Month of January, 2010

Howard Zinn, American hero

One of my writing heroes, Howard Zinn, is dead today at 87. 

BMW2010: Now taking submissions

Now is the time to submit work for the 2010 edition of Best Music Writing, an anthology of the world's best English-language writing. This year's guest editor is the fabulous author, critic, and feminist music scholar Ann Powers.

I am now taking submissions of published music writing between the dates of January 1 and December 31, 2009 for possible inclusion in the book. For quarterly publications the Winter 2009/2010 issue is okay.

-a polite number of your own music writing

-a fair number of music pieces from a publication you edit, contribute to, or otherwise are affiliated with

- a selection of music pieces you consider the best because you are a fan of music, music writing, writing, or listmaking

I'm looking for features, essays, profiles, news articles, interviews, creative non-fiction, fiction, book reviews, long-format reviews, charticles and other creative blends of language and image, blog posts, (yes, I said it and I mean it) Tweets, and other thoughful and well-written work on music and music culture. I mean the term "music" broadly to include all genres and time periods, and am more than willing to consider writing on sound, sound technologies, and listening (the emergent "sound studies" field) as well.

I will take any format for submissions but prefer writing in this order:


1) web links

2) Word docs

3) PDFs

4) Hard copies (603 West 115th Street #120 NY, NY 10025 - title "BMW2010 sub")

5) Email with the name of the author/title of piece/publication date

Email all work to

Unfortunately I cannot accept liner notes, transcripts of radio/tv, book chapters, or unpublished work.That includes conference papers.

Please drop me a line if you have a question, concern, comment, praise or complaint. Forgive me if I am slow on the response. I WILL respond, if just to say "Thanks, I got it."

I will contact all authors and publications by the end of Feburary 2010 if they were accepted for the book.  Until then, I'm going into the one woman deluge of writing and may be hard to reach. Wish me luck!

Magazine rack from 1930 NYC



Guardian review and online writing

The 10th edition of Best Music Writing got a great write up by Gareth Grundy in the Guardian UK recently. I especially liked the end:


For several years, the series has included work first published online. Generally, the zippier, funnier articles, such as Carrie Brownstein from the band Sleater-Kinney's spoof record reviews, survive the transition to old media the best. That said, Tom Ewing's thoughtful posting on the legacy of the late John Peel and his annual compilation, the Festive 50, should convince the last remaining digital refuseniks that the music journalism of the future won't be entirely made up of links and YouTube clips. At least, not just yet.


This has been a major goal of mine since taking the book's editorial helm, and I thank Grundy for pointing it out. The industry of music writing has changed drastically in that time, and the way in which writing functions has changed dramatically as well.  We all now have so much or access to reference sounds, images, videos, and writing. But two things never change 1) music is a site for debate, critical engagement, and story telling 2) good writing articulates the most important, controversial, poignant, or overlooked parts of these conversations.

The one thing I have noticed throughout this whole process is that the best music writing is that which is either edited by someone else or written by someone who has honed the craft of editing. It is the single most important skill a writer can have.

Blogs, webzines, and online forums are just another place where a good writer can show off her craft, and I welcome the changing formats, styles, and approaches that online writing has taken. Actually, I crave even more challenging work than what gets routinely submitted to me (I suspect people send me their more conservative, "traditional" work). So, if you're reading this and want to submit some online writing that you did last year (or this year) but think it's too wacky - JUST SEND IT. The least it could do is brighten my day as I slog through 300 MJ tributes.

Send wacky/innovative/online writing (hopefully that is well edited) from 2009 to: