August 29, 2013

US VS. BM

Almost 14 months after I started working on it, my essay on Black Metal and loving music made by racists, rapists, and the like is finally out. It began as me reporting on what was to be Leviathan/Wrest's sentencing for SPIN--except he was found not guilty on all but one charge, sentenced to time served (I could detail it here more, but it sounds like all he was primarily guilty of was being in a really toxic, mutually abusive relationship) and my kind editors were like "yeah go long if you want!" because I got to 800 words and realized I had a much bigger story to tell/issues to discuss. I interviewed probably 18 people and my initial almost-finished, please someone save me from myself draft turned into 5600 words, 1200 of them were reporting on on Wrest, another 1200 was about how no one in metal wanted to address it or talk about it--just total shut it down denial, people did not want to report on the charges even because they did not want to be out of the scene's graces. There was a longish digression about 90's irony, Bush's wars and everyone being on cocaine and dancing to House of Jealous Lovers basically made this happen. Because of some things beyond everyone's control, the story lost all three news hooks by the time August 2012 rolled around and the piece got killed. Also, no one said this, but the story was unwieldy at best. I don't know if anyone anywhere would have been like "Why yes, I have real time to invest in handholding on nearly 6000 words of unfinished business about how we should probably be ashamed about liking everything we like!" So, I sat on it and sussed out future hooks and album releases to tie it to that never came to fruition, and finally got up my meddle in October to even look at it again. The draft was so sprawling I felt frustrated reading it, and didn't know what the strongest argument was in there--it was humbling to feel lost in the piece. I thought about hiring people to help me edit it but just kept coming back to it every two months or so and by late spring it was perhaps broaching "not bad" and I knew that once there was a news hook, it was at least pitchable. Piece still needed work, I was free to shop it and then when Burzum got arrested last month that was my window and I brought it to Steve Kandell, who was actually the first editor on it back when it was at SPIN, and he took me in to the Buzzfeed editorial manger--where it now rests it's weary head.

Posted by jessica hopper at August 29, 2013 10:17 PM | TrackBack