Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Paste.

I picked up this magazine Tuesday night just as I was walking past the frozen treats aisle of Rainbow, on my way to pay for my groceries. I was praying for an itzakadoozie, or a box of itzakadoozies if I am being honest. In case you've never had the pleasure of eating one, they are absolutely delicious and look like this:K mentioned them at a gas station on our way back up to the city on Sunday and I have been craving one ever since. They didn't have any, but that is not the point of this post.

Back to Paste magazine: I have developed this crazy habit of looking at the magazines before I leave any store because of a magazine writing class I am taking. We have to pitch story ideas to different magazines for every assignment, and include samples from the magazine we are pitching to. In other words, I couldn't just buy one mag a month and be set. I had to explore all sorts of new publications, which was actually really fun. I have never bought Paste before, but the heading that said "An Exclusive Interview with Sufjan Stevens" caught my eye. He is a brilliant singer/songwriter and I had recently had a conversation with one of my friends about how we hadn't heard anything from him for awhile. If you know anything about Sufjan Stevens, then you most likely know his album "Illinoise." It is brilliant. It was released in 2005, but I didn't really know about it until 2006 and listened to it over and over and over again my first semester of college. Casimir Pulaski Day tugs at the heartstrings and is one of my favorites off the album.

Casimir Pulaski Day - Sufjan Stevens

The point is, the feature on Sufjan Stevens is truly brilliant. I don't know if it's the fact that I had gotten back a feature story that same day and didn't do as well as I had hoped, or the fact that I have been reading multiple magazine articles each week and just hadn't seen one so clever and succinctly written, but whatever it was, the article was inspiring. After I got out of my magazine writing class yesterday, a few of the other people in the class and I were walking together and were all a little disappointed with our grades. (Randomly, the three of us had all been given the exact same grade...and I was walking with the smart boy.) I had worked really hard at that feature and was proud of it when I handed it in and dreaded re-writing a final draft. Now, and perhaps for the first time this semester, I am really inspired to come up with something much better than I already have. It's liberating. Thank you, Paste magazine.

This particular issue is also fabulous because of its "Best of the Decade" feature - the top albums, movies, books, TV shows and games of the last 10 years are all in here. Go ahead and take a look at the online version here if you are interested. It's wonderful and I am highly recommending it. Hence the fan letter-esque blog post.

Well I feel as if I am going on and on, but this is one thing I have discovered lately that has truly made me feel inspired to write better, that has pointed me in the direction of wonderful new music, that has made me want to seek out more books and that has such rich writing that I can only aspire to be good enough to be published in it someday. And was all in one magazine! Itzakadoozies don't have anything on Paste.

(If you were wondering, Sufjan has been working on something entirely different at The Brooklyn Academy of Music. He created a performance called the BQE (for the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway) and you can listen to a track off of the album here.)

EDIT: FOR TANYA (and all other lovers of the canceled TV show Arrested Development), AD was the #1 TV show of the decade according to Paste (and a separate Paste readers poll.) Please feel free to love this magazine even more now. (I do.)

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