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Blogmo Day 16: A sung reminder

December 16, 2008

The particular ability for music to fire the electrons of memories otherwise lost is one of my favorite aspects of the human brain. Let’s go through my iTunes, Hornby-style, for a few peeks into the past, and the shifting nature of memory tied to music.

“Hanginaround” by the Counting Crows

Sitting in Kathy’s room, freshman year. People are filtering in and out, some sitting on the floor (or is it my floor?) Talking aimlessly as the sun shifts down between the buildings and I and Pennsylvania. The song sounds like what we’re doing. It could be Saturday, it could be Tuesday. In theory, we are in school and there’s the abstract threat of schoolwork, but not right now. Someone brings down the book “Would you rather?” and we spend an hour or two reading from the prompts we’ve heard before. Long, esoteric theories about the benefits of lizard or buffalos as pets take us into dinner time.

Kathy later tells me she doesn’t remember playing this song a lot during that Fall. Who knows which memory is right?

“I Wish I Was the Moon” by Neko Case

I am dragging the weight of my purse and my worries up to Bethesda Metro escalator. It’s pretty late, but it’s summer, so the moon and the blue sky are coexistent. A summer thunderstorm threatens as I press the key into my apartment door. I sit on the couch for a few minutes, looking north out the balcony, sigh and flip open to Tamarrin ithnayn my Arabic textbook. I try to translate the lyrics of the song to Arabic. I used to know “moon”, the verb form of “wish” was a lesson last week, but again, I’m paging through the tissue paper of my Arabic-English dictionary.

“Storming New Caprica” by Bear McCreary

This is a silly way to finish a thesis proposal, listening to the soundtrack of your favorite show. Instead of being distracted by lyrics, I have the associated memory of the episode. I so want to watch TV. This is anything but helpful. Instead, I turn off my internet connection and force my rate of adding new words to the document to match with the beat of the song. It’s beyond midnight and I have no idea if I’m even writing something related to my topic anymore. And then I’m done, done with the proposal and done with the semester.

In the song, the Galactica drops into surprise orbit.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 16, 2008 11:21 pm

    Did I mention I love your prose?
    I do this all the time. Have you read Morvern Callar – you should?

    Also, I was thinking of picking up some Hornby…suggestions?

  2. December 17, 2008 12:27 pm

    Chris, read High Fidelity. It’s the most famous, for a reason.

    The rest, in descending order of quality:
    About a Boy (similar to High Fidelity, minus the awesome music stuff)
    A Long Way Down (sort of made-to-be-adapted, but interesting enough)
    How to be Good (the man should not try to write female narrators)

    There’s also “Fever Pitch” but I haven’t read it.

    Oh right, the post. You’ve inspired me to go through my iTunes.

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