessimist’s raincloud solely over himself: a black puff pouring out the evil rain when all around is clear, blue sky.

This song was also the beginning song for this summer’s mix, but I soon felt as if it went much too long just like it is doing now. It overstays its welcome; the only time it does not is if I’m riding a bike in the August sun. I want summer back. The 30-degree weather is not my style.

“Formed a Band” – Art Brut

Some car outside is blasting some bass-riddled hip-hop song so loudly I can’t even tell if it would be something I’d know. This happens occasionally; it does not make me feel bad that I am listening to music this late at night. It’s Saturday night.

If I formed a band, what would I do? I only really know piano. I could sing, but I would never be able to wing it as a front man. I don’t have the stage presence that others might have. There would be no way for me to ham it up like some bigwig, even if I drank a bottle of wine before getting onto that stage as Matt Berninger does.

“Son Deneme” – Mor ve Ötesi

I was never a big fan of this song, but for some reason the final bit of it has resonated with me a lot tonight, just his voice intermixed with the music. I searched for the lyrics and a proper English translation. I had Google Translate help me out (yeah, I know, shhh) to fill in the gaps I did not know; Jeff, if you’re reading, can you let me know if I’m correct or not?

Son deneme, saat kaç, saat kaç ki?
Seni buldum: sesi gür, yüzü eski
Artık bir şey yapamam, yapamam ki.

(Last attempt, how many hours, how many hours?)
(I found you: rich sound (voice?), old face)
(Now I can’t do a thing, can’t do it.)

“I Hope I Know You” – The Clientele

As I was listening to the previous song, I think: there’s so much more great music in other languages I don’t really listen to or know about. “Evaporar” by Little Joy has become one of my utmost favorites…. has been for a couple years now. It’s one I always listen to when I pick and choose instead of automatic shuffle on my music player.

The disappointments tonight, the lack of what I wanted to do, for now have evaporated. I think I can sleep for a tiny bit. Work calls tomorrow. Schoolwork. It’s a dissonant and heavily focused-upon combination of stress and labor.