Friday, August 10, 2012

The Soundtrack Of Your Life

It's been a crazy summer here at casa Kruse-Safford.  My ten day sojourn back at my Ancestral Villa was an unexpected break for me even as the rest of my family puttered about their busy lives.  The recovery of our equanimity has been slow, not aided by an impending trip by Lisa and Miriam to southern Illinois to visit Lisa's 98 year old paternal grandmother, in hopes of beginning the discussion that might bring her to live out her remaining years with us.  For someone for whom stability and routine seem necessary for psychological balance, the past five or six weeks have been a life-lesson in the need to cope with the sudden and rapid succession of change.

I was inspired to do this, in part, because I read Scott McLemee's review of The Mind's Ear, with his invocation of the soundtrack that accompanies reading any particular philosopher.

In order to help myself a bit, I'm thinking of reworking my "Thoughts on America" series of posts into a set of two or three more coherent, clear, and slightly longer essays with the intention of offering the final product for publication.  I was re-reading them yesterday, and despite many flaws, I think there are many more virtues there.  This will require a bit more work, so at least for today, rather than exhaust my brain on yet another blog post (I was actually considering highlighting yet another Romney campaign goof but the poor guy has suffered enough, I think) I thought I'd do something light and fun.

Moriah is taking AP American History, which includes quite a bit of summer work, both reading and writing. She has been dutiful and consistent, working through each day, the ear buds firmly attached to her iPhone as she does her work with the music that keeps her happy.  Lord knows I can't complain about that.  Doing homework to music was a necessity in my youth; I would put an album on the turntable, sometimes agonizing over which record to play.

Last night at dinner, Moriah confessed that she "didn't like" Bob Marley, although the only song she knew by name, "Three Little Birds", was one she did like.  I then told the story of sitting around the dining room table in my childhood home with my mother, my sister, and my niece, playing some of the songs I'd loaded on my iPhone.  The first one I played was Opeth's "Heir Apparent".
Moriah countered with her current near-obsession, the British boy band One Direction.

Miriam parried this with K. T. Tunstall's "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree".
Back at my childhood home, I also played for my sister Amos Lee's "Violin", because I know that's the kind of thing she would love.
And I played "Poetry Man" by Phoebe Snow for my family last night.
This diverse set of music reminded me of the wonderful differences among even those who share so much.

I should note that some music I reserve for special occasions.  Early mornings, in particular, seem fitted to jazz, the music of Vangelis, and other such things.  I can listen to Joni Mitchell and CSNY for hours on end during high spring, but that music seems ill-suited for late summer/early fall when different songs make their appearance (my personal favorite as summer winds in to autumn is October Project, a short-lived pop group featuring the marvelous lead singer Mary Fahl.  Her recording of an old Arabic wedding song is stunning.
What sets your mood, not just for a day, but perhaps for a season?  What keeps you going while you're reading or sitting at your desk either at the office or home?  What music, whether long ago or just the past hour, passed through your ears making you smile, keeping you going?

Virtual Tin Cup

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