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January 5, 2021

Mairead Case's Playlist for Her Novel "Tiny"

Tiny by Mairead Case

In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book.

Previous contributors include Jesmyn Ward, Lauren Groff, Bret Easton Ellis, Celeste Ng, T.C. Boyle, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Roxane Gay, and many others.

Mairead Case's novel Tiny is an immersive modern retelling of Antigone set in the Pacific Northwest, a poignant exploration of grief and mourning.

In her words, here is Mairead Case's Book Notes music playlist for her novel Tiny:

When I wrote the first drafts of Tiny, I was in my head, all of the time. I wanted to understand my attraction to death, and at the same time, to stop myself from haunting myself. I was terribly sincere about it, and so I embarrassed myself sometimes. (I also figured a lot out; all embarrassment means is that you’re blocked.) When I wrote the last drafts, I moved just as much as I sat, and my loneliness was no longer sucking the air out of the room. This process was awful, bewildering, joyful, and necessary, and I was never completely alone in it. As a result, but also because of the pandemic, I don’t remember writing all of the sentences in Tiny, though I do recognize them all as me, and I can tell which came from the Head Drafts and which ones came after. Each one needs the others to work. Recognizing this made me a better listener.

The key line was always songs. When I play this mix, which I built during all drafts, I feel it in my fists, my hips, and nowhere at all (in which case, I’m listening to the lyrics). I am not Tiny, but I think she’d hear these songs like I did, and do. In that sense this is also a mix for her. The Frankie Knuckles song is actually in the book, and so are X, Le Tigre, and Iggy Pop and David Bowie, though they aren’t on this playlist. The songs I listened to most while writing were Magnolia Electric Company’s “Farewell Transmission”; Destroyer’s “This Just Doesn’t Happen”; Julius Eastman’s “Stay On It,” which is a new medicine for me; and most of all, the Velvet Underground’s “Temptation Inside Your Heart.” “I can listen to myself.” My cat Hero now chirps at the swirling sounds in that one. I think she thinks they’re our friends, and so now they are.


1. “Untitled #1,” Pretty Girls Make Graves
2. “Young Lions,” Constantines
3. “Temptation Inside Your Heart,” Velvet Underground
4. “No One,” Jenn Champion
5. “Born Under Punches (The Heat Goes On,” Talking Heads
6. “Here’s Your Future,” The Thermals
7. “Yesterday’s News,” Gossip
8. “Learning the Game,” Buddy Holly
9. “Ashes to Ashes,” Jenny Hval
10. “bury a friend,” Billie Eilish
11. “Sock It to Me,” Colleen Green
12. “That’s Us / Wild Combination,” Arthur Russell
13. “The True Wheel,” Brian Eno
14. “Demons,” Fatboy Slim, feat. Macy Gray
15. “When I Was Done Dying,” Dan Deacon
16. “Ceremony,” New Order
17. “Shark Smile,” Big Thief
18. “The Source of Uncertainty,” Tortoise
19. “Down by the Water (demo),” PJ Harvey
20. “Ha Ha Ha Armageddon,” The Julie Ruin
21. “What Part of Me,” Low
22. “I Am a Scientist,” Guided By Voices
23. “He War,” Cat Power
24. “Turned to String,” No Age
25. “Your Love,” Frankie Knuckles, feat. Jamie Principle
26. “Sketch for Summer,” The Durutti Column
27. “I Want More,” CAN
28. “Atlantic City,” Bruce Springsteen
29. “Farewell Transmission,” Songs: Ohia
30. “Real Death,” Mount Eerie
31. “Loner,” Dehd
32. “It Just Doesn’t Happen,” Destroyer
33. “French Disko,” Stereolab
34. “Fall Asleep,” Big Joanie
35. “Drone Bomb Me,” ANOHNI
36. “Slip Away,” Perfume Genius
37. “Tugboat,” Galaxie 500
38. “Unfucktheworld,” Angel Olsen
39. “Don’t Lie to Me,” Big Star
40. “I Don’t Wanna Be Funny Anymore,” Lucy Dacus
41. “The Truth,” Handsome Boy Modeling School
42. “Les Fleurs,” Minnie Riperton
43. “Stay On It,” Julius Eastman

Mairead Case writes and teaches in Denver. She is the author of Tiny and See You In the Morning (featherproof), TENDERNESS (Meekling), and To The Teeth, a column at Entropy. Mairead publishes and edits widely, with work most recently in POETRY, JSTOR Daily, and The Los Angeles Review of Books, and at Public Media Institute, Public Collectors, and Maggot Brain, where she is the Associate Editor. She teaches at Naropa University, the Colorado School of Mines, and inside the Denver Women's Jail. Mairead holds an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a PhD from the University of Denver, and, as an abolitionist, has been a Legal Observer with the NLG for over a decade.

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