On Wednesday night this week I saw John Darnielle (leader of the band The Mountain Goats and also a novelist) read a bit from his new book Universal Harvester and then answer questions for a solid 90 minutes or so. A couple highlights, as I remember them:
- At one point John talked about not wanting to put out songs he feels like he's written before. Later a poet asked him what do you do if you feel like you keep writing same stuff? John said, well, "because I see art as labor and not as magic," he believes you still have to write them, that's part of the process.
- I asked John about self-promotion: how to find balance in the act of asking people to pay attention to oneself. While acknowledging that this can be "humiliating," he went on to look me in the eye and say, "that feeling is really narcissism," because it presumes that people are already paying attention to you enough to notice that you are perhaps asking for/receiving a lot of it. :O