Monarch Review, Pt. 1

I’m contributing a three-part series to the Monarch Review, a cool Seattle-based literary and arts magazine, sharing my thoughts on the Allen Stone recording process. If you’re curious, check out part one here

I’ve shared some thoughts about the sessions via this newsletter - overly caffeinated, largely sleep deprived thoughts (the best kind) - but I’m going into greater detail with Monarch and have a much clearer sense of what the whole thing’s meant to me, now that the dust’s settled.

Believe it or not, I’m really trying to improve as a writer. In the MOAT - a reader gave this thing an acronym, I’ve officially arrived! - I essentially write how I talk, which is “unintentionally aloof” according to a good buddy. One of the great joys of getting essays published is working with editors, and Jake Uitti at Monarch’s an extremely gifted one. He absolutely tore my first draft to shreds. Very correctly, he pointed out when I was being overly familiar (Al Pal? Really?), lazy (you say you’re excited, but SHOW ME) and out of touch (no one double spaces after sentences anymore). 

And I love it. A life in the arts is sometimes like putting messages in bottles, stranded on a desert island, and hoping someone will find one of your bottles, open it, read it, and put something in a bottle that will wash its way back to you: appreciation, money, maybe even love. Most of the time, these bottles go unreturned, and it’s easy believing no one’s listening, reading, or cares at all. So, when the opportunity comes up not only to have someone read your writing, but go over it with a fine-toothed comb and point out, in glorious detail, when you’re being an asshole, well, to your pal Trevor that’s a goddamn dream come true. 

I hope you enjoy the piece, and thank you all for following along. There’re kinda a lot of you now. More Big Country stories coming your way, he’s been on a role.