Tuesday, September 2, 2008

A New Playlist

Grammar does hope that everyone who read my Labour Day diatribe understands it was -- at least mostly -- tongue in cheek! One of the things I really enjoy about this day, the day after Labour Day, is the palpable sense of excitement in the air. I had to go out to an appointment at the unfortunate hour of about 9:00 this morning (unfortunate due to this being the heaviest traffic day of the year!), but it was such fun to see all the kids heading off to school, looking at what they were wearing, knowing how carefully it had all been selected. I remember those days well, both for my childhood self and as a mother.

On the subject of nostalgia, I created a new playlist for my iPod the other day (best thing about iPods -- making playlists for any mood, any occasion!) This one is comprised of songs which all evoke a specific memory for me. I listened to this playlist in the car on my outing this morning and it was like listening to a story, following the pictures in my mind.

I’m not going to share all my selections because of course they don’t mean anything to anyone but me (and some of them might qualify for the category of Too Much Information!) But here are a few examples:

I have I Ain’t Gonna Cry Tonight by Barbra Streisand, because that was the song that helped me turn the corner after a breakup with a longtime boyfriend. It was almost three decades ago, but when I hear that song, I’m immediately back in my apartment, getting up off my tear-stained couch and starting to dance around on my shabby grass-green carpet. I hear that song and remember with total clarity how, from one moment to the next, I went from heartbreak and despair to excitement and hope for the future.

I have Choose Something Like a Star, a song written by the late contemporary American composer Randall Thompson. I sang this at summer music camp in 1973, where I spent four of the happiest weeks of my life. I listen to that song and I can smell the grass where we sat having Ear Training lessons outside. I see my youthful fingers effortlessly banging out a Bach Prelude and Fugue, something I could not play today to save my life.

I have John Denver singing Sunshine on my Shoulders and remember a senior high school music tour to Seattle. We were heading home at the end of the weekend and I was in a car driven by a classmate. In the back seat with me was my secret crush Jim. (At least, I thought it was a secret at the time. Teenagers being considerably less subtle than they think they are, of course he knew. But he was kind.) Anyway, it was late and dark, the drive was long, and I was debating whether I had the courage to lay my head on Jim’s shoulder for a snooze. Sunshine came on the radio and it was during the 5 minutes and 14 seconds of its run (I checked my iTunes!) that my head ever so slowly tilted down, down, down…and…there.

I have Elvis singing Can’t Help Falling in Love with You, because I sang it as I endlessly rocked my infant firstborn. I hear this song and remember feelings of immense fatigue and confusion. The words seemed so apt: this tiny, helpless, squalling creature was the cause of my fatigue and confusion, but also of a new love beyond description.

The thought process of creating a playlist like this is as much fun as listening to it in sequence afterwards. I highly recommend it as a project for one of your quiet, orderly fall days!

1 comment:

Punkin said...

THIS is why I check your blog so frequently; hope that I will see in words emotions that I could never express. You talk about your feelings but we feel them with you. You are an amazing writer. Thanks.