“Music in the soul can be heard by the universe.”
I definitely won’t be writing every day as I did during the first year after my daughter, Elle, died but just at the moment there are a lot of positive forces at work in the arena that is my mind. And having a blog site is the closest I will ever get to having a gig of my own.
Something I wrote 13 October 2017:
Music – melody – major or minor – treble and base line – back to base
This morning, as I closed our front door behind me, a conversation started up in my mind. I observed a lightness in my step, and then was immediately doused in a shower of sadness. It came to me that I am living a schizophrenic life now – happiness, more easily understood as a lightness of spirit, and sadness, side by side in my soul. I like to think of it metaphorically. A couple of weeks ago Kate, Elle’s elder sister, sent me a video of one-year-old Isaac, sitting at a piano for the first time. He immediately lifted both hands to the keyboard, and he even chose to use the black keys as he thoughtfully set about exploring the sounds each of the notes made. There was something about the way that he held his hands and used his fingers so gently on the keys, and also his little shudder of pleasure half way through, that made me think he was familiar with the instrument and what it could do. It was as if he had a soul memory of what can be done with a piano.
With my experience of sadness and happiness manifesting side by side, if not overlapping, and not feeling uncomfortable with either, I see an opportunity for a soulful melody to be developed. The left hand (Peter and my dominant hands) plays the sombre earthly and grounding notes, while the right hand plays a lighter and more heavenly melody. I know that the melody can change at any moment, but that doesn’t bother me either. I can have access to my sadness any time I want, even when feeling light. This is important to me. It is only a hand away. There will be days when I hear the pathos more clearly coming through from my dominant left hand, and other days when my right hand will sound melodic and ethereal and both may bring a smile to my face. I am reminded of the ‘four temperaments’, melancholy, phlegmatic, sanguine and choleric – very much embedded in Steiner’s school curriculum. I recognise myself as a ‘melancholic’. I have heard it said that the music in the minor keys has a more melancholic sound, and it might explain why I hear such beauty in this key.
Back to today.
My regular car journeys, as I travel to Pilates or whatever chores I have lined up for the day, are a real joy to me, and it is not just the love I feel for my trusty Toyota Hilux truck. It is a time of bliss, when I am facing the right way, and with my music. This morning was a true bliss day. One of the songs that I allowed to play, rather than push past it, was Rodriguez’ A Most Disgusting Song. It truly is disgusting, and generally not one for keeping my mood up. But this morning I left it to run its course. It was written almost fifty years ago, and I was one of a few people familiar with it when originally released. That is because I am South African, the only country in the world that took to this album released in 1970. I was in my mid teens, and everyone was listening to and buying the album. I got my first job working as a waitress at the Golden Spur in Newlands, Cape Town, and the album was on almost constant rotation along with a few other LP records. This was not the song on the album that would have grabbed my attention though because in my youthfulness I wouldn’t have recognised the people that the song describes, but Sugarman is indelibly engrained on my mind. It is very satisfying that the film, Searching for Sugarman, has finally placed Rodriguez in the pantheon of singer/songwriters where he firmly belongs. Listening to A Most Disgusting Song this morning, the people no longer seemed strange and indistinguishable. Living a lifetime has meant that I have come across them all at least once in my life.. There is not a line that doesn’t resonate, or a person I don’t recognise. So I have printed the lyrics for you, and I think the last word ‘again’, is most apt, whichever way you look at it.
A Most Disgusting Song
I’ve played faggot bars, hooker bars, motorcycle funerals
In opera houses, concert halls, halfway houses.
All the people that I’ve played for are the same people
So if you’ll listen, maybe you’ll see someone you know in this song.
Acting limp he sits down with a grin
Next to a girl that has never been chased
The bartender wipes a smile off his face
The delegates cross the floor,
Curtsy and promenade through the doors,
And slowly the evening begins.
Who’s just crazy about them East Lafayette weekend sluts
Talking is the lawyer in crumpled up shirt
And everyone’s drinking the detergents
That cannot remove their hurts
Your government will provide the shrugs,
And your national guard will supply the slugs,
So they sit all satisfied.
Who’s always been shorter than himself,
And there’s a man with his chin in his hand,
Who knows more than he’ll ever understand.
Getting high, getting drunk, getting horny
At the Inn-Between, again.
Who at every scented skirt whispers up and sighs
And there’s a teacher that will kiss you in French
Who could never give love, could only fearfully clench
Getting pacified, ossified, affectionate at Mr. Flood’s party, again
There’s someone here who’s almost a virgin I’ve been told
And there’s Linda glass-made who speaks of the past
Who genuflects, salutes, signs the cross and stands at half mast
Redheads, brunettes, brownettes and the dyed haired blondes,
Who talk to dogs, chase broads and have hopes of being mobbed,
Who mislay their dreams and later claim that they were robbed
Getting high, getting drunk, getting horny
Lost, even, at Martha’s Vineyard, again
7 thoughts on “The Sound of Music, Even”
oh Jennie, how brave of you go write so honestly and so eloquently about your journey.
Hi Jenny, thanks for your encouraging words. I have written a book which I started 4 months after Elle died which I chose to finish after the celebration of her life. But I found I couldn’t stop writing. I don’t want to write another book so this seems like the answer for me. I like sending off my writing into the ether. I have chosen to deal with my grief by allowing Elle to take me by the hand and lead me through. I believe a lot of people find their comfort this way. Sending you lots of love, and perhaps one day you will make your way to Ibiza, or me to Scotland. I have a growing desire to spend some time there in the Highlands and Islands. xxxJennie
Such beautiful writing Jennie it makes me want to read more x
Thanks Rachel and Marion for such encouraging words xxx
That’s my girl!
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I was listening to your beautiful song the other day and meant to drop you a line. I am still hoping to bring it to life some time xxx