Throwback Songs

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I’m a huge 80s fan; as in big, even colossal!  I love the movies (Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, Flashdance, even the Goonies).  I love the television shows (Golden Girls and Miami Vice, I miss you!)  I love the fashion . . .  OK, well maybe, I can do without big hair, neon shirts, and leg warmers.  But still, I love the 80s!  If I could go back in time (like Michael J. Fox did with his car or John Cusack with a hot tub), I would do it in a heartbeat.  And you know what I love most about the 80s (besides Cabbage Patch dolls and Pac-man?):  I love the music!  I simply adore the “Only In My Dreams, Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go, Like a Virgin, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” kind of music that gets my toes tapping and my hips swaying.

I don’t know what it is about that decade, but somehow it always brings me back to the sweet memories I have growing up (am I showing my age?)  In fact, if I were to make a slideshow of my life, it would be set to the Casy Kasem Top 40 hit songs of the 80s!

It’s amazing. I will be shopping at the mall, minding my own business, when all of a sudden I will hear a familiar melody: Madonna will be singing “Crazy for You” and I’ll stop dead in my tracks.  I’ll smile and have the sudden urge to buy myself a polka dot miniskirt, “Boytoy” belt and fishnet gloves. It never fails. 

And then it hits me; the reason why I love 80s songs so much; the reason why these songs have such a hypnotic effect on me: It’s because songs are just as powerful as books.

Songs are nostalgic, reminding me of places I’ve been to and people I’ve met (I can’t listen to “Is This Love?” without remembering my first boyfriend).  Songs uplift me when I’m feeling down (I’ve been known to belt out “All By Myself” after a bad breakup).   Songs inspire me (I can definitely climb several flights of stairs to the “Rocky” theme song).  Songs have marked important events in my life (my first slow dance, my wedding song, the songs I sang to my children at bedtime).

And as a writer, I’ve come to understand that songs are just like short stories, essays or novellas; truly literary works of art.  Like the books that I read or write, songs paint a vivid picture, tell a riveting story, and transport us to another time and place.

Like the favorite books I love to read time and time again, I also have favorite songs: these, I play over and over and never get tired of hearing.  I’ve memorized verses and can hum melodies absentmindedly.  I sing along to the radio with my friends (while driving to a party) or I sing by myself in the shower (when I think no one else can hear me).

So tonight, instead of curling up in my bed with a good book (as I’m known to do most nights), I am going to put on my headsets, turn to the playlist on my cell phone and drift off to sleep to the soothing voice of Phil Collins singing “Against All Odds.”

Ah, the 80s!  I suddenly miss my Sony Walkman for some strange reason . . .

Erin

Independence Day and Writing

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As we head into the fourth of July holiday weekend, here in New York, I am struck with how much, as a writer, I can relate to this celebration.  Don’t get me wrong, I love all of my holidays.  I love Christmas (who doesn’t love presents . .  especially if the wrapping is light blue and says “Tiffany” on it !)  I love New Year’s Eve with all its promises of resolutions which I know I will never keep (new year = clean slate).  I love Memorial Day and the start of summer (especially being able to wear white pants with flip flops).    But the Fourth of July! Well, the Fourth of July holds a very special place in my heart (and that’s not just because of the sales . . . although that is a big perk!). 

For Americans, it marks day-long festivities of delicious barbeques (I love my hamburger and corn on the cob), cold glasses of beer (yum) and fireworks.  It’s spending quality time with friends and family and wearing red, white and blue.

But, more importantly, it marks my country’s independence. 

As with most authors I know, I think I was born with the innate desire to write (if I could have had a pen and paper in the womb, I would have started on my first novel much sooner than I did!)  But before the birth of electronic readers and the availability of platforms for writers such as myself to showcase their books, the dream of being an author was just that  . . . a dream. 

Now, this Fourth of July, three years after my first book hit Amazon, I am celebrating my own independence of sorts.  I am celebrating the release five books (I still can’t believe it!)  I am celebrating being a part of a wonderful community of writers and readers.  I am celebrating the freedom of sharing my stories with my wonderful and faithful readers.  I am celebrating the joy of calling myself an indie author.  And, more importantly, I’m celebrating the future and what’s yet to come.  I’m currently working on two books (one with an author I truly admire) and I’m sooo excited for the second half of this year to begin!

So, as I will drive down my street and observe the multitude of red white and blue flags flying in the wind, as I will share a drink with my family and friends and cheer on the sidelines of my town’s parade, as we will all enjoy a fun  afternoon around a great BBQ, I will smile, content in knowing that I have a lot to be grateful for.   

Happy Fourth everybody!

Erin