[Fiction] A baby’s arrival stirs up difficult memories:
I sat with the baby in the living room, setting her on a clean blanket. When I tired of watching her, I stretched out, resting my hand on her stomach. I fell asleep with the baby staring at me, her eyes wide open.
In the morning, my boyfriend kicked my foot with his heavy work boot. ‘What the fuck is this?’
I sat up quickly, holding a finger to my lips. I stood and pulled him into the bedroom. ‘Anna Lisa brought the baby last night. She can’t take care of her anymore.’
The Internet was supposed to liberate artists and replace the traditional businesses that had been disrupted by digital distribution. Musician David Lowery (Camper Van Beethoven, Cracker) says the math still isn’t working:
I was like all of you. I believed in the promise of the Internet to liberate, empower and even enrich artists. I still do but I’m less sure of it than I once was. I come here because I want to start a dialogue. I feel that what we artists were promised has not really panned out. Yes in many ways we have more freedom. Artistically this is certainly true. But the music business never transformed into the vibrant marketplace where small stakeholders could compete with multinational conglomerates on an even playing field.
In the last few years it’s become apparent the music business, which was once dominated by six large and powerful music conglomerates, MTV, Clear Channel and a handful of other companies, is now dominated by a smaller set of larger even more powerful tech conglomerates. And their hold on the business seems to be getting stronger.
[Fiction] The lifelong impact of brief friendships. A woman meets three friends in college who have special gifts:
Charles voice is controlled mortification. You fainted, he says.
One of the girls holds my hand. You totally did, she agrees.
Where are the birds? I say.
They disappeared when you fainted, the other Earring Girl says.
Her face is replaced by a mall paramedic demanding know what year it is, who is president, what my husband’s name is, what my name is.
My husband’s name is Ian, I say.
It is the wrong answer; their faces make this clear.