Three Songs That Saved My Life

Today, celebrate three songs that are significant to you (Writing 101, Day Three: Commit to a Writing Practice).

Before starting: The exercise calls me to write for at least 15 minutes, and however long I spend writing today to be my average writing time for the rest of this month’s course’s exercises.  A lot of people have been saying on The Commons for this month’s course that they find the time passes too slowly.  Not for me.  I have, so far, found myself having to stop myself when I’ve already gone over.  I’ve heard the term “bloggorhea” (like diarrhea of the mouth, but transferred to blogs) used to describe tendencies like mine to just write endless posts about what I find interesting.  I think my challenge this month will be to find a better “economy of words,” as my friend Nancy (an acclaimed gallery artist and former high school English teacher) from my young adulthood claimed was the only real thing my writing lacked.  And here I go doing it again.  Time to just do the exercise.

Write about the three most important songs in your life — what do they mean to you?

1.  Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata in C Minor, as performed by Vladimir Horowitz on a cassette tape recording made during the early 80’s.  Also called “Pathetique.”

I still have the cassette, somewhere.  The music encoded on the magnetic tape of that cassette has been fuzzed out by the noise created by having played it many too many times.  I would play its movements, then rewind, then play it again, and rewind, repeating these as often as I needed to until the tears would slow down and eventually dry up.  I was so often so lonely that I would pity myself my (total) lack of any friend my own age – all my friends were adults, who understood my plight all too well, but they couldn’t take the place of the scoffing, mocking, bullying adolescents who were my peers in school.  I often used to say, “I didn’t have friends, I had books,” growing up, but that’s not completely true.  I had Vladimir Horowitz’s fingers caressing those white and black keys, comprehending the absolute despair that overwhelmed me, soothing my pain.  No other interpretation of that sonata has sounded so right to my ears since, no other version does for me what that one did then.  I found another Horowitz version recorded a couple of decades later, but it doesn’t have the same passion, the same skill, it is a faded replica of the older one’s glory.

2.  For My Lover – Tracy Chapman

When I was 12 or 13, I was given my first CD boombox.  My dad had already started collecting CDs, cassette tapes were still sold in stores but it was clear that CDs were the wave of the future.  With that boombox, I was given the three CD’s that were my favorites of my dad’s collection: Joni Mitchell’s “Ladies of the Canyon,” James Taylor’s “Greatest Hits,” and Tracy Chapman’s debut album.  All three were rotated and played on repeat, but the latter was the one that spoke to my adolescence in a way the other two did not.  It was difficult picking just one song from that album – “Fast Car,” “She’s Got Her Ticket,” and “Baby Can I Hold You” were also top on the rotation of songs to get repeated on my headphones and sung along to under my breath at night, but “For My Lover” spoke to a time of great tribulation when I was 14.  I had been dating a 19-year-old, and he got me pregnant.  I miscarried soon after, but my mom (shortly after he had left town to go home to live with his parents again) went through my room, found my diary, and read the entire thing to find out what was going on in my life.  She tried to have the older boy prosecuted for statutory rape, to which I responded that I would volunteer to testify for the defense and appear in court wearing the sluttiest outfit I could find to prove that I had initiated the relationship and that he didn’t know my age until we were already involved.  I felt like I was in prison, I felt like I was being punished for my choice of lover and for protecting him and, in a way, that was true.

3. My Dad’s Gone Crazy – Eminem

This rap song starts out with the sound of someone chopping up lines on glass with a razor and then snorting something with a straw, only to follow with the sound of a toddler asking, “Daddy, what are you doing?”  The song speaks to the craziness of addiction, the anger and self-righteousness that goes along with it, the rebellion against society, and the grief at what is happening, what he is doing to himself and those who love him still in his life. ‘Nuf said.

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My blog’s gone crazy…

“…what do I gotta do to get through to you to show you there ain’t nothin’ I can’t take a chainsaw to?”
–Eminem, “My Dad’s Gone Crazy”

I’ve been confused about the timeline of my addiction, because my memories are so hazy.  For some reason, I’ve been trying to figure out when I switched from snorting the horrendously large amounts of ADHD medication I’d been getting prescribed (I legitimately suffer from severe ADHD, but I abused my prescriptions when my student loans ran out after I dropped out of college and no longer had the money for cocaine) to smoking crack.  I’d narrowed it down to some point in 2011-2012, but I think it likely that it happened right after I dropped off the blogosphere (at the time, LiveJournal) in mid-2011.  There is a blank for all of 2012 when I just didn’t write anything, during the time when I was vacillating back and forth between addiction and recovery and had gotten kicked out of the house.  All of 2012, well the times I wasn’t actively seeking help for my addiction, I was out chasing my “bottom” (as in “hitting bottom”) in full force.

I’ve been going back through old 2011 entries, which have been imported into this blog, and I’m now in the process of making those posts public because I don’t need to keep them secret anymore.  I am amazed at how I would make duplicate posts (which I’m deleting to save space and headaches during my own future searches of my material), not realizing that I’d posted the same things just a few days previously, and how I raved like the truly mad woman that I was then.  If you’re interested in seeing how deep madness can take a person, check out this post from me at that time… you probably won’t understand most of it, but I was convinced I was under direct personal attack by a genius meth addict who had told me a few too many of his deep dark secrets.  I quite probably was dealing with malware, and it’s possible that said meth addict did indeed infect my computers with malware also, but the situation was nowhere near as outlandish as I was convinced that it was at that time.  Another one is this one, posted after walking through an “interesting” neighborhood alone at night for the first time in many years.

Psychosis is very real to a person who is caught up in it.  Psychosis has nothing to do with what most people think it does – most people I encounter think psychotic breaks/episodes have something to do with psychopathy like that of serial murderers.  Psychosis just means hallucinations, an imagination run riot with things that it presents to the senses with information that seems just as real as reality (perceived by everyone else) itself.  I know psychosis well.  I never thought I would go chasing my own psychosis down the rabbit hole as far as I did then, and later further still when I got into smoking and shooting shards (crystal meth).

My past brings me great grief, but if I choose to forget what happened, it’s all too easy to start wanting to get loaded again and numb myself into denial of all that I have done wrong, all the people I have wronged, all the deep dark dank cesspools of filth I not only sank into, but regularly reveled to bathe in back then.

P.S. – I’m fairly certain that somewhere in the FBI’s Cybercrimes Division, there’s a “zero file” with my name on it.