January 4, 2012

music and memories and change.

I've always been a music person. Everyone's a music person, of course, but there have been phases of my life when music seemed to take center stage, when I listened to it so often that silence felt rare and sort of strange. When I listened to it so often that I found myself thinking in verse, bridge, chorus. There have been phases of my life when I felt that every moment deserved its own song, its own lyrics, and still those memories are backed by their own soundtrack in my mind.

Music phases, for me, have always gone hand-in-hand with writing phases—no coincidence, to be sure. It's lucky, though, because I have a record of my musically inflated memories, and yesterday I spent nearly an hour revisiting old playlists, reliving those moments.

The windows were down, the air was warm, and there weren't any streetlights. I wore white shorts and smelled like chlorine and couldn't understand why anything ever needed to change.

I sat on a bench in the summer sun, missing old friends. Feeling hopeful. It was the first instrumental song I ever really loved, the one that taught me—lover of language that I am—that words can't say everything. Not even close.

Best friends, a bottle of champagne, and nothing else mattered.

I drove in the left lane on the I-5 and decided everything would be all right.

Oxford, England. Green and rain, the time in my life when I felt most fearless, most daring. I walked and wrote and walked some more and learned what it meant to both love and endure.

From a time when I was both heartbroken and in love, both afraid and elated beyond words.

Sandy hair and too-big sunglasses. Girl talk and popsicles.

He stood in the kitchen and laughed, saying nothing and everything I needed to hear.

There was cigarette smoke clouding the air, a scratchy microphone, a small stage, and a band we'd never heard of. I watched his easy smile and felt the realization of forever.

Linking experience and emotion to music—it's nothing new, I know. It's common, as natural as anything, but I think it's one of the most beautiful habits we have, don't you? I find myself collecting songs, any and all, in case they'll someday suit a fleeting moment. Silly, maybe. Or maybe not.

Do you have a favorite song memory? What is it?

(Photo: My Flickr)


I do, I do. said... [Reply to comment]

There are too many songs!! Good to know yours! :)

Malin said... [Reply to comment]

I want to feel all these feelings, you write so incredibly well!

Katherine Krieg said... [Reply to comment]

I totally love this post - SO TRUE. amazing what power a song has to transport you to an old memory. keep up the awesome writing.

DJ said... [Reply to comment]

I love this. I wrote something similar on my blog awhile ago, but yours just seems so effortless and makes me want to illustrate all of my music memories like that.

Here's the post I wrote (apparently when my blog was in a different format, oops) - http://werejustdandy.blogspot.com/2011/06/my-soundtrack.html

Sarah McCabe said... [Reply to comment]

Death Cab For Cutie - "Soul Meets Body"

Warm apple cider and an orange leaf in my hair, the moment I knew I finally fit in.

Ria said... [Reply to comment]

I love this. I'm completely a music person as well. My life is defined by the music I listen to and the things that happen during it.

Mine would have to be Wake Up - The Arcade Fire.

Laura Marie said... [Reply to comment]

@Malin You always leave the sweetest comments, thank you for that!

Laura Marie said... [Reply to comment]

@Sarah McCabe LOVE that song and love your beautiful memory!