I feel very pleased and privileged to be hosting the September 7, 2011 PFAM blog carnival; my first hosting assignment! I kicked around a few different ideas (and bounced some of them off a friend) before settling on the theme of “playlists.” Music affects/reflects moods; lyrics touch hearts/minds; rhythms flow/move. Eleven folks, including myself, posted blog entries of their personal playlists; shared the soundtracks of their lives. I discovered many new-to-me artists/songs; I hope these songs send you on a musical journey; an itunes trek.
I didn’t realize that “coming up with a soundtrack of my life” was on Leslie, of Getting Closer to Myself’s “bucket list.” Of her Soundtrack of My Life (Or the Music that Gets Me Through Illness) Leslie writes “[p]lain and simple these are the songs of my sick life. They give me hope when I am down.” In her post, Leslie provides semi-chronological snippets of lyrics and explains the relevance/importance of these songs, such as Natasha Bedingfield’s “Unwritten.” She concludes her post with a mention of another playlist (Jamz reflecting her gangsta-side) that she kick-boxes and rocks out to; a playlist she’s also willing to share.
Dorky Deb also had been “floating around the idea of doing a post on music,” so she chose 7 songs reflecting her eclectic tastes; each song is “comforting in its own way.” She promises that although she is “going to start off a little sad,” she will “end on a high note” including a song by her very talented cousin, Russell Ahner. Just as I could have done a whole playlist of Indigo Girls or Fleetwood Mac songs, Deb writes that she could have focused only on Eric Clapton.
Dana Morningstar, (I Already Gave My Right Arm to be Ambidextrous!), did take the one artist route. She chose Michael Jackson as the theme to her playlist, “You are not Alone, I am here to Stay.” Jackson dealt with several chronic illnesses, and performed despite the pain. His lyrics ask us to think beyond ourselves, to reach higher, and stretch out – “We are the World” after all. Dana writes: “I love his music and him as an artist, and his lyrics. He was . . . a public figure who suffered in private.”
Taking a unique approach, Kristen of Not Standing Still’s Disease offers the Broadway musical, Rent, as the soundtrack of her life: “[n]ot only has it changed how I view myself and my life. . . has also uniquely shaped the way that I view ‘living with, living with, living with – not dying from disease.’” As she suggests, “Rent has something for just about everyone . . . a celebration of life – with all that good and bad included.” The lyrics of “I’ll Cover You” offer up comfort: “When you’re worn out and tired/When your heart has expired, I’ll cover you.” Now she has me wondering if one musical could cover my life as a chronic.
Hope is one of several thematic threads weaving the very diverse playlists into a tapestry. Laurie (Hibernation Now) presents the music for her many moods: from angry (Dixie Chicks – “Not Ready to Make Nice”) to “low and weary” (Jackson Browne – “Running on Empty”); from happy and content (Neil Young – “Harvest Moon”) to grieving and alone (Luther Van Dross, “Dance with My Father Again”). Laurie wraps her moods in music, finding solace in Cat Steven’s “If You Want to Sing Out . . . Sing Out” and The Corrs’ “Everybody Hurts.” When she feels that often elusive feeling for chronics, “a wisp of hope,” she embraces the Black-Eyed Peas’ “I Got a Feeling.”
Jamie, Chronic Migraine Warrior, calls her playlist Songs of Hope; music that sparks dreams and aspirations. For her, “sometimes it’s the beat of the music . . . sometimes it’s the lyrics . . . [and] sometimes the combination is incredibly moving.” Jamie’s choice of music depends on her mood and what’s happening in her life at the time. As she finds strength in her faith, her playlist reflects her spirituality, and she hopes that others will draw inspiration and hope from her choice of music. “What You Are,” by Jewel is an example of Jamie’s uplifting and confirming songs.
The idea of the “sounds of silence” and wedding songs link Kathy’s (FibroDAZE) and Wendy’s (Picnic with Ants) playlists. Kathy wondered, given her love of silence, if she could participate in a blog carnival predicated on sound. Her Music of My Life reflects those songs she is drawn to: “music that uplifts, empowers and inspires [and] reminds me of who I am and who I can be.” Songs such as the Newsboys’ “Free” speak to her faith, Over the Rhine’s “All my Favorite People are Broken” helps her stay “authentic.” She concludes her playlist with Kathy Mattea’s “The Battle Hymn of Love”; sung at her wedding, the song reflects the power of “a good love song” to inspire and move us.
Due to hearing issues, Wendy’s playlist doesn’t break the silence, but brings back memories: “I spoke of some very special songs from our wedding that will never lose their meaning even if I can’t hear them;” music as memory and something shared with her husband including the silly songs they make up about everyday life. This sense of fun is reflected in her choice of “I Like to Move It” from Madagascar and songs from other animated programs and movies. “Bridge Over Troubled Waters” (not the Simon & Garfunkel version that comes to mind, and dates me, lol) was the first dance song at the wedding reception. The lyrics say it all: “I’ll take your part/When darkness comes/And pain is all around/Like a bridge over troubled water/ I will lay me down.” What shines through Wendy’s playlist is the special relationship she has with her husband (the importance of support) and a sense of fun – a very necessary coping mechanism in our chronic lives.
For Maureen (sunshine and chaos) music helps her deal “with and at times escape chronic illness.” She captures the essence of what music means to all of us in her playlist – “Music is What Feelings Sound Like.” She takes the idea of a playlist one step further and includes sets by her favo(u)rite comedians; as chronics we can all use a good laugh now and then. She concludes her playlist with a song by the Holly Cole Trio, “Cry (If You Want To). As Maureen points out, “As you listen to the words, how many times do you wish you had someone in your life tell you the very same things that are said in this song. Sometimes we all need to cry (if we want to), due to the many stresses of our chronic life.” The signature line for my email is “wishing you more laughter than tears;” Maureen’s play list provides you with opportunities to do both.
Mo (Mo Is Blogging I think) presents a playlist time capsule – a chronology of her life through the shifts in music genres and her situation. From the Mitch Miller of her childhood, to “Apartment Music of a Single Girl (the Eagles): Drinking beer and playing the guitar, this is one of my favorites….we sounded pretty good.” Early married life playing the Phil Collins full blast and then onto artists her children thought they discovered (“Eric Clapton, The Beatles and The Eagles…HA!”). Music marked out the boundaries and horizons of her life. Mo even admits to disco! She ends her playlist with a nod to the next generation a song by her singer-songwriter son, Dan, recorded with his friend Katie.
I invite you to visit both my playlist – playlist playground; the editor’s cut ii, and my growing You Tube playlist. I organized my playlist post by themes: anthems (hope and inspiration); touchstones (boundaries and horizons); moods (finding comfort and solace); aspirations (dreams); chronicness (dealing with and escape); just because they move me (get up and dance); and just for fun. I’ll leave you with one of my all-time favo(u)rites; may it afford you a minute of fun and frivolity – a chance to leave chronicness behind.
Thanks to all who participated; if I missed anyone, my apologizes and get in touch:
The next PFAM blog carnival is scheduled for September 21 and being hosted by The Road I’m On.
- call for entries: PFAM blog carnival (phylor.wordpress.com)
- pfam blog carnival: playlist playground; editor’s cut II (phylor.wordpress.com)
- PFAM Blog Carnival – My Play List, Music For Many Moods (hibernationnow.wordpress.com)
- Latest Chronic Babe & PFAM Carnival Editions (somebodyhealme.dianalee.net)