Kind of a random post tonight… just thinking about music and how it works in my life.
I can think back on specific times in my life and hear a kind of soundtrack that seems to accompany the memories that drift by. Or, when I hear a particular song on the radio I can even remember the smells that would have surrounded me when I was listening to that song at some other time and remember the sound of another person’s voice… or the feel of the seat I was sitting in… It’s funny, isn’t it, how music gets in our heads and stays with us without much effort on our part. But I can’t remember where I left my sandals yesterday, or what I did with my purse.
My brother bought record albums in high school. I was more of a radio listener. I didn’t buy many albums, but the ones I did own were memorized. Styx’s Grand Illusion, REO Speedwagon’s Hi Fidelity, Adam and the Ants’ Prince Charming… Brian still buys more music than I do. He is big on keeping up with what’s new and knows the emerging and alternative artists. He made me a mix tape in the early 90’s that included the Barenaked Ladies’ “If I had $1,000,000 Dollars”. It wasn’t until years later that I heard anything else by them. I admire his ability to keep up with new music. I have been making an effort, downloading The Album Project podcasts, and listening to Pandora at my desk at work. But I’m content to listen to the familiar most of the time.
Lately, there’s been a fairly significant amount of stress hovering around me. Last year, as many of you know, I spent the majority of the year being a caregiver with my sister of our mother as she was suffering from brain cancer. The new year presented itself – full of hope and promises of more time for myself and a little more normalcy – and in March I found out my oldest daughter is going to have a baby. She’s 18, a senior in high school. Not so normal. Not really conducive to a lot of time for myself. Certainly not a situation that allows one to sit back and relax and drink a cold glass of Pinot Grigio and de-stress. Although, some would argue that this situation calls for an increased intake of the fruit of the vine…
I’ve always had a lot of music around me. Our family was musical. Not in the way some families all play together or sing around a piano or whatever, but my parents were both in band, as we all of their kids. My sister received a degree in music and my aforementioned brothers both play instruments, one makes lap harps even… I sing, but don’t play any instruments anymore. My car radio is always on, Pandora is always on my computer at work. And when I’m sewing I always have to find something to put on my laptop to inspire me in the creative process. How handsome are my brothers? Sorry ladies, they’re taken.
Recently, Dave Matthews has been a bit of a muse for me. I have loved his music for a couple of years now, but over the last couple of weeks – which have been unusually difficult for a lot of reasons – I have felt a sense of calm and a lift of my spirits whenever I am driving and one of his songs comes on the radio. It’s like the lyrics of that certain song are words I need to hear and reflect on at that very moment. Funny the way it is.
I’m throwing a story idea around in my head about a girl who carries songs in her head as a soundtrack for times in her life that are difficult or memorable in some way. It’s set in 1975, and is largely biographical at this point – write what you know, etc… – but I anticipate that it will grow from there. I started it as a short story, but think it may get bigger. Not sure, but I’m looking forward to seeing how it grows as I make time to work on it. I heard recently from a friend who follows a couple of authors’ blogs that they talk about having a soundtrack for their latest projects that they use to write with. I am fascinated with that idea, and think I’ll try it with this story idea. If I can come up with the soundtrack that follows the songs my character is thinking of, I think her voice will be even easier to write. Reconnect with the 1975 me, perhaps.
Tonight I am watching Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds at Carnegie Hall on the HDNet channel. I think I’ll sleep well when I finally go to bed. My soul is feeling pretty settled, and as ready for the stressful week ahead of me as it can be. Thanks, Dave.