Saturday, August 20, 2005

The Mix is in the Eye of the Beholder

Im on the plane to a conference in Austin, TX. Im using my Bambina-Away time to create a mix CD for a dear friend/honorary family member who is undergoing chemotherapy. As a periodic sit-with-needle-in-you-and-get-stuff-infused person myself, I figured she might enjoy a CD of music to help pass the time. It seemed like such a simple idea, but now that I am creating it, I am realizing that music is such a personal element of ones life that it is hard to figure out what will be relaxing, meaningful, comforting or heartening to another person, no matter how well you might think you know them. Will she curse me as she has to keep hitting “skip” past all of the Frank Sinatra/Dean Martin live drunken Vegas shows that make me smile when I hear them but that might well annoy the hell out of her? Will she wish I had less Me and more Her in the mix? Will she think,“Who the hell is Dido?”

My anxiety about creating The Crappiest CD Of All Time for Perhaps The Most Amazing Lady of All Time made me wonder about the ineffable quality of music that--depending on the day and the life circumstance or memory it evokes--uplifts, comforts or inspires someone. I dont know. All I know is that it is different for everyone, and so I am going to restrain my urge to load the CD with 10-minute bagpipe riffs, (my retro balding-man crush) Francis Sinatra/Rat Pack and (my current hot balding-man crush) Dave Matthews. You will thank me later. Trust me.

So to our dear friend I say simply: feel free to hit “skip,"“delete,” or just avoid the whole damn thing altogether. Do whatever you need to do, feel whatever you need to feel, be whomever you need to be--and let it be OUR job to do what we can to support you in that. So the CD is created and sent with love and faith and support, but without any pressure to remotely enjoy it musically. In fact, I know from experience that some CDs make excellent beverage coasters... :)

1 comment:

Miko said...

Ineffable quality of music: I've been thinking about this lately, too. In fact, there's a musicologist named Christopher Smalls who has spent a great deal of his career trying to articulate what happens within and among people when they listen to and/or create music. He basically says that music is a pure, pre-verbal, pre-literate articulation of human emotion, and that even before you throw any lyrics in, it communicates volumes. And this language of music can be instantly understood and interpreted by the listeners. I'd agree with him. He says it much, much better -- look him up sometime!