Bootlegs and Books

I’m listening to live Nine Inch Nails, recorded March 10, 1990 in Boston. (You could be listening to it too, if you clicked here.) This is a rather strange experience, to be hearing the band before thousands of teenagers like me ever heard the lyrics, I want to fuck you like an animal. There are moments in the recording where you can hear the audience carrying on conversations, as if totally underwhelmed. And yet, Trent is there, singing his ass off and the band is playing the hell out of songs that, in many cases, don’t even get played anymore.

A live version of “That’s What I Get”? I didn’t think I’d ever get to hear it. I know many fans of the band dislike that song, but it’s one of my favorites. Just ask my college roommate, who came home to me blasting that track far more often than he probably would have liked.

Anyway, I’m listening to this because I’m in a really weird place. Both my thesis advisor and my thesis reader have given me frighteningly positive feedback on my novel. They’ve given me a lot to work on as well, but it has just occurred to me that two published novelists, whose work I very much admire, are telling me that I’ve written something quite special.

Tony, my advisor, has suggested that, once I turn in the manuscript, I should take a few months away from it before attempting another revision. I’m thinking he’s right, but I’m also terrified that if I don’t finish it now, I’ll never finish it.

I don’t know… this whole winding-down thing… It’s just not sitting well with me. I think it’s the fear that I’m heading right back to where I was before I started the program. I don’t want to be that guy who had no time for writing, who spent his entire life at work or getting to and from work.

Hmm… This show really kicks ass. I wish the audience would shut up, but then again, that’s part of the appeal. I feel like I’m in some cramped bar in Cambridge or on Landsdowne… And imagining NIN playing there is making me smile.