I remember reading an article once where Stephanie Meyer, author of the Twilight series, spoke about the role of music as inspiration. She said that although she wrote the books during the summer in a dry, hot Arizona desert, she couldn’t even remember that summer passing or the excruciating heat. For her, those months were filled with the magical Claire de Lune, the eerie, quiet sounds of Paramore and Muse, pictures of dark, mossy, green forests, and the handsome Edward taking shape in her brain.
I love that transporting quality of music. I love how certain songs become forever connected to a period in your life or a specific event. I know exactly what song was playing on my ipod when I qualified for Boston (Live Your Life) and what soundtrack I played on perma-repeat while running my first 50 miler (Black Eyed Peas). I know I will never forget that the orchestra was ramping up for Nicole Kidman’s big moment in ‘Come What May‘ (from Moulin Rouge) exactly as I summited the top of our multi-hour climb on Day 5 in Jordan – a life changing moment indeed.
In addition to that moment, there were definitely a few cut and dry favorites that formed the soundtrack to my Laurence of Arabia adventure. Since I have the luxury of writing a blog, I thought I’d share the tunes that were on constant repeat with me in the desert:
I watched this You Tube video of Day 1 gear check at MarathonDesSables while still training (MDS is a very similar style of desert race that takes place in April each year). The quiet, but haunting melody of “Welcome Home” by Radical Face was absolutely a backdrop of my desert story. When I really needed a reprieve, I would find this song to feel the cool breeze of the wind chimes at the beginning.
My friend Annie added the song “Shake It Out” by Florence and the Machine to the c.d. she made me and although I’m pretty sure I am the last person on earth to have heard the song – when I finally did it completely rocked my world. Oh sweet lord, how can Florence have captured my whole life in a perfect melody? I spent many, many miles singing out loud: ‘And it’s hard to dance with a devil on your back, so shake him off!” And so I did – I would laugh, dance, sing, run and wiggle my shoulders the whole time to make sure he was really off.
And when it was time for a little good ‘ol grit, I would flip through to my ultimate desert stomp down – Johnny Cash’s “God’s Gonna Cut You Down” and find a rhythm with my trekking poles that matched his simple, yet intense back-beat. I would think of my hard working Grandma during this song and how she might have said, “stop talking, start walking” and then I’d stomp just a little harder.
Once home, rested, healed, and looking for a new adventure – I am momentarily quite tired of these anthems. But I know it will only be a little while before I’m out in the big world again and catch just a note or two of one of these songs and find myself instantly transported back to the relentless sand and sun of Jordan.
At the moment, my brain is deep in the world of Holiday 2012 planning. I am dreaming of vintage European glamour, Austrian ski slopes, and romantic girls with flushed cheeks spinning in the snow. I am far, far away from summer. Tonight I ran across this lovely album cover and song by The Paper Kites and even through their video shows a summer scene, I close my eyes and am instantly transported to my dreamy winter world. Enjoy this sneak preview…
Do any of you indulge yourselves in these flights of fancy? Sometimes I wonder if I am the only silly dreamer out here, tapping my toes to the music in my brain. I hope you all are out here too, happily singing along to your life soundtrack. And if so, what is your song?