Writing 101 – Day Three

Today’s Prompt: Write about the three most important songs in your life — what do they mean to you?

“Alfie” – Stevie Wonder
“Keep Ya Head Up”- Tupac Shakur
“To Be Invisible” – Gladys Knight & the Pips

Music has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I can always recall music playing when I was growing up. My mother played music all the time, whether it was from the radio or from her own record collection. She had vinyl! Very rarely will you find someone, unless they a true music lover, with vinyl. My mother still has them and I play them when I go visit and I cherish them.

The songs I chose really stood out for me when I thought about today’s prompt. It was hard to just choose three but when I thought about the phrase, “the most important in your life”, these three came to mind immediately when I put pen to paper. They represent different phases of my life.

I remember seeing the film, Claudine when I was 8 or 9 years ago. I was immediately captivated by the beautiful woman who played the role of the mother. Even at a young age, I always mesmerized by seeing women who looked like me on the larger than life screens at the drive-in theatre. The song, “To Be Invisible” is tied to Claudine’s youngest son, Francis has a wonderful imagination and is a dreamer. One of the lines goes: “A world that seems not for me so privately /I’ll be invisible/That way I won’t have to explain a thing /If you know what I mean”. I identified with Francis as a child. I was dreamer. I lived through my books. I’d spend my days laying out in my backyard looking at the sky, staring out at nothing in particular. I had the best times in that backyard.

“Keep Ya Head Up” by Tupac Shakur was a thread in a lifeline that keep me going through a difficult time in my life. I had been two years free from an abusive relationship with my daughter’s father. I was raising my then four year old daughter alone and I was afraid I’d fail miserably. I went back to school the year before because I thought it would give me a good foundation. Everything that could have gone wrong did. I was depressed and crying all the time. I lacked a strong support system. Everything I needed done required money I didn’t have. I remember coming home from classes and not knowing exactly how I would buy groceries and the rent was due soon. I was falling apart. I turned on my radio and sat on the bed. I spread my books and notes preparing to attempt to concentrate on homework when the DJ announced “New music from Tupac Shakur, you heard here first….” The beat dropped and by the end of the first verse I felt like I had received a much needed hug. Tupac understood exactly what I was feeling. At that moment Tupac had endeared himself to me and he would always hold a special place in my heart.

I discovered “Alfie” by Stevie Wonder years ago while scrolling through the radio channels looking for some jazz to have in the background while I wrote. As scrolled through, I heard the ending of a song. I was struck by chords I heard. In that moment, I was in awe. I waited thinking the name of the song would be announced. No such luck. The songs kept playing. I stayed on that station trying get the name of the song. I even called the station but they were playing a tape and for some odd reason they didn’t have a playlist. All I had was the feeling that it was Stevie Wonder and it was all instrumental no lyrics. It took me almost a year to track that song down. No one knew the name of the song. This was before apps were invented to listen to snippets of songs. I hit the jackpot finding the song on a greatest hits album in a used records store. I played the song in the store and stood there with my eyes closed and let the music carry me away. My heart was so full, I was bursting. I bought it on the spot. To this day, I have mentioned the song and people have no idea what I am talking about. I still get the same feeling every time I listen to “Alfie”. Thank Mr. Wonder for creating magic!

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