“Life ain’t short, it’s long.” So says a dying Earl Partridge in Paul Thomas Anderson’s melodramatic Magnolia. That sentiment hangs heavy over You’re Doing What I Should Have Done, a stark, moving, and quietly brilliant collection of audio short stories from Milwaukee filmmaker/musician/writer Sean Williamson. Clocking in at under 10 minutes and spread out over just four tracks, You’re Doing still manages to convey the dreams, the triumphs, the disappointments, the missed opportunities, the unexpected compromises, and the inevitable ends of a long lifetime.
“Each morning when I wake up,” Williamson begins on opening piece “You Wouldn’t Believe,” “I think of everything that’s happened.” From there, he gets into that everything: growing up and taking stock of your life (“You Wouldn’t Believe”), dimly remembering first apartments and nights spent walking home alone (“The Reflection Of That Reflection”), and daydreaming about actress Jenna Fischer during drunk driving classes (“Jenna Fischer”). Then there’s the title track, a sad and funny and lovely and sad again piece about the final days of gone-but-not-forgotten Milwaukee icon Dave Monroe. “It’s not the past I regret, it’s the future,” Monroe says, via Williamson.
Williamson will be reading from You’re Doing What I Should Have Done at Voyageur Book Shop Friday, January 27, beginning at 7 p.m. Joining him will be Adam Michael Krause, Peter Danielson Murphy, Cesar Ramel Crayton, Robert Trettin, and Brit Nicole. It should not be missed.
Listen to the full collection, and watch a video for the first track, below.