Sunday, July 12, 2015

Things I can't put in words but I'll try anyway

If we had a way of communicating without being limited to the palette of the written word, I could explain what music means to me.  I could show you if we had a way of sharing thoughts.  Music is color, music is visual, music is emotion, music is sensation.  It is not words.  Its power is not easily explainable with the English language.  There is almost nothing more important to me than music. 

I grew up with music-loving parents.  The classical station was usually playing throughout the day.  We’d listen to opera at night.  My parents had a vast collection of records:  opera, classical, and film scores.  We’d often listen to those records, and often we would just listen.  And I mean listen.  Not play games or cards, not read a book, but sitting and just listening.  I still do this a lot.  Music is best when you can devote your full attention to it.  Just close your eyes and listen.

Our lives are so darned busy, overwhelmed with stuff that needs to be done.  But we will always make time for what matters to us.  Listening to music matters to me.

The first thing I do in the morning is start playing music.  The last thing I do before I go to bed is usually turn it off.  I don’t listen to it at work because I’m often on the phone, but if I’m on a project where I’m not going to be interrupted, then I’ve got music playing.  The minute I go on break or lunch, I hit play on the iPod.  If I’m writing, I’m listening to music.  If I’m driving, I’m listening to music.  If I’m not listening to music, I’m humming or whistling to music playing in my head. 

Since 1982, since getting the score to Star Trek II, James Horner's music has been with me weekly, if not daily.  And on days I choose to listen to something by another composer, his name still crosses my mind.  That’s thirty-three years his music has been with me almost daily.  There’s only two other people that get thought of daily and going back as long:  my sister and Jerry Goldsmith, my other favorite film composer.  This is one of the reasons James Horner’s death has hit me so hard.  Why I still tear up if someone starts talking to me about him, or if certain pieces come on my iPod.  His music has been a constant companion for most of my life.  Through the ups and downs, through multiple novels, through moves, through trips, through friends.  Thirty-three years this man and his music have accompanied me every single day. His music will continue to accompany me daily for the next thirty-three years... but there will no longer be any new scores to look forward to. 

7 comments:

  1. I love this post. Music is indeed so very powerful. Can you imagine a movie without music? It just wouldn't be the same.

    I confess, I haven't sat and listened to music for a long time...just listened to it and didn't do anything else. I think I need to do that soon. :)

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    1. It's hard to just take the time to do nothing but listen to a CD. We could be catching up online, or doing dishes... there's a hundred way to multi-task and enjoy music as the background because time is so precious... But, there's really nothing like just listening uninterrupted to music. (Which I really need my cats to understand... howling to go in and out of a room should be saved for another time, Grady! Can't you hear the music?? LOL!) I've been lying on the couch a lot lately, cuz it's too hot to do anything else, and enjoying some Horner scores I'd bought on CD but had not yet opened until this past week. Just listening to the orchestrations, following different instruments, feeling the colors of it, etc. I can't really do that when I'm multi-tasking, then I just hear the whole.

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    2. Yes - doing nothing but listening to music is a lost art, I think. Even now, I'm sitting on my couch and the radio is playing jazz (NPR station, I think) and yet, I'm still checking blogs and preparing to work on the novel.

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    3. I recently watched a movie where for the after-dinner entertainment everyone sat and listened to a record together. I was kind of marveling that they weren't doing anything else while they listened! :)

      Great post and dicussion, Deb.

      Best wishes,
      Laura

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  2. It's been so long since I've done nothing but listen -- really listen -- to music. There was a time when, whenever I'd get a new CD, I would listen to it all the way through without doing anything else. Hasn't happened in, oh, nearly 8 years, lol. Now it gets thrown on while I cook, and that's the closest I can get to listening closely because cooking doesn't require my brain to think words the way blogging, writing, and interacting with kids does. Some day I'll have that luxury again, I'm sure!

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    1. If you have time to watch a movie, then you have time to listen to a CD uninterrupted -- if you want to. It's not a matter of luxury, it's simply a matter of each of us deciding how we want to spend our limited amounts of free time. We pick and choose what's important to do with that time depending on our own needs. But music has the advantage of being perfect for listening to while doing something else, so you can hear it during the day without using up that free time. That's why I've always got it playing while I'm doing other stuff too. We can listen and multi-task away (I particularly like listening while doing dishes, that's my mindless chore that lets me focus on the music). It's a beautiful way to have the best of all worlds!

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  3. So beautifully true!

    I especially enjoyed the first paragraph:) Exactly--music is just...well, music. (I'm tired and words aren't exactly coming;) )

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