I’ve listened to George Watsky’s music for a while now. In fact, that’s how I discovered his dad’s, Paul Watsky’s, book of poetry Walk-Up Music. I went into this particular reading experience with a sense of preparedness for tone that I rarely get with books by first time authors. I wasn’t disappointed. His essays match his lyrics in serious self reflection mixed with a little levity. I’d be very curious to talk to someone that has never heard any of Watsky’s music and find out what they think of the book. As a fan of his music it was an interesting insight into experiences that have shaped his artistic career.
This is the type of book that I wish I had listened to on tape, rather than read (damn my 5 minute walk to work! It leaves no time for audio books!). From what I understand Watsky narrated it himself and the essays have a storytelling vibe to them. I credit it to his time with poetry and music. Eventually, I imagine, everything you write starts to be written with performance in mind. This didn’t make them unenjoyable to read, but I think those that listen to his music and have heard him before may have a slightly enhanced reading experience than those that have not.
I am a total sucker for autobiographical pieces of any form. I think self reflection, especially from public figures, is so interesting and opens up opportunities for people to display their flaws and normalness on their own terms. This is, perhaps, a nosy and gossipy side of me, but I am so curious about how being in the public eye and having attention, good and sometimes terrible, affects them. Is there a nostalgia for the good ole days when they weren’t successful but they didn’t have to deal with complete strangers having expectations from them? Watsky never really gave a sense of this, but his were humanizing pieces, and with a title like How to Ruin Everything I expected no less.
How To Ruin Everything felt like a collection of stories that a person would keep in their back pocket to pull out over beers with a new group of friends to shock, humor, and entertain. They’re not a bad way to get to know someone, but I’d like to hear more. Watsky’s writing holds up well enough that I’m curious to see if he chooses to write more and in what form. For now, I believe he has a new album coming out soon, so while waiting for another book, I’ll be jamming out to his music.