Prelude to a Lick – If You Don’t Kick Ass in Life, Life’s Going to Kick Your Ass – Column

Prelude to a Lick

If You Don’t Kick Ass in Life, Life’s Going to Kick Your Ass

by Scott Hefflon
collages by Scott Hefflon

That was not the editorial I meant to write.

I meant to write something angry yet uplifting, inclusive because it shares the thoughts ricocheting around in my head as I work and slave and self-medicate to compile yet another issue that’s supposed to summarize “what’s going on.” That’s an impossible task, of course, because what’s going on is personalized and time-sensitive, but it keeps me publishing after almost six years.

The one thing I did want to mention was a deliberate shift that’s taken place with this issue, one that will hopefully continue, increase, and make some kind of a difference. The shift is toward more non-music-related articles. When we began, oh those many years ago, I had a vision of creating a publication filled with essays, fiction, cool artwork, and reviews of anything and everything that has to do with our lives: music, movies, videos, comics, books, magazines, video games, and anything else we might spend our hard-earned money on as “entertainment.” And while that goal has never changed, the balance has shifted from “cool stuff including music” to “music and some other random stuff.” Not to dis the efforts of those who’ve contributed to the “other” aspect of the magazine, but my editorial focus adopted music reviews and features as the priority, trying to make them essay-ish and as interesting as any piece of creative writing. And while, to an extent, I’d like to think that Lollipop has succeeded in providing some of the most entertaining and creatively-written music reviews you’ll find ANYWHERE, there has definitely been more music coverage than story-telling over the last few years. And that’s still not the ALL of it. There’s so much more. If there’s something I really wanted to do (and I kinda have to credit BASEketball for reminding me of this), it was to show that anyone can do this. Without sounding like one of those hokey “you can make a difference” pleas for all Americans to vote, Lollipop was supposed to be an outlet for all sorts of creative outpourings. Please feel free to adapt to your own lives here… I used to write song parodies (as well as rather derivative “originals”) with various roommates and friends. We’d record them on four-tracks and pressure other friends to listen to them and tell us they were cool. I used to do collages. I used to write short stories. I used to write parodies of TV and radio ads. I used to read a lot (novels, mostly – usually Carlos Castaneda, Tom Robbins, Douglas Adams, or any kind of trippy, perception-altering kinda stuff). I used to crudely sample great one-liners from commercials and movies, then splice them together and make unsettling answering machine messages. The list goes on and on of what I used to do. Why the hell do you think I started a magazine in the first place – it gave me something to do, and a place to put my stuff.

And now, many years later, I’m confronted by people either not able to finish assignments, or people who tell me I write too much (just feel lucky you’re not standing next to me at a bar or a party), and I’m almost at a loss for words. Almost. There is no such thing as too much! Did people complain that John Hughes (there’s an interview in here somewhere, I hope) and Abrahams, Zucker and Zucker made too many movies? Did anyone tell Elvis Costello he wrote too many songs? Either I’m missing something, or lots of other people are. And I think it’s easier to blame “them,” waving my hand dismissively at the world in general, as I slowly gnaw away at myself for not accomplishing more. To me, it’s all about doing. A friend of mine (actually my ex-boss at the liquor store who turned me on to collages and was kind enough not to tell me I sucked when I did) did a piece of artwork which was simply the huge words “eat,” “fuck,” “work,” and “shit” hung at opposite ends of the gallery. I have “eat” and “fuck” hanging over my door as a reminder. Working and shitting I have no problem with, thank you. Hopefully, we all have stories and details like these that we mentally carry around with us. We have goals and hobbies and things that make us feel like us, not just a body performing a job we have the sneaking suspicion a poorly-trained monkey could do. We strive to carve out an identity for ourselves, perhaps trying to figure out who we are (if that’s your kick) and why we’re here (ditto), but mostly so that what we make, what we do, and what we can truly call our own is slightly more glorious than a steady paycheck to cash and a regular movement to flush.

OK, enough pep talk. It’s no secret that I’m highly-motivated and productivity-obsessed, and people constantly bring up intangibles (happiness, the simple pleasure of relaxing with friends and loved ones without having to turn everything into an ad pitch, an essay idea, or a clever phrase that’s bound to turn up in a review somewhere) that always strike me as excuses. But that’s just me. I’m wired this way, with or without my say-so. My point is, do what makes you happy. We all, at some point, probably have to make decisions and compromises, and we all phase out certain things as other things become more important. But if you’re at all like me, you chew away at yourself for not doing the things that make you happy. Those are not the things that should be avoided or deprioritized, those are things that make you shine, that make you special, that make you you.

Damn if I don’t sound like a drippy guidance counselor sometimes, huh?

Lick me.