So as y’all know, I’ve been sick, and because I was sick I did not go to the Mountain Goats show on Saturday night. But I needed to go Sunday night. Not just because the Goats are up there with The Wire and Love and Rockets in the Sara’s Reigning Obsessions department, but because I needed to thank John Darnielle.
It is not a spoiler to reveal that there is some singing in The Rules for Hearts. All y’all writers who read this? Consider carefully any song lyrics you want to include in your books. Because typically, you, the writer, will have to personally pay ASCAP* for their use. The more you quote, the more you pay.
UNLESS. Unless you get permission from the artist. Permission like the permission that the esteemed Mr. Darnielle so graciously granted me via email for this excellent line from Palmcorder Yajna, which you will find on page 122 of Rules: “It will be too late by the time we learn / what these cryptic symbols mean.” And see, when he did that, I decided I needed to give him a copy of the book. Which meant that I needed to go to the show on Sunday.
Where does Dan from Medford come into it? I’m glad you asked. So I’m standing in line outside the Doug Fir, and someone’s just said that the show is sold out. I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me that the Goats could sell out two nights in a row, and neither can I explain why I never got around to buying advance tickets, except for the whole being sick thing.
Anyway, I’m standing there blindly hoping that something will happen that will mean that I can actually get into the show. That something was Dan from Medford, who appeared and asked politely if anyone needed a ticket. “Me!” I yelped. “I don’t need money,” he said, “but you could buy me a mint julep.”
I was delighted to oblige.
The other person to thank is signifier, who got me into the green room after the show — incidentally, the first time I’ve ever been in a green room for an event that I wasn’t part of — so I could give the book to John.