"How does it feel
How does it feel
To be without a home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone ?"
Like a Rolling Stone
I was on the beach in Santa Monica. Bikini babes, sun, and surf, were my world. And then I heard "Like a Rolling Stone" on somebody's transistor radio. I changed, and the memory of that song embedded itself in my brain. Every time I heard it repeated, I would always remember exactly where I was and how I felt at that moment.
And that's how it is with the generation of folks before digital and electronic this and that. We identify ourselves with music. We are that moment when we first heard the song, whether it's Dylan or Manilow. Most of the time it happens when we hear the first chord. We're swept back to time and place and feeling.
If I were to write a memoir, it would have a soundtrack. When I write fiction or poetry, there is a drum fill, a guitar solo, or a sax howling behind the words. All writing, for me at least, is lyrical, because my "memory accompaniment" is always there peeking around the edge of the imagery.
In conjuring up recollections from my past for Mental Hygiene, my new novel, I relied heavily on music from 1967-68. Things that I had forgotten came flooding back with every strumming hook line. I was there because the songs insisted that I relive the details. The heart of what I'd stored in my head filled the pages.
Everything is faster now, by demand. If we want to keep up, we cannot afford to savor. The keyboards are smaller, and the information bigger. The chords have become cordless. The sounds of our lives are disappearing in the din of multimedia.
I feel lucky. Dylan, Joni Mitchell, even Ella Fitzgerald, hold on to my past and future dreams on vinyl reminders. I'm hardwired at the intro. So like the song, Where or When,
"It seems we've stood and talked like this before..."