Reviewed: Quick Kills by Lynn Lurie Etruscan Press
I have a bad memory for books — films too. Real life gets catalogued okay in my head (I tell myself), but if you start discussing a book that I’ve read, enjoyed, it’s likely you’ll see a blank stare. Plot gets fuzzy, but if a book has captivated me, I often find myself awash in the emotive thought-space of its pages long after I’ve let them close. The best books grab me and hang on for a while in that way, like a dream that persists, disorienting me until I blink it away.
It’s that feeling that I’m after. Like dreams that pass quickly from vividness into the abyss, I want to hold on to the feeling of a book, consuming if ephemeral. How do I feel the impact of a book on me? How can I convey it — how can I be a beacon for readers who might be served by traversing the emotive world of a particular book? Reviews take a familiar form. What else could a review, or something like it, look like or feel like or sound like? I’ve turned to songwriting as an attempt to inhabit the world of a book through song.
I don’t know exactly how to characterize the songs that result: is a song about a book an experimental review? Is it interdisciplinary performative fanfiction? Something else? You tell me. Tell me how they make you feel.
Maybe these songs about books will accomplish some of what reviews do, maybe something else. If nothing else, writing and performing these songs about books is creatively fulfilling for me on a personal level: it creates space for fiction in my music-making in a style in which it tends to appear that the narrative voice of a singer-songwriter is one and the same with the artist’s own voice.
Lauren Kinney is a writer and musician in Los Angeles. She also teaches music to children, which gives her an excuse to play the recorder and square dance. She is working on her MFA in fiction at Antioch University. Find her on twitter @lauren_kinney.