They Might Be Giants were in Portland last week – one of my favorite bands. I remember when I was a shy geek girl trying to buy music with gift certificates I would look for They Might Be Giants, Sinead O’Connor… and… and then I would look around blankly. Seeing them in person at the Crystal Ballroom was joyous. I felt tears forming in my eyes as I realised it was THEM, this wasn’t a video, we were really here, they were really here and it still felt impossible. I’m so used to tour dates belonging to a different continent, I’m not used to the access we have to different bands now that we live in the United States.
Seeing They Might Be Giants inspires me as a writer.
Seeing They Might Be Giants made me feel more confident about ideas I have on being a writer. Being a writer who plays with different styles. Being a writer that engages with different content. Look, they’re great big geek boys…
They write about science, history, psychology, relationships, weird ideas and then they make stuff up. They are fearless in the content they approach (how many people think, hmm I’ll write a poppy song about the Mesopotamians). They explore different styles and instruments, but their voice is always distinct. They are prolific, they write so many songs, so many songs. They work hard, tour a lot, produce produce produce produce and they seem like really nice guys who give a damn about their fans.
I try to write courageously, but it is always nice to have a helping hand, to get a top up of courage and remember that it’s ok to play. We all forget who we are from time to time. They Might Be Giants reminded me of courage of play and the value of grabbing inspiration from everywhere – from authors I like, from music, from facts, from science, from relationships. I’ve just finished writing the first draft of a story inspired by Italo Calvino, last week I wrote a short story inspired by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, maybe next week I’ll write a short story inspired by TMBG or Amanda Palmer or the way the world is composed of elements. I am not aping these wonderful people, or pretending to be what I am not, but I am letting them into my heart and I am using them to give myself permission to be more. I am joyously influenced by many things.
And a big shout out to the wonderful Guy and Simone (who organise Ambercon) who gave us their tickets when they were too ill to come out. Thankyou thankyou thankyou.