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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Paul Simon is [GASP!] wrong...

My mom has a lot of opinions.  Many are about me.  Some are good.  Some are not so good.  Some I agree with.  Some, well, I just don't. 
Then, there is the one that is really worthless.  It's about my hair.  She hates my hair.  She can say this because I am adopted, and my hair is in no way her fault.  There is no genetic (or other) factor linking my hair to her.  To her credit, it is big, crazy, and unruly.  Oh, and I have two (yes, TWO!) cowlicks - one dead center in the front, and the other is dead center in the back.  So the only place to conceivably part my hair is straight down the middle.  But, then again, why is my hair such a point of contention?  This, especially since she has not had to do my hair on a consistent basis for well over 27 or 28 years now, I do not think I will ever know.
I do agree with her on one big thing.  I was born at the wrong time.  (Mind you, this is not her fault either, as she did not birth me.)   I was born in 1976, on the downward slope of the era I feel so attached to.

Never been lonely
Never been lied to
Never had to scuffle in fear
Nothing denied to
Born at the instant
The church bells chime
And the whole world whispering
Born at the right time

Sorry, Paul, this is one song I can't wrap my head around.
Yes, I'm a hippie.  I flash peace signs and wear bell-bottoms.  I listen to the music of musicans who are more frequently mentioned in the AARP magazine than Rolling Stone.  "Remastered" appears on nearly all my cds.  The bands I like either don't tour at all or go on reunion tours.  "New release" is not in my vocabulary.  I say things like "peace" and "groovy" (and have been known to say, "far out" on occasion).
My friends are also mostly all older than me.  I find a commonality with the people in the generation above mine.  I find my bonds and my soulmates within the people who grew up listening to the music I did (only in their case, it was new) and wore (notice the past tense) the same type of clothes I wear (notice the present tense).
I also watch reruns.  I love All in the Family, the Brady Bunch, the Partridge Family (oh, god, David Cassidy...god god god...), One Day at a Time, Mary Tyler Moore, Maude, Donny and Marie, etc, etc...anything from the 60s and 70s.  I think this is Ted Turner's fault.  When I was little, TBS ran reruns of all these shows from 4-8pm, Monday through Friday.  And due to my midwest upbringing, I had plenty of indoor time, November through March.
My feelings and attitudes also run deep in that time.  I feel every Beatles song deeply, the riff of Clapton's guitar, the lyrics of Paul Simon.  It seems that the music that I like has defined me as a person.  As I like a generation of music, I like other aspects about it, as well.  As I am moved by the cry against the social chaos of the message, I find myself emersed.  Janis Joplin was my idol for a while...until her insides became too toxic.  But her voice still takes me into a trance.  I have dreams of John Lennon.  I can turn on the Allman Brothers and literally pass my exit - by miles.
I am not a musician.  I am a fan.  I cannot play the guitar, but nothing soothes me more than the sound of one.  I have no vocal talent.  But a voice can carry me deep and far.  I am, however, a writer, and every lyric means something.  Every word must have meaning.  Every beat held a little longer than the last or a cut short has a poetic style to me.  I express myself through writing and I feel the expressions of others in theirs.
Isolated as I feel (real or not), in music, I am free and among friends.  And, on the rare occasion when something cosmic or meant-to-be happens in relation to this, I am on fire.  On one such time, I stumbled upon a book.  This is a book I will refer to often over the blog, so get it now. 
Got it?  Remember the book name, and hers.  It will be on the test.  OK, no test, but it will show up.  I can almost 100% promise that.  I promise because this book jerked me like only music can.  Coinsidence that it is actually about music?  I don't know.
First, I want to tell you that I did not find this book in a bookstore, or on one of my mad hunts online for something different to read.  This book landed on me.  On a rare day that I had the ipod off and was listening to the radio (the classic rock station - duh) on my way to work, there was an interview with a guy who had this genius marketing plan, and the product he was marketing that particular day was this book.  I listened to the whole interview and when I got to work, immediately got on the Barnes and Noble website so I could go get this book at lunch.  THEY DIDN'T HAVE IT!  Think, Ivy!  Think!  How do I get this book? 
Wow, you'd think I had never used a computer before...
I googled the name of the book and came to her website (wow, was that hard? I'm amazing sometimes!) and ordered it that day.
This book rocketed my out into outerspace.  FINALLY!  Someone feels the same way about music that I do!  FINALLY!  Someone gets that god exists out there in the realm of rock music.  FINALLY!  Someone feels the same way about music I do.  I began to write down things from the book.  I began to text message phrases to my musician friends.  I finally just ordered a copy of the book for one of them because I couldn't possibly recite the whole book to him! 
Through I have friends who love music as I do, even friends who are musicians themselves, I still have this perpetual feeling of alone and unique.  This book effectively erased that.  My conception of god was validated through reading this book, a conception I have been trying to figure out for years.  My quest is far from complete, but god and music and life and love and health are all inner-related.  And I know that beyond a shadow of a doubt, not just through my experience, but also because of Laura Faeth.  With her permission, I have posted the link the her website, as well as the picture of her book cover.
Every healthy part of me is because of music.  I was pretty severly hurt last year, hardly able to move, and I laid on the couch listening to VH1 Classic.  My first outing (while still in pain), was to see my friends' band.  It was the first time I was not in pain in weeks.  I just stood there against the wall, with my eyes closed, listening to the music, feeling the vibration of sound against the wall, and I was free. 
In my darkest mental states, music has been there, riding me through.  Pulling up out of myself and my funk, to bring me back to life.
Thank you, Laura Faeth, for re-affirming my beliefs, and for making me feel not so alone.
To those of you reading this, I want to warn you that music is everywhere I am.  Sometimes, a random song lyric becomes a phrase for me, and I don't even realize it.  So if you read something that sounds familiar, it probably is.  And I like to talk about it.  I may relate some of my dreams and feelings while listening to a particular song or artist.  I hope you can tolerate it. 
My current read is a book I learned about through Laura Faeth, entitled The Spiritual Significance of Music by Justin St. Vincent.  The link to his site and picture are also reprinted here with his permission.  It is very cool so far.  I'll let you know.  Once again, this is a book I had to google to find.  But totally worth it. I guess the lesson is lessons must be sought.

Sorry, Paul, I was not born at the right time.  I'm glad you were.  You are one of my inspirations.


  1. No, Ivy, you WERE born at the right time, the time you were meant to be born. Music is timeless and you are living proof. And, while Laura wrote the book about it...there are many more of us out here...traveling the same magical, mysterious, musical road.

    Music, like words, makes the world go round. Not only are they to be heard on the radio, the TV or ipod, or on pages or in blogs, they're also found in waterfalls, in birdsong and cat's meows. Music is everywhere, anywhere, any time, any place. Any how...

  2. Oh thank you, Olivia! You are so important to me. I'm happier than I can say that we have reconnected!