My Own Devices
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My Own Devices: True Stories from the Road on Music,
Science, and Senseless Love
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
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.
: 272 pp, hardcover (2018)
: Penguin Random House