"Dessa writes beautifully about a wide range of topics, including science, music, and the pain that comes with being in love; it's a surprising and generous memoir by a singular voice."--NPR, Best Books of 2018
Dessa defies category--she is an intellectual with an international rap career and an inhaler in her backpack; a creative writer fascinated by philosophy and behavioral science; and a funny, charismatic performer dogged by blue moods and heartache. She's ferocious on stage and endearingly neurotic in the tour van. Her stunning literary debut memoir stitches together poignant insights on love, science, and language--a demonstration of just how far the mind can travel while the body is on a six-hour ride to the next gig.
In "The Fool That Bets Against Me," Dessa writes to Geico to request a commercial insurance policy for the broken heart that's helped her write so many sad songs. "A Ringing in the Ears" tells the story of her father building a wooden airplane in their backyard garage. In "'Congratulations,'" she describes the challenge of recording a song for The Hamilton Mixtape in a Minneapolis basement, straining for a high note and hoping for a break. "Call Off Your Ghost" chronicles the fascinating project she undertook with a team of neuroscientists to try to clinically excise romantic feelings for an old flame. Her writing is infused with scientific research, dry wit, a philosophical perspective, and an abiding tenderness for the people she tours with and the people she leaves behind to be on the road.
My Own Devices is an uncompromising and candid account of a life in motion, in music, and in love. Dessa is as compelling on the page as she is onstage, making My Own Devices the debut of a unique and deft literary voice.
In this intimate essay collection, singer and rap star Dessa, a member of indie hip-hop collective Doomtree, reveals stories of her life as a performer on the road and her quest to find a way to fall out of love. Dessa is brutally honest and self-deprecating. She writes about her rough rise to fame and her creative attempts to rid herself of a longtime love for an unnamed ex-boyfriend whom she also worked with. In "The Fool That Bets Against Me," she writes to Geico requesting an insurance policy on her breaking heart, an organ she believes helped her write so many songs. In "Congratulations," she tells of recording her song for The Hamilton Mixtape, using her struggles to reach a high note as a metaphor for her own personal ups and downs. Dessa weaves in stories from the road in her not-so-glamorous tour van ("We'd pull over in a Walmart parking lot to catch a few hours of sleep... all seven of us pass out sitting up"), her interest in neuroscience (and whether it can be used to excise a man from her memory), and the writings of Bertrand Russell and Mary Oliver. Dessa's fans will be thrilled with these wonderfully crafted essays on music, love, and loss.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Purchased the audiobook- amazing words- sounds great on audio
Performers life’s can be so interesting, reminded me in some ways of Patti Smith’s two recent great books
If you know nothing of Dessa, it doesn’t matter, you will want more