[Editor's Note: In honor of our 33 1/3 sale — buy two new (not used or sale) books from Continuum Books' 33 1/3 series, featuring critical writing on seminal albums, and get a third free — we're pleased to feature blog posts from some of the people behind the 33 1/3 series.]
There was a brief mad moment when I was deep into writing my book about Swordfishtrombones when it seemed like the only sensible response to the record was to rewrite Flann O'Brien's At Swim-Two-Birds with Tom Waits as the main character. Or possibly several of the characters. I allude to this in the introduction to my book, and from my tone you might think I was joking. But for at least two days that's exactly what I was doing: rewriting At Swim-Two-Birds.
You might think I'm mentioning this as a cautionary tale of a writer driven temporarily mad by his task or to exemplify the wrong turns that writers often take while trying to finish a book. But it wasn't a wrong turn at all. It was exactly what I needed to do.