When my youngest son was in high school and college he ran track and cross country. He did very well and broke records and won local, regional, and state meets. Sometimes he expressed insecurity at conquering the next level. When he qualified to go to the state meet in his senior year he was confident but well aware of his competition. My husband and I reminded him of his inner drive and heart for competing. We shared a memory of him walking with his four siblings and his dad and me and how he would get tired and slow down. We would then ask him to sing Eye of the Tiger . He’d start singing in his little boy voice and immediately he would pick up his pace. From that moment’s memory he proceeded to take his music whenever or wherever he ran, and be inspired once again to push on and run his fastest.
Music has always been a part of my life. My family was musical. My father played the trumpet and my mother played the piano. My parents asked each of us in elementary school what instrument we wanted to play, not if. I’m grateful for that musical background. But no one needs a background in music to enjoy listening to a favorite song. Songs can take us to many places and often lift our mood or, like my son’s song, complement self-expression and support our goals.
My playlist for my life when I was younger included upbeat, lively music. It was a rare moment that I wasn’t listening to music at home or in my car. Since I’m a serious person, in college I listened to issue songs, like Beds are Burning by Midnight Oil. I was a romantic, so James Taylor’s Fire and Rain and Neil Diamond’s God Only Knows frequently orchestrated my daily life .
As a young mom I would mop the kitchen floor moving to the beat of Electric Light Orchestra’s All Over the World, Christopher Cross’s I Really Don't Know Anymore, Imagine by John Lennon, and Right Here Right Now by Jesus Jones.
Like my life, my playlist has changed over the years. When I wrote my first book I did it to Gloria Estafan’s Can't Stay Away from You. Other books I wrote to the soundtracks of Superman and White Knights. These oldies but goodies provided an intensity that resonated with the stories in my head.
Nowadays my playlist remains an expression of what’s going on inside me. I would just as likely play Smile by Uncle Kracker or Songbird by Union of Sound, as I would The Sounds of Silence by Simon and Garfunkle or Dark Horse by Katy Perry.
There are so many, many wonderful songs that have been a part of my life. But now when I write I’m most likely to be in silence. I love the rich, nourishing ambiance of quiet, in my mind and my surroundings.
What’s on your playlist?