In a World of Ruins the Ruin of Her Happiness Seemed a Less Unnatural Catastrophe

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While we’re on the subject, I want to quickly say something about aesthetics versus content. Like most dichotomies, this one is pretty much false. There is, of course, as much information conveyed by any package as by its contents. And anyone who takes the time and effort to develop their own artistic voice will simultaneously be creating a personal aesthetic, by definition. What you have to say and how you say it will be inextricably bound and evolve together.

That’s why it always pisses me off when people rail against the supposed triumph of style over substance. Something may indeed have substance locked in a death-grip these days, but it’s got nothing to do with genuine style. Would that we were so lucky.

If I Ever Pay You Back (Liz Phair)

Liz Phair

I don’t have what it takes to stay with you
And I’m leaving in under ten days, it’s not what I’d planned
But anyway, you know, by and large anywhere I go
I won’t find anyone who loves me enough to make you look bad

And all the cars on the road are driving away from here
But I’m still looking under my nose to see who I am
And anywhere I go, standing at any kind of show
I won’t find anyone who can tell me what I need to know
That’s not how it’s done

And anyway, you know, by and large anywhere I go
I won’t find anyone who loves me enough to make you look bad

If I ever pay you back
If my money and wallet’s intact
I will probably be in a box lying down
Loosely suited in black

If I ever pay you back
If my money and wallet’s intact
I will probably be in a box lying down
Loosely suited in black

Addendum:

Other therapeutic “first things” over the past couple of weeks have included listening to lots of Lee Wiley (who probably deserves her own post) while reading Henry James (who sure as shit doesn’t need one from me). The very Devastationalist title of this post comes from “The Portrait of a Lady.” More of the passage is quoted below, but there is no substitute for the book itself, of course:

Isabel took a drive, alone, that afternoon; she wished to be far away, under the sky, where she could descend from her carriage and tread upon the daisies. She had long before this taken old Rome into her confidence, for in a world of ruins the ruin of her happiness seemed a less unnatural catastrophe. She rested her weariness upon things that had crumbled for centuries and yet still were upright; she dropped her secret sadness into the silence of lonely places, where its very modern quality detached itself and grew objective, so that as she sat in a sun-warmed angle on a winter’s day, or stood in a mouldy church to which no one came, she could almost smile at it and think of its smallness. Small it was, in the large Roman record, and her haunting sense of the continuity of the human lot easily carried her from the less to the greater.

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2 Replies to “In a World of Ruins the Ruin of Her Happiness Seemed a Less Unnatural Catastrophe”

  1. I happen to love that the entry immediately following the one about me includes and mp3 of favorite Liz Phair song.

    Just sayin’ 😉

  2. Hi Heather — glad you approve. Thanks for stopping by and “just sayin’.”

    You should know that many people in the Devastationalist community have been kind enough to write or tell me how much they love your song.

    Plus, over the last few days, I have been endlessly entertained by exploring the entire Sorry Lion family of musicians/artists/crazy people. Your crew is totally awesome and I know a lot of people who are also quite happily checking it all out. I can only hope one day you all take over the world.

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    As you might have figured, the Girly Sound song posting directly after your song is not a complete coincidence. I was trying to find the lyrics to “If I Ever Pay You Back” online (I was thinking of covering it) and Googling that is what led me to you. And to be completely honest, I might not have stuck around your page, but “No Cure For Boredom” happened to be the song on autoplay and I was totally awestruck. See??? So, I love the way the Universe works sometimes. I, for one, needed the inspiration, badly.

    Maybe you’ll be kind enough to send (or re-post) your version of the Liz Phair song?

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