Writing Prompt: Autobiographical Music

Prompt:  If my life were a movie, what three songs would be on the soundtrack?

I could never limit it to 3 songs.  I whittled it down to these 7, which isn’t all that much at this age, is it?  There’s some good music here, I hope everyone enjoys it.

Act One – Music is Love by David Crosby

The opening scene of my father and I at a baseball game. I grew up in Clinton, Iowa a small town on the Mississippi River which was home, at the time, of the Clinton C-sox, the AAA minor league team of the Chicago White Sox. When I was 7 or 8, maybe even 9, Dad and I used to go to their games a lot. For some reason it was always just he and I. I guess my little sis was too young, being 6 years younger than me, and my older sis probably had those important teen-age (or pre-teen) things to do We knew all the players names, and would sit in the bleachers and call out encouragements to them at bat, or when they made a good play. Going to these games is one of my fondest memories of my dad.

The main reason this song fits my early life is because I was one of those lucky kids, pretty much surrounded in love, and blissfully unaware of how lucky I was. My view of the world was somewhat skewed by thinking that all kids had two parents who loved them, that all kids sat down to dinner like a Norman Rockwell family, that all kids had parents who read to them and kissed them goodnight. I was a little shallow, though I think I was lucky to be able to be that way. When I met the girl who would become my BFF all through school, and she came to school with belt marks on her legs from her father, I was horrified. And as I grew up, I began to realize how lucky my life was to be so full of love.

Runner up songs: In My Life by the Beatles

Act Two – The Same Situation by Joni Mitchell

This song is about my 32 year marriage to a man whose mental illness finally broke us. It was about never feeling safe, or sure, and often wondering where the love went or even if it was ever there. About the confusion and dis-ease that slowly took over our lives. And my search for love within that marriage that I took so long to let go of.

Act Two – Mercy on those by Phoebe Snow

This song is about the relationship between my son and his father. “Have mercy on those men with no feeling.” Wistful, and sad, full of regret and pain. Yet, in the end, she asks for mercy for men like him, and I also do, in my heart of hearts, because he has paid such a high price already for his inability to love his son. I have to include this part of my life because freeing my son was the driving force in my separation and ensuing court battle.

Act 3 – Running for My Life by Judy Collins amd The Prayer by David Foster and Carol Bayer Sager, sung by Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli.

Running for My Life is the relatively short period, in the grand scheme of things, when I escaped from my husband, fairly intact. For a long time this was my anthem. I would get into my car every morning leaving for work, and put the cassette in the player and play this song as I drove. I used it to motivate me to keep doing what I had to do to set myself free. When I got home, I would take it out of the player, and hide it somewhere, so that he wouldn’t find it and somehow surmise what I was doing. I was living two lives, one at home trying to keep the peace, and the other in my head trying to plan my escape.

It has to be followed by The Prayer, written by David Foster and Carol Bayer Sager, though best known as sung by Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli. The Prayer was my prayer for the years that I fought to free my then teen-age son from his father. It still makes me cry to hear the words “Lead us to a place, guide us with your grace, to a place where we’ll be safe.”

Act 4 – Enlightenment by Van Morrison

As I made my way out of that miserable marriage, I discovered spirituality. By now it feels rather clicheed to use that term, because so many people are using it to mean so much. But for me, I was not a seeker, at least not cognizantly. In the 20/20 of hindsight, I realize that what you think about is what you manifest. What I needed was put in my path, from the moment when I surrendered the outcome to the Universe, even though I had no idea what that path would be. The people, the books, the teachers. Things like meditation, and the gong baths. More than anything these things got me through the 4 years of divorce, of going to court constantly, of fighting for my rights with my son, and finally, through a 3-day trial, followed by an appeal to the Supreme Court of CT. Enlightenment was the blessing that came of that darkness. Not that I would ever profess to be really enlightened in the Buddhist sense, but I began to see things and know things and feel things that I’d never experienced before.

Act 5 – Gabriel’s Oboe and The Falls from the movie The Mission, written by Ennio Morricone, and performed by Yo Yo Ma.

This act is not over yet and the audience would be left hanging to see how it ended up. This piece of music is, to me, one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever written. For years I could see myself, standing on a beach, watching the sunset as a giant orange ball, and I a silhouette in its brilliance, standing tall, arms spread out, in total celebration and acknowledgment of all the people who got me to that point. And here I am, in Florida, where I can go stand on a beach and watch the sunset over the ocean whenever I want with a man who I expect to spend the rest of my life with.

Dreams do come true.

6 responses to “Writing Prompt: Autobiographical Music

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