May 26, 2013


Perhaps you thought I had given up on this wee bloggins, that after, gee, 10 years I peaced out, faded to black. Nope. Not yet at least. Not without a ceremony or blaze of glory or Kickstartered fanzine. I just forgot my password for, like, two straight months and was too busy to try to remember it.

I guess the new news first: I am music editor at Rookie as of a few weeks ago and I am just tickled, as my Nana was so fond of saying. It's a side gig but it's a hell of a side gig, right? People ask me how I got that job and I tell them this: I asked for it. Also, frankly, nepotism (thanks, sis!). Also also, I love Rookie so much, and all it does and for being the only place on the internet where reading the comments section will make your heart swell with love for humanity--so naturally I wanted into the clubhouse. And, well, now look at us.

When I was young, I loved movies about nuns and people joining the Army, gangs bound by a cause, I think because that idea of chosen-family bond and earnest altruism really appealed to me (this was before I found punk or Riot Grrrl and was just like a lonely girl riding my 10-speed around the lake listening to Tracy Chapman tapes and yearning for something to believe in). Now I get to be in a gang, of sorts. Here are my feelings about it in summary, in this Trina sub-hit.

In my journo real work, because of the things I do and where I do them for, there is a kind of form that must be held to. Always looking for some hook or quirk, an angle that could be a list or a charticle (such is the nature of things now) and the pleasure of Rookie is that that criteria is absent. It's about pleasure and rightness and is it good? Because good is enough. There is a kind of relief in that. Always a kind of relief to be a cabal of women, to feel conspiratory and unguarded--the minor revelation of it--it sometimes feels like another reality to me.

Living in Chicago for lo 15 years, all my best girlfriends have moved away now. Seven, now, one by one. Because everyone always leaves here in the every 3-4 year exodus to the coasts and to grad school and to new loves and post-break-up clean slates, to someplace that is not so murderous and/or snowy. I do not blame anyone. Chicago used to be a place that people stayed, I thought, but then I realized I just had not been here long enough to realize that this was just where kids from Madison moved until they move back to Madison. Or moved to New York to prove that they can hack it; I missed the gene on that one. Or maybe I just knew from tail end of my teenage years in L.A. that I done hacked it already, proved whatever I needed to when I was living on Nothing, rationing cigs and Diet cokes and Trader Joe's Ceasers and trying to figure out what the fuck the world wanted from me.

Even when I am nostalgic for that time, I am not nostalgic for that, though I do sort of miss having a fax machine. I recently thought about when I was about 22, maybe 23 and living in the apartment the previous tenant had been murdered in (it was such a deal!) in Humboldt Park and I was having a meeting with Burning Airlines, who I worked with and were maybe staying with me while they were in town playing their show and I was remembering having a meeting in my kitchen and everyone was just crouched on the floor, doing a kind of prison yard squat again the walls and I was thinking--why were we all squatting? And I inventoried the place in my mind and then realized it was because I had no chairs. I laugh out loud any time I think of it. I feel like this is the only story I need to tell to explain being 22.

Though, to be honest, there was one chair. It was a child's school desk chair I had dumpstered from behind what is now a shuttered Great Clips on Division and painted a stegasaurous amid some ferns on it's loping seat. I would occasionally sit in it when I tearfully watched my lone VHS movie, the original Kirk Douglas version of Spartacus--which was the sort of recreation I enjoyed in the late nineties. FYI.

Posted by jessica hopper at 10:37 PM | TrackBack