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Posts Tagged ‘music’

Track 2: Flow My Tears

Flow my tears

Claire Miller Skriletz

Flow my tears, fall from your springs…

How nice it must be to be able to cry at the right times, instead of sobbing for no apparent reason when life is going well. Or to be able to cry when someone close dies.

Exiled, forever, let me mourn.

Is self-imposed exile the same as being exiled? Claire pondered this as she considered how her relationships with friends and family had changed since she moved two thousand miles across the country four years earlier. She reminded herself again that no matter how hard it had been, it was the right decision. She had grown tired of her life before; even if life since had been hard emotionally, it was still worth it. The most recent visit to her friends and family had been the most difficult yet – her two closest friends didn’t seem so familiar anymore, despite her efforts to keep in touch. For the first time in their friendship, she and her friend Val had spent several hours together with long, uncomfortable pauses in conversation. (more…)

Albums: A Call for Submissions

Certain songs conjure strong emotions: love, hate, joy, despair, comfort, envy, sadness, frustration, hope, or grief. You hear the first notes of a familiar melody, and the music transports you to a moment long gone but still overwhelmingly present. Sir Mix-A-Lot’s “Baby Got Back” makes you remember the awkward rhythms and furtive glances of a middle school dance. Any song by Creedence Clearwater Revival evokes riding in a black Toyota truck with your stepdad behind the wheel smoking stoically as you talked about your day. Missy Higgins’ “Where I Stood” became an unintentional lullaby that soothed your collicky infant who refused to sleep more than 20 minutes at a time. Beyonce’s “All the Single Ladies” was your anthem for quitting a shitty job. “Carry on My Wayward Son” makes you think of the Winchester brothers of Supernatural. Matchbox 20’s “Hang” punches you in gut even now, 20 years later.

An album reminds you of a breakup, a first concert, a funeral, a road trip, a wedding, a divorce, or one of those ordinary moments that make up our days that we seem to forget until a song lodges their memory free.

This first essay series at Cold Takes is about albums and our feelings about them. How exactly do albums transport us through time and space to the moments long gone but never quite forgotten? What album becomes significant (or maybe even insignificant) in your life? What album forces you to stop and pay attention? Which one makes your days better and gives you hope? Which one do you rely on even now? What album do you find yourself listening to over and over again? What albums do you avoid listening to?

I want to read and publish your essays about the albums that changed your lives in ways, big and small. I want to know how music guides you through life’s transitions, successes, attempts, and failures. I want to find out what music you react to and why. I want to uncover whether that album was on record, tape, CD, 8-track, or mp3. Tell me what album impacted you, but more importantly, show me how. Narrate what the album makes you feel and what particular time it evokes. Bring me your best story about a particular album.

Submissions:
Please send a pitch rather than a full essay to kellyjbaker (at) gmail (dot) com. Give me a paragraph or two about an album and why you want/need to write about it. Include a short bio and a clip or two that shows your writing style. There’s no requirement on genre of music or time period, but you can’t write about Matchbox 20 because I’m going to.

The full essay should be between 500 and 2000 words.

Pitches are due by April 30. If your pitch is accepted, we’ll set a deadline for the essay together. The completed essay will appear on Cold Takes. Unfortunately, this is not a paid opportunity, but I offer my time and editing to make your essay the best it can be.

Ghost

I’ve been listening to Ella Henderson’s “Ghost” on repeat.

I keep going to the river to pray
‘Cause I need something that can wash all the pain
And at most I’m sleeping all these demons away
But your ghost, the ghost of you
It keeps me awake

Throughout the day for at least two weeks, I find myself singing about going to the river to pray. The line is oddly evocative and nostalgic.  I understand that need for prayer. I get that desire for all the pain to disappear into the current of the river never to trouble you again. (I was almost baptized in a river, but that’s a story for a different day.)

There’s a desperation in the song claws at me, but I feel compelled to listen. And listen and listen. Give up the ghost, she croons, give up the ghost. She pleads, Stop the haunting, baby.  Her words feel too truthful. They resonate too much. She’s haunted, and damn, so are the rest of us. At least, I am.

I’ve thought a lot about haunting. I’ve tackled haunting from a theoretical perspective as a scholar interested in monsters and, tangentially, ghosts, their ephemeral partners. I adore the work of Avery Gordon and return often because of her careful attention to how absences seethe and harm. How the absence of ghosts makes them present. How ghosts become the signifiers of  loss, trauma, and erasure. I read about ghosts with detached observation. Yet, the more I analyzed theories of ghosts and haunting, the more the question became personal and unavoidable. We all live with ghosts. We don’t always confront them. What began as scholarly questions about haunting transformed into an essay about a particular ghost of my younger life. I couldn’t theorize ghosts with confronting one of my own.  (more…)

Movin’ On

I promise a more substantial post later when I am ready. (Cryptic is sort of fun, though.)

Suffice to say, I moved on from the University of Tennessee, and I am enjoying the alternating sunshine and rain of Florida with my partner, the big girl, the old dog, the young dog, and the mean kitty.