I can see by her eyes she’s been waiting

I can see by her eyes she’s been waiting
Writings

Nineteen is the year I seem to revisit most often. It was the year that I found things, lost things and began to carve out a “me” from things outside of my upbringing, things that didn’t come from book pages or classroom settings, nor from anything I perceived as “expected” of me.

I used to wander aimlessly through Fullerton College, the junior college I went to just out of high school. With my eyes slightly glazed over, I would turn in another paper, memorize a new monologue, or switch out the mandatory math tutorial tapes for cassettes of The Cure and Suzanne Vega’s Solitude Standing.

It was me and “Luka” in those math labs, and sometimes “Charlotte as I scribbled numbers and graphs into workbook pages.

Those afternoons felt like a slow-moving purgatory. They kept me a prisoner of my own design until the buzzer would ring, classes ended for the day, and I would walk zombie-like to my Honda Civic.

writings LD

I never named that little red car, though she meant everything to me. She was my first. My confidante most days. My partner in crime. Sometimes the two of us would skip classes and study labs all together – my car and me – driving to the beach and parking for hours by the sand.

I rarely got out. No, at the time I preferred to roll the windows all the way down, recline the driver’s seat as far as it would go, leaving the keys at half-mast so the music could still play. The Cure’s “Lovecats” meowing me into an afternoon nap.

memoir LD

The three boys who had been my sanity in high school called me up one night, in the early part of my nineteenth year. They’d been spending most evenings in Hollywood and were determined to get me to come along.

writings lyriquediscorde

I’d pulled a disappearing act since high school had ended. Two days a week taking classes, and every other day I worked in the mall, at Jay Jacobs.

I wasn’t sure what I was doing, where I was headed, or who I was. I was just going through the motions, numb to most everything.

Back in high school, we’d all obtained identities, even if we didn’t choose them. We were part of groups, or we were excluded from groups, our identity the accusation, or the solution.

memoir lyriquediscorde

But now, well, no one put me anywhere. No one knew me as anything except “the girl behind the counter”, or “the girl cleaning out a dressing room”, “or the girl who did a Carrie Fisher book excerpt for her first monologue”.

I was becoming “Solitude Standing”, staring out windows, or rolling them down to let the salty air in. Squinting at my reflection in the dressing room mirrors wondering who I was becoming.

Was I becoming anything at all?

I was lost.

I was waiting for something.

“Solitude Standing” by Suzanne Vega
from the album, Solitude Standing (1987)

My best friend from Senior year was still in school. She had plans to move out as soon as she could, and asked me, over and over, why I hadn’t left home myself. My mother was more lost that I was then, staying out late with her friends, calling to have me pick her up from random locations. I’d find her some mornings standing in an apartment complex parking lot, last night’s heels in her hand, looking like she didn’t know who she was either.

Feeling lost has no age limit.

I had lost my role as a daughter, trading it in for a makeshift caretaker and hall monitor for her, and a surrogate parent for my little brother.

We were all still shattered by what had happened the year before. Still stumbling around like a family of zombies; infected, actually dead, but not yet aware of it.

Those three boys, they saved me again, just like they’d done during that nightmare of a year. It was that phone call – their invitation that they wouldn’t let me refuse – that would end up defining nineteen. My nineteen.

memoir

I climbed in the backseat.

They handed me a bottle of Strawberry Boones Farm, one dollar a bottle.

It tasted like Jolly Ranchers with a bite.

I took swig after swig while “Shake the Disease” played on the car stereo. I was wearing new shoes and as we drove I could feel the not broken in faux leather stiff and restrictive, causing my toes to sting.

I just took another drink straight from the bottle, one of the three taking my hand in his in the backseat.

daily writing

The boy who was driving caught my eye in the rearview mirror and winked. He then proclaimed to the car, and everyone in it, that we should kiss Marilyn before going to Ground Zero.

“Lore, you’re wearing just the right shade of red.”

None of it made sense, not yet, but all of it sounded amazing.

I felt the alcohol buzzing in my head and the throb in my toes, and something more. I felt like I was finally waking up.

The Ocean Blue VOTD

“Between Something and Nothing” by The Ocean Blue

“Between Something and Nothing” by The Ocean Blue
from the album, The Ocean Blue (1989)
Video of the Day

“And I long to know you’re real.
And I long for you to be part of me.
I long to know you’re real.
And I long for you to be a part of me.”

The Ocean Blue Between Something and Nothing VOTD

Blue Jay MOTD

Blue Jay (2016)

Blue Jay was directed by Alex Lehmann in his fictional feature debut, from a screenplay by Mark Duplass. It stars Duplass and Sarah Paulson. The film had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 12, 2016.

The film was released on October 7, 2016, in a limited release prior to being released through video on demand on October 11, 2016. (from Wikipedia)

Blue Jay (2016)
Written by Mark Duplass
Directed by Alex Lehmann
Movie of the Day

Meeting by chance when they return to their tiny California hometown, two former high-school sweethearts reflect on their shared past. The film marked the Duplass Brothers’ first film under their four-picture deal with Netflix. Netflix financed the film without seeing a script, but just reading a 10-page outline of the story. This allowed for a true independent film experience.

The film had no script. The actors were given a summary of the movie and their characters and the rest was improvisation.

Blue Jay was the first feature film for director Alex Lehmann. He also served as the director of photography and cinematographer of the film.

The film was shot over the course of seven days in and around Crestline, California. It was filmed on a canon camera without built-in recording or built-in power source.

The film’s score was composed by Julian Wass.

One of my best friends recommended Blue Jay to me. I’ve said this before, at lyriquediscorde, but any and every movie she has ever recommended to me has ended up on my list of all-time favorite movies (if you want some recommendations by her, too, you should follow her movie Instagram – breewatchesmovies.

Here are some of my thoughts on the movie, written originally after seeing it for the first time.

Blue Jay MOTD LD

Nostalgia has plot holes, but oh how I have such a soft spot for it. How many times have I thought about what it would be like to run into a past love, to have a day to spend together, to talk and re-connect, and share a moment again. Not just any past love, but one that mattered, one that had real significance. But, given that opportunity, is it not potentially loaded with emotional landmines that can, or most likely will, go off unexpectedly?

This movie hit very hard. I had a nostalgia reuniting situation a few years ago, and it was full of wonder and magic and passion – at first, but eventually all it had was a hell of a lot of landmines, and boy did they go off. Would I do it again? At one time I would have said yes, but now, where I am in my life, my answer is no. Would these two characters do it again? Yes, I think they would. I really do.

Blue Jay Movie MOTD

This film reminded me at times of the second installment in Richard Linklater/Ethan Hawke/Julie Delpy’s “Before” series, as well as Graham Greene’s book, “The End of the Affair”. The former because of the reconnecting of past lovers, and the day spent together, though to me “Blue Jay” had more hope and joy to it, even in the sad moments, than “Before Sunset” did. The latter (“The End of the Affair”) in the reveal that what you assume, and what you decide to say, is not always what you want, or mean. I do not want to spoil anything, but there is a moment where you see that things that happened, and things said, were not as true as they seemed at the time.

Sarah Paulson and Mark Duplass are two favorite actors of mine, and they were brilliant in this. They had chemistry and ease and emotional deft that brought these characters immediately to life for me, and also pulled my heart around for the entirety of their day/night together. I felt so much watching this film. I laughed, I cheered, I sang-a-long, I hurt, I cried — a lot, and I felt — a lot, too.

I think what hit me the most was how lost Amanda seemed to be, in her life, and in herself. Jim is lost, too, but he seemed more cognizant of it, more recently aware. But, I felt like it was all hitting Amanda. Maybe seeing Jim joggled some of that in her; the experience of hearing her voice on the tape, coming head-on with her younger self, as well as her first love. That resonated with me as I find myself wrestling with my own lost self, and traversing my way through it.

I loved the way these two connected to music in this, and how music played a part in their relationship, and their meeting up again moments. I love the black-and-white filming of it, the way it added to the starkness of winter in this small town, and the bleakness of being lost and being back home again. And, I loved both of these characters so much. When the movie ended I wanted so much more, but at the same time was good with where they left it.

The film plays out like a play. I’d actually love to see it performed on-stage, preferably with Mark and Sarah. I can’t imagine anyone else playing them.

The choice to have the movie shot in black-and-white was a brilliant one. I think it adds to the intimacy and almost too close look into these two people’s lives. It strips away the distraction of color and just focuses on these two characters – just as a play, in a small theater, with two actors on a stark and nearly empty stage would.

Mark Duplass Sarah Paulson Blue Jay MOTD

“No More I Love You’s” by Annie Lennox scene

Pete Yorn Top 5 Music Obsessions

Top 5 Music Obsessions featuring Pete Yorn

Sundays have always been my favorite day of the week. It started back when I used to work six days a week, Monday thru Saturday, back in the ’90s, when I was in my 20’s. Sunday was a special day. My only day off. A day when I’d get the urge to cook lots of food, and have people over to eat, drink, and have great conversations. Oh, and listen to lots of music.

Sundays don’t have that same charm anymore, yet the day still holds a specialness to it, for me. There is something peaceful about it. A day when I try not to have too many places to go, or too long of to-do lists. I like to ditch time on Sundays, taking the day as it comes instead of holding to schedules and places I have to be. It doesn’t always work out that way. What ever does? But today I’m happy to say is just like that.

I’m indulging in my second cup of coffee while sitting at my dining room table, listening to today’s selection of Top 5 Music Obsessions, and letting the songs take me where they want me to go.

I’m still struggling a lot and sleeping too little, but the music is helping some today. As is the coffee, and no particular place to go. I do have a to-do list. Laundry, a bit of housework, and a work project that’s deadline is tomorrow. But, I’m taking it slow, and taking some time to write, and listen to music. It helps.

So, let’s get right to it. To the music. To today’s Top 5.

Top 5 Music Obsessions – Sunday, June 2, 2019

Listen on Spotify and YouTube and Pandora

1. “Can’t Stop You” by Pete Yorn
Single released 2019

“(Imagine it)
Can’t stop you from hurting yourself.
(Can’t stop you)
It’s not you who’s driving us all away.
(It’s not you)
Can’t stop you from losing it all.
(Can’t stop you)
Can’t stop you.
Can’t stop you.”

Pete Yorn is one of my forever all-time favorites, and it shows here at lyriquediscorde. One of his songs was the very first post here, back in 2011, and he has been featured here countless time since. I love his music. His music gifts me so many things, comfort, hope, dreams, inspiration, and just that indescribable feeling that music that means the world gives.

Of the two new singles released this week, “Can’t Stop You” is my favorite. It resonates deeply with me right now. Both in how I feel/how I am impacted by things people I love are going through, and how I feel about the struggles and issues I’m trying to get through myself. This song is honestly just what I needed right now, and I am so grateful.

It has that tried and true Pete sound to it, but with a little extra flourish that makes it both timeless and contemporary. It feels like Summer. It feels like time at the ocean, times on the road with the windows rolled down, and times sitting alone in contemplation, worrying and wondering about someone (or yourself), and learning to let go of things you can’t control.

Give this track multiple listens. Then go out into the world, on a walk, or a drive, and play it again. You’ll thank me for it.

2. “Possibly Maybe” by Björk
from the album, Post (1995)

“Your flirt finds me out,
teases the crack in me,
smittens me with hope.”

Fitting right in with this month’s theme, and today’s Song of the Day, “Possibly Maybe” is the perfect crush song. A tune for when you feel that first flush of feeling from another person. There is excitement, desire, and the uncertainty of where it will lead if it leads anywhere at all. Possibly it could become something more. Maybe it could even become love.

This track also has a Summer feel. I guess my ears, and music obsessive heart is readying for the Summertime (though I could skip right over the heat – when it comes).

3. “Desire Lines” by Lush
from the album, Split (1994)

“We hold parties in our sleep.
We fill ourselves up in our sleep.”

I’ve been diving in deep to women in music in the ’90s for this month’s Song of the Day theme, and keep finding songs I can’t get enough of. This one is definitely in that category.

Sleep has been elusive lately. I’ve had three nights of very bad insomnia where I’ve hardly slept at all, and when I do finally doze off, bad dreams come to take me over. I wake suddenly then, full of panic and anxiety, and the struggle to fall asleep starts all over again.

I’m longing to fill myself up with sleep. I know my body, mind, and emotions really need it. Maybe it will be better tonight.

Maybe I need to make a lullaby playlist.

4. “Turn Me Down” by Julia Jacklin
from the album, Crushing (2019)

“It’s a lot to ask of you,
to believe in me,
when I can’t even promise,
I’d do things differently next time.”

I feel like this song, especially the lyrics above, were written for me, in my life, right now. They resonate so much it hurts.

Julia Jacklin is one of my favorite new discoveries of the year, and her album Crushing will definitely be on my favorite albums of 2019 list.

P.S. This song also feels like Summer, to me.

5. “Kinky Love” by Pale Saints
from the EP, Flesh Balloon (1991)

“Good to me.
Kinky, do all the things you should to me.
Wake up I’m nervous.
Sleep inside of me.”

Another “women in music in the ’90s” song. Another Summertime vibe kind of song. Sensual, sexy, soothing, and so beautiful.

I feel like I didn’t appreciate Pale Saints enough in the ’90s. I feel almost like I’m discovering them for the first time now. I’m sure glad I finally came around.

I want to swirl around in this song all morning, and afternoon.

TOP 5 MUSIC OBSESSIONS – JUNE 2019

Bjork It's Oh So Quiet SOTD

“It’s Oh So Quiet” by Björk

Day 2 of June’s Song of the Day theme – Women in Music in the ’90s – features one of the most danceable, addictive, theatrical, feel-good songs from the ’90s, “It’s Oh So Quiet” by Björk. “It’s Oh So Quiet” is tied with “Army of Me” as my go-to Björk track, tied for favorite, a tune that will always put me in a better mood. Always.

The song is track 4 from Björk’s 1995 album, Post, her second solo release. Something new that I learned about the song today is that it’s a cover. I’d always assumed it was an original. But no, it was Betty Hutton who recorded and released the catchy tune in 1951 as the B-Side to her single, “Murder, He Says”. But that isn’t the original either. Betty’s is a version of a German song, “Und jetzt ist es still”, performed by Horst Winter in 1948, with music composed by the Austrian composer, Hans Lang, and lyrics by Erich Meder. The English lyrics were written by Bert Reisfeld. A French title, “Tout est tranquille”, was performed in 1949 by Ginette Garcin and the Jacques Hélian Orchestra. (from Wikipedia)

Damn, this song has made its way all over the world. I think it’s time to have a listen, don’t you think? Let’s start with Today’s Song of the Day, Björk’s 1995 version.

“It’s Oh So Quiet” by Björk
from the album, Post (1995)
Song of the Day

“The sky caves in.
The devil cuts loose.
You blow blow blow blow your fuse.
When you’ve fallen in love.”

Listening to “It’s So Quiet” this early Sunday morning I immediately remember a local bar my friends and I used to go to, in the mid-90s, that had this very cool jukebox (oh how I love jukeboxes). This was one of my favorites to play. In fact, I’m pretty sure it was always part of my rotation when I slid my money in to pick a handful of songs.

Bjork SOTD LD

It also reminds me of an apartment I had, my stereo in the living room, this song blasting out of the speakers while I danced around, bouncing up and down to the loud and soft (shhhh) intervals of “It’s Oh So Quiet”.

I’m getting that urge to dance around my living room right now, but I’m trying to “quiet” the desire and keep on writing. I mean, really, how can you not want to dance to this?

“It’s Oh So Quiet” became Björk’s biggest hit in the UK. It led to the Icelander’s subsequent single releases “Hyperballad” and “Possibly Maybe” also reaching the UK Top 20. Björk later virtually disowned the song by not including it on her 2002 greatest hits album. It is thought that Björk was disappointed that her most popular song is an unusual cover done in a style totally different to anything else she has recorded.

Bjork sotd lyriquediscorde

Björk was quoted as saying this about the song, in Record Collector, August 2002:

“It was sort of a joke really. It was a song Guy Sigsworth used to play on the bus when we were touring. Ever since I almost regret doing it because I wanted to put so much importance on making new music. So many people are doing old music and you’ve even got new bands doing old music. If I put something out in this world, it would be the courage to go ahead and invent things, so it’s ironic ‘It’s Oh So Quiet’ became my biggest song. The best bit was the video.” (from Björk.com)

The music video (see above) was directed by Spike Jonze and was inspired by musicals of the ’40s-’60s, notably the 1964 film The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. Björk was ill with a fever and could only speak in a whisper during the shoot. (from Songfacts)

Let’s have a listen to Betty Hutton’s 1951 version now:

What do you think? Björk’s version is definitely a loyal cover of the high energy, musical-style tune.

Björk Song of the Day LD

I hit play on Björk’s take on the song again, and I inhale those feelings of listening to it back in 1995. I was 26. I remember really feeling this song, singing it with that glow and shine that usually accompany that first falling for someone feeling.

I’m reminded, too, that this was the year I’d see Björk play live for the first time. She played it then. My friend and I danced around in the crowd, my head spinning in that drunk and a little delirious kind of way.

Do you have any specific memories attached to “It’s Oh So Quiet”?

Let’s end today’s trip back to 1995 by going back to the 40’s, with the actual original.

“Und jetzt ist es still” by Horst Winter

Wait. I changed my mind. Let’s end instead with Björk performing the song live. Okay?

“It’s Oh So Quiet” (live, 1995) by Björk

The Cranberries Quintessential Albums

The Cranberries – Everybody Else is Doing it, So Why Can’t We?

The Cranberries – Everybody Else is Doing it, So Why Can’t We? (1993)
Quintessential Albums

Continuing with June’s theme of Women of the ’90s, let’s take a look at why The Cranberries, Everybody Else is Doing it, So Why Can’t We?, is one of my Quintessential Albums.

The Cranberries Quintessential Albums

A Little History:

Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We? is the debut album by The Cranberries. Released in 1993, it was their first full-length album after having released four EPs and is also their first major label release.

The album was written entirely by the band’s lead singer Dolores O’Riordan and guitarist Noel Hogan. It reached # 9 in the Irish charts and # 1 in the UK.

The album was re-released in 2002, under the title Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We? (The Complete Sessions 1991-1993). This version of the album featured bonus tracks as well as B-sides from the singles lifted off the album. (from Wikipedia)

After the release of a first single, “Dreams” in September 1992, The Cranberries proposed their debut album, Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?, in March 1993 (which “Dreams” is featured on). Neither the album nor the single gained much attention, nor did a second single, “Linger”, also on the album.

When the band embarked on a tour supporting Suede, they then caught the attention of MTV, which put their videos into heavy rotation. Although “Linger” was first released in the UK in February 1993, peaking at # 74, it was later re-issued in February 1994 peaking at # 14. (from Wikipedia)

Dolores QA

This was followed by “Dreams” (re-released in May 1994, peaking at # 27) which helped their debut album to reach # 1 on the UK Album Chart, becoming one of only five artists to ever achieve a re-entry at that chart position.

After a North American and European Tour, O’Riordan married the band’s tour manager, Don Burton, in July 1994. (from Wikipedia)

What Makes This “Quintessential” to me?

Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We? is so completely ’90s to me, not just in sound and style, but in the way it makes me feel like I am back there, back in 1993, living in my favorite apartment on Wilshire with my then husband (though in the same year we would split) and our year old daughter. I could usually be found wearing baby doll floral dresses and crushed velvet leggings, staying up late at the Winged Heart Cafe, and being utterly confused with who I was. I fell out of love that year, and then in it anew not so long after. I had no idea what I was doing with my life, but I was trying hard to figure it out.

This album, every song, it reminds me of sitting in the cafe down the road, after hours, this album playing. I felt lost, but some small part of me felt like I was finding people to belong with. I was trying hard to figure out how to be a Mom, how to go to school still, how to turn a bad relationship into a functional family. It never could.

That year, I met the man who I’d spend a huge chunk of my life with. Who I would live in four different states with, ever chasing the chance to be okay. Together. We had so many dreams. He was broken in ways I could never fix, though I tried. I tried so hard. All the broken parts in me, the times I needed help, he couldn’t stand. He needed me to be the strong one. Always.

We took this album with us. Every step of the way. Every state line, new home, to every stop-and-start. It was part of our shared favorites. We new ever song, we knew every line. He even played one on the guitar, singing to me in our first apartment bedroom, and later, singing it as a lullaby to our first child together.

The Cranberries Quintessential Albums

Though the “hits” on this album suffered from mass overplay for awhile, they persist as great songs, twenty-six years later they still sound incredible.

And the non-radio “hits”? They are gorgeous, emotional, and stunning. The whole album is really.

 

My Top 5 Favorite Songs:

1. “How”

“Now you’re just walking away (walking away),
when you said you always would stay (always would stay).”

2. “I Still Do”

“Need some time to find myself.”

3. “Put Me Down”

“I can’t take this anymore.
I decided to leave,
Walked out through the door.”

4. “Linger”

“I swore,
I swore I would be true,
and honey,
so did you.”

5. “I Will Always”

“I will always,
go beside you,
You will always,
understand.”

The Cranberries Album of the Week

Booksmart MOTD

Booksmart (2019)

Booksmart was directed by Olivia Wilde, from a screenplay written by Emily Halpern, Sarah Haskins, Susanna Fogel, and Katie Silberman. The film stars Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein, who play best friends on the cusp of high school graduation, and changes that will separate them. They have spent their lives goal-oriented, focused, and driven, avoiding anything reckless or non-academic. They decide to break the rules on their graduation eve, and the film takes us along for the ride.

Booksmart Movie Poster MOTD

Booksmart (2019)
Written by Emily Halpern, Sarah Haskins, Susanna Fogel, and Katie Silberman
Directed by Olivia Wilde
Movie of the Day

I was lucky to have seen a preview showing of Booksmart a few weeks ago. But, in order to both support women filmmakers and also share the movie with my daughters, we went to see it again today. What a perfect way to start June off – a Summertime feel of a movie starring awesomely talented women, written by awesomely talented women, and directed by an awesomely talented woman.

Booksmart is clever, funny, well-written, and original in its take on the teenage/coming of age/one night left/party genre. It defies expectations while still visiting those well-trodded teen tropes that we all know and love.

I love the young women in this film who are taking agency of their sexuality and sex, their life choices, and their futures. I applaud a real look at best friends-friendship, the good and the bad. I think it speaks a lot to relationships and intimacy, the give-and-take between people, and how it is to be a best friend/in a best friendship.

BS Movie of the Day

At times, it reminded me a lot of the best friend I grew up with. The intimacy we shared, and the struggles. It definitely made me miss her, too.

The leads in this are fantastic. I’ve been a fan of Kaitlyn Dever since the film Short Term 12, and have enjoyed her in other movies such as Laggies, and The Spectacular Now. And Beanie, she stole the movie Ladybird in so many ways, to me. I can’t wait to see what both actors do next.

Booksmart June 1 MOTD

I’d also be remiss to not mention the comedy brilliance, and overall glow, of Billie Lourd. I’ve had my eye on her since her stints on “American Horror Story” and “Scream”, and because of her family ties (Carrie Fisher – a forever favorite, and inspiration, of mine). Billie is outrageous in this film, in the best kind of way.

The love and laughter and awkward moments and heart in this film are what makes it so enjoyable, and what will stick with me for a long time to come. I love that there was no real difference in the characters experience with love and sex, regardless of their sexuality. It was great to see an awkward bathroom-at-a-party sex scene with two girls, sex that wasn’t “lesbian for the male gaze”, but sex that felt like real first-time clumsiness and nervousness. I like that the movie flips stereotypes on their heads, even if the film has received criticism for having everyone be “too nice” to each other (I really don’t see it that way).

All in all, this movie is great fun. A good time. Full of heart and laughter and bittersweet joy. I know I’m going to add this to my movie collection when I can and add it to my roster of movies that make me feel good.

Also, yay women filmmakers and writers and actors – if you want to see more like this go out to the theaters and support movies like this – so we can get more, and more. 

Go see Booksmart right now in theaters – and take your best friends along with you!

 

Tori Amos Video of the Day

“Silent All These Years” by Tori Amos

“Silent All These Years” by Tori Amos
from the album, Little Earthquakes (1992)
Video by Cindy Palmano
Video of the Day

“My scream got lost in a paper cup.
You think there’s a heaven where some screams have gone?
I got twenty-five bucks an’ a cracker,
do you think it’s enough,
to get us there?”

I never took that trip - LD writings

I never took that trip

I never took that trip
Writings

My Grandfather was a gypsy. Well, not really. He was a welder. Born in Mexico City, though he’d spend his life denying it due to the bigotry and racism he encountered being from “across the border” and living in Los Angeles, in the ’40s. He told everyone he was born in Spain, that he was European, changing his last name, and marrying a girl that was first generation American. Her family actual European immigrants, coming from Denmark and Germany. My Grandfather had an infectious laugh, a love of big band music and Mariachi, and of the long and winding road. He would drive anywhere. All you had to say was “let’s go”. He managed to make any holiday an excuse to pack up the van, or the RV and set off to discover someplace new.

My Grandmother was more of the home and hearth type. She didn’t enjoy life on the road, though she always came along for the ride, often sitting in the farthest backspace, complaining about the twists and turns, the heights on travels that took us up mountains and cliff sides, often threatening to get out of the vehicle and walk back home.  Looking back, I wonder if she protested too much. If there was something more to the bickering and heated words between them, barbed pointy things that would come out while he kept driving. Did she enjoy the fighting? The complaining? Or was there resentment between them that I will never know?

Maybe she secretly loved the trips and travel.

Or maybe I just want to believe that because I find it so hard to fathom why she wouldn’t love every minute of it. I know I did.

My Grandfather let me ride shotgun. He gave me the job of the navigator, of opening the complicated folds of the map that were far too big for my small arms to outstretch completely. The job included being an eagle eye to all things interesting, to point out roadside attractions, and search and find the best places to stop for a meal, or a soft serve ice cream cone. I quickly learned that the smaller, unassuming diners were usually the best choice and that a story can be crafted out of just about anything you set your mind to. We used to be the only ones still awake and talking, as we rolled through the desert in the middle of the night, building on stories one or the other would start, inspired from a lone, misshapen cactus, or a counter clerk with an unusual laugh who rang us up a full tank of gas and glass bottles of Coca Cola.

My Grandfather taught me the love of the road, and of telling stories. In many ways, he helped shape the writer in me. I know when my restlessness hits the first thing I long for is to just hit the road and go. Sometimes its a weakness in me, a lack of desire to stay in one place for too long, my commitment issues to anything and anyone beyond my children. At times, though, I think it is one of my finest strengths, as it has made me flexible, adaptable, and capable to start over – and capable of knowing (and believing) that starting over is always an option. It has saved my life before in more ways than I care to express today. It may very well save my life again.

I know that I see the world differently because of my Grandfather. That I see possibilities and histories and stories to tell in everyone I come across, and how I’m often burning to tell them or write them all down. I know that my gypsy soul and the writer that I am is more than partially due to him, and I wish sometimes that I could travel back in time and tell him just how much he meant to me, and how much he has made me the woman that I am – a writer, a traveler, a gypsy, a survivor, a lover of change, and of the road itself.

“Graceland” by Charlie Sexton
from the True Romance Soundtrack (1995)

Sleater Kinney Top 5 Music Obsessions

Top 5 Music Obsessions featuring Sleater-Kinney

The first of June’s Top 5 Music Obsessions is a mix of old and new, featuring two new tracks released this week that I can’t get enough of, a song by one of my favorite women of the ’90s (on theme), one of my favorites from my teenage years in the ’80s, and a sad and beautiful song that breaks my heart as much as it soothes it. Those are the best kinds sometimes, don’t you think?

I’m having a really hard time right now. So many people are struggling right now. I feel selfish complaining, and I find it hard to ask for help, or to speak on how I’m feeling at all. I’m grateful for those people in my life who are there for me, who remind me that I matter, and who don’t turn away or get upset if I’m not doing well. I don’t know what I’d do without them. It’s hard though, I feel alone and lonely, and I feel myself retreating inward, putting up walls and shuttering up my feelings. My writing has suffered for it, I’ve suffered for it, too. I need to make some big changes that will take a lot out of me, but something has to give. I can’t be this unhappy all the time. It isn’t good for anyone. It isn’t good for me.

Small changes first though. I am giving myself the time to breathe and plan and sort it all so I minimize regrets and curb my flight/run away fast knee-jerk reactions. Spontaneity and rashness are not always the right choice. So those small choices. Re-connecting with my writing, here and with my novel. Re-connecting with friends and mending things where they need mending, forgiving where forgiveness is needed, apologizing where apologies are needed, and that goes for me, too. I need to find her. The me in me again.

Enough of all that sad. Let’s turn up the music and celebrate a “first” day. A new beginning. The start of June.

Sleater Kinney Top 5 Music Obsessions Header

Top 5 Music Obsessions – Saturday, June 1, 2019

Listen on Spotify and YouTube and Pandora

1. “Hurry On Home” by Sleater-Kinney
Single release – 2019

“You know I’m unfuckable.
Unloveable.
Unlistenable.
Unwatchable.
But just hurry on home to me.
I’ve made more space for you.”

Produced by Annie Clark, also known as St. Vincent. Danceable and all those things above that say un. No, this track is all of those things. I’d fuck it, love it, listen to it, dance with it, and then do it all over again. Wouldn’t you?

I can’t wait to hear the full album.

2. “Some Jingle Jangle Morning” by Mary Lou Lord
from the album, Lights Are Changing (1998)

“Somewhere it all got crazy,
and now it’s like a dream,
and I knew that I blew it from the start.
I was too freaked out to deal with it all.
And too fucked up to care.
I stood right there and watched it fall apart.”

One of my favorites from the ’90s. I felt every word of that.

Of all the things I seem to do right, relationships aren’t one of them.

3. “Calm Down” by Pete Yorn
Single Release – 2019

“I wish I knew then what I know now.”

It’s always a better day when a new Pete Yorn song comes into my life. His music has always got me, and gotten to me, soothing the parts of me that feel broken, gifting me hope and inspiration.

“Calm Down” is no exception. I’m feeling so lost and so full of regrets, beating myself up for mistakes and for being me. But, I don’t have a time machine. I didn’t know then what I know now. All I can do is breathe, and yeah, “Calm Down”. As always, thanks, Pete.

4. “Medicine” by Daughter
from the album, Wild Youth (2012)

You’ve got a warm heart.
You’ve got a beautiful brain.
But, it’s disintegrating.”

Such a heartbreaking song. Such a beautiful song. It feels so relevant right now that it hurts to listen to, but I keep listening. It makes me feel less alone.

 

 

5. “So In Love” by Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark
from the album, Crush (1985)

Talk to me,
don’t lie to me,
save your breath.
Don’t look at me,
don’t smile at me,
just close your eyes.”

My favorite OMD song. This one takes me back to 1985 with the very first notes. I’m transported. A slide show of memories. A school dance in a church basement. The backseat of a friend’s car. The beach on a late Summer afternoon. The light blue walls (mostly covered in posters). Taping songs off the radio. My best friends.

Top 5 Music Obsessions – June 2019

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