I have recently rediscovered my immense love for two things: books and music.
I have been in constant contact with these two forms of media, but the increasing mundanity of this contact has made me forget how much I love them. The activities of listening to music and reading are daily occurrences for me: I constantly have my iPod on as I commute and my iTunes is almost always up when I am at home. And, as a lit major, I always have some sort of reading associated with my classes. At times, I do both activities simultaneously, switching my iPod on as I plow through a text.
Finding myself with a bit of free time, however, I finally returned to my mythical and beloved pastime of pleasure reading. There is nothing better than sitting down to read a book of my own choosing which I can breeze through at my own pace and my own leisure without concern for a deadline or for the quotes that I will pull from it for my essay. Yesterday, I spent all afternoon curled up in the windowsill of a random, third-floor room of the Louvre finishing off a Patrick Modiano book that I had been wanting to read. The room’s aubergine walls, Dutch paintings and perfect view of the Palace Royal made the experience all the more magical. I had forgotten that magic.
Likewise, in constantly surrounding myself with music, I had forgotten its power. I forgot its magical ability to transport the listener across space and time to past eras – its ability to make memories come alive. On a recent stroll through my iTunes catalogue, I haphazardly clicked on the music of Linkin Park, a band my “Last Played” column revealed that I had not listened to in over two years. As the songs played, I was suddenly immersed in the faux teenage angst of my freshman year of high school. My musical tastes may have changed since then, but I still knew all the words, and I was pleased to revel in the memory of it all, no matter how unsophisticated the music may be.
Going further back, I recently acquired a Nanci Griffith album on my computer. This same exact “retrospective,” in cassette-tape form, was one of a number of albums that served as the soundtrack of my youth. Certain classics from my dad’s massive tape collection – which I distinctly and fondly remember organizing and re-alphabetizing each year with my brother and dad – are ingrained in my subconscious. Whenever I hear these songs, I am transported back to the pleasant memories of that safe and simple time when I still had a home and our family was all together, when I didn’t have to worry about the future and I didn’t know what stress what. What’s more, when the songs are actually great, it’s even more of a pleasure to return to them. When I was young, I may have liked the songs, but I didn’t understand how amazing of a songwriter Nanci Griffith is.
I am glad I have rediscovered this magic.
Musique: “Love at the Five and Dime” Nanci Griffith