My mom was always a very musically inclined person–not only she was a gifted musician who played several instruments (the guitar, the French horn, and the flute, to name a few), but she also just loved listening to a variety of different bands and musicians across genres. My mom passed on her love for Cat Stevens, Simon and Garfunkel, Queen, and “oldies” to me. So many of my memories of her and my childhood are infused with the sounds of her and my dad’s music blaring the speakers in the living room or the old Pontiac Bonneville.
And music continues to be one of the strongest threads that connect us to who my mother was before the illness started to take over. The minute you turn on the Solid Gold Oldies station, she is singing, clapping, snapping, and stomping. And her clarity seems to improve almost instantly. She is more engaged, more happy, more alive than she was just minutes prior.
This morning I spent a few hours with her before my grandmom came to pick her up. We listened to oldies and I sang along (loudly and badly) while she whistled and snapped along (in proper rhythm, I might add). The highlight was when “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” started playing. Not only was she really into it, but she was also making it very obvious that she found my falsetto questionable (a fair observation).
It was nice to share a laugh with her and realize that you can still find happiness and normalcy in situations that, on the surface, seem like they leave no room for such luxuries.
Funny how some songs bring back particular memories so clearly: Every time I hear “You shook me all night long” by AC/DC, I remember being at a dance party held during the National competition for forensics (public speaking) sometime during my sophomore year of high school.
A few nights ago, my brother, his wife, me, and D all sat around their kitchen table, eating dinner together and shooting the shit. It was my brother’s 42nd birthday, and so we were spending the day together, relaxing and hanging out. It also happened to be the day of my cousin’s funeral. Continue reading →
With the time change signaling the unofficially start of spring, I thought I’d share a song that’s been representing the promise of the season for me for the past few weeks.
I found Crystal Fighters back in the fall (and actually thought I already posted this), and have been listening to this song pretty obsessively in random spurts. I’ve had a bit of a hiatus with it recently (mainly preoccupied with other tunes and since I’m not as in love with the rest of the album as I am this song, it tends to mainly get played on repeat for about an hour or as part of one of my playlists).
But yesterday when D and I were cruising around, running errands and enjoying the beautiful weather, he put me in charge of the music since he was driving. I pulled this one up right away and it just felt like the perfect background music for the ride.
This song has a very fun and almost dizzying tempo and it kind of reminds me a bit of Iko Iko. To me, the lyrics like the dizzying sense of relief and elation–that feeling of finally reconnecting with someone or something that you thought might have been lost forever. I guess that’s why it pairs so well with spring for me–even though this winter wasn’t as brutal as others have been in the past, there is always a point in the season where it seems like you are about to hit your limit–as if your body cannot take anymore darkness and cold and bareness. This song feels like the realization of spring, the light at the end of the tunnel, the soundtrack for the first official drive of the season.
Do you have any favorite songs to welcome in spring? Or favorite roadtrip songs?
I always loved the original illustrations by John Tenniel, but I’ve often appreciated how other artists have interpreted the text and made the characters their own.
One of John Tenniel’s drawings for Alice in Wonderland
Learning about this project made me (and D) fall down the internet rabbit hole (yeah, cheesy pun intended) looking up more information about him/projects we might not have known about. During that search, we learned that Dali died of heart failure while listening to his favorite album, Tristan and Isolde, so of course we immediately downloaded it. I’ve been listening to it quite a bit in the evenings as I work on my blog and other writing projects, wondering in what ways this piece inspired an artist I have come to admire.
It’s always interesting to me to think about the things that make an artist an artist–the different parts of other influences that have come together to make them who they are. I think about the music I like, the writers I love, the movies that have been most influential to me, and I wonder how obviously and subtly they’ve shaped my own style. I know I especially go through phases after reading a lot of a certain author where I inevitably write like them (this especially happened with Raymond Carver when I first was really finding myself as a writer and devoured his short stories–thank you C-Matt for getting me into that).
So what’s inspired you and your art–whether it’s visual art, writing, music or something else?
I realize that I’ve been doing so much stuff in connection to the blog that I’ve actually been neglecting to WRITE in the blog. D’oh.
Apologies for the cliché, but I really hit the ground running in 2013. As I’ve noted earlier, I feel that, although good things did happen in that time, the past 2 years have been a bit stagnant for me and it was time to start really getting my shit together. My friends are half-amused, half baffled by my only-sort-of joking adoption of the now-passé adage of YOLO (or “You Only Live Once” for those of you not into silly Internet slang). But I appreciate the sentiment, and instead of using it to create silly internet memes or drink to excess, I’m using it as a light-hearted reminder that life is indeed short and there’s a lot of shit I still want to get done before my time is over.
Original image from: http://upstreamdownstream.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/image.jpg
By far one of my favorite weather phenomenons is unusually warm, spring-like weather in January. I love how those days manage to break up the winter’s oppressiveness while also offering hope that bright–and warmer–days are in store. Most years there is at least one or 2 days that fit this designation, but this year, we’ve really lucked out and the entire month has been pretty manageable. Although already in the 50s, we’re supposed to hit the 60s this weekend in Jersey, and truly, I couldn’t be happier. Continue reading →
Well, folks– it’s officially over: Christmas, New Year’s, 2012. Back to normalcy and patiently waiting for the cold, dark days to get longer.
It’s honestly hard to believe that New Year’s just happened this week–with Christmas already disassembled at the house, and with the desperation for routine to be re-established, I kind of feel like I’ve been operating post-holidays for weeks now.
I guess then I shouldn’t be so hard on myself for not being motivated to do much of anything beyond the things that need to be done. But there is just so much to be done–so many things I want to do with the blog and other writing projects, so much personal bettering and reading and general living and life figuring out I would like/need to do, but the past couple nights have been spent in my pajamas on the couch.
I guess you can currently color me as suffering from the Winter Blues, although I’m hopeful this is a temporary storm front that will be passing soon. There is much to get excited for and be hopeful about, so fingers crossed I get motivated again soon.
Until then, I might just have to watch Love Actually one more time to hold on to a little bit more of that holiday hopefulness…
This has been a strange year filled with so many wonderful surprises, unexpected disappointments, unprecedented heartaches, and delirious celebrations. Although they haven’t all been easy, I am grateful for every single life lesson that was learned in 2012 and I look forward to applying this new-found knowledge to whatever 2013 has in store for me.
Here’s to uncharted territory. To the friends I’ve kept, the ones I’ve lost, the ones I’ve just met, and to those I’ve yet to meet. Here’s to new life lessons, to more growth, and hopefully more patience and grace. Here’s to the end of my 20s and the beginning of my 30s. Here’s to the tears caused by pain and by laughter, and the people who’ll let me cry both by their side. Here’s to love, to family, to new beginnings. Here’s to all the strange and wonderful things left to come!
Alright, 2013, I’m ready for you. Are you ready for me?
I started to write this big ol’ reflection blog that inevitably begs to be written during the post-Christmas, pre-New Year’s haze, but I stopped short of posting.
What I tried to convey in about 600 words was already penned more succinctly and eloquently nearly (holy shit) 50 years ago.
I hope everyone enjoyed their holidays and that the New Year finds you all happy and healthy. I’m hoping to get back on track with the blog once I’ve managed to more fully recover from the whirlwind that was December.
Looking forward to catching up soon, dear friends…