Saturday, October 13, 2012

Ten Days of Young: Day 7

Last spring, someone passed away who was very important to many people. She was the mother of my boyfriend and his sisters and brothers, who are family to me. She was the spiritual advisor to myself and several others who sought her guidance, as she was a gifted woman--the spirits spoke with and through her. She was a lover of animals, in particular, dogs; she is the reason I have the newest addition to the McClure menagerie, Rugrat. Her presence in this world meant a lot to many people, and many of us miss her every day.


It was a shock, as Sharon's health wasn't amazing but it wasn't dire, either. Or it didn't seem to be; we wouldn't have truly known, as she wasn't ever one to complain. I mean that. I never heard her complain, and her daughters said the same of her. Her life wasn't easy, either--a husband and a son left this world about ten years ago, for one thing. There are many more, but I'm not going to spread her hardships all over the internet for public consumption. Please just trust me when I say that her life wasn't easy.

Despite the difficulties, Sharon made her own and others' lives joyous. She celebrated lives in every world, and she loved each and every one of her multitudinous animals. She laughed at movies, sang and danced with a smile on her face, and gave warm hugs. Sharon was one of the most present people I've had the opportunity to meet in this world, with life and love to share for everyone and everything.

That's why her passing is such a loss to many of us. We still look for her. We still cry when we miss her, which is often. We still laugh, though, when we share the memories...and there are many, many good memories.

Left to right: Me, Sharon, Tammy, and Terri

Tammy, one of my best friends, had to say a special "gigawaabaamin" to her mother last night. Sharon didn't want to go, as she loves life. I also imagine that she knew we love and miss her. It's this love that caused Sharon to pause and wait for a few beats. It's hard to send someone away when you selfishly don't want that person to go, even when she or he is going to a place of great beauty, love, and peace. But because Tammy understood what she needed to do for her mother, she was able to do so. She was able to convince Sharon that we'd be all right, that we would see her later.

This song is for Sharon. Thank you. Gigawaabaamin.

"Long May You Run" by Neil Young

Friday, October 12, 2012

Ten Days of Young: Days 3, 4, 5, and 6

Blogging every day is difficult. Sure, I can post some random words on my page for the world to read, but 1) time is sacred for all of us and 2) I don't have something "blog-worthy" to share each day of my existence. Not to mention I'm crazy-busy hacking my way through evaluating the mountain of papers I've assigned (and students have completed, much to my blissful chagrin.)

I've fallen off my cloud of blog. I'll attempt to get caught up.

I've been thinking about what I enjoy about songs and asking myself is there a pattern to my favorite part of them. I've determined that indeed, I do have a favorite aspect: the random interjection.

In Neil Young's song "Cinnamon Girl", my favorite part occurs at 2:10 in the studio version. The interjection is "wooo". Or "whew". I like the ambiguous, random quality to this utterance--it's freewheeling, laid-back, spontaneous. It always makes me smile, and sometimes it makes me laugh. When I'm singing along in my car (and I am a notorious karaoke diva in my car--ask my dogs), I usually let Neil do the singing here, because there's no way I can replicate that tone to do that interjection justice. Amen.

Here's another one: 7:11 in the "Judy Blue Eyes Suite" by Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young.
The interjection here is "oh va, oh va"...or something. Honestly, that whole section of the song, sung in Spanish, is my favorite part because it's so goofy and fun. The whole song is random to me, and that's why it's one of my favorites. I have no idea what exactly the song is supposed to be about, and I'm not interested in looking it up because I just want to appreciate it for it's mood. This is ironic, as the song is one of loneliness but the mood of the music is upbeat. It's as though the person who wrote it found his joy in the process of searching for a source of happiness. That's cool...that's about as deep as I've ever gone trying to figure out that song. Moment over.

Moving on.

I can't think of another Young tune with an interjection in it, so I'll move on to somewhat random words/phrases--Neil's got a plethora of those. In the first line of the song "Pocahontas", Neil sings, "Aurora borealis" (reference :13 below.)
Honestly, who begins a song with a reference to the northern lights in a song? If you answered "Neil Young", you are correct and advance to the bonus round. In the first verse, he paints a picture of the flight and plight of Pocahontas' (and many other American Indians') tribe. After reading Young's autobiography, I now know that Pocahontas was also the name of Neil Young's bus that burned to the ground after an electrical fire. Again, not sure if this is a song about American Indians or Neil's bus...and I don't care. Like the previous two selections, it's the random factor that gets me.

Last one. Really.

Back to interjections with a groove-based tune, "Farmer John."

The line "Farmer John, I'm in love with your daughter" is followed by a "whoa-oh". My favorite part begins at 3:18; in this section, one of the musicians calls out "whoa-oh" and begins a back and forth trade-off with the audience, which carries it forward to the end of the recording. On a somewhat related-but-separate note, I know it's been sung before, but "champagne eyes" is such a beautiful way to describe the color of some people's irises (Van Morrison also sang about champagne eyes in his tune "Sweet Thing"). Have you seen eyes like this? The eyes that are a light-hazel-with-more-light-brown-than-green in them? These eyes seem to shine from the joy (or mirth) bubbling inside them. They're gorgeous.

That concludes this segment of my ten days of Young bloggage. Now back to your regularly scheduled program.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Ten Days of Young: Day 2

I used to listen to the radio and music a lot when I was a kid--thinking about it now, I don't have an early memory that doesn't in some way have music related to it. Playing "The Floor is Poison" while listening to the Beatles' cartoon YELLOW SUBMARINE on our black and white television (yes, it took years before I knew that the cartoon actually had a yellow submarine in it.) Pretending I worked at a fast-food drive thru window with KQRS distorting the speaker of my owl transistor radio (power/volume = left eye, tuning = right eye). Listening for the power on booming pop of our family's radio/record player console as it was turned on, the skip on Jan and Dean's "Heart and Soul" at the beginning (if you're familiar with this song, you can understand how annoying this was.) Roller skating backwards in my neighbor's large paved driveway to John Paul Young's "Love Is In the Air". Everything was infused with music.

Neil Young is one of the artists (a second being Steely Dan) that I remember the most from my childhood, but I have no idea why his music stuck in my mind. "Old Man" was one of my favorite tunes, and I remember singing along to it--I knew the words, but I didn't know what they meant. Probably similar to swearing to me at that age.

I still know the lyrics to the song, even though my age is approaching a dyslexic twenty-four, and there's so much more to living alone in a paradise that makes me think of two.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Ten Days of Young: Day 1

Many of you know by now that on the evening of October 17, the day after my 42nd birthday, I'm going to be at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, California, listening to Neil Young. That's in ten days. I'll stop rubbing that in everyone's face now.

I haven't posted anything for a while, so I decided I would post (or at least try to post) one of my favorite songs of Neil's every day with a little ditty about what the song means to me. These songs are in no ranking--they will just be the Neil Young songs I have in my head on that particular day.

So here goes: Number 10--"I Am a Child"

Children are amazingly complex in their simplicity and simply amazing in their complexity. I don't have children, but I have friends who do, and when I have a chance to spend some time to spend with them, they show me how to rediscover life's simple pleasures: dancing when a song that moves you comes on (even if it's a commercial jingle), laughing out loud when the dog sticks her butt in your face, crying when you need something but you don't yet have the words to ask for it, hugging just because you feel like hugging...the list goes on and on. This unfiltered perspective doesn't last long enough for most of us, and it's good that we have little people to remind us to state the simple truth and ask the tough questions as we try to navigate our paths through this lifetime.