Saturday, January 23, 2010

Sibling Assignment #116: Best Song for Stirring Up Memories of Another Time

InlandEmpireGirl is participating in the NaBloPoMo (blogging every day for a month). January's theme is "best". That's why my last sibling assignment post had to do with a best book, and this next assignment also came from IEG's NaBloPoMo:

Name a "Best Song for Stirring Up Memories of Another Time."

InlandEmpireGirl got her Rocky groove on, here, and as soon as Silver Valley Girl finishes reading all of her fan mail after her sterling turn in "I Do! I Do!", I'm sure she'll get around to writing about this subject.

I can't write about a particular song in response to this prompt.

Here's how I have to approach it:

In August of 1982, my marriage to Eileen ended in divorce. We separated in December 1981 and things moved relatively swiftly toward divorce once Eileen decided that she definitely wanted out of our marriage.

I didn't.

I moved to Spokane in August of 1982. Soon I would be teaching full time as a temporary faculty member at Whitworth College.

August, 1982 was one of the happiest times in my life because I was coming back to Whitworth to teach, but I was in the most emotional and mental duress I'd ever known because I did not want to be divorced.

I was a joyous wreck, a happy mess, an ecstatic basket case.

Above all, though, I was alive. I was feeling everything more deeply and fully than I had before or have since.

The music:

The Cars. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Joe Jackson. Phil Collins. The Police. Men at Work. Hall and Oates. Dire Straits. ZZ Top. Don Henley. Loverboy. Steve Miller Band. The Alan Parsons Project. The Fixx. "Come on Eileen". "You Can't Hurry Love". "Saved by Zero". "Be Good Johnny". "Skateaway". "Industrial Disease". "Dirty Laundry". The Pretenders. "You Might Think". "Blinded Me with Science". "Mexican Radio". Pat Benatar. Warren Zevon. Paul Simon. "Turn Me Loose". Blondie. Elvis Costello. "Video Killed the Radio Star".

Martha Quinn.

Every time I hear the music from about 1980-1984, I'm back to Spokane. I'm geared up, fired up, screwed up; I'm deep in grief, deeply depressed, dire and alone; I'm walking the streets, riding the bus, riding my bike, riding my ass; I'm shopping at Rosauer's, eating at Ferguson's, drinking at The Viking, dancing with Colette and Claudia, holding an apartment film festival, going over to Bill's for a beer and a cig and some Men at Work.

I'm teaching hard, drinking hard, laughing hard, crying hard, hard to figure, hard to know, hard on myself, taking it all too hard, and hardly able to go a day without smashing, slamming, punching, or jamming because I'm so angry, while at the same time laughing, dancing, singing, roaring because I feel so free and alive.

It's all in the music.

Tonight, I'll go grocery shopping. I'll turn on XM radio's Classic Rewind and I'll listen to Robert Palmer or Judas Priest or Van Halen or maybe they'll play some Genesis or Pete Townshend or Joe Walsh or Heart.

Whatever it is, it's this music that stirs the most memories in me.

I had lost my wife, lost my faith, lost my way, but I was intensely alive to ideas, ways to teach, serving my students, poetry, laughter, and lots of films.

And I was alive to the popular music of the day, which now, every day, takes me back to that grievously magical time in Spokane, to all I loved and all that loss.

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