Bird Attack: Follow Up Letter
Dear Andrew Bird fans,
I relatively new Writing Life reader recently contacted me about the my post the day after I saw Mr. Bird perform live in Asheville, North Carolina. After a week of posts about his music, including a countdown to the actual performance, I then failed to put words to the experience and left a number of you hanging. Since then, I have only been able to ask myself “Why?”
Two reasons: One, I had a difficult time with the audience at that particular show, many of whom were underage, chatty, and (god help them all) TEXTING each other during the show. One girl stared at her boyfriend the entire time with her back to the stage. I won’t tell you what that made me want to do…Second, and most importantly, I have now accepted my own deep level of obsession with the evolution of Mr. Bird’s music and will settle for nothing less than a perfect essay portraying the experience of seeing him live.
I need more psychological distance from the live experience and I need more facts. In short, I’d like to go on the road with him for a show or two before really feeling like I could write such an essay. To that end, I wrote to his manager this afternoon in what may have been either a) the most foolish move of my freelance career or b) the most brilliant. I am fully aware of my own ridiculousness and have decided that I have nothing to lose. Here’s an excerpt of what I had to say:
“First, I’d like to send Mr. Bird a pair of socks His sock had a hole in it during the show at The Orange Peel and it kept snagging on the pedals as he was performing. What is a current address for such an on-the-road gift?
Second, and quite seriously, I would like to speak with you about writing an essay about the evolution of Andrew’s music. I am, to put it mildly, obsessed. One example: After the release of The Mysterious Production of Eggs, I studied it so intensely that the characters in my dreams only spoke to each other in Andrew Bird lyrics for two weeks straight. I realize this is over the top, but I can’t think of a more revealing example to demonstrate the level of my interest in this man’s work.
I further realize that obsession is not a qualifying factor to write such an essay, so perhaps it would help to explain that in addition to being an Andrew Bird fan, I am a professional writer. I write essays about the creative process for national magazines, specializing in contemporary American craft. For literary journals, I write personal essays and short stories. As someone who putzes around with music, I came from a Suzuki background and have therefore been enjoying and studying Andrew’s music through that lens since I first heard him in 2005…
It’s difficult to explain in an informal email why I think I could write a killer essay about Andrew’s music, but at the heart of the matter is this: I want to see a well-written, well-researched, relatable, informative essay out there on the creative genius of Andrew Bird and I want to be the one to write it. Period.
Considering this is perhaps the first query letter I have ever sent to a musician’s manager, and definitely the first query letter I have ever sent that also included an offer for a pair of socks, I can only hope to get a reply and embark on a more specific conversation…”
Here’s hoping for a reply, my friends, and thanks—as always—for reading these forays from the Blue Ridge to the odd inner workings of my brain. I’ll keep you posted.