A Dream About Lightning Bugs: A Life of Music and Cheap Lessons

A Dream About Lightning Bugs A Life of Music and Cheap Lessons Ben Folds is a celebrated American singer songwriter beloved for songs such as Brick You Don t Know Me Rockin the Suburbs and The Luckiest and is the former frontman of the alternative rock band

  • Title: A Dream About Lightning Bugs: A Life of Music and Cheap Lessons
  • Author: Ben Folds
  • ISBN: 1984817272
  • Page: 255
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Ben Folds is a celebrated American singer songwriter, beloved for songs such as Brick, You Don t Know Me, Rockin the Suburbs, and The Luckiest, and is the former frontman of the alternative rock band Ben Folds Five But Folds will be the first to tell you he s an unconventional icon, normcore than hardcore Now, in his first book, Folds looks back at his life Ben Folds is a celebrated American singer songwriter, beloved for songs such as Brick, You Don t Know Me, Rockin the Suburbs, and The Luckiest, and is the former frontman of the alternative rock band Ben Folds Five But Folds will be the first to tell you he s an unconventional icon, normcore than hardcore Now, in his first book, Folds looks back at his life so far in a charming and wise chronicle of his artistic coming of age, infused with the wry observations of a natural storyteller.In the title chapter, A Dream About Lightning Bugs, Folds recalls his earliest childhood dream and realizes how much it influenced his understanding of what it means to be an artist In Measure Twice, Cut Once he learns to resist the urge to skip steps during the creative process In Hall Pass he recounts his 1970s North Carolina working class childhood, and in Cheap Lessons he returns to the painful life lessons he learned the hard way but that luckily didn t kill him.In his inimitable voice, both relatable and thought provoking, Folds digs deep into the life experiences that shaped him, imparting hard earned wisdom about both art and life Collectively, these stories embody the message Folds has been singing about for years Smile like you ve got nothing to prove, because it hurts to grow up, and life flies by in seconds Get A Copy Kindle Store 13.99 StoresAudibleBarnes NobleWalmart eBooksApple BooksGoogle PlayAbebooksBook DepositoryAlibrisIndigoBetter World BooksIndieBoundLibraries Hardcover, 319 pages Published July 30th 2019 by Ballantine Books More Details ISBN 1984817272 ISBN13 9781984817273 Edition Language English Other Editions 9 All Editions Add a New Edition Combine Less Detail Edit Details Friend Reviews To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up Reader QA To ask other readers questions about A Dream About Lightning Bugs, please sign up

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    Lists with This Book Music Published in Decade 2010s 159 books 4 voters More lists with this book Community Reviews Showing 1 30 4.37 Rating details 488 ratings 107 reviews All LanguagesEnglish 107 More filters Sort order May 29, 2019 Roger Bailey rated it it was amazing Having been a fan of Folds for over two decades I wasn t sure what to expect from this Folds has at various points in his life been an open book and others not so much He can also write joke songs while playing with an orchestra What we end up in the book is mostly a straight forward, serious book His wit is there, but he really hits on what s important to him He goes into music theory without getting overly technical He talks about some low points in his life if you re looking for sex an Having been a fan of Folds for over two decades I wasn t sure what to expect from this Folds has at various points in his life been an open book and others not so much He can also write joke songs while playing with an orchestra What we end up in the book is mostly a straight forward, serious book His wit is there, but he really hits on what s important to him He goes into music theory without getting overly technical He talks about some low points in his life if you re looking for sex and drugs you won t find much here He admits when he was wrong and isn t afraid to share his insecurities While compared to a lot of musician biographies this one is pretty tame, it s the heart that comes through here You have someone who was passionate about their music but also kept their moral code in place It s been a while since I ve read a biography I didn t want to end flag 14 likesLike see review Jul 02, 2019 Margot Tennenbaum rated it it was amazing Folds knocks it out of the park Who knew he was as good a book writer as he is a songwriter Cheap lessons have never been so resonant or so funny flag 6 likesLike see review Aug 10, 2019 Abigail Abbe rated it really liked it Shelves non fiction Fun and self indulgent in the most positive sense Ben Folds is a musical favorite of mine and it was fun to read about his creativity and perspective 4.5 stars flag 3 likesLike see review Jun 02, 2019 Jamie rated it really liked it Having been a Ben Folds fan for years, I enjoyed reading about the person behind the music As a resident of his hometown, reading the often hilarious tales of his adolescence were especially fun flag 5 likesLike see review Jul 31, 2019 Jay Gabler rated it really liked it It s appropriate that A Dream About Lightning Bugs is being published around the same time as C.M Kushins s excellent new Warren Zevon biography Nothing s Bad Luck The Lives of Warren Zevon, because the two artists have a lot in common They re both musicians musicians, not in the prog rock virtuoso sense but in the sense of being melodic geniuses with accessible but subversively witty senses of humor and appealingly anarchistic streaks.They re also both essentially self made musicians with m It s appropriate that A Dream About Lightning Bugs is being published around the same time as C.M Kushins s excellent new Warren Zevon biography Nothing s Bad Luck The Lives of Warren Zevon, because the two artists have a lot in common They re both musicians musicians, not in the prog rock virtuoso sense but in the sense of being melodic geniuses with accessible but subversively witty senses of humor and appealingly anarchistic streaks.They re also both essentially self made musicians with multi instrumental curiosity that steered them towards formal training yet kept them from ever quite buying into that world Folds credits one college music professor Robert Darnell, at the University of North Carolina with recognizing his talent and steering him towards the piano, but to get there, he first had to flunk out of percussion at the University of Miami and throw his drum kit into a pond after blowing a performance test due to injuries sustained in a drunken brawl the night before.I reviewed A Dream About Lightning Bugs for The Current flag 2 likesLike see review View 1 comment Aug 01, 2019 Jenni Zintel rated it it was amazing Due to a shipping problem with my long pre ordered book bookstore s fault, not Ben s or the publisher s , I resorted to checking out the audio copy on the local library s app Thank God I did Ben read it himself, and his imitation of his father alone made it good choice He also included musical notes when appropriate,which is super helpful for people like me who like the music but don t know than the most basic music terminology.I admittedly am a rabid Ben Folds fan, and as such probably Due to a shipping problem with my long pre ordered book bookstore s fault, not Ben s or the publisher s , I resorted to checking out the audio copy on the local library s app Thank God I did Ben read it himself, and his imitation of his father alone made it good choice He also included musical notes when appropriate,which is super helpful for people like me who like the music but don t know than the most basic music terminology.I admittedly am a rabid Ben Folds fan, and as such probably enjoyed this than the average reader might Even knowing that, I intend to buy a copy for my husband s retired jazz musician grandpa Or at least read him excerpts about Ben s time at music school for jazz percussion And look out, Secret Santa matches this year I truly think there are things for every body who has emotions to enjoy, and cannot think of anybody that I wouldn t recommend this to This book was so much fun I had a great time listening to it and am thrilled to have received my physical copy today two days after the release I laughed I cried I woke my husband for surprise 1 a.m sex 10 10 will read again flag 2 likesLike see review Aug 14, 2019 Bryan rated it it was amazing It s been a good year for rock musician memoirs This one was just as good as Roger Daltrey s, in my opinion.Here we have a man who I have been listening to since 1995 and always had a bit of hero worship for I have had the privilege of meeting him a few times and just blubbered, so I took this book as a real opportunity to get to know the man that I ve wanted to share a beer with And it didn t disappoint Full of great stories that I KINDA new, some I didn t know, and, most importantly, gre It s been a good year for rock musician memoirs This one was just as good as Roger Daltrey s, in my opinion.Here we have a man who I have been listening to since 1995 and always had a bit of hero worship for I have had the privilege of meeting him a few times and just blubbered, so I took this book as a real opportunity to get to know the man that I ve wanted to share a beer with And it didn t disappoint Full of great stories that I KINDA new, some I didn t know, and, most importantly, great advice for us creative types.My favorite book of the year so far flag 2 likesLike see review Aug 05, 2019 Cami rated it it was amazing First, I ll tell you to listen to this, not read it Ben Folds memoir is vulnerable and humble He isn t afraid to take us deep into his experience and what he thought of it all I loved every bit of it flag 3 likesLike see review Aug 16, 2019 Robert Starr rated it really liked it review of another edition I enjoyed this book and found myself looking forward to listening to of it Folds writes and narrates in a simplistic tone, with his southern drawl and slight emphases adding just enough character to keep things interesting.What I realized is that, over the course of his career, Ben Folds has done quite a lot, frequently reinventing himself while trying to stay true to what his fans were looking for His memoir fits into this narrative as it s perhaps not what we re accustomed to when we th I enjoyed this book and found myself looking forward to listening to of it Folds writes and narrates in a simplistic tone, with his southern drawl and slight emphases adding just enough character to keep things interesting.What I realized is that, over the course of his career, Ben Folds has done quite a lot, frequently reinventing himself while trying to stay true to what his fans were looking for His memoir fits into this narrative as it s perhaps not what we re accustomed to when we think of Folds, yet the humor and attitude are consistent with his music and it s nice to hear the story behind many of his songs.That being said, there are some major omissions here Perhaps his work with yMusic was a bit too fresh in his mind for him to offer any genuine insight though, I will say that the show I saw him perform with them was among the best live performances I ve ever seen , but what of the album he made with Nick Hornby What were the specifics surrounding his writing One Down and, for that matter, how do you write 3.6 songs What of his work with Amanda Palmer who pops in to narrate a short passage in the audiobook Even with these omissions, the book doesn t have a whole lot of fat It s full of fun stories, in addition to the cheap lessons and earnest appraisal of his work, and does, I think, provide insight into the Ben Folds sound.I probably wouldn t recommend this to non fans, but for those who have kept up with his career, it s definitely worth a listen or, I suppose, a read, if that s your preference flag 3 likesLike see review Aug 21, 2019 Kathleen rated it it was ok This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers To view it, click here SPoilers I love Ben Folds Ben is a truly gifted songwriter, but book author, not so much This is the most boring rock and roll memoir I ve ever read Nothing really happens Wait that s not true Lots of incredible and big things happen, Unfortunate, Ben just just know how to get into it The birth of his twins which were in danger was summarized in a sentence Really A fourth wife is never mentioned by Nameshe s there and then she s gone in a few pages The band breaks up ove SPoilers I love Ben Folds Ben is a truly gifted songwriter, but book author, not so much This is the most boring rock and roll memoir I ve ever read Nothing really happens Wait that s not true Lots of incredible and big things happen, Unfortunate, Ben just just know how to get into it The birth of his twins which were in danger was summarized in a sentence Really A fourth wife is never mentioned by Nameshe s there and then she s gone in a few pages The band breaks up over e mail in a matter of minutes and it s likeoh well Seriously You never really feel like your gaining anything from him He s starts off earnest enough with a small family history, but ultimately I don t feel like I ve learned anything new about his life here in this book It comes across like someone made him an offer to write s book and he made himself do it This does not read like HE wanted to write this book or maybe he did, but got a quick lesson in how incredibly hard that is flag 2 likesLike see review View 1 comment Aug 07, 2019 Alison rated it it was amazing Shelves memoir, grownup book, contemporary I ve always loved Ben Fold s intelligent songwriting and exceptional musicpersonship, and a little put off by his potty mouth and potential misogyny This great read is mostly memoir with some encouraging affirmations for creative types struggling to turn their life experiences into art Now in his early 50 s, Ben is compassionately self aware, and I feel vindicated in my devotion to this quirky human s body of work Ben s perception of his life to date brings to mind a Maya Angelou quote that I I ve always loved Ben Fold s intelligent songwriting and exceptional musicpersonship, and a little put off by his potty mouth and potential misogyny This great read is mostly memoir with some encouraging affirmations for creative types struggling to turn their life experiences into art Now in his early 50 s, Ben is compassionately self aware, and I feel vindicated in my devotion to this quirky human s body of work Ben s perception of his life to date brings to mind a Maya Angelou quote that I identify with You only are free when you realize you belong no place you belong every place no place at all The price is high The reward is great I rarely rate books I ve read, and it s even rare of me to award 5 stars An exceptional read, just like the exceptional person Mr Fold s is flag 1 likeLike see review Aug 04, 2019 Lisa rated it it was amazing I loved it The only beef maybe too big a word for my actual feelings I ever had with Ben his cover of Dr Dre s Bitches Ain t Shit was addressed in the book In addition, I ended up being inspired and uplifted and validated This life thing is tough, and getting out of your obsessive, focused work habits which just might be defense habits is important and can be done even if you don t kick them until later in life The only thing that would have made this book better for me would have bee I loved it The only beef maybe too big a word for my actual feelings I ever had with Ben his cover of Dr Dre s Bitches Ain t Shit was addressed in the book In addition, I ended up being inspired and uplifted and validated This life thing is tough, and getting out of your obsessive, focused work habits which just might be defense habits is important and can be done even if you don t kick them until later in life The only thing that would have made this book better for me would have been a revelation that Ben had a thing for, or even just an interest in, the music of Warren Zevon Folds has reminded me of him since the beginning, and this book didn t change that This is a terrific story If you have the option, listen to it even if you have purchased an autographed physical copy for yourself already There s a reason I relate to his obsessive tendencies flag 1 likeLike see review Aug 15, 2019 Jim Landers rated it it was amazing Just like his songs, this memoir feels so open and honest It s honest in the way I was in my own young jackass years in that is possible to be honest to your moment to moment feelings while still persisting as an asshole by following those feelings I m glad he s found meditation and other means of slowing down and interupting those impulses So interesting to read something that seems simultaneously self aware and obtuse, but I guess that s what we gain in hindsight with reflection flag 1 likeLike see review Aug 01, 2019 Jacob rated it liked it Shelves biographical, music, non fiction A mix of memoir and self help, A Dream About Lightning Bugs follows Folds from early life to the near present Reflecting on his formation, career and finally establishing a healthy but challenging day to day life.At slightly over 300 pages a lot of the length of the book covers Folds formation, from very early life, not hitting the Ben Folds Five years until towards the middle It s great that Folds has been able to continue his career in a healthy fashion, pursuing projects that interest A mix of memoir and self help, A Dream About Lightning Bugs follows Folds from early life to the near present Reflecting on his formation, career and finally establishing a healthy but challenging day to day life.At slightly over 300 pages a lot of the length of the book covers Folds formation, from very early life, not hitting the Ben Folds Five years until towards the middle It s great that Folds has been able to continue his career in a healthy fashion, pursuing projects that interest him and working to support the arts.However I m disappointed that the behind the scenes features of the early albums are not sustained as they seem to become just another album I would ve loved to hear about Folds collaborations with Nick Hornby or YMusic.Any fan of Folds will find an engaging read, but be left wanting As often happens one is left wondering about the other perspectives, like from his ex wives, bandmates, or collaborators flag 2 likesLike see review Aug 05, 2019 Joe Faust rated it really liked it Shelves audio book, memoir, 2019, biography, music, creativity, stars 4, non fiction In a lot of ways this is a pretty standard career memoir written by a bratty rocker What sets it apart is Fold send of humor naturally , his frequent asides on the creative process I love stuff like that and the final chapters, in which he finally grows up and faces up to some of his antics Oh, and the story of how he pranked the audience at an Indianapolis concert is alone worth the price of admission flag 1 likeLike see review Aug 16, 2019 Ellen rated it liked it I wanted from this book Maybe because I like Ben Folds so much as a songwriter, I expected depth in his memoir The first third of the book, about his childhood and first attempt at college I found interesting However in the later 2 3 s of the book we don t get much of Folds s emotional life He was married multiple times, yet we learn little about his relationships For me, there ultimately wasn t enough there there flag 1 likeLike see review Aug 20, 2019 Robert Poor rated it it was amazing I first heard the Ben Folds Five in the early 1990 s on Radio Free Hawaii, a plucky independent radio station on Oahu, while I was stationed at Pearl Harbor The song, Underground, was unlike anything I had heard before, catchy, funny, self deprecating, and clever in a way that reminded me a little of Randy Newman Plucky and unique, just like Radio Free Hawaii A sucker for piano based rock and pop, I immediately went out and bought the first Ben Folds Five CD and devoured it over the next se I first heard the Ben Folds Five in the early 1990 s on Radio Free Hawaii, a plucky independent radio station on Oahu, while I was stationed at Pearl Harbor The song, Underground, was unlike anything I had heard before, catchy, funny, self deprecating, and clever in a way that reminded me a little of Randy Newman Plucky and unique, just like Radio Free Hawaii A sucker for piano based rock and pop, I immediately went out and bought the first Ben Folds Five CD and devoured it over the next several hours, weeks and months and years and decades I continued to be a fan, seeing him and his band when they visited the local area, later buying tickets for the entire family to hear his symphony with the San Diego Orchestra, enjoying his insights on the acapella television show Sing Off, and recoding whatever late night show upon which he would occasionally appear.His unusual piano playing and the style and subject of his lyrics have kept him, if not at the top of the charts, at least within shouting distance of the charts for than two decades Now, his first book, an autobiography entitled A Dream About Lightning Bugs A Life of Music and Cheap Lessons, features much of the same amusing quirky style as his music I love this book I couldn t put it down His premise is that his life has provided him opportunities to learn a number of cheap lessons, some of which he took to heart and some he did not Throughout the book, he highlights these cheap lessons and offers advice to his reader.I have followed Ben Folds for than twenty years Much of his personal story I had heard before, but there are plenty of sections here that were new to me Portions of this book are hilarious, particularly his miserable time majoring in jazz music for a semester at the University of Miami Other sections are very readable and very strange He has been married at least four or five times It is unclear to me whether he has learned a whole lot from these marriages Based on his allusion to alimony, perhaps those weren t cheap lessons, but rather expensive lessons Throughout this eminently readable book, he intersperses snippets of lyrics within his anecdotes and advice to give the reader a sense of the relationship between his life and music Here are several memorable samples from the book.After failing out of the University of Miami Each night I d come home, put a Stouffer s in the microwave, and retreat to my room My poor parents They thought they d sent me off for good only four months ago That had been their first taste of peace and quiet in seventeen years But now, once again, there was one shower to wait on before work, one car in the driveway to move, and once again loud music blasting from my old bedroom Maybe turn that down a little Papa politely suggested one afternoon through my bedroom door, after a couple ofknocks He asked about my plans for college Well, if I m going to go back to Miami, I m going to need a scholarship, I said So I m looking through some ROTC brochures and I m thinking about the Army You re fucking high, he said And disappeared.Papa, of course, wasn t talking about drugs at all He was just questioning whether I was cut out for scrubbing the barracks toilets with a toothbrush and following orders I wasn t Army material, no matter what the recruitment officer had promised me about being in the field band From the song Army The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner, Ben Folds Five , written a good decade later Well I thought about the Army Dad said son, you re fucking high And I thought, yeah there s a first for everything So I took my old man s advice On playing acoustic piano in a rock band When I was younger, trying to jam with loud guitars and drums on an unamplified upright piano in various neighborhood garage bands, I couldn t hear myself at all The guitars could just turn a volume knob and blow me away But one day when we played China Grove by the Doobie Brothers, while copying the original piano part I discovered the power of sticking the top of the piano range loudly and repetitively I could finally be heard And it wasn t the velocity alone that made the piano speak above the loud garage band It was also a matter of what range to play, and when I was like the runt of a litter who learns to bull in to get food I can fucking stick it in any loud band and make myself heard On Songwriting Stand in as many pairs of shoes as you can manage, even ones you consider reprehensible or repulsive even if it s just for a moment If you re going to be a tourist, be a respectful one Observe, report, imagine, invent, have fun with, but never write down to a character or their point of view, because everyone is the most important person in the world at least to that one person And if your tourist photographs suck, maybe it s because you re too far away from your subjects, seeing them only as props dotting the scenery.Position yourself upon a bedrock of honesty and self knowledge, so that your writing comes from your own unique perspective Know where you stand and what your flaws are Know thyself Then you can spin all kinds of shit and all the tall tales you like It s art.Finally, empathy and perspective are everything, and neither should be taken for granted After all, there s always someone out there who thinks you re the monster Remember that the ground beneath your feet can always shift and that it should always be questioned On Majoring in Music I was no slouch of a musician I was just of a jack of all trades than a technical monster My creativity earned me my scholarship, but at music school it s all about being a specialist, since you can t really teach creativity Highly recommended, for music fans and musicians alike flag Like see review Aug 17, 2019 H rated it it was amazing review of another edition This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers To view it, click here THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SOME MINOR SPOILERSFull disclosure I m a big Ben Folds fan This is a very different rock autobiography Folds avoids the clich of stringing together tales of groupies, hedonism, excess, debauchery, scandal, travelogue or addiction and redemption to tell his life story There s barely any name dropping although I d love to know about the veiled name checks for Neil Hannon, Nick Hornby and Elton John in the acknowledgements, beyond the obvious, given they didn t reall THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SOME MINOR SPOILERSFull disclosure I m a big Ben Folds fan This is a very different rock autobiography Folds avoids the clich of stringing together tales of groupies, hedonism, excess, debauchery, scandal, travelogue or addiction and redemption to tell his life story There s barely any name dropping although I d love to know about the veiled name checks for Neil Hannon, Nick Hornby and Elton John in the acknowledgements, beyond the obvious, given they didn t really feature in the book Neither does Ben dish the dirt on anyone except perhaps himself scrupulously steering clear of painful divorce details there are 4 maintaining near silence on his closest relationships, and respecting the privacy of his children.Yet this is one of the most entertaining, enlightening and inspiring books from a musician I ve read Told chronologically, with a loose theme of life lessons, Folds describes the creative process in a way that many artists will identify with, yet struggle to articulate themselves The idea of finding your authenticity and your voice through a process of subtraction really resonated with me.Many rock stars autobiographies are exasperating, as they tell one anecdote after another, often without demonstrating the sense of regret and accumulative wisdom the typical middle aged non celebrity acquires Folds looks over each of his key life experiences with brutal honesty, and identifies the lesson to be learned.While far from average, Folds described many experiences and revelations I recognised from my own life Many readers over 45 will, I m sure, find something to identify with among tales of serious illness, painful ailments, workaholism and finally epiphany, after seeing the fallout from repeated failure to look after his own wellbeing The turning to meditation and Pilates in particular made me chuckle in recognition.His mid 80s experience of being a minority working class under grad also chimed with my own art student experience, c.1990 the brutal critiques that the middle and upper class students take in their stride, already assured of their place in the world, scarring the vulnerable or maverick I hope that in a slightly inclusive 21st century, university feedback is nurturing It never occurred to me to drop out like Ben and I lacked his reckless courage to pursue a creative career in the face of relentless hardship This for me is the mark of a true artist they are compelled to create, they don t see any other option.I was cringing as Folds described breaking a loaned, irreplaceable piano and all manner of other regrettable performance decisions which, like him, at the time I d have thought were just rock n roll , but with hindsight, are embarrassing I laughed out loud many times at his turns of phrase shit the bed his uncommon sense of irony and I enjoyed getting inside the head of a hero possessed of such impulsiveness and self belief His recognition of his place in the music business now and his frank description of today s pop music made me smile.Despite the rehabilitative process Ben describes at the end of the book, where he learns to self care as we call it these days and make space to process the emotions he has conceded time and again he failed to do in the first 4 decades of his life, you can sense his continuing struggle with describing feelings, which are missing from his accounts of his relationships While he may have concluded that his family should not be forced into the spotlight and perhaps only feels inclined to write about what he is known for his song writing, recordings and performances it is unusual to read an autobiography in which the writer doesn t describe the type of relationship they have with their mother, father, brother, children, ex wives and other loved ones Even the writing of some of his most touching songs, like The Luckiest , are described in terms of a project brief, rather than the feelings or lover that inspired the lyrics and melody I d have loved to have heard about Ben s photography as well, which is reduced to a few brief references, because I admire his pictures almost as much as his music and sense this side of his creativity would be fascinating to explore.However, those are my only disappointments The book will definitely withstand a second reading I loved Ben s literary style and voice so much that I m going to find the audiobook to listen to, as I m told that he narrates it himself, punctuated with piano demonstrations flag Like see review Aug 23, 2019 Talbot Hook rated it liked it This book is quintessential Folds in many ways, at turns irreverent and pensive sometimes within the span of a single sentence just as listening to one of his albums say, Whatever and Ever or Sound of the Life straight through will yield a very mixed emotional experience, so too will this book have you both chuckling and wistful in a single sitting There are several praiseworthy elements to this memoir, most notably the alacrity and honesty with which Folds analyzes some of the hardest expe This book is quintessential Folds in many ways, at turns irreverent and pensive sometimes within the span of a single sentence just as listening to one of his albums say, Whatever and Ever or Sound of the Life straight through will yield a very mixed emotional experience, so too will this book have you both chuckling and wistful in a single sitting There are several praiseworthy elements to this memoir, most notably the alacrity and honesty with which Folds analyzes some of the hardest experiences of his life He does a fine job of tying particular events to the birth of inspiration and creativity for his music, all while providing the reader, with grace and wit, the salient moments and details in his history which propelled his career just as they exploded his personal life.I find, though, that Folds is better in poetry than prose While I find many of his lyrics extremely moving, brilliantly crafted, and exceedingly clever, I get the sense that he tapped into that same vein when writing this book But I don t think it translated too well into a three hundred page work Pithy fragments with robust craftsmanship and delicate inspiration are the lifeblood of much poetry and music, but the memoir calls for a different approach And Folds didn t quite seem to understand the nature and form of the memoir many times, he tried too hard to write quirky one liners and memorable sayings some of which succeeded, some of which flopped , which doesn t work unless one is Oscar Wilde And, the inclusion of most of his lyrics throughout the book were random at best oftentimes, they were a detraction, an interruption, to the flow of his narrative.Above all, though, I felt the book simply lacked depth Everything seemed to be a surface play, even when emotions and self growth were the topics to hand Things were recounted, but never really made purposeful for the reader The word existential was used at points while never really feeling existential, and that is a true shame In a memoir, one is ironing out one s life for the reader tracing a trajectory not simply material but spiritual And while his memoir does a good and entertaining job of hashing out the whens, wheres, hows, and whats of Folds s life, it usually lacks a strong sense of the why If to write a memoir is to bare one s soul, this memoir feels dissembling, then as if the author is still partially concealed behind the curtain He does come out occasionally, though, as when he writes about creating songs such as Evaporated and Still Fighting It in those passages we see the thoughtful, vulnerable songwriter that is just as much a part of Folds as the one who flips the bird to the audience while shouting, Kiss my ass Yet the book catered much to this flippant and immature persona which I mostly love , and failed to reveal the intellectual empath that I believe to be present Where is the depthful thought in this memoir when compared to his song I m Not the Man To me, one shines a light inwardly to illuminate the soul, while the other is a good story told at a cocktail party This is to say there is a schism in personae that went unbridged in the book that I can t quite overlook Perhaps, as he relates in one of the later chapters, he is still hiding somewhat behind crass humor and a certain stage persona created long ago I don t know But I found this aspect of the whole thing deeply unsatisfying I guess, ultimately, I hold Folds as capable of capable of anything And that includes taking off the performer s mask fully so that we see the human face beneath flag 1 likeLike see review Aug 18, 2019 Steve rated it it was amazing This book also has some great lessons and food for thought that s not necessarily musical at all At a German restaurant where he had an early standing gig, a couple told him to be appreciate, present and in the moment Applies for most of us It s always the easy way out, being an existential chicken Not really being there It s harder, its riskier, to be present But we should try like hell to be And not just in music, but in every action and exchange in our short lives Of course a hy This book also has some great lessons and food for thought that s not necessarily musical at all At a German restaurant where he had an early standing gig, a couple told him to be appreciate, present and in the moment Applies for most of us It s always the easy way out, being an existential chicken Not really being there It s harder, its riskier, to be present But we should try like hell to be And not just in music, but in every action and exchange in our short lives Of course a hyper literate and funny singer would write a stellar memoir And of course the guy whose biggest hit is about his teenage girlfriend s abortion would be honest and open in said book I usually listen to an artist s music while reading the artist s writing, but I m typically ready to move on by the time I slog through a whole book Not in this case I came out a bigger fan of Folds, warts and all, and can t stop listening to his fantastic songwriting He is fully open about his character flaws and mistakes and his failed relationships, but they are neveraround than metoo , but these imperfections just make him human and likable, and make his music even relatable This memoir is a delightful, insightful and quick read that any music fan would enjoy, even if you re not a big Ben Folds fan but that would help The book is written as a chronological series of short vignettes that end up beautifully revealing his personality and history It had a few insights into specific songs most of which are surprisingly autobiographical , and a few dives into the creative process and artistry It was particularly interesting to read this alongside Moonwalking with Einstein, a book about memory While learning how memory works, I read about Ben Folds memories and how they formed both his songs and this book The odd title refers to the first dream he claims to remember, in which only he can see a bunch fo fireflies, until he points them out to his friends He turns this into one of the best analogies for artistic creation that I have read the melodies he sees have always been there We just need him to bring them out for us He also notes that his enforced boredom as a child helped spark his imagination and helped him see all the lightning bugs, so to speak I was inspired to try to spend time away from my phone, and make sure my kids have time to be creative and bored.Another vignette is about his love of comedy, and how comedy informs his music It helped me appreciate both comedy and his music just a little bit Ironically, his formal music education was less of an influence on his artistry I could feel my inner musician retreating to the furthest reaches of my frightened soul, he wrote of his time in jazz school And I ll close with another gem that can apply to any pursuit When it s said that someone is trying too hard, we should take that to mean trying too hard at the wrong thing Once the wrong thing, usually affectation or tension, is stripped away, by all means, please try too hard Try as hard as you can to express what you feel, and don t let anyone bully you otherwise flag Like see review Sep 02, 2019 James Wyatt rated it really liked it Shelves good autobios For Those of Y all Who Wear Fannie Packs, know first I am a big fan of BF and all his projects He covers a lot of them here, including Fear of Pop, The Bens, and his work with William Shatner As seems to be the case for most autobios, he delves into nice detail for the formative years but glosses over some of the latter portions.By way of specific example, I ll share a few There is no real mention of his work with Weird Al Yankovic, who was director of Folds Rocking the Suburbs video from For Those of Y all Who Wear Fannie Packs, know first I am a big fan of BF and all his projects He covers a lot of them here, including Fear of Pop, The Bens, and his work with William Shatner As seems to be the case for most autobios, he delves into nice detail for the formative years but glosses over some of the latter portions.By way of specific example, I ll share a few There is no real mention of his work with Weird Al Yankovic, who was director of Folds Rocking the Suburbs video from his solo album of the same name, who also sang backing vocals on his song Time off Songs for Silverman, and on whose album Poodle Hat Ben played piano I thought this was an odd person to omit.There wasn t much mentioned of the breakup hiatus of BFF It was done in a few paragraphs Stranger still is no real mention of how they got back together for The Sound of the Life of the Mind It was just there, him talking about maybe two tracks from that album, and that was it No real mention of Sledge or Jesse s work in the meantime or their friendship.Overall Folds is incredibly talented This book looks at his mindset and approach to life and is full of nuggets like what the title A Dream about Lightning Bugs means for him metaphorically There is plenty here on what he s learned and while he doesn t cover all four divorces in detail he gives a hint on some, particularly those which inspired songs Personally, I wanted a LOT about the songwriting process, effects used, studio life, etc as I ve found in some other books But I believe that wasn t the point for Folds here, who instead opts for the Picture Window memoirs method and covers the years with a broader approach you d expect from a Sentimental Guy.This is still a Most Valued Possession for any fan of Ben Folds Maybe later we ll get a follow up, or even specific book dedicated to his work For now I Paid My Money and I saw it all flag Like see review Aug 15, 2019 Kate rated it it was amazing If you re a fan of Ben Folds you ll really like this book If you re a fan of Ben Folds and a musician yourself, it will absolutely love it.I ve been a fan of Ben Folds since middle school I started taking piano lessons in 7th grade, hoping that eventually I d learn enough of what I needed to in order to play loud, up tempo, punk inspired rock songs like he did I quit after just a year, but picked up guitar immediately after, and have been playing ever since 19 years and counting I always f If you re a fan of Ben Folds you ll really like this book If you re a fan of Ben Folds and a musician yourself, it will absolutely love it.I ve been a fan of Ben Folds since middle school I started taking piano lessons in 7th grade, hoping that eventually I d learn enough of what I needed to in order to play loud, up tempo, punk inspired rock songs like he did I quit after just a year, but picked up guitar immediately after, and have been playing ever since 19 years and counting I always found Folds quirky lyrics to be both interesting and beautiful I aimed for that level of uniqueness in my own writing I still do I ve seen him live twice and both shows were not just concerts, but events I wasn t just watching, but I was involved in the show, singing two and three part harmonies with other concert goers, complete strangers, under Folds conduction I was in awe of his ability to improvise, his confidence and energy He s not just an excellent musician, but the definition of an entertainer.His memoire does an incredible job of bringing you through his entire life, through all his achievements and let downs, and all along the way he sprinkles lyrics from his works I found myself singing his songs the few times I was coerced into putting the book down I discovered so much about his career I hadn t previously known, and I have all the respect for him now.The chapter called Follow the Brown stuck with me most, and when I m in my next creative rut, I plan on reading through it again As an art teacher, I may even assign it to my high schoolers The way he describes working through your bad ideas hit home with me, and I don t think I could explain it to my students any better than he did here flag Like see review Aug 29, 2019 Dana rated it it was amazing Poignant, at times irreverent, hilarious, and impactful This is up there with The Art of Asking and Big Magic for me It s so forthright and it feels really honest You see things from both his perspective and yours as a fan while really turning over bigger ideas It amazes me how many artists visual, musical, literary, etc all have similar things to say about creating Really, it seems to be a need to get over ourselves and our ego and what s informed it I especially liked this take on tha Poignant, at times irreverent, hilarious, and impactful This is up there with The Art of Asking and Big Magic for me It s so forthright and it feels really honest You see things from both his perspective and yours as a fan while really turning over bigger ideas It amazes me how many artists visual, musical, literary, etc all have similar things to say about creating Really, it seems to be a need to get over ourselves and our ego and what s informed it I especially liked this take on that theme and the adjacent theme of how important creativity and creating are because it was so funny and yet so many things happen that could be looked at as not exactly humorous He writes this book like he writes his music and I don t know that I can describe it any better than that As someone who chronically struggles with the exact opposite of what he struggles with I avoid creating because it doesn t fit in the script I was given as a young married woman with kids my procrastination is the avoidance of enjoyment to be a productive servant rolls eyes at how sexist it feels to say that it still felt the same It still resonated Because in the end it s about expectations, avoidance, and passion and how we balance those things Books like this inspire me to seek a better balance It helps that Mr Folds told me to keep creating when I met his at this book signing It was a nice sentiment But reading this book I know he genuinely means that for the larger population of those he knows and does not know like me He s learned the value of creativity And here, he attempts to share that flag Like see review Aug 18, 2019 Emily Eloise rated it it was amazing review of another edition What has been good for the music hasn t always been good for the life I listened to this book on Audible Ben narrates the book and even includes a little bit of piano and bass It is worth using your monthly audible credit on this because I have never experienced an audiobook like this before I am a Big Ben it autocorrected to capital letters which I find amusing Folds fan and I wanted to review this with little bias as possible Ben has created a fantastic auto biography of his early year What has been good for the music hasn t always been good for the life I listened to this book on Audible Ben narrates the book and even includes a little bit of piano and bass It is worth using your monthly audible credit on this because I have never experienced an audiobook like this before I am a Big Ben it autocorrected to capital letters which I find amusing Folds fan and I wanted to review this with little bias as possible Ben has created a fantastic auto biography of his early years, Ben Folds Five BFF and post BFF I found Ben s recount to be honest reflection of his career so far He really called himself out in some areas which was nice to see I enjoyed listening to the creation of BFF albums and the Rocking the Suburbs album one that will be always special in my heart I looked at other reviews on here about Ben not being open and honest about his relationships This seems to be a common occurrence in low reviews This is true, he rarely spoke about his relationships outside Anna Goodman I do believe this is out of respect for his children and that Anna was a big part of Ben s early career I really have never been interested in Ben s life and I didn t know much about him I think this made it even thrilling Ben broke down music creation and creativity I will always appreciate a pianist because I could never do this If you are interested in music and even if you aren t a BF fan, this will be an interesting book for you flag 2 likesLike see review Aug 05, 2019 Tacy Beck rated it it was amazing Ben Folds captured me with his art in the late 90 s, and he was a formative influence on my life for all of my young adult years This book further confirmed that he was a good influence on me I see three things that come into focus through this bookLove of MusicBen Folds explains how his love for playing piano was such a huge part of his childhood He genuinely loved writing songs and making music, and he followed that path to great success He doesn t focus on the lifestyle of someone living Ben Folds captured me with his art in the late 90 s, and he was a formative influence on my life for all of my young adult years This book further confirmed that he was a good influence on me I see three things that come into focus through this bookLove of MusicBen Folds explains how his love for playing piano was such a huge part of his childhood He genuinely loved writing songs and making music, and he followed that path to great success He doesn t focus on the lifestyle of someone living hedonistically for sex, money, power, or drugs other than just being honest about one day having to throw his phone in a pool With humor he explains how he writes songs, and I can tell that he respects other musicians in the popular music genre as well.Love of ArtThis is also a story about Ben s love for art I could see with his many clear examples that being a creator is ultimately what saved him That sounds cheesy but it shouldn t He was capturing the lightning bugs of creativity and that s what made him happy During his most popular years, he was even poking fun at rap music by creating spoofs He explains how his artistic process was often misunderstood and he was booed by audiences But he never defended himself, he just kept doing what he was good at The fact that he was a hilarious entertainer is what made me go to seven of his concerts in the early 2000 s.Love of the CraftFinally, Ben Folds has found his voice, his audience, and he is perfecting the craft of songwriting, now doing so in a symphonic setting I liked that a lot of the book was Ben s philosophies about the music industry and even poking fun at the mating years I m so impressed and I can t wait to see what comes of this performer and musician in the coming years.I say read this book Thats why I give it 5 stars it is entertaining and he doesn t major on the minors he celebrates what has been most important about his life flag Like see review Aug 27, 2019 Matt Fitz rated it really liked it review of another edition Great audiobook, read by Ben Folds himself Straight forward and honest about his life and all his mistakes and wrong turns they re mostly of the non salacious variety so nothing scandalous Just like his music, he s this witty combination of self deprecating yet life affirming Like most folks, I discovered BF through Brick, but there is one particular song of his that I can really related to and that is Army on his live album he introduces the song with this This one goes out to a Great audiobook, read by Ben Folds himself Straight forward and honest about his life and all his mistakes and wrong turns they re mostly of the non salacious variety so nothing scandalous Just like his music, he s this witty combination of self deprecating yet life affirming Like most folks, I discovered BF through Brick, but there is one particular song of his that I can really related to and that is Army on his live album he introduces the song with this This one goes out to anyone who actually signed up and is in is gone into the armed forces Thanks a lot I tried, I went down to the recruiting center and I talked to them, and I thought about it, but at the end of the day, I think I was genetically inclined to be a musician If you hear the lyrics to the song, which is about indecision and independence, suffocation and freedom, you can appreciate what a lot of folks think about when they think about joining the Army Perhaps it was good I was not genetically inclined to be a musician.Good fun audiobook to listen to when you need a break from the world and want to appreciate the man behind some of the crazier and cerebral rock pop of the last 20 years flag Like see review Aug 12, 2019 Kiren Chaudhry rated it really liked it A Dream about Lightening Bugs is somewhat of a meditative metaphor about the creative process and moving through life A song, like any story, has to hold your interest with clues that are musically paced and poetically ambiguous enough to spark the imagination Happy to report Folds delivers in both books and songs I m out of range in terms of age for Ben Folds Five touring days, but I listened to his unique voice a lot through my adolescence He s a nonsinger singer, but not like Dylan, Cohen A Dream about Lightening Bugs is somewhat of a meditative metaphor about the creative process and moving through life A song, like any story, has to hold your interest with clues that are musically paced and poetically ambiguous enough to spark the imagination Happy to report Folds delivers in both books and songs I m out of range in terms of age for Ben Folds Five touring days, but I listened to his unique voice a lot through my adolescence He s a nonsinger singer, but not like Dylan, Cohen or Waits boy next door Had the boy next door indie music revolution actually been televised I would have watched the reruns on Nick at Nite In the book he makes a strong case for using your authentic voice in your craft So as a middle class white guy I guess that story involves a lot of overcoming obstacles that you create for yourself He encourages his readers to imagine wildly he insists the limitations of the real world will soon impose themselves on your creation Even the limitations of your technique will cut your imagination down to size in time And that resonates a little too well Aside from a random fucked account of witnessing violence against a trans person, and the strange one dimensional description of his partners thru the years the book is worth reading flag Like see review Aug 24, 2019 Jessica rated it really liked it There s a bit of soapboxing and a lot of story telling I suppose Ben Folds has than earned the right to do the former, but the latter is far and away so much engaging, and there definitely were a few times he had me laughing out loud Luckily, the charm of the stories than makes up for the tendency of the generalized advice to drag a bit I don t mean to complain about the advice, which is solid I mean that Ben Folds seems to have a good sense of where the strength of the book i There s a bit of soapboxing and a lot of story telling I suppose Ben Folds has than earned the right to do the former, but the latter is far and away so much engaging, and there definitely were a few times he had me laughing out loud Luckily, the charm of the stories than makes up for the tendency of the generalized advice to drag a bit I don t mean to complain about the advice, which is solid I mean that Ben Folds seems to have a good sense of where the strength of the book is and doesn t linger too long on the soapbox.I also appreciate his frankness about feeling like he doesn t have a lot of useful commentary about his run with Ben Folds Five when they were at their biggest Part of what interests me about celebrity memoirs is that the people who write them seem so frequently to avoid whatever thing the author is most famous for, or at least not to dwell on it I ve always chalked that up to The thing you know me for isn t necessarily what makes me tick, and a lot of the fun is reading to find out what memories memoir authors do find relevant I think this is the first book to give me such clear insight into the fact that being under the fishbowl can be too dizzying for the fishbowl ee to be able to process the experience while they re living it and sometimes after it s over flag Like see review Aug 19, 2019 Courtney rated it really liked it review of another edition Shelves memoirs biographies, non fiction My first audio book of the year, and what a great one to choose This was a really interesting look into one of my favorite artist s life and musical career both ups and downs I really enjoyed listening to Ben narrate this behind the scenes look into his musical journey He s super honest, even when it puts his flaws mistakes immaturity on full display One comment through out the book he recites lyrics from his songs I kind of wish they would have played little snippets from the actual son My first audio book of the year, and what a great one to choose This was a really interesting look into one of my favorite artist s life and musical career both ups and downs I really enjoyed listening to Ben narrate this behind the scenes look into his musical journey He s super honest, even when it puts his flaws mistakes immaturity on full display One comment through out the book he recites lyrics from his songs I kind of wish they would have played little snippets from the actual songs, so people could hear the music in addition to the words That s OK though I figure most people reading his book are already familiar with his work.And if you aren t familiar with his work, go check out his 2001 album Rockin the Suburbs It s one of my favorite albums of all time Like Top 5 statusSome Highlights Learning about Ben s roots in German Polka music His shout out to Fleming John their album The Way We Are was one of my favorites growing up The anecdote about Elliott Smith playing Angeles after one of their shows just for him 3 My heart RIP Elliott flag Like see review Aug 17, 2019 Lee Ann rated it liked it 3.5 stars Full disclosure The day I started reading this book I also heard Ben Folds speak at the Iowa Arts Forum and then I went to his concert with the Violent Femmes in the evening so it was full Folds immersion for me Further disclosure I ve always liked all the music I ve heard by Folds but I don t own any of his CDs and hadn t seen him in concert before.This book is part memoir, part Folds creative process, part arts advocacy You can tell he s well read and experienced by the varie 3.5 stars Full disclosure The day I started reading this book I also heard Ben Folds speak at the Iowa Arts Forum and then I went to his concert with the Violent Femmes in the evening so it was full Folds immersion for me Further disclosure I ve always liked all the music I ve heard by Folds but I don t own any of his CDs and hadn t seen him in concert before.This book is part memoir, part Folds creative process, part arts advocacy You can tell he s well read and experienced by the variety of people and ideas he mentions In fact, follow your passions is one of the big lessons to take away from this book He has other wisdoms, including finding mentors teachers, taking time, and being present, that are all good And you don t need to be a fan to enjoy this book.I read the book but, if Folds reads the audio version, I wish I d done that There are a handful of photos in the book but they wouldn t be missed with audio Having heard Folds speak, I think the book would be even engaging read by the author flag Like see review previous 1 2 3 4 next new topicDiscuss This Book topics posts views last activity Librari Please correct page number 2 10 Aug 15, 2019 05 13AM More topics Share Recommend It Stats Recent Status Updates Genres Nonfiction 26 users Music 22 users Autobiography Memoir 16 users Biography 8 users Biography Memoir 6 users Audiobook 6 users See top shelves About Ben Folds Ben Folds 17 followers Books by Ben Folds More Trivia About A Dream About Lig No trivia or quizzes yet Add some now Quotes from A Dream About Lig I accept that one day, my music will be gone forever So will the Sistine Chapel, Bruce Lee movies, and all the silly arts and crafts my aunt ever bought Gone with the wind Making songs is something I do here and now Because light captured is just a moment, a flicker 1 likes Here s my suggestion to musicians When you re about to reach for whatever musical tools you use, virtual or real, guitar or computer, ask yourself if you re doing so to save time or because you don t feel like straining your brain Or, important, ask yourself if you have anything to say yet If not, keep working or playing upstairs, in your brain Sure, it s okay to react to what happens when playing with the tools or the way a chord sounds, a loop, or even an accident But make sure you express what you wanted to say or what you imagined Don t let your tools make you their bitch 0 likes More quotes renderRatingGraph 250, 180, 50, 5, 3 if rating_details rating_detailssert top rating_graph Company About us Careers Terms Privacy Help Work with us Authors Advertise Authors ads blog API Connect 2019 , Inc Mobile version

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    • Best Read [Ben Folds] ✓ A Dream About Lightning Bugs: A Life of Music and Cheap Lessons || [Chick Lit Book] PDF Â
      255 Ben Folds
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    575 thoughts on “A Dream About Lightning Bugs: A Life of Music and Cheap Lessons”

    1. Having been a fan of Folds for over two decades I wasn t sure what to expect from this Folds has at various points in his life been an open book and others not so much He can also write joke songs while playing with an orchestra What we end up in the book is mostly a straight forward, serious book His wit is there, but he really hits on what s important to him He goes into music theory without getting overly technical He talks about some low points in his life if you re looking for sex an Having [...]


    2. Folds knocks it out of the park Who knew he was as good a book writer as he is a songwriter Cheap lessons have never been so resonant or so funny.


    3. Fun and self indulgent in the most positive sense Ben Folds is a musical favorite of mine and it was fun to read about his creativity and perspective 4.5 stars


    4. Having been a Ben Folds fan for years, I enjoyed reading about the person behind the music As a resident of his hometown, reading the often hilarious tales of his adolescence were especially fun.


    5. It s appropriate that A Dream About Lightning Bugs is being published around the same time as C.M Kushins s excellent new Warren Zevon biography Nothing s Bad Luck The Lives of Warren Zevon, because the two artists have a lot in common They re both musicians musicians, not in the prog rock virtuoso sense but in the sense of being melodic geniuses with accessible but subversively witty senses of humor and appealingly anarchistic streaks.They re also both essentially self made musicians with m It [...]


    6. Due to a shipping problem with my long pre ordered book bookstore s fault, not Ben s or the publisher s , I resorted to checking out the audio copy on the local library s app Thank God I did Ben read it himself, and his imitation of his father alone made it good choice He also included musical notes when appropriate,which is super helpful for people like me who like the music but don t know than the most basic music terminology.I admittedly am a rabid Ben Folds fan, and as such probably Due to [...]


    7. It s been a good year for rock musician memoirs This one was just as good as Roger Daltrey s, in my opinion.Here we have a man who I have been listening to since 1995 and always had a bit of hero worship for I have had the privilege of meeting him a few times and just blubbered, so I took this book as a real opportunity to get to know the man that I ve wanted to share a beer with And it didn t disappoint Full of great stories that I KINDA new, some I didn t know, and, most importantly, gre It s [...]


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