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Tuning Fork or Pitch Fork?

16 Jan

As inspired, a bit, by the present trend on Facebook for us to list the albums that most influenced us in High School, but to avoid the limitation of what could best be termed as my “coming out of the musical wilderness,” I bring to you Tuning Fork or Pitch Fork.  A sometimes series about how certain songs have affected me in one way or another.  The first one does actually come from high school.  

Mother Love Bone – Chloe Dancer/Crown of Thorn– 1990 (1994)

Please note there are two dates listed for the songs I will share with you.  The first date will be when the song (or version if it’s a cover) was released.  The second date, in parenthesis, will be as close as I can get to the date that I first heard that song.

This song is the song that I always share as a one favorite song.  Sure I have many favorite songs, but this is the song that has gotten the most traction under my skin and into my psyche.  It’s a breakup song but more than that song.  It’s the voice of a guy who lived pretty roughly and who wasn’t around for a long time because his life was pretty rough.  It’s the end of one band, but the beginnings of another.  It’s also on one of my most favorite movie soundtracks, Singles, and happens to be one of the few songs I have purchased on cassette tape, CD, and online.

How did it take so long to get to me?  I lived in a town in the mountains during my late middle school and high school years.  This was before the Internet told us what to listen to, but MTV was doing that a good bit to my friends whose parents had that cable package.  That year, 1994, was the year that Kurt Cobain offed himself, and a guy on the yearbook committee swapped a photo of Cobain for his photo in the school yearbook.  (And got into a heap of trouble for it.  By the way, Cobain was still alive when the deadline for school pictures happened.)

I, fortunately, happened to focus my attention on said person for one of my many unrequited crushes in high school.  So of course the best way to get someone to hopefully requite that love, you learn about the things they like and see if you enjoy them too.  Thus brings Seattle and its new style of music into my life.  I rediscovered Say Anything and it’s soundtrack framed around a famous Seattle DJ’s radio show.  And I discovered the movie Singles (same director), which had cute boys with long hair in it.  That movie has since become my  best way of describing to people who Generation X is and how we love one another and see things.

But the song.  “This is my kind of love, the kind that moves on, the kind that leaves me alone…”  seemed the perfect description to me of my string of unrequited crushes, and how I simply just had to move on because they dated someone else, or it became painfully obvious in some other way that my first kiss was not coming from them.  Ah, my melodramatic youth.

But then it was, “But I’m proud to say, and I won’t forget the times spent laying by her side,” as I found that first kiss, and was a couple years younger, and it was harder to make me laugh or smile then.  I didn’t know who I was, but I did know this was certainly nice. My first car was named Chloe a few years later.  There’s not any coincidence in that.

Then we march into adulthood, my life as “Mr Faded Glory,” or at least dating him.  Learning about riding high horses and falling from them.  Being tied to the ceiling more times than I would like to remember, but not that many times that I don’t still view myself as a bit “lessons never learned” anyway.

And really that’s where we find me with this song, with suddenly the words “and if you make it death well then rest your soul away,” taking on newer meaning as friends, family, and people I know continue to shuffle off this mortal coil.

It will always be one of the first songs I play when there’s change in the air.  One of the first I play when Colorado indulges me with some Seattle weather.  One of the first when I begin the task of removing physical evidence of someone who is no longer in my life.  It is.  Solely.  My favorite song.



14 Jul

“Don’t cry for a man who’s left you, the next one may fall for your smile.”      – Mae West

Sometimes an inch is all you need for freedom

When you’ve lived the single life as long as I have, you get a lot of advice. And a lot of it, quite honestly, is shite. It’s meant in good will; but seriously, folks: If I hear someone say one more time, “There are plenty of fish in the sea,” I will not be responsible for my actions.  I’m not a fish, nor am I seeking to date a fish; ergo, I don’t care how many of them are in the sea and how that relates to me in my singleness. Seriously, when you reach an awkward point in the conversation where you want to say something to make someone feel better, just do not say something cliche.  Your silence is camaraderie enough.  But that’s another post for another time.

“The perfect time to make the most of every opportunity is while you are single.”  – Lady in Waiting

When I was a freshman in college, a Bible study I was in read the above quoted book.  That was 15 years ago.  I was doe eyed, hadn’t had my first boyfriend yet, and didn’t know the slightest bit about making the most of every opportunity while I was single.  But I certainly committed myself fully to the idea of living a fulfilling life without feeling like I needed a man to be fulfilled.

I traveled around the States by myself.  Went to movies by myself.  Learned how to go to dinner by myself.  Read books on the subway, on a mountain, by a river, in a hammock, by a Great Lake, by the Atlantic, everywhere.  I learned what it was like to give up summer break to bring light into children’s dark places.  I also learned what it was like to take a 2 week vacation just to relax and enjoy my friends, a campfire, and the Fourth of July.

Sure, I’ve bought into relationships here and there, even invested in one so fully that I relocated.  And then that one ended.  But something strange happened:  my life didn’t completely end.  In fact, very strangely, it all began again very quickly.  And I was stunned.  So I did what any woman does when she’s ready to move on: I got a haircut.

While in the waiting area, I absentmindedly thumbed through a Cosmo, and landed on an interview with Cameron Diaz; you know, the ones with the fill in the blank survey?  In the slot that said “Best piece of advice you received,” she had scribbled something to the extent of “You can’t be in a relationship until you’re fine just being with yourself.”  One of the most beautiful actresses in Hollywood sounding ridiculously level headed, a refreshing change.

Damn you, Cameron Diaz for being my epiphany.  Sitting in that chair. Waiting for the “let’s move on” haircut.  Ridiculous.  But sometimes we all just need a reminder that returning to the fundamentals of life are what we need.  Or what I need.  Not that I’m going fishing anytime soon.  Because who goes fishing when there are places to go read?

“A woman without her man is nothing
A woman, without her man, is nothing.
A woman, without her, man is nothing.”         -Comma Joke