"The notion that such persons are gay of heart and carefree is curiously untrue. They lead, as a matter of fact, an existence of jumpiness and apprehension. They sit on the edge of the chair of Literature. In the house of Life they have the feeling that they have never taken off their overcoats."
- James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Music and memories

I know the autumnal equinox was back in September, but in southern California, it has been summer since about March. It feels like we've had nothing but temperatures in the 90s and above for such a long time, perhaps we should never see fall or winter again. Not that those seasons are so very cold down here in Orange County. Still, I am used to a few months of temperatures in the 50s and 60s and varying amounts of rain.

This weekend we had fall. Rain, cool weather, with the added bonus of changing the clock back an hour. Nothing says autumn like darkness at 5 p.m.

Certain music reminds me of certain seasons, something I'm aware of every time the weather gives me that first day of spring, summer, etc. In SoCal, it's a little difficult to have that first day of winter, or even summer, but even the thought of a season makes me think of a song.

This is what I've been hearing in my head this weekend:

The album was released in March 1970, but I have a memory of hearing the song one crisp autumn day back in Illinois. The moment froze for me, what I was wearing, where I was standing, and that vague yearning for more in my 16-year-old heart.

For winter, my mind drifts to this:

I know, it's so totally disco, but I remember seeing the snow falling one night outside my window as this song was playing, and the swirling sound of the violins captured the swirls of snowflakes blowing across the streetlights.

Spring is found here, in my head:

This was all about being a college kid and having a local band covering The Stones and feeling very grown up.

And Summer:

Ah, the days of lip-synching, but I still adore John Sebastian (lead singer for those of you youngsters). The heat and stickiness of the summer day combined with the words "back of my neck feeling dirt and gritty" summed up my forever-feelings about summertime.

Each one takes me immediately back to the memory when I hear it. I often think of trying to capture this idea of a character being motivated by songs that jiggle memories loose could be interesting, if done correctly.

What song takes you to a time and place?

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