Today, celebrate three songs that are significant to you. For your twist, write for fifteen minutes without stopping — and build a writing habit.
Being a child of the eighties, or at least identifying that way, it was all about the big hair bands, arena rock, punctuated by the easy sounds of Gordon Lightfoot and Neil Diamond. While ABBA and Fleetwood Mac battled both Queen and Michael Jackson in the background. Styx’s hit Grand Illusion is the top of the list. We were a poor family and everybody had everything that we didn’t. And to a kid that is the end of the world. But my grandmother, who was born in the 1930’s kept telling us kids that if we worked hard, went to school and played by the rule we would be fine. As I grew up things didn’t mean as much to me. I kept my head down and did everything I was supposed to except school and fought for that. Nothing, I could not get ahead no matter what I tried. Multiple jobs, scrounging cans for recycling, no extras and I was mired in the money pit. I kept loosing school to lack of classes offered when I could take them needing a minimum of nine credits to keep grants, or work. And around me, people broke the law, defrauded the state, and they had all the free time in the world, took one or two classes where they got As. I got so angry that as the names of those people were mentioned I would literally have a explosion. I did everything I was supposed to, played by the rules and I could never catch a break. One day when I blew up all over one of them for bragging about their “A” and was told to take a walk. I drove instead and on the eagle, the Grand Illusion played. And for the first time I listened to the lyrics of a song I loved as a kid for a whole different reason and gained a new perspective. Now I still play buy the rules, and I still cant get ahead most times, but when I feel like everyone has it better than me… I remind myself with the Grand Illusion.
My next song always makes me bawl like a baby when I hear it. While several of Michael Martian Murphy’s song have meaning this one kind of sealed animal rights as my button, my soapbox issue, and maybe if I was a little more brave a little bit of an eco defender. Children of the Wild World While the artist only mentions four of our endangered animals it is/was enough to make a soft heart feel for the animals. As a kid I wanted to do anything to keep these beautiful animals safe and to this day figures into food I eat, money I spend, and time I use.
The next song is also emotional but in a different way. Where my first song is basically about my selfishness so is this one. Harry Chapin’s “Cat’s In the Cradle” so there song as I was growing up. I was one of those kids my parents never had time for me or my brother and sisters. My deadbeats step father spent more on drugs and porn than he earned driving a truck across country. And my mom, worked her self to the bone so the neighbors only had to feed us once a month. The thing about this song which makes me want to tear up now shouldn’t. I am an adult now and he came back trying to fix the relationship and I was ambivalent. I was 16 the last time I saw him I was 35 when he reached out to me.
I am sorry this took more 15 minutes but it was very catharsis for me and since I had already gone over time I added the links to the lyrics of the songs for those that might be interested.