Tuesday, February 1, 2011

sound effects: jonathan safran foer & sarah dessen

I thrive with white noise. Sound. Any sound. Repetitive. Mash-ups, hip hop, country, soul, jazz, blues, pop, whatever: I thrive with sound all around me.

The house I grew in was too small, and my parents were over-the-top. My mother's voice was a rasping bullhorn, my father was one-part charming joker & one part explosive volcano -- silence spotted between that dichotomy (I am more like him than I like to admit).

Thus, listening to music is a near-constant activity: it's on when I drive, when I read, when I work, and when I clean. It focuses me. All the activity and sounds and lyrics allow my brain to settle in on something.

Most memories come complete with a soundtrack. Driving with my father? Kenny Rogers or Patsy Cline. High school hijinxs with Mecca? Everything from Sublime and Spice Girls to Nelly Furtado and "Teenage Dirtbag." Stories and memories include songs. Get-togethers in college? Journey and Queen. Camp? "World's Greatest," Stevie Wonder, & Jackson 5.

I haven't read the book, but the following quotation rings true:

“Because a song can take you back instantly to a moment, a place, or even a person. No matter what else has changed in you or the world, that one song stays the same, just like that moment. Which is pretty amazing, when you actually think about it.”

-- Sarah Dessen, Just Listen

I'm able to relive past loves, challenges, moments, deaths, and celebrations with the change of a CD or the scroll of an iPod. The starting lines of a song move me somewhere else. Talk about time travel. Talk about nostalgia.

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