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The Road To Change

{published February 2009}

Abilities Magazine Article (download or click to open)

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the day the music…

{published April 2007 Tough Drum Magazine}

Tonight I was reminded once again the impact music has on me. I know I am not singled out in this epiphany but over the years it amazes me how certain music evokes so much emotion. For example, the co-relation of a recent dvd rental, Even Cowgirls get the Blues and a reunion with Roger Waters – Pro’s and Con’s of Hitchhiking. I have been listening to this album for well over a decade and just this evening, while partaking in the genius of lyrical divinity, it dawned on me there is a theme. Not only the concept of the album but in my evening and in the goings-on of the past few days. When I realized the coincidence my mind pondered for a few moments, wondering why this subconscious desire to run, to get away, to leave erupted so blatantly in my everyday commands. I have left many times before but in those times feeling lost and unspoken. I don’t want to run away anymore. I want to stay and learn, stay and see, stay and be. Why are we in such a rush for something different? I see myself as wanting to be a better person, a better parent, a better friend, a better daughter. Queer how these quirks of time awaken our senses. Perhaps only to do just that.

The player is on random at the moment. Kate Bush’s circus of cacophony, The Detroit Cobras stomping around for their baby and Keren Ann making me creep along the floor, putting my ear to the ground to hear things that aren’t there. What is next? Roisin Murphy – taking my chemicals to another level. My ears burn for more. An entity creeping up my spine into my brain. This explosion of erotic, melodic, bombastic energy erupts and my hair tingles.

I was watching High Fidelity last week. It probably wasn’t the best timing considering my relationship went down the tubes but it induced some thoughts about my life’s soundtrack. I remembered one significant moment in my love affair with music that changed my life. Being in the car on my way home from the birth of my daughter. The first song I heard was Lightning Crashes by Live. At that moment an epiphany opened and single parenthood was on the horizon. Written in song was my future. I was married. I was married to loneliness and disappointment. My husband wasn’t cruel but he was unavailable, unreachable. It was my daughter and me and no one else mattered. This was the first step on my new road towards destiny. The next significant musical composition was my wedding song (believe it or not I can never remember the name of the song) by Gerry Rafferty – Right Down the Line. It’s shameful that I had to look it up. Anyway, for years after my marriage broke up I heard this song. I have played it myself many times over without so much as a tearful memory of what was gone. Until one day, 9 years later, my daughter and I were driving down the 115. The song came on the radio and heaving sobs caught me unguarded. There was no broken heartedness, no sense of loss, just a chuckle. I started to laugh. I was confused, my daughter was confused. I explained to her what the song meant and why it was significant to me. I chalk it up to a moment that had not been released. A seizure in my past that needed to be free.

There was a day a few years ago I was driving down the main drag in Oshawa, Ontario in my 1986 Pontiac 6000LE station wagon, madder than a wet hen, my stress level maxed out, listening to the Violent Femmes, turned up to 11, with the windows down in the middle of winter. I was screaming out the lyrics, forcing the frustration through my bones, out of my mouth to violate any and everything around me. My hair curling around my head like a mad woman, my face snarled and teeth bared. I am sure I fit right into the downtown scene of this blue collar town. It must have been a Friday. Dollars to donuts I went home that afternoon with a bottle of wine and put Pink Floyd Meddle on the player, laid in the middle of the living room and decompressed. This was a routine of mine during university.

There is always room for more, new, old, proud, melancholy. There is a lot of life to be lived in this body and much more music to become significant for my mind and emotions. No matter where you are, what you are doing or where you are going – your song is playing. It’s your soundtrack.