It’s a fragile thing, this life we lead…

I’m 30, and at this stage in my life, I thought being greatly affected by a Pearl Jam song was a thing in my past. Sure, I still love “Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town” and “Black,” but I know the appreciation I have for those now is more a nostalgic thing vs an emotionally core-shaking one, as it once was when I was 14 and aching. (Rewinding the cassette I recorded from the radio over and over and over. And yeah, I was probably wearing flannel.) Continue reading

The Lines Might Be Blurred, But One Thing Is Clear…. (Moment of Zen)

I’m not generally a fan of Jimmy Fallon’s comedy, but what he’s done with the musical portion of his show is brilliant. I love how he collaborates (and impersonates) different artists and, best of all, how he brings them in on the fun.

Anyone who’s been around me this summer knows this has been my jam and I’m absolutely loving this latest version as well.

Props especially to the dude with the rainbow xylophone.

Happy Friday, friends!

Getting back into the swing of things… Moment of Zen

I was recently sent this cover, performed by friend of a friend, and I was pretty impressed with it. “This would make a great Moment of Zen,” I thought to myself, and then realized how long it’s been since I posted one on the site, or posted anything for that matter.

This is the part where I explain how crazy life has been and how even through all the insanity, I never forgot about the blog, never lost the desire to write, how I kept trying, kept wanting to, but just couldn’t–how there’s been this strange mental block that has almost paralyzed my fingers every time I came to the log in site and stared at the cursor blinking on the blank screen. This is the part where I vaguely explain that things have been hard recently, that I’ve been going through “some things,” but now I’m back, and better than ever…

That’s how this spiel usually goes, right?

Well, dear readers, I’ll spare you those lines again, but I will tell you I am here, and despite the lack of posting, I’ve never really left. Things have been pretty crazy in my world recently, but I’m working on redefining my normal, and I’d like very much to start by getting things back on track here.

So, let’s enjoy this Moment of Zen together, and then let’s get back on track, shall well?

 

The Beat Goes On

The benefits of using music as therapy for Alzheimer’s patients are pretty well documented, but seeing the complete transformation that takes place when my mom listens to music is still pretty extraordinary.

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.

I left my love in San Francisco (That’s OK, I was bored anyway…)

I’ve been listening to this one of repeat pretty consistently for the past week and the more I listen to it, the more I like it. There’s something about its quirky, poppy innocence that makes it so infectious, and I can’t help but think it would work really well in a Wes Anderson film.

Plus, it just seems like the perfect complement for springtime weekend ride alongs. (And Parr, something tell me this one would be especially perfect for you :-))

This time machine runs on an AC/DC current.

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.

Continue reading

Preserve Your Memories; They’re All That’s Left You

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

I’ve come alone; I’ve come a long way to get here

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?

Music of Zen: “Youth” -Daughter

Stumbled across this one randomly and am really digging it. Once I get obsessively listening to this track out of my system, I look forward to taking the time to discover some of their other music.

Is there any music you’ve been especially enjoying recently? I’d love to hear about it in the comments section!

What the Dali, yo?

So, I recently read how Dali illustrated Alice in Wonderland as part of a limited edition print run, and I was instantly intrigued. I’ve always enjoyed Dali’s work, and Alice in Wonderland is one of my favorite children stories.

Source: williambennettgallery.com

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?