For as long as I can remember, music has been a large part of my life, of ME. Some of my best memories involve music and the one thing that can always calm my rushing mind is…you guessed it- music.
For the last year or so, I’ve been working on a project with Dawnie, inspired by our love for music and how it has been such an integral part of our lives. Dawnie challenged herself, me, and a few of our friends to write our memoirs in music. The beauty of the idea is that while different and similar music has definitely impacted our lives in different ways, each of us views music in our own ways, as well as having our own writing styles. So, while there would be an encompassing theme to the collection of our stories, each story would vary AND be structured differently.
I’ve started and stopped the project a dozen times or more. Not because I didn’t know what to write, or how I wanted to shape my stories…but because each song holds a memory for me. Whether it’s the lyrics reminding me of a similar issue within my own life or that the song itself has been soundtrack to a moment on my timeline, every song has something that ties in to my life.
Merle Haggard singing about Workin’ Man Blues transports me back to the kitchen in my grandmother’s little rock house on the hill. I close my eyes as the smell of fresh blueberry muffins envelops me. My fingers unconsciously trace an invisible jigsaw puzzle piece. I can hear Grandma humming along as she works her magic on the puzzle before us. It’s in the shape of a McDonald’s Big Mac and she’s talking about maybe treating ourselves to burgers and shakes for dinner while we watch Clyde “the Glide” Drexler and Karl “the Mailman” Malone.
I open eyes that are now misted over, thankful for the memory but saddened because those days are long gone.
John Michael Montgomery is telling me Life’s A Dance and I can smell the fresh hay in the bed of my dad’s old Ford pickup. Daddy is singing along in his deep, gravelly voice and my fourteen year old self has a moment of clarity- THIS is from where my love of song springs. That click of recognition warms me throughout and takes the edge off this new awkward father-daughter relationship. I join in, singing about dancing and life and lessons learned. My voice hitches just the slightest bit as I catch Daddy’s smile out of the corner of my eye.
I sure do love my dad’s smile. And his voice. So gruff when he speaks, it warms to sound like the finest whiskey rolling in its aging barrel.
“…They’re forming in a straight line, they’re going through a tight wind, the kids are losing their minds…”
Hey, ho, let’s go and my seven year old kiddo is bouncing up and down with his uncle Tyler. They’re playing Rock Band, Tyler rocking the drums, Jojo singing the only words he knows. “Hey, ho, let’s go!” It’s the last memory I have of them together. The unbridled excitement and amusement of The Blitzkreig Bop was not enough to break through my brother’s deep depression. For years afterwards The Ramones were 86’d from our home. The opening line would have me choked up and consoling a little boy who couldn’t quite remember why that song hurt his heart so very much.
The Ramones are back now, but Tyler remains only in our memories. Gone but not forgotten. The kids are losing their minds, indeed.
Today I hear Inner Ninja and my heart smiles as I think of Dawnie. I remember video chats that lasted hours because we got off on a tangent and talked far later than either of us had intended. I grin as I recall Twitter conversations where no matter what we were talking about, somehow it always turned so that it sounded dirty. I glance over to my pantry shelves, to the four wine glasses she sent Scotty and I as a wedding gift. Each is etched to depict a Beatle crossing that iconic crosswalk. My inner ninja leads me to Abbey Road and I find inspiration to write again.
Dawnie is a great inspiration in so many ways.
If you could play the soundtrack to your life, what would it sound like? What lyrics would get stuck on repeat? Whose voice do you hear singing along to your memories?