Music, Men, and Inspiration

I hope that I’m writing a blog that I’ve already written. If I have, oh, well.

When I was in college I had a statement that went like this, “I will always be willing to go broke for two things – books and music.” Now that I’m a bit older, my statement is more along the lines of, “I will always be willing to go broke for four things – books, music, travel, and really good, local food.”

Call me a snob. I don’t quite care.

I think in the original statement you could tell a lot about my character – she values education, learning, and exploration. In my newer statement, you’d say much of the same thing in my character, but now there’s more of an appreciation for the differences and the willing to understand first hand of the way the world works and people tick (regardless of how many times you’ll hear/have heard me say how much I hate people. I mean, I do. People drive me crazy and yet, at the same time, I love them), and for the now.

My stationery has been inspired by all four of those things. It’s true. It is just as inspired by music as it is by the blue open sky during a road trip, different foods during a trip, and words and scenes from a book that I’m reading.  I know I’ve already discussed how I am influenced by song lyrics – These United States, anyone?! Much like words setting up a scene in a book, song lyrics set the stage for an entire wave of emotion and inspiration.

Which is why last year while in South Africa, on my last day walking around, I walked into The African Music Store on Long Street and found the statement in the photo below.

Naturally, I had to snap a photo of the sign and I’ve never forgotten it. As a matter of fact, when I really dig a band or a song, I remember this quote and I smile.

Sunday morning, I was laying in bed listening to the Classical music station here in NY, WQXR, and they started to play the music from “West Side Story” and as I sat there I realized that I had an entirely NEW card line mapped out in my head (more details on the card line to come in 2012. Be patient!) and that I LOVE the power and inspiration that music provides me at any given moment. It’s a beautiful thing!

It also got me thinking about how music impacts every aspect of my life. How it always has. How I can recall Saturday morning/afternoon house cleaning with my Mom dancing around to Rare Earth and other records that she loved. How I would tape songs off the radio to listen to again and again and again. How, ever since I was a little girl, I’d dance and put on shows to my favorite Madonna songs for visitors to our house. I’ve always been a bit in your face, not shy, “it’s showtime” kind of person.  It also reminds me how in college my most prized possessions were my 200+ CDs that moved with me everywhere. I mean EVERYWHERE. It wasn’t until I moved to NYC and realized I had no space that the music was put on my computer and backed up and those CDs were donated.

I’m sure you all have similar stories. I wonder how closely you’ve paid attention to these moments. This is so much more than having a song to dance to at your wedding. It’s having an on-going playlist for your life.  I’ve created two music compilations for birthdays – my 26th birthday and my 30th. I’m not quite sure why they were four years apart, but the 30th birthday mix kicked butt!

I share this with you because Saturday night, I was hanging with my ‘fella in Jersey and he asked to go through my ipod to see my music collection. I should note that my ‘fella and I don’t spend tons of time together – he’s in Jersey, I’m in the city; he lives with his parents, I live with two roommates;  his car sort of got wrecked, I don’t own a car; as you can see we have some  things to work out.  Anyhow, as we were sitting in the car talking, he said, “I just want to run through your music, see what you listen to, you get a really good idea about a person based on they’re music collection.”  Boy, do I know that! I also know that some of my own music taste has been developed thanks to past crushes and ‘fellas.

I shared with him during this conversation that every guy I’ve ever dealt with has had a band, or at the very least a song associated with him. For example, “The Cure” will ALWAYS belong to Jamison M. Always. He really opened my eyes to them and even now, many years later, with no communication between us, I always think fondly and with a smile about Jamison whenever Robert Smith wails on my ipod or computer at home.  Another great example, just for fun is how Enrique Iglesias’ song, “Hero” comes on and I remember when this guy I was seeing at the time reenacted the video for me. I laughed so hard and for so long that night and still do now when the song comes on.

I would be remiss if I didn’t share the mix tapes and CDs I’ve made for other ‘fellas. One of the best ever was the collection I made for one’s 37th birthday. It is such an amazing mix. I even had my cousin design a folder to put the discs in. It was an extremely well put-together gift if I do say so myself. While he and I aren’t friends now, I still think of that mix and I wonder if he does too. I wonder if he kept it or tossed it. I’ll never know, but I know for that brief moment, it was the greatest gift he’d ever gotten.

Anyhow, Back to ‘fella now, he asked if he had a band associated with him. I realized that he didn’t and I told him he didn’t, but that he would in due time.  I spent a lot of time Sunday and yesterday thinking about what songs and bands I could associate with him. Yesterday it was a tie between These United States and The Black Keys, but then I realized this morning that he could never have These United States. They’re too personal, if that makes sense. No, he’d have to have The Black Keys.

This morning, as I got dressed for work, I pulled all of my Black Keys songs together in a mix titled by his name and as I did a quick run through, I realized that that band is the exact fit that I was looking for and I’m excited to share the why and the how with ‘fella.  I’m also excited for how this new association expands my brain and my design. At the end of the day, this connection will inspire me in ways it didn’t before. The same way all the other mixes and gifts of music I’ve presented have done. I’m oh so excited!

On that note, I’m off to explore some more music. Weeeeee!

Oh, before I sign off, if you have a band you think I should listen to, or worthy of sharing, PLEASE share. I’m constantly looking and exploring and the best music trading happens among pals and even non-pals.


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s2 stationery & designs

A rule-breaking designer, artist & entrepreneur who's passionate about paper and handcrafting stationery. I also write, travel, and focus on eco + social good.

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