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5.15.2011

full circle.


cbeirut

bbeirut


 (me reading the text below, if that's your thing).

i remember having this big bird record player when i was just a wee of a thing. it was large and plastic and when i was really lucky my father would push all the living room furniture to the side and we would dance. me on his feet, me swinging from his arms, him twirling me this way and that. my father is a remarkable dancer (a remarkable father, too).

i remember listening to the shangri-la's the leader of the pack on that large, plastic record player. big bird on the front, the 1965 classic wafting out in slow melodic waves.

then there was a moment circa 1991 i was particularly struck by  REM's  losing my religion. staring at a wood-grained chest of drawers just underneath a window that looked out on my seven-year-old self's idea of heaven.

from there i remember being in fourth grade and listening to the radio in my brother's room. he was four years older and listened to the cool stuff (i think, probably, a lot of greenday). and i listened two rooms over--removed, but not.

i don't have a tremendously long, storied history with music. i have those first few memories and the classic tale of girl who falls for guy who plays the guitar well. really well.

i didn't know i'd love music so much. as someone who's never made or been so inclined to make it (my few years as a clarinetist have long been forgotten) i didn't know it was possible to love music so much.

it makes sense though, doesn't it? a song is a living history. a time stamp of both place and time--of when and where it was created and when and where you were when it came bristling in as a peripheral character in your life.

think of it: songs as portals. {our greatest success in creating time machines, to date.}

remarkable, no?

because of this--this living history element--there are songs and artists and whole albums i can't listen to. because the time has passed and it need not nor cannot be revisited.

it was toward the end of my fourth year of college i began listening to beirut. three years ago, when the terrain was bleak and i wasn't sure i'd ever cast off the sadness i carried behind me like linus' blanket. and so i listened to zach condon's music--listened to the joy and sadness abutting each other at each line break knowing full well that once the moment had passed, once the time had shifted and his music didn't hold the same sway i would move on to something else, not to return. beirut would be relegated to a thing of the past--a past too laden in sadness to return to.

but this remarkable thing happened. beirut's music transcended that time, transcended that sadness. those baltic circus tunes--yes, that's right--were bigger than anything i once felt. and i found that even as my own landscape shifted nantes, and a sunday smile, and postcards from italy still held sway.

it was an amazing thing to see beirut on friday night and feel as though i had come full circle. to stand there and let the songs that i had listened to in my darkest moments wash over me as i stood moving my feet and shaking my hips and brushing up against happiness again and again. to flirt with the man next to me the whole time without ever looking at him, without ever uttering a word and to know that would be all it ever was and it was perfect because of that.

the night felt triumphant. important. a testament to both past and future.

i keep thinking back to those first few months in new york. when everything was new and exciting and all together terrifying and i sat on the floor of an apartment looking through photos and notes that the boy i was seeing had collected. he was twenty-five. i was nineteen. and together we sifted through his collected memories and he played soundtracks and professed his love for ella fitzgerald. he asked who mine was? who i loved as much as he loved ella. and i didn't know. and he said he envied that--because the figuring it out was the best part. he looked forward to the day i could answer his question.

and just months later there was another boy, another man really. and it was love. for me, it was love. and he played nick drake and stuck my world in his pocket. and the songs of nick drake are among those that i'll never again listen to.

from that day, all that time ago, when first asked to offer up my ella, there has been a life--i have lived a full life. and i'm just now beginning to know the answer to that question.

and as it turns out, he was right--the finding it out really is the best part.


**the vocaroo sound quality isn't so great. apologies, but it's the best i've got for now.**

25 comments:

Shelby Lou said...

I love this. I loooovvee this. You are amazing. This writing, the way you talk, the horns beeping in the background. I just closed my eyes and settled in for an amazing story.

FANTASTIC!

Myrna ♥ said...
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Myrna ♥ said...

Your story telling is Ah-mazing!!! I will be seeing Beirut 6/10 in New Orleans and can not wait :)

Jenni Austria Germany said...

chills!!!!!!!! maybe you should marry zach condon. or at least his hair.

now, as always, i have an 'amen' for you....
think of it: songs as portals. {our greatest success in creating time machines, to date.}

there are also certain artists i can't listen to either, which i didn't realize until now.

Ana* said...

this is amazing, you're such a great story teller. you're lovely my dear. lovely!! I relate so much to this post. "because of this--this living history element--there are songs and artists and whole albums i can't listen to. because the time has passed and it need not nor cannot be revisited." -> that's exactly how i feel about certain songs, listening to them would be like traveling in a time machine, a trip I am not ready to make.

becky said...

Every time I read your blog, I am struck by the passion of your words. The passionate---yet skilful, so very very skilful---way in which you collate them on the page; the way they are arranged, so perfectly, aside eachother. And every time, I think: wow, that's passion. I am not sure I could read a more passionate collection of words, strung together just so and echoing a love of literature and the power, the absolute power, that words bring. And then, today, I finally got to hear your voice: I finally went from reading you, to hearing you and---and I am being honest here---it is as though that passion that I had before felt, is elevated. The bar is raised higher---but only, only by you. Your tone is so wonderful, your expression, your belief, conviction and love. It's a very beautiful thing. So much of a beautiful thing.

And, for your reference, this was my favourite paragraph: "it makes sense though, doesn't it? a song is a living history. a time stamp of both place and time--of when and where it was created and when and where you were when it came bristling in as a peripheral character in your life."

So good. As always, such a treasure and a treat and---quite frankly---an indulgence to read your words.

Madeline said...

I love this! It really is amazing how music can sink into your soul and get stuck there. And then every time you hear that certain song... you are always always reminded of a moment in your life. Whether you want to remember it or not.

Karen in Progress said...
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Karen in Progress said...

Wow. Amazing story. I, like you, am a lover of music with no musical prowess of my own. Thank you for your eloquent description. I found myself nodding my head the entire time I was reading this.

Erin Marie said...

I love this. Hearing your voice, too, makes you seem real (not that you weren't before). But I really get a sense of your personality, and what this story really means to you. So wonderful. Thank you for this unique way of sharing!

Consider The Lilies said...

i love your writing. i took a creative writing class this semester and the professor emphasized the importance of showing instead of telling, and you do just that. i can perfectly visualize what you write. i love it.

Micaela said...

YES YES YES... i always say when i give a mixed tape (cd) that it's my own personal time machine... songs that bring me back to a certain time in my life... from the heartache of this relationship or that exciting start of another... or even just laughing in the car with my sister.

i'm listening to "my nick drake." Michael Buble's version of "You don't know me." I haven't listened to it in years because i was afraid of what it would do... once upon a time a man i fell madly in love with sang it to me before we shared one of our first passion filled kisses.

This post... this beautiful post of yours gave me strength to play it again and my heart might have raced just a bit more... my eyes might have watered... it's amazing the power of a song?

and so i'll tuck it away again because even years later... some things should remain to the past. that song still belongs to my 22 year old self...

Emily Lou said...

more, please!

Kate said...

This is sooo true. I feel like every memory I have is connected to some song, artist, or album. Sometimes I'll be listening to my iPod on shuffle and a song will come on that instantly reminds me of something from my past.

lizzy said...

i love this.
i wish we were neighbors.
i love the cadence and slips of your voice, the background noise, and the few words that differed from the text. i love the reminder that i am not the fraud i sometimes fear i am...in loving music but not playing it.
you are a master of story and i wish ours could entwine, if only as long as a cup of coffee to share.

communikate. said...

"songs as portals. {our greatest success in creating time machines, to date.}"

yes! yes, they are.


great post meg!

jenny said...

so.... i am sitting at my kitchen counter top, and I have just finished listening to you read this. And by the end... I was closing my eyes. I could feel the movement in your words. And I could see the beauty. You, my friend.... have a gift. You keep writing and reading from the deep well. I will be listening, and waiting for more.

Allie said...

Goodness gracious. Everything you write makes me wish I had thought of it first. If you made a book out of all your blog posts like these, I would buy it. Brilliant... all of it.

The Many Colours of Happiness said...

You are just amazing. And I can relate to this so much. There was an album by my favorite band that I couldn't listen to for years. Because I had listened to it when I was falling apart, and I hated being reminded of that.
But times change and we change, until were so different from who we were then that we can enjoy the music again :) I am so glad you have reached that place. It sounds like an amazing night for you.

Kristie @ Kristie Colón Was Here said...

Simply wonderful.

Thank you for giving your voice to this one. It really added something special.

You've got a wonderful talent for capturing so many complicated thoughts.

Brittany said...

so, to add to the lovefest of comments--your writing is so beautiful and accessible. i know exactly what you mean about songs taking you instantly back to a moment, a feeling, a person. i both love and hate that about music.

Keiko said...

there's just something about those horns in the background. makes me feel I was sitting beside you as you shared this life story.

Oh, for that to be reality!

I love life stories. Always have.

Diana Smith said...

You sure have a talent for writing!! Very interesting and fun to read!

Ramona said...

beautifully written! It is so interesting how music can take you back to a place you once were but you don't want to revisit that place because it brings forth pain and then there are songs bringing you back to a time everything changed and you became who you really are.
Have a great week!!!

Little Tree Vintage said...

so cool to listen to you telling the story!!