Music Memories

I was running errands yesterday, doing a bit of Christmas shopping and preparing for the rain storm that is bringing us much needed rain.  I had the Christmas tunes on and something came on that I wasn’t too fond of so I switched over to my favorite local 80’s channel.  It was perfect timing.  I heard the beginning of a familiar song and within a few seconds, I launched into Rapper’s Delight.  I know every hip hop the hippie the hippie to the hip hop part of the song and I love it.  It’s such a fun song to sing and it put me right back on the bus, riding to school with my friends, the music blaring from my boom box that I took everywhere with me.  I go into full hand motions and acting out the song while in my car, not caring who’s looking, hoping that everyone can have as much fun as I can by myself, listening to the radio.

I thought about talking with my friend “Ron” from my book.  I just spoke with him last month.  It was good getting caught up with him.  He said that when he first stepped on that same school bus so many years ago, his life was changed forever.  We laughed.  He said he walked down the isle of the bus and saw me with my friend “Taylor”.  We were sunken down in the oversized bus bench seat, with our knees up on the back of the seat in front of us.  We both had sunglasses on and Taylor’s hair was blown out.  We laughed again because it was so right, our memories.  I could see us all.  When the two of us saw Ron, I flipped my sunglasses up and said “hi”.

Back in my car, I could see all of this in my head without missing a beat or a word of the song.  It was such a long time ago and the regrets pained my heart.  I introduced “Ron” to more than two crazy girls and rap music.

The song ended as I pulled into the grocery store parking lot.  Sheila E. came on.  I was transported from the bus to my living room, practicing dance moves with “Faith”, my best friend.  We were inseparable.  I sang about the Glamorous Life and pictured us, always clowning around, eating and forever dancing.  Best friends forever was really best friends for a little while or maybe best friends until things get tough or indifferent or complicated.

When I returned to the car, I was heading to the mall when Jam On It came on. Yeah, yeah, we know, we know.  I’m not the least bit embarrassed that I used to break dance.  I saw myself “popping” and wished I was still as good as I was then.  As each year passes in my life, I wonder what the oldest dancer has ever been to start a career, not considering endurance, flexibility, skill or any of the other important requirements that are needed to be a dancer.

There’s lots of things I want to be.  There’s lots of things I’ve been.  I’m going to go make dinner.

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Music to my ears

I have a whole category just for music because it’s such an influence in my life.  I’ve been thinking over the past few months of a blog post around music but haven’t been able to narrow it down in scope any so I’ve hesitated to write about it.  I attempted a go at it today and found myself going back to when I was a child and the effect that music had on me back then.  It started to form so nicely that I think I’m going to keep it for my next book.  But, I didn’t want that to stop me from writing a little bit about music.  It’s so vast that it’s hard to pinpoint just one thing or even one area to talk about.  The one thing that keeps me wanting to write about music is that I’ve always got it on.  When I’m by myself, especially in the car, I have it cranked.  I feel it, I imagine it, I see it take form in dance moves, I act it out, I sing, I play imaginary instruments.  I think about the intro to some awesome songs.  You know the ones.  The first beat you hear, you know what it is.  That’s when I reach for the volume and turn it up.  Over the months I’ve thought of this post, I’ve come up with some prime examples and just when I think I have the best list, more come on the radio or get played from my iPod.  The latest is Kashmir by Led Zeppelin.  That hypnotic dun, dun, dun at the beginning.  Or AC/DC’s Back in Black that has my head tilting just as the tick, tick, tick, DUNT, dun, dun, dunt kicks in and I go full head banging.  Maybe Fantastic Voyage is more your speed.  I can see myself saaaaailing along the roller skating rink, bouncing up and down on the straight stretch and then cross over, cross over, cross over on the turns just to do it all over again.  Dancing Machine by the Jackson 5 would also qualify.

Perhaps your thing is the slow drawl of country that strings you along on hot, sticky days.  I recently downloaded Lee Ann Womack’s I Hope You Dance.  It’s one of those songs I sit and really listen to and wish I could abide to her plea.

I love the music of everything.  At a show, when the orchestra starts to warm up and the lights go down, I get chills.  They pound out the sound while the performers belt out the notes night after night.  There’s nothing like it.  I’ve bought the CD to every Cirque Du Soleil show I’ve ever been to because the music is so haunting and beautiful that it’s a great backdrop for doing other things (like writing).

Music takes me to places that I’ve not been to in years.  It forces me to think about those I’ve lost, ones I miss because we’re miles apart, old flames, growing pains and times past.  They’re apart of my memory just as much as the actual event.

I went to an event a few weeks ago with a friend that I’ve had forever.  Her daughter is a super-star to be.  She was dancing.  I’ve seen her dance before but it’s been a couple years.  I watched her in a room with younger, much younger, and older kids.  I reflected back on a time when I was in my living room with my best friend at the time.  We were about the same age.  We did our own choreography for hours.  Almost thirty years later, I feel as though I could still pound out the same routine the kids in front of me were doing.  I believe that a dancer can see the music.  Whether they’re a dancer professionally or not.  I was jealous and envious but proud to know this kid and grateful to have her mom still in my life.

Speaking of making through life, I can’t leave out the most important genre of them all.  The 80s.  Is 80s music really a genre unto its own?  Hell yes!  I love 80s music more than probably anything.  And it’s not just top 40.  It’s the hair bands, the tail end of disco, electronic and soft rock all in one.  Above them all, Pat Benatar has gotten me through so many jams in my life that I could never repay her.  I’m sure she’s been talking to me over the years through her songs.

I can’t comprehend how some people would rather not have the radio on in the car or listen to talk shows when there’s the opportunity to hear music.  Some people don’t even like it at all.  That’s just completely foreign to me.  Perhaps they’ve never been to a concert or live show.  I don’t know.  I don’t have an answer or any understanding of it, whatsoever.  There’s so much feeling in music that I don’t know how it can be ignored or not included in life.