Why I Wrote Dark Slivers

Posted: November 6, 2012 in Dark Slivers: Seeing Nirvana in the Shards of Incesticide

This project has consumed evenings and weekends around my real life for so long…I’ve been sunk into Nirvana so deeply that I admit I can’t quite remember how I filled time before it. But I do remember doubts ganging up on me when I started. It would have been all too easy to say “write? I don’t have the right.”

I wrote this book because I was inspired by Nirvana in a literal sense. 1986-1990 they were just a cluster of poor boys in the back end of nowhere making barely a penny and with only the slimmest scraps of hope. The sour jokes they (and their associates at Sub Pop) made about impending success betrayed how few chances they saw, how little they could imagine what was going to happen. But, because they loved what they were doing, they kept on finding the time, the resources, the opportunities to keep music in their lives. Even with no hope beyond “maybe then I can get off this piss-stained mattress I’ve been sleeping on” they focused not on mythical end goals but on taking pleasure and triumph from their immediate actions; from doing something in the here and now.

My best day was realising that life will never slow down, will never wait for me or pause to let me package the day-to-day up neatly before I begin. I realised it was on me, regardless of what I had to do out of practical necessity, to focus myself on the people and on the things I love. It occured to me that these are the pieces that couldn’t be taken away; something you create then you hold it in your gut.

The story of Nirvana, for me, is a story about miracles occuring. The image stuck in my mind all year, the vision that drove me, was the picture of Kurt Cobain sat in a car, by a phone booth, refusing to move in case the radio lost its signal, waiting twenty minutes to hear the station play Nirvana’s first single having called in and requested it. He’s quoted saying something about it feeling like a bigger triumph than he had ever imagined. I love that idea of the future superstar, sat like an excited kid, stunned by his own creation and not caring at that moment whether he was the only person asking for it. There have been nights, after a moment of revelation while writing, that I’ve been too excited to sleep. It’s unlikely I’ll make back the money I’m investing in the preparation of the book, but what thrills me is the idea of holding something I created, the physical object, in my hands in a few weeks. Life’s little victories in bloom.
Nirvana taught me you need to start doing what you love before life gets so full that you can’t even remember what it was that made life feel good in the first place. While writing Dark Slivers, each time I’ve fulfilled my desire to write something I’m sure is original, new thinking on Nirvana, I’ve felt fire inside. That’s how it should feel when we do what we adore; the love buzz.

I think the important things in life are those we do, not because they’re what we have to do in order to live, but because they’re what we have to do in order to be alive. Everything else is barren necessity – the void.

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