I’m watching the Hulu series, High Fidelity, with Zoë Kravitz. The show’s tagline is: “Getting over heartbreak. One killer playlist at a time.” In Episode 2 of the show, Zoë details how to produce a memorable playlist. In her words:
Making a playlist is a delicate art. It’s like writing a love letter, but better in a way. You get to say what you want to say without actually saying it. You get to use someone else’s poetry to express how you feel. And then there are the rules:
It’s gotta be entertaining.
You gotta tell a story.
You can’t be too obvious, but you can’t be too obscure either.
You can’t double up on songs by the same artist unless, of course, that’s your theme.
She goes on to note that assembling a good compilation of songs isn’t easy. She’s adamant: “The most important track is Number One.” You miss getting off the starting blocks with the right song, you may as well forget it. The music slips and fizzles like seltzer. Number One has gotta be familiar but also unexpected. And most importantly, it’s got to make you feel good (Nick Hornby, Sara Kucserka, and Veronica West).
After the show, I wanted to make a playlist, but I choked. Each time I thought I had my starter, I folded. Always unsure I’d made the right choice. I wrestled with the idea of the almighty Number One for days. Then I remembered something I love from Corinne Bailey Rae.
Yep, I think I’ve got it.
If you think it’s easy choosing a lead song from the wonderful world of music, give it a try; then let me know how you get off the starting line. How you begin your masterpiece.
A proverb says,“The height of folly is to be quick-tempered. A mind at ease is life and health.” I never use the word folly. I roll with, Man, you look weird when you lose your temper. And all of us do, you know. But the proverb is right. Too much rage can bruise the soul. Marvin Gaye once sang, “When anger is flaming hot, it burns to the bitter end.”
I ain’t gonna let you get the best of me,
I’m gonna go somewhere and cool
This is not the way my head’s supposed to be,
You’ve got me feelin’ like some silly fool
But I know a real nice place where I can go
And feel the way I’m supposed to feel
Marvin must have had a safe place where he felt appreciated, valued, and loved. A place where he could breathe, refocus, and cool down. Maybe you have somewhere you go to diffuse. A brisk morning jog, a quiet midday stroll through a nearby park, a late afternoon coffee with close friends –– all of these can be sacred places where we nurture what matters most, a little peace of mind.
Dreams are illustrations … from the book your soul is writing about you.
Pulitzer Prize winner Marsha Norman is a playwright, screenwriter and novelist. She is the co-director of the Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Program at Juilliard. Needless to say, her expertise and accomplishments are extensive. In an adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s novel The Secret Garden, Norman wrote the book and lyrics for the Broadway musical, an intricate part in bringing The Secret Garden alive on stage. She also wrote the libretto for the musical adaptation of the film The Bridges of Madison County, one of my personal favorites.
I love what Norman says about dreams being the illusions from the book your soul is writing about you. My soul is writing about its mate— you, my love, my soul is writing about you. When I am in my garden, hands digging in the soil of the earth, my head is in the clouds daydreaming of you. Daydreams are a means to be with you until the day comes when my dreams come true. They will, it’s only a matter of time. Every bridge I cross is a step closer to the illusions of my soul.
Emeril John Lagasse III is an American celebrity chef, restaurateur, television personality, and cookbook author. We know him for his mastery of Creole and Cajun cuisine and for his self-developed New New Orleans style dishes.
On his cooking shows he pioneered the catchphrases “Kick it up a notch!” and “Bam!”
Ariana Grande follows Emeril’s suggestion to kick it up a notch by doing that very thing in her song, Into You. Her chorus can raise body temperatures to boiling:
Baby come light me up, and baby I’ll let you on it A little bit dangerous, but baby that’s how I want it A little less conversation and a little more touch my body ‘Cause I’m so into you, into you, into you
Alexander Kronlund, Ariana Grande, Ilya, Max Martin, Savan Kotecha
I know at the moment it’s hard to answer Ariana’s call, but in time we will be able to lay aside social distancing. When we do, a little more touch my body might be exactly what the doctor orders.
I know why you associate Phil Collins’ song “In the Air Tonight” with Miami Vice. The song played during the show’s pilot episode on September 16, 1984. It was an iconic moment in television history, combining cinematography and imagery with music to cater to an “I want my MTV” craze. In a jet-black Ferrari, detective duo Crockett and Tubbs sped soberly through dark city streets while the song played on, building tension and posing relationship questions like “Was it real?”
(The answer is yes.)
During the fourth season we again heard “In the Air Tonight” during a scene that led up to Sonny Crockett being shot and critically wounded. Detective Crockett was a man of few words who enforced the law while living by his own set of rules. His fashion sense was always cool, complementing his laid-back attitude, but he was prone to fits of anger and bouts of depression. Beneath it all, he had a tender heart. Fans loved rooting for him, flaws and all.
We are all flawed, but some of us (like me) are flawed with extremes. We love with all that we are, with every ounce of our being. Our presence is often calming and uplifting. Full of passion, we can be intoxicating. If our perceptions become tainted or skewed, that loving energy can convert into vitriol and drowning depression. We’re stable until we fall, and when we fall, we don’t always go down alone.
So when you hear Collins sing, I’ve seen your face before, my friend, but I don’t know if you know who I am and wonder how well any of us really know the other, I have an answer for you. The talented Mr. Collins wrote another song called “Against All Odds.” Perhaps you’ll recall this line: You’re the only one who really knew me at all.
I used to love to watch Sonny Crockett and Rico Tubbs work undercover for the Metro-Dade Police Department on the Saturday night television drama, Miami Vice. The creators were great at mixing moody music with colorful visual effects, and the end result was a mind-blowing experience.
I’m not sure why but I always associate the show with a Phil Collins’ song entitled In the Air Tonight. A haunting melody roams in the background as Collins’ sings, I can feel it coming in the air tonight. I could always relate to the line: I’ve seen your face before, my friend, but I don’t know if you know who I am.
That last line makes me wonder how well any of us really know the other. We extend common courtesies, proffer lots of smiles and nods of agreement, make quick and painless promises and vows, then follow up those pledges with much too quickly forgotten intentions which evaporate into thin air. It takes years, maybe lifetimes, to burrow beneath the surface of the human mind and body. To strike pay-dirt. To see someone as they really are and not as we want them to be. I suppose that’s why we’re always bumping around like pinballs waiting for the lights to go out and the message to read: Game Over.
Ah, drink me up That I may be Within your cup Like a mystery, Like wine that is still In Ecstasy.
On this spring day I am lost in the mystery of your smile. It’s lopsided at times, higher on the right, giving you a mischievous look. Like the Cheshire Cat, it’s as if you possess information that I am unaware of. Sometimes I lose sleep over this mystery and search the night for the key to your secrets, to your heart. It’s only fair. Here. I’ll give you the key to mine. I desire your smiling lips; I long for them to drink me up. Forever drunk with love for you, I want to get you drunk with love for me. Let sweet ecstasy impair us to the point of no return.
The theoretical laws of supply and demand are much too complicated for me to understand, but it’s obvious when demand exceeds supply in a free market, the scarcity of an item causes its price to skyrocket. Why else would someone pay thirty-five hundred dollars for a Tickle Me Elmo doll, which someone did twenty years ago.
Strange things happen when tickling is in the mix.
It’s also obvious the laws of supply and demand do not apply to us. You always give far more than you get and I have everything I need in you. The give and take of us is a finely balanced economy I wouldn’t want to live without. You meet my needs without complaint. And you can never argue I am scarce. I’m all over you all the time.
I am homesick after mine own kind, Oh I know that there are folk about me, friendly faces, But I am homesick after mine own kind.
The poet was homesick for his soul-kin. That’s the word he uses when he writes, “Ordinary people touch me not. And I am homesick after mine own kind that know, and feel and have some breath for beauty and the arts.”
I can relate. I am homesick for you. For you are my own kind, my soul-kin.
We both believe a cup of hot coffee tastes much better than herbal tea. We both enjoy driving clean automobiles. We both have insatiable appetites for curious music. We love to balance talk with quiet time, sprinkling our days with pensive reflection and meditation. We love to laugh, to ogle sunsets and each other, and we love to eat foods that nurture the belief we’re taking care of our bodies, and both our hearts go out to all who have to go without.
So I’m your kind. And you’re mine. We are soul-kin and I am homesick for you.
“The obscure we see eventually, the completely apparent takes longer.” – Edward R. Murrow
Sometimes, when times are turbulent and the future is uncertain, it can help to adjust our perspective. Look to the right, and to the left. Catch a glimpse of the surrounding beauty. A flower outside the window. A smile on the mail carrier’s face. A budding tree. A beloved pet. A favorite book. A loved one. Perspective can help us rediscover what is right in front of us. When we zoom in on this inward place and take time to focus, we might find the best view in the house.
Our hearts, scorched from rage, were on the verge of turning to ash. The things you said. The things I said. It seemed like the pain of it all had smothered us for good. I was preparing for a life of celibacy and solitude. For who could I ever love but you?
Like an endless winter storm my days were barren. Then, like a streak of lightning, your words broke through the cold silence of our hurt and started a new fire, a brush fire that flamed and became white hot before it spread throughout my body. I am still stunned, no dazed, by what I felt the moment that fire—that passion—reignited. It was hotter than anything I’d ever felt, like you’d led us into a raging forest fire that cleansed and renewed our love for one another.
This morning I am more in love with you than ever. I need the kind of love only you can give, the kind of intimacy that is holy and pure and without equal. I need you to carry me to forbidden places that only you and I should go.