The other night, while I took Rosita for a walk, Brandi Carlile's "The Story" began to play on my headphones.
"The Story" is one of my ex's songs. For years, she loved it and adored it and sang along with it whenever she could. I remember it was one of the songs she wanted me to teach her on the guitar. It's a gorgeous song fleshed with loads of common imagery and Carlile's performance meshes perfectly with the content.
But I don't think it was one of "our songs." It was her song. So of course it sent me deep into the dregs of nostalgic reverie.
We walked down the aisle, just over ten years ago, to Pierce Pettis' "You Move Me."
Our first "date," if you could call it that, was a Pierce Pettis basement show in Delta, BC, back in January or so of 2006. It was only appropriate that we'd walk down the aisle to the song.
And it was appropriate because she did move me for a long time. I'd like to think that our relationship lived up to the ideals that the song promoted. I mean, read it:
But now I'm back on the couch, taking the therapy, heart hanging out. And I guess I'll never get to listen to the song the same again.
Every once in a while, I come across a book from my childhood and I try to introduce it to my daughters. And I'm almost always disappointed at how they just don't seem impressed.
This is one such book:
From that book, I learned about Esperanto, Andorra, Alfred Nobel, and the history of candy. I read its articles over and over again and used it in school projects. This book and books like it were my bread and butter for learning and company at home.
There's a long tradition of books like this one:
And here are a few that I've bought for my classroom: my Grade 7s in particular choose them for silent reading time.
So why don't I read them very often anymore?
I blame the Internet.
Because these books were the Internet before the Internet. These books were a wealth of information that a person just might be looking for. There seemed to be so many times when I would wonder something, crack open one of these books, scour the Table of Contents and the Index, and actually find an article that addressed my curiosity. The writing was always edited carefully and written in a lively, interactive tone. They were perfect for knowledge-seekers like me,
Now I first go to the Internet and these books often lay dormant. I feel a little bit o' melancholy about it, as if something's been lost. But that's probably just me being a sucker for nostalgia.
Which isn't all bad. But I miss the careful editing. The Internet's slapdash chaos is useful for finding specifics, but nothing beats good editing and copy for getting big ideas across.
Noisey posted this documentary on December 1, 2016, I Saw The Light. I watched it today. It's a well-made little film about Christian evangelical culture's relationship with music.
I attended a few Christian festivals with my church youth group: Sonfest in Abbotsford and Jesus Northwest in Vancouver, Washington, both in the mid-90s. As a Christian teenager, I had a good time at those festivals. I admit that I enjoyed the concert elements far more than preaching or "worship," so perhaps I didn't get the full experience as described in the documentary. But I remember feeling really good and meeting lots of other Christians who introduced me to really great music. I still listen to some of that music, even 20 years later, even after my faith has long gone.
A few days ago, I was filling up a couple booklets with CDs for my car. Going through the old CDs—all on spools at this point—I was a little bit floored that I had such a significant Christian music collection: Larry Norman, Randy Stonehill, Daniel Amos, Starflyer 59, etc.. I'll probably keep those CDs forever; they're an essential part of my collection.
Funny thing is, I've had The Hold Steady's "Chillout Tent" running through my head for the last few days, which tells a very different music festival story. Enjoy:
Should I feel guilty about enjoying this lovely, melodic, narrative drug-trip song? The Ottawa School Board might think so.
Makes me wonder what the Shewens are up to these days.
I am no visual artist; I have no delusions of artistic skill.
That didn't stop me from covering my UVic binders with terrible drawings between 2001-2005.
Why post these online?
The Internet Archive
YouTube: ephemeral ideas