Dear AC Watchers, I've been thinking about it. Here's why Generation X is all mixed up. When we were little kids, there were tons of sugary cereals to eat for breakfast, lots of junk food all around, and we were all set to go nuts like the generation before us did, but then they told us how bad all that sugar was for us. Unfortunately, at that point, there weren't any alternatives, so everyone just ate the sugar and felt bad about it. When we were teenagers, there was lots of sex and drugs on TV, in the movies, and all around us, and we were all set to go nuts like the generation before us did, but then they told us how dangerous all that stuff was, what with addiction and STD's. Unfortunately, at that point, with cities at their lowest ebb and suburbs isolating everyone, there weren't any real alternatives, so everyone just did their thing and felt bad about it. Now we're grown up, we have to drive our cars everywhere to keep a job, use lots of fossil fuels to travel, create an enormous amount of waste, plastic, etc. just to keep our environments clean enough to survive. And we're doing the best we can to keep sane and raise our families, just like the generation before us. But they're telling us how all the fossil fuels and plastic are killing the planet. Unfortunately, at this point, there isn't any real alternative. I predict that in thirty years, when the bulk of us will be ready to retire, they'll tell us that retirement is a bad thing, that the world needs us now more than ever, that we'll be a drain on resources other people need. But at that point there really won't be any real alternative... Are you getting the picture? So this is my theory: We're just out of luck, us Gen X'ers. But we have a mission, and I think we're doing it the best we can. I've been told that our generation are super protective of our kids, even overprotective. I think that's because we're trying to nurture a generation that will create the alternatives we didn't have, but were expected to enjoy. That's what I'm doing, anyway. It's the only way I can keep going, as mixed up as I am. Love, Adam
Dear Adam Cole Watchers, what were you doing when you were 18? What did you wish you were doing? If you're younger than 18, what do you hope you'll be doing at 18? About five years ago I got this piano student, this kid named Luke McGinnis. Nice kid, quiet, looked like he wasn't quite sure he wanted to be there. He played me some stuff he was working on, we talked about how important it is to practice, and he left. He came back next week and we did the same thing. That lasted a few months, until he stopped, having never really agreed with me that it's important to practice. They came back for a couple of lessons about a year later, and he seemed much more interested in what I had to say. All I could do was give him a little pep talk, because he was here and gone again. But he had gotten a good bit better. Flash to several weeks ago. I get this e-mail from him that he's heading off to Berklee College of Music this fall, which is where people go when they're so serious about music that most of them leave to be professionals after a couple of years and never graduate. He says he's in a band, King Richard's Sunday Best (www.myspace.com/kingrichardssundaybest) and they're having CD release party. Can I come? I don't go to concerts much. With my family life, it's hard enough. But my expectations for "good concerts" are so high that I usually stay away from concerts because most of them disappoint me. Still, I thought I owed it to him to go. After all, he came back to see me, so he must have practiced a little. I just got back from the concert. Have you ever wished you could have been there at the club when Crosby, Stills, and Nash first got going? Or how about being there when the New Pornographers decided to do a concert? You'd feel like you'd hit the jackpot, like you were at something very special. Yep. They were that good. Even if the songs hadn't been wam-pow-beautiful and interesting, which they were, I still would have been knocked out. There's something astonishing about the level of work they've done, the tightness of their harmonies, the well-thought out arrangements, the audience participation bit, and the element of comedy to keep themselves honest. All I could think was, "Boy am I lucky." So if I were you, I'd keep track of Luke McGinnis. I'd buy that CD. If you hear the band is playing, I'd go. Because I wish I'd been that good when I was 18. Love, Adam
Hi, AC Watchers, If you're still sad because you missed our Songwriting Parties, you can now experience a little of it vicariously! Esteemed artist, author and videographer William Rossoto attended the events and created a documentary. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rihad_lliV8 Please forward this link to everyone you know that's interested in songwriting! We want to spread the love about the RPM Challenge! Your friend, Adam
Hi, Adam Cole Watchers, Somehow some Atlanta folks who also did an album in the month of February found me and invited me to an RPM listening party. It was a hoot! I was really impressed with the quality of the recordings, some of which could easily have gotten airplay (not that that's always a good thing, but in this case...) But what really impressed me was when someone said, "I wrote 5 songs in the last 17 years, and then I wrote 13 songs in the month of February." That's what it's all about! And to hear those songs, I'm thinking, well, what took you so long? Another person had 4 hard-drives full of fragments, but it took the RPM Challenge to get him to finally create full songs. Yeah, that's what it's about! Try it yourself! http://www.rpmchallenge.com/ Love, Adam
So now you can follow me. I'm "adamcoledotnet." See you there! Adam
I'm considering tweeting. My cousin told me of the benefits of Twitter. I still don't get it, but she's been right before. So if you're on there, follow me. Love, Adam
Hi, Adam Cole Watchers, I've recently published a new book that will help students learn their Do-Re-Mi's. It's called Solfege Town. If you're at all interested in Music Education, you might want to check it out. http://booklocker.com/books/4538.html Let me know what you think! Love, Adam
They read my letter. Here's the link: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=125511610 Here's the original story I commented on: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=125456925 Have fun! Adam
Here's my answer to Darcy's excellent question. And I ponder it yearly and daily. I think it's less like me giving people what they want, and more like us having a conversation. If I only write what I want, it's like throwing darts at a dartboard with my eyes closed. That can be satisfying, but only if it's the throwing that gets you off. For me, throwing is fun, but making contact is more satisfying. Giving people what they "want" for me would be like walking the dart over to the dartboard and pushing it in. Who cares about that? Connecting without going through the process. No risk, no real contribution. I think getting published is like getting hired. You can have a bull's-eye resume and no one will look at it at all. On the other hand, if you know someone in the community in which you want to work, you can get the job ahead of people who are more qualified than you. Same with books. Write a great book, and then try and interest someone in it. Hard, hard, hard. That's why many novels get published that aren't the best books. The author of the cheap romance novel understood the community, became part of it by making inroads into that world, was able to make genuine contact with an agent or a publisher because they both had the same goal. I'm not going to try to write substandard books. Rather, I want to write the best book I can while ALSO giving something to an audience. For years I only wrote "what I wanted" and almost NOBODY listened. Not friends, nor family, nor fans. If they did, they had very little to say back to me. I got almost no feedback, or I got feedback about my "talent" instead of the work. Because of these results, I had to question what I was doing. Who was I writing for, and why? What was different about what I was doing and what Bruce Springsteen was doing? Or James Joyce? He's obscure as obscure gets, but he somehow reached people. Why? These questions are essential, even if the answer doesn't change what you're doing.
Hi, Adam Cole Watchers, You probably noticed I haven't been here in quite a few weeks. Yes, I've been busy. Yes, family and job calls. But no. I've been avoiding you. I haven't been keeping my promise, not to you, or to myself. I'm still doing things according to my old pattern. Submit a few things all at once, get rejected, and then sulk for a year. Well, here's what I think about that: First of all, I'm beginning to understand how people get published. They get published the same way they get a job. They are part of a community, and they write for that community about something they know the community will value. I do not write for the communities of which I am a part. At least not usually. More often I write for a larger, imaginary community. Then I look for someone I imagine might want it in their community. I'm not part of a writer's group, or a poet's group, or any group. Just this group...us. Is that okay? I don't know. All I know is I write, and I write, and I can't stop writing, and some of what I write I simply imagine will be valuable to some people that I haven't met yet. It isn't a very good way to get published, but it's a great way to keep writing. For me, anyway. So here's what I'm thinking: I need to keep writing what I want, and self-publishing it, because it's for you. Okay, so it may only reach a couple people, may never recoup its cost. But them's the breaks. It's for THIS community. My community in my head. I can't just let it sit there. I have to at least get it out. And I don't think I can fit it into anyone else's community. I think that will be a waste of my time and effort. At least at this point. On the other hand, I can't just give up trying to get published by other people. I have to...whew, this is hard...I have to get into a community, become part of a community, maybe value the communities I'm in. And write for them. That makes me a lot more vulnerable, more accountable, more publishable. So I'm going to be self-publishing some of this stuff that I think is good that belongs to those people that know me and want to read what I have to say. And I'm also going to keep looking for where I belong. Begin to change my writing, find out what community I'm in, or could be in. okay? Love, Adam

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