Over the weekend I finished reading Jodi Picoult’s new book Sing You Home. I think it’s her best book since My Sister’s Keeper and I relished every page. Even the ones where I wanted to smack people who don’t actually exist except in her story.
On pages 135 and 136 (yes, I cared enough to actually find the page again) there is this amazing passage:
“What songs would be on a mix tape that describes you? … It’s a question I’ve used my whole life, as a foolproof test of character. … Seriously, if you looked through the Favorites list on my mother’s iPod, you could probably sketch her out as thoroughly as if you’d met her in person. This is true of anyone: the music we choose is a clear reflection of who we really are.”
This concept hung with me because it’s something I’ve actually contemplated before. A couple of years ago I was in a program where we were given the task of making a compilation of songs that describes our character, ideals, and greater vision for life. I left the program before the assignment was due, so I never actually made the compilation. But I think of it often.
Today a friend on Facebook posted a few lines by David Whyte, an amazing poet. I have his CD called Close To Home where he set his poems to music. That CD has the ability to soothe me even when my nerves are at their jangliest. I had been feeling jittery all morning – couldn’t sit still, could hardly get anything done. Seeing her post, I immediately put on the album and felt my whole body begin to relax.
Whyte’s song “Self-Portrait” will be on my mix tape.
“I want to know
if you are prepared to live in the world
with its harsh need
to change you. If you can look back
with firm eyes
and say this is where I stand.
THIS is where I stand.”
THIS is where I stand. Oh how those words stir me.
One song that I’ve always known would be on my mix tape is Diana Krall’s masterpiece “Narrow Daylight” from the album The Girl In the Other Room (click here to listen on YouTube). I could probably write several pages on just this song and what it means to me.
I stopped out in a sunlit grove
Although deep down I wished it would rain
Washing away all the sadness and tears
That will never fall so heavily again”
Other songs on my mix tape…
- There would absolutely be a track by Norah Jones…but I’d be hard-pressed to figure out which one rises above the others for inclusion.
- Bobby McFerrin’s 23rd Psalm (Dedicated to my mother) – I don’t think I’ve ever listened to this song just once – I always hit repeat when it comes on. Does that mean it gets one slot or two on my mix tape? (Click here to watch on YouTube)
- Billy Joel’s Goodnight My Angel – In honor of my dad who often called me “my angel”. I imagine that these are the words he would have sung to me if he’d been healthy enough to get out of his own way.
- A Barbra Streisand song in honor of my mom and the many nights we spent driving for long hours, singing to keep each other awake.
- I Feel the Spirit by Shirley Caesar – It will always stir my soul for reasons that would be hard to explain to anyone but my Inner Visions sisters.
- Shall I Compare Thee from the rock musical Romeo & Juliet – A beautiful piece of music set to the equally exquisite Shakespeare sonnet
- The Tango Maureen from Rent – The lyrics don’t say anything about my life, but hearing it always gets me jazzed
- What More Can I Say from Falsettos – One of the most tender love songs I’ve ever heard…this is the kind of love that I hope to find.
- Lose Yourself by Eminem – I know. I know. But seriously – “The moment, you own it, you better never let it go; You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow; This opportunity comes once in a lifetime.”
- Like a Prayer by Madonna – Reminds me of a very sweet period in my college years – remind me to tell you someday the story of Josh, Mike, Erika, and the bra-switching incident. Oh yeah, I love this song.
- Lime in the Coconut – Because there’s not nearly enough humor in this list.
So that’s me. At least tonight. I’m a Gemini, so it could change next week.
A reminder to go through my music library and find the songs that make me happy and remind me who I am – what a miracle.
Thank you, Nancy, for lighting the spark that got me to go there.
So now it’s your turn – what’s on your mix tape? Head down the comments and share!