Friday, September 6, 2013


I heard a great piece on public radio the other day, about a podcast called  The concept of the show is simple: guests are asked to talk about the significance of 5 songs in their lives.  My first thought, though, was how in the world could I narrow it down to just 5 songs?  I'll give a shot.

1. Brother Sun Sister Moon by Donovan.
I must have been 14 or 15 when I saw this movie.  It, and the soundtrack, awakened such romantic spiritual passions in me that I could not put words to.  My cup runneth over.  My heart was full of ache and desire. I wanted to become a pilgrim, a child of God; in touch with the divine and experiencing miracles in my daily life.  I was a teenager, and St. Francis looked pretty sexy.

2. Jethro Tull Thick As a Brick.  16 or 17 years old. Fully steeped in playing my guitar, folk music, celtic music, rock, marijuana, LSD, endlessly criticizing my elders and the culture.  Everyone and everything (except Jethro Tull) was "thick as a brick."  In those days, there was one stereo in the house, in the living room.  I had to listen to this music when my parents (and often times my sisters) were not home. They were not amused by Ian Anderson's lecherous, druggy music.
3. The Hissing of Summer Lawns, Joni Mitchell. 18 and living on my own now,  with my own stereo, albeit still in the living room of my communal house; an echo of "The Last Time I saw Richard" in terms of looking back with regret, seeing that a conventional life was a stifling existence empty of meaning.  I was in the thick of teenage existential angst and wondering just what the hell I was going to do with my life.  I wanted to be tied to a man, to be comfortable, to have all the things that adults were supposed to have in terms of material things.  And that was also my worst nightmare.

4. Stop Making Sense, Talking Heads. 30, with a new baby, I went to the movie theater to watch this movie over and over again.  The theatrics of the show edgy. The music was stirring, crazy, wild, breathtaking.  I was a mom now, but not a shut-in, not old and boring, not completely overtaken by all things infantile.  This music made me feel liberated.  It was fun, and the baby slept through every show snuggled up tight in her wrap against my chest.  SMS is the actual song I'm referring to, but cannot refer to it without including the entire album and movie.

5. The Power of Good-Bye, Madonna.  41, having just sold my house and leaving my first long-term lesbian lover. Almost every word of this song could have come from my own experience. It was uncanny. It was an extremely sad, liberating, sobering, exhilarating time in my life.  After having made the agonizing decision to leave the woman I had committed myself to,  my life opened up in beautiful unexpected ways, and I felt such gratitude for second chances.  Happy to feel free to express myself and be who I wanted to be, without criticism or judgement from my 'beloved.' All because I summoned the power to say good-bye.


In picking these songs, I was careful not to over think it, because then choosing would have been impossible.  These songs and times of my life are snippets, albeit important ones, of a very full life.

If you'd like to try this exercise and post on your blog, please do let me know!  I would love to see your choices and hear your stories.  Happy Friday to you - have a great weekend!


  1. St.Francis looks so blissful running through the fields... we all deserve to feel like that.

    I really like that Madonna song.

  2. Ah! Brother Sun, Sister Moon -- one of my favorite movies. I haven't thought of that in years.

    There are so many Joni Mitchell songs that tug my heart. I think we have more of her music on our iPod than any other artist.

  3. Bingo on Brother Sun and Sister Moon-----made me a Franciscan for a few years. And, anything by Joni Mitchell. I also love (still) Wyndham Hill's 'Begin Sweet Earth."