MARCH MIX by Laura van den Berg

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The title of this mix tape is “stuck” because these are songs I listened to when I was stuck on Find Me — I worked on the book on-and-off for about six years, so this stuck-ness happened a lot, which accounts for why there were so many years. Sometimes leaving the book alone for a while was the best thing, to give myself space for my understanding of the book to evolve and shift, but at other points just showing up on the regular and looking at the thing was what I needed to do and during those times, music made continuing on seem a lot more possible somehow.

I’m actually not going to say much about the individual songs because — as weird as this may sound — I don’t actually have a lot to say about them. I can’t really express what makes something a good writing song for me: I need a certain amount of energy and a certain kind of beat, something that makes me feel more present and, at the same time, something that I can disappear into. I like stuff that has a kind of hypnotic quality. I listen to a song for as long as I like listening to it. I don’t sweat finding new stuff too much. At this point, I feel the same way about bands as I do about friends: I have my people, but if someone introduces me to someone really cool, well then all right.

  1. “Bone Machine,” The Pixies.
  2. “An Apology,” Future Islands.
  3. “How it Ends,” DeVotchKa.
  4. “Knife,” Grizzly Bear.
  5. “In Motion,” Trent Reznor.
  6. “Old Strange,” Steve Gun.
  7. “Bixby Canyon Bridge,” Death Cab for Cutie.
  8. “No Fit State,” Hot Chip.
  9. “Don’t You Forget About Me,” Simple Minds.
  10. “Let Me Clear My Throat,” DJ Cool.
  11. “Love Will Tear Us Apart,” Joy Division.


— Laura van den Berg is the author of the short story collections What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us, a Barnes & Noble “Discover Great New Writers” selection, and The Isle of Youth, which won the Rosenthal Family Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts & Letters and The Bard Fiction Prize. Find Me, Laura’s first novel, was published by FSG in February.

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