More Aztecy Goodness

Aztecs(This is a post to skip if you aren’t interested in my obessive ramblings while working on this book. I wouldn’t blame you.)

I’m still loving the hell out of Aztec Dance Tunes. It’s a hard book to write, sure, but aren’t they all? Anyway, here’s a couple of fun things.

I made another playlist, this one with a few of the long songs I wanted to put on the first one but which wouldn’t fit. (I couldn’t get all of them on this one either.) This playlist isn’t necessarily made up so much of songs in which I hear the novel as songs which aren’t off and strike me as good writing background music for this book. Or at least that I think will be. It’s mostly long songs. And a few short ones because. I’m now rotating out the two discs (still Podless, oh wealthy benefactor).

ADT Long Songs #1 Playlist

Scatterheart / Bjork
Car / Catherine Wheel
April The 14th (Part I) / Gillian Welch
Draining The Pool For You / The Go-Betweens
The New Cobweb Summer / Lambchop
23 Minutes In Brussels / Luna (Live)
The Cactus Where Your Heart Should Be / The Magnetic Fields
I Think I Need A New Heart / The Magnetic Fields
Miles Away / Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Fourth of July / Galaxie 500
Your Dirty Answer / Kristin Hersh
Limbo / Throwing Muses
I Dream A Highway / Gillian Welch

In general, the music I’m putting on these is slightly older than what I’m listening to the rest of the time. And I’m recycling several of the same artists — people who have made a great deal of music that I love — maybe because this book is also drawing on all sorts of things I’ve loved for ever and ever and ever. I like the familiarity and also that little buzz you get from hearing something you haven’t been listening to a million times a week already but still love. I’m mostly sticking this one up here because some of you cottoned to the first (and there will be many more, I’m sure, before this sw-et b-tch is done), but also to see what long songs you have to recommend… (Long song = 5 minutes plus.)

And here, as a bonus, is one of the best, grossest bits of my research reading that I don’t plan on using and can’t help but share. I like to call it "The Misunderstanding":

As discontent arose, the Mexica themselves precipitated their own violent departure. Obeying the promptings of Huitzilopochtli’s priests, they had approached Achitometl, one of the Calhua magnates, asking for his beautiful daughter as their "sovereign" and "wife of Huitzilopochtli." Not understanding the implications of this request, Achitometl acceded to the honor; his daughter went to Tizaapan, where she was splendidly arrayed and sacrificed. Following an old custom, the body was flayed and a priest donned her skin in an ancient agricultural rite symbolizing the renewal of life. The unsuspecting chieftain Achitometl, invited to participate in the concluding festivities, suddenly recognized the skin of his daughter on the body of the priest. The outraged Culhua took arms and were joined by others and, in the wild melee of javelins and arrows, the Mexica were once again driven into the reeds and brackish swamps of Lake Tetzcoco.

From The Aztecs by Richard F. Townsend

I know you’re wondering why I wouldn’t use such a spectacular gem. But, you see, Aztec Dance Tunes is funny. It’s not just funny, but it’s supposed to be funny enough that this particular anecdote won’t quite fit. Misunderstanding or no. (Oh, to be a fly on the wall of an Aztec bar.)

5 thoughts on “More Aztecy Goodness”

  1. Okay, I’m stuck on the part where he recognized the skin of his daughter – so he saw her face or something???
    You’re right – there is no way this could be funny. Let it go girl, let it go!

  2. thanks for the recs! i’ll have to check some of them out. i love the ipod era, where we all listen to different stuff. here’s some long songs i been listenin’ to:
    hallelujah (jeff buckley version)
    cruisin’ (smokey version)
    how am i different (aimee mann)
    crash (dave matthews)
    love is a battlefield (pat benatar)
    pknb (asian dub foundation)
    soldier (destiny’s child)
    spinning away (eno/cale)
    black girls (violent femmes)
    mizike (zap mama)
    i believe (when i fall in love …) (stevie wonder) actually, it’s just under 5 minutes, but whatever.
    plus, i haven’t been reading your back posts, so i’m totally ign’nt about your book. have you read all the aztecky goodness that’s already out there, like ernest hogan and sesshu foster?

  3. Oh, and I found that picture because Claire linked to the Carl Brandon blog, so if you like it you should actually thank her.

  4. Marrije: I love the picture and that anthology was actually really, really great. I found a copy in — of all places — a Borders in San Francisco a couple of years ago.
    Claire: Great playlist. And I’ll add those to my Aztec research list. I’m just finishing up Inga Clendinnen’s book off Justine’s recommendation and I’ve read a couple of others. Oddly, I don’t need to know that much about them for the story (just find it interesting) and am doing more focused research on Greek witchcraft and the Romany (so far).
    I’m sure there’s more strange little topics to come. Not using that much of what I’m reading, but stealing bits and pieces and riffing on some other things. Reading research books is one of my favorite things (although it means I’m reading less fiction at the moment), but I try not to let it slow down the first draft process. Which is probably somewhat backward, but works for me.

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