I've been neglecting this blog lately because I'm working on completing my book that consists of the memoirs I previously posted here. It's coming along and is way more than halfway done. I hope to send it to an editor and have it published in 2022 or early 2023. Today, I was rewriting some of my trip across the country when moving from the coast of Oregon to Upstate New York in 1982. We traveled in our VW bus with myself, my husband, two young children, our cat and as many of our belongings that we could cram in there, breaking down in every state along the way and taking three times longer to make the journey than originally planned. As I rewrote about our unplanned stop in Ohio and the significance of the song "She'll Be Coming 'Round The Mountain", it got me thinking about the soundtracks of my life.
We all have them, right? For me the soundtrack of my earliest years was Big Band, Jazz, Blues and Classical music. As a preteen and teen, it was mostly The Beatles and Motown. When my partner and I were out to dinner last night, I heard "God Bless the Child" sung by Billie Holiday and remarked that I owned a "Lady Sings the Blues" songbook as a teen. I was taking piano and voice lessons at the time and trying to survive horrendous high school years filled with bullying and a severe physical disability. That songbook was part of my survival. After a particularly hard day at school, I would come home and work my way through that book, playing and singing my heart out until I felt as though I could function again. After I graduated from high school, one of the songs that stands out to me is "The Taxi" by Harry Chapin. I remember vividly driving around in 1972, getting high in my car and loudly singing along, especially the line "I go flying so high, when I'm stoned." Another one was “Maggie May” by Rod Stewart and the whole Tapestry album by Carole King.
Later on, I discovered The Grateful Dead. When my marriage was dissolving, or more like exploding or erupting, “Brokedown Palace” by The Dead always made me cry. Then, when I finally left my husband, Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me” let me cry my heart out and eventually find healing. I later found out that he was crying to “Total Eclipse of the Heart” by Bonnie Tyler, which I would never have guessed. Music has always been my best medicine. Writing my own music helps me articulate feelings that might otherwise be buried. Most of those songs never go out to the public. Occasionally they surface, but they’re really meant for me. We all have our own coping mechanisms, and we all have our own relationships with music. I wonder what your soundtracks have been. Mine are ever-evolving.