Hey…do you remember what your favorite song was when you lost your virginity? What song was playing in your car the first time you drove by yourself? What was your favorite song when you graduated high school? Fell in love (really in love) the first time? Got your first job?
If music is as important to you as it is to me, you can answer these questions, and you can probably even tell me your favorite albums during those same periods of time. The sense of smell can sometimes transport us back, evoking a memory that had faded–until we caught a whiff of something we hadn’t smelled since then. Well, I’ve found that–for me, at any rate–music can do almost the same damn thing. I can think of a song and I can tell you a memory associated with it. Here is one example of how vivid music has made my memories…
Early May 1985. The song–“Turn up the Radio.” The band–Autograph. (Don’t feel bad if you’ve never heard of them.) I had the day off from school (I think it was a Friday, but I could be wrong) because I was going to tour the college I wanted to attend. I had a President’s Scholarship from that school and another in Colorado. I’d already toured the other school and wasn’t that impressed. Anyway, I had my Walkman and was sitting in the back of the car listening to this song, and my mom and dad were in the front of the car…listening to less cool music. 😉
If you had asked me before I looked at a calendar, I would have sworn it happened on May 5 (but that was a Sunday, so I know that’s wrong). It was probably May 3. That’s not important, though. What’s important is I looked up the song on YouTube and listened to it while typing this post, and it’s amazing the memories that came flooding back. When I was listening to that song in my parents’ car, I was thinking about that one boy who got away. I still had both sets of grandparents. I did a lot for a high school kid (work, theater, color guard, good grades), but I loved it. All of these things are swirling in my head–the general gist of how I felt back then–but specifics too, like how I fell in love with the college and attended that fall, the different people we talked to on campus (a theater student, an English prof I took a couple of years later, the color of the damn leaves!!!). This song will always remind me of that day, and that boy, and my first impressions of my alma mater…and who I was back then, the hopeful girl I used to be.
But I digress. Music has been so huge a part of my life that I can give you memories (big or small) to go with almost every song I love (or like). I am not judging folks, but I have seen–amongst us crazy metalheads–a community of sorts and a respect for and appreciation of what music has done for us, how it alters our perception of the world.
It provides unity.
For example, a guy I consider a very good friend used to be my supervisor when I taught college English. We’d hit it off anyway, but it didn’t take long for us to realize we were both hardcore metalheads. We could spend hours talking music. One day, the woman who ran the bookstore was teasing us because we were, yet again, talking about concerts, and I said, “I know. Every time we talk, our conversation degenerates into a discussion about music.” He immediately corrected me and told me our conversations always evolved into music discussions. How true.
And then at work a few weeks ago, I was giving a new worker orientation and the guy I was talking with noticed all the CDs on my shelf. “You like metal?” Ha ha. Is the Pope Catholic? I admitted that, yes, I was a metalhead and then he noticed the Suicide Silence CD. “Oh, you really are a metalhead.”
Conversations and memories about music.
The reason why I bring it up is because of one of the books I’m working on, one that will come out (I hope) in March. Yes, it’s about zombies. Yeah, it’s also about second chances, redemption, learning to forgive yourself. But one of the undercurrents is what I’ve waxed poetic about here–music binds us and it binds our memories. It ties us to old emotions. I’m not going to tell you just how pervasive music will be in Savage, but rest assured that it will be huge. I tend to have a lot of music references in my books anyway, but this is gonna be something special. I’m not going to give anything away, but I can’t wait for you to read it!
What the hell are you waiting for? Add this puppy to your Goodreads TBR: Savage