Prelude to a (Musical) Retrospective

“In memory, everything seems to happen to music.”

—Tennessee Williams

I came upon the above quotation via Twitter last night (it’s a line from “The Glass Menagerie” in case you can’t place it; it took me a minute!)

I’d already been thinking about writing a blog post about music – particularly about the songs that have made an impression on me this year.  That seemed like a good end-of-year thing to explore – because I really do tend to mark moments in music. I thought it’d be interesting to lay out 2013 against a musical frame and see if there were any previously unseen insights to be had from that.

But I think I might be a little more ambitious than that.


2013, in all its forms (happy, challenging, etc), seems especially important to evaluate this year – because I have this very strong sense that the coming year, 2014, is going to be a very different kind of year.  I want to enter it with an absolutely clear sense of where I am in life right now and how I got here.  I think that might be important.

Not that I want 2014 to be different (though that’s perfectly okay!)  I’m not actively seeking change for change’s sake (though I like change!)  It’s more that I’m feeling (strongly feeling) that, whether I want it to be different or not, whether I’m seeking change or not, it’s coming.  And if I’m going to properly ride that wave of change, I need to be very aware of my strengths and weaknesses and so on.

And I really want to ride that wave.


The only explanation I can find for the strength of this feeling I have (that change is coming) is in the fact that a lot has happened for me in the last few years.  And I think all that stuff has come together now, has built up to this moment.

It’s like moving and moving and moving toward something – and then suddenly getting there.  Not to a destination per se – but to the place on the road where your direction shifts.  That’s where I am.  It’s like I’ve been on this gravel road, and it’s been slow going (hard to see, a lot of wear-and-tear).  But now I’m finally about to turn onto the interstate and start moving.

The ultimate destination (whatever that is) is still a ways off…but the experience of traveling is about to get very, very different.

It’s a really strong feeling.


So, with that feeling, I’ve become aware of this stronger-than-usual urge to take stock – not just of the past year, but of the past. I’d like to do it via this blog – because blogging is really useful to me for ordering my thoughts.

But what I was envisioning seemed too ambitious a task for a blog post:  potentially and probably too long, too wordy, too unwieldy to read.  This is why I thought about forcing myself to stick to 2013…but that wasn’t satisfying me.

That Tennessee Williams quote got me thinking though.  It actually pointed me toward a means of doing this broader survey that I wanted to do – because I realized that when I look back on the past, I remember it best with music.  And that music can help me do this evaluation in a more concise way – and a way that will (I think) actually be more effective than text alone.

In other words, I don’t have to write this weighty-with-words blog post.  I can use a combination of words and music and express everything I want.  (I’m starting to really appreciate multimedia expression – but that’s a topic for another post!)


So that’s what I’m going to attempt in my next few posts.

I think it’ll work best broken into multiple posts (of which this is the first.)  And it’ll contain text interspersed with embedded songs that will flesh out the text.

I’m slightly worried that the songs I use will only hold meaning of any sort for me – because many of them, I’m sure, will be “of the moment” songs, and meaningful simply because they got a lot of radio play at that particular time or something, not because they are, in content, linked in any way to my descriptions of what I was feeling or experiencing.  But we’ll see.  (That’s part of the experiment here, I guess!)

I can’t quite envision what this’ll ultimately look like.  I’m actually trying not to plan it out ahead of time. I rather want to see what memories come to me and what songs want to attach themselves to those memories…and I want all of that to happen organically.

This just feels like an exercise I need to engage in at this particular moment in time.  (Hopefully it’ll end up readable!)


I think what I’ve just written constitutes an introduction.  So I’ll just call this post “The Prelude” and refer to it from the others.  I’m envisioning at least two others:  a “past” post (maybe two, depending on how wordy I am) and a “future” one.  We’ll see.

(I’ll try to get the first of these out later tonight!)


8 thoughts on “Prelude to a (Musical) Retrospective

  1. You add some great perspective to Williams’ quote. I saw The Glass Menagerie on Broadway a month ago, and it was outstanding. Definitely worth a viewing if you are in the city. I have a literary blog, so I love when other bloggers analyze great quotes.


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