Okay, so it’s like this.
The whole idea of the August break is that you’re supposed to take pictures. And there’s a daily prompt that we all are encouraged to follow; not that we have to, but I decided I would. And today’s prompt was…”sweetness.”
Which was surprisingly hard. I was watching other people’s posts throughout the day – a lot of people posting pictures of their kids, others posting photos of things like ice cream or fruit or cupcakes or cookies or such. I very nearly got a cupcake myself just for the sake of taking a picture of it.
But as I was on my way home from work, pondering “what on earth am I going to take a picture of”, I was indulging in some favorite music. My iPad crashed recently and I had to wipe the whole thing and restore it, and only just this week got around to re-stocking it with all my favorite songs; and so for the past couple days I’ve been in a musical orgy, spending both my daily subway rides in a whole salmagundi of Waterboys and Cat Stevens and Beastie Boys and Darius Rucker and Billy Squier and U2 and INXS and Peter Gabriel and Bruno Mars and Lumineers and Bob Dylan and Fleetwood Mac and pretty much everything I have.
And I had to admit that today, to be honest, the sweetest thing about my day was music. And it often is. Years ago, one of my high school friends turned to me out of the blue while we were hanging around and said, “you know, I bet you’re going to marry a musician.” I have no idea what prompted her to say that, but something about it just felt inherantly right. I have to surround myself with music on some level or things just don’t feel good. I went to an odd little immersive-theater thing this fall, the kind of thing where the actors take over an abandoned house and are all engaged in pre-arranged improv scenes in each room and you can wander around and just check in with whoever you want, and at some point found myself talking to an actor/musician whose schtick in the show was that he was a guru dispensing advice from inside a bathtub. (As in, he was actually in a bath and you came and sat next to him outside the bath and took questions; and yes, as near as I dared ascertain, he was indeed naked.) I was supposed to ask him some kind of guru-type question, and was going to say something silly – but found myself blurting out a question about how things had started feeling drab and that I was in some kind of gray rut. He thought a minute, then simply asked, “do you dance enough?”
I blinked. “You know what – I don’t.”
“There you go.” He went on a roll with that advice, and even broke character to recommend a DJ at a club he knew about, but I was thinking more about digging out my own music more often. I got a little more permissive about buying myself music, a little more prone to listening to albums instead of podcasts, and…it worked.
So – for completeness’ sake, I still have a picture here; this is a shot I took a year and change ago, of an indulgent breakfast of brownie-batter pancakes that I had at a cafe in Philadelphia. But aside from the picture, I’m also adding a list of some favorite songs to capture some of what’s really sweetness for me, at this moment. Some are old favorites, some are new; some remind me of sweet moments, some just hit a sweet spot. But they’re more “sweetness” for me than a picture.
- The Waterboys, Fisherman’s Blues (big surprise here, yeah?)
- Peter Gabriel, In Your Eyes
- Van Morrison, Astral Weeks and Into the Mystic
- INXS, The Stairs
- Bruce Springsteen, I’m On Fire
- Cat Stevens, The Wind
- Glen Hansard, Love Don’t Leave Me Waiting
- Bruce Hornsby, Harbor Lights
- George Gershwin, Rhapsody in Blue
- Pat Metheny, It’s For You
- Aztec Two-Step, Highway Song