Sherman Alexie is one of my favourite writers. It started (for me) with War Dances – a mix of poetry, anecdotes and short-stories. Whenever I discover a new favourite writer I want to share – I need to mention him or her. I know Alexie is pretty well known, he’s written a heap of books. But to introduce him here – in and around the context of what I do and the things that move and shape me I thought I’d share something from him. He’s also just recently written a really lovely wee book for kids. Worth a look – as are many of his collections and novels. Anyway check out this wee ode to the mix-tape.
Ode To Mix Tapes
These days, it’s too easy to make mix tapes.
CD burners, iPods, and iTunes
Have taken the place
Of vinyl and cassette. And, soon
Enough, clever introverts will create
Quicker point-and-click ways to declare
One’s love, lust, friendship, and favour,
But I miss the labour
Of making old-school mix-tapes – the midair
Acrobatics of recording one song
At a time. It sometimes took days
To play, choose, pause,
Ponder, record, replay, erase,
And replace. But there was no magic wand.
It was blue-collar work. A great mix tape
Was sculpture designed to seduce
And let the hounds loose.
A great mix tape was a three-chord parade
Led by the first song, something bold and brave,
A heat-seeker like Prince with “Cream”,
Or “Let’s Get It On”, by Marvin Gaye.
The next song was always Patsy Cline’s “Sweet Dreams”,
or something by Hank. But O, the last track
Was the vessel that contained
The most devotion and pain
And made promises that you couldn’t take back.