One of my favorite novelists, Jonathan Lethem, has made several song lyrics available for adaptation by musicians – free of charge. He’s also offering stories for film or stage adaptation for the price of one dollar. As he explains on his Web site:
I like art that comes from other art, and I like seeing my stories adapted into other forms. My writing has always been strongly sourced in other voices, and I’m a fan of adaptations, apropriations, collage, and sampling.
I recently explored some of these ideas in an essay for Harper’s Magazine. As I researched that essay I came more and more to believe that artists should ideally find ways to make material free and available for reuse. This project is a (first) attempt to make my own art practice reflect that belief.
It so happens that his latest novel, You Don’t Love Me Yet, is about a fictional indie band and includes lyric fragments. I need to get me a copy, but meanwhile I can listen to the songs based on the fragments, like “Monster Eyes.” (There are three versions by different musicians as of this writing.) Yay! Thank you Johnathan!
p.s. Oh my god, just to add to the chaotic possibilities, you can play more than one song simultaneously from the page! Crrrrazy!