3. A Story That Feels Effortless

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Tim,

What may or may not be reproduced in the publication of this correspondence is the tit-for-tat shared between entries. In honor of this process, I reveal to our audience what I said after reading your initial thoughts (and reader, I quote):

“You and your fucking diction…”

I’m not admitting this to our audience as some salute to my journalistic integrity, however, nor a nod towards transparency. Instead, my classless response seemed crucial when I considered your query of, “Could it be that—for all his references and all your brilliant lyrical exegesis—what makes this feel like a classic song is simply that it is a well-told story?” Reading your words for the first time had me drooling over the way your analytic skills fused with exposition to make your words astute yet accessible. (I mean right, reader? “Exegesis”? WTF is “exegesis”!? Oh, huh, look at that, Tim contextualizes it perfectly for us in situ.)

This same envy manifests in the exact opposite way with “A Wild Holy Band,” because, you’re right, it’s classic due to the well-toldness of the story. Scott’s language isn’t scholaristicly impressive. Instead, it’s poetic in one of the very basic senses of the word: so natural and seemingly effortless. (Note: I just spent thirty minutes reading through an exhaustive list of literary terms in search of the phrase that means “the perfect word,” insistent that such a phrase existed because I could remember my poetry professor, Dr. Jonathan Holden, muttering something to that extent in class. The closest I got was “le mot parfait,” French for (you guessed it) “the perfect word.” And that wasn’t even on the list, but from Google Translate.)

What I intend to say on this matter is that a story well told—in a loosey-goosey, highly liberal application—is often a story that feels effortless. Stories that affect us tend to be the ones that have some of that “eternal truth” running through them (whatever that is), something that hits us as so right. Often we find it impossible to pin down, and if this incoherent analysis is any indication, I think “A Wild Holy Band” is doing that. Now, on to what we, as listeners, are getting smacked with.

And here I’m going to play the lazy card and ask you to start in on this. One thing that keeps getting me about the song is both the “you” and the recurring female—be she muse, lover, older woman. Do you read them as one and the same? Or is “you” us, the listeners? Your thoughts on this and more Tim, do share.

Sean

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4. Aphorism, Lament, Counsel

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