Music You Will Remember

What a beautiful day this Monday was. It was the first Monday in quite some time that I just didn’t seem to mind. The weather was pleasant, the daydreams were extensive, and somehow, the world seemed both deafeningly loud and hauntingly silent, all at the same time. As I walked aimlessly around the campus between classes and trips to the cafeteria, I found myself both inspired and entirely whisked away by the stunning sounds of various film scores playing through my headphones that caused my steps to slow, and my eyes to wander as the world around me seemed to come deeper into existence, gradually growing more alive. The trees were suddenly far greener than they were before, the chirping of birds that saturated the soft music was the clearest it had ever been, and all around me, the people were more beautiful than they had ever appeared in the past.

There is nothing on God’s green earth that gets my heart thumping, mind racing, and spirit dancing like the incredible instrumental pieces from the films that I hold near and dear to my heart. The mood created, the emotions evoked, and the thoughts formed by music so gorgeous, it needs no lyrics to speak volumes, is something quite unlike anything else. It inspires my writing and takes me places I never imagined I could reach. In much the same way that a book can transport you to fascinating, uncharted worlds, music can be there with you along the way, enhancing and inspiring your journey.

So what are you waiting for? Let’s go.

Take Me There: 

>The Gravel Road - from The Village
>Song for Bob - from The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
>Song for Jesse - from The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
>Peer Pressure - from Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind
>Time - from Inception
>Steve's Theme - from The Last Song
>This is Berk- from How To Train Your Dragon
>The Breaking Of The Fellowship - from The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of   the Ring
>The Fellowship Reunited - from The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
>Love Theme - from Romeo and Juliet
>Lily's Theme - from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Pt. 2
>Hymn to the Sea - Titanic
>The Beach - from The Road

Meet yourself on the other side,

Gabriella

 

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Power, Perspective, and The Good Kind of Change

There is great power in a great story. The way in which a well-versed author crafts words, molds characters, and creates worlds is something truly inspiring. The compelling ability to draw a reader in between the lines of sentences and leave them pressed within the pages is something that I and many other writers strive for in our own work. It is the power to change lives – and to do it so simply, so eloquently – that is so alluring.

We all want to change the world. And there are many ways to change the world. But only a writer can do so with nothing more than an idea and a pen.

Life-altering words begin with the thoughts and experiences of those who put them down on paper. Perhaps what they say is deeply profound and eye-opening, or maybe it is just how they choose to say it that makes it captivating. Either way, the brief ideas that someone may have in passing could reshape their neighbor’s perspective in its entirety.

So why would anyone keep these thoughts inside? Oh writer, oh wanderer, oh scholar or simple man, for the sake of us all, share your thoughts, your ideas, your fears, and your questions!

The only thing constant about this world is that it is constantly changing. Let us all use what experiences, gifts, thoughts, and perspectives we have been given to be catalysts of good change. Meaningful change. The kind of change that occurs when you must re-read a paragraph of a book over and over again because the words have stunned your heart and you feel suddenly strange, as if you are no longer the same person that you were when you woke up that morning.

So tell me, what books, songs, poems, or other forms of prose have changed your life? Maybe they can change mine too.

Seek a new perspective,

Gabriella

In Praise of The Young Man Who Danced At The Red Light

As I sat behind the wheel of my mom-style minivan I counted the seconds ticking slowly by. I began to wonder how much of my life I had spent waiting at these devilishly long red lights, contemplating everything from my very existence to the true ingredients of the Krabby Patty Secret Formula.

The particularly soft song playing through the aux cord was gradually coming to its close, stirring me from my daydreams and sucking me back into the boredom of the moment. My wandering eyes made their way to the car in front of my own, and I couldn’t help but notice the young, bearded man in the driver’s seat who was, for lack of a better term, getting his groove on. I haven’t the slightest idea what he was listening to, or what kind of a day he was having, but it must have been very, very good. As he nodded his head easily and rambunctiously tapped the steering wheel, I couldn’t help but smile. He was just so happy. His carefree demeanor seemed to emanate from the tips of his dancing fingers and reach into my own heart, so much so, that I began to laugh. And before I knew it, I couldn’t stop laughing.

When he glanced into his rear view mirror and noticed me giggling like a fool, he ceased his moving and grooving. I immediately felt guilty for having put an end to his joy, but my regrets were short lived. After a moments rest, he grinned back at me through the mirror and continued his lighthearted dancing. I found myself so relieved by his unwavering happiness that my smile grew even broader and my laughter even heartier. When he glanced back at me once more, his own cheer compounding upon itself, I was struck by the sudden urge to retaliate in equal joyousness. I quickly searched my music for an upbeat, sunny song, and settled on an old favorite. Starting a little timidly, I soon struck up a smooth and shamelessly silly dance. We laughed at each other and at the supreme kookiness of the situation, and I don’t know about him, but I had long forgotten about the seemingly never ending red light.

And as quickly as it began, it was finished. The cars slowly creaked into movement, stretching tired gears that grew cold waiting for the light to shine green. My new found friend pulled into the left lane in preparation to make his turn, and I stepped lightly on the gas pedal, ready to continue on my journey. As the engine revved and my soccer mom ride pushed onward, the young man and I peeked over at one another and smiled for the final time. I didn’t even have time to look back at him through my rear view mirror before he was out of sight.

Out of sight, but not so far out of mind.

Thank you, young man who danced at the red light, for making me smile. Thank you for reminding me to be joyful for myself, in the peaceful moments I spend alone when no one is watching. This one’s for you.

Keep living merrily. Keep doing you.

Gabriella

Adventure Is Out There

Here we are again. Another week has crawled slowly by, finishing up with a brief and blissful weekend that passes in the blink of an eye, leaving us all with yet another unfortunate case of the Mondays.

Today I felt like running away. I wanted to be whisked away on a gust of wind, swept onto a stretch of black asphalt: the foundation of adventure. To taste salt in the air and feel the cool itch of grass upon my skin was my one thought that carried me through the day, full of responsibilities and tasks that stood between me and reckless behavior. There is a time and a place for all things. For school, work, play, love, and adventure. Today just wasn’t the right day for spontaneous departures from reality. There will come another day, when all I have to do is grab the keys and go. But for now, I find my adventure in some of these songs.

Find Your Adventure:

>Nothing to Remember – Neko Case
>Your Are A Tourist – Death Cab for Cutie
>Robbers – The 1975
>The Funeral – Band of Horses
>The John Wayne – Little Green Cars
>Lazy Eye – Silversun Pickups
>Montezuma – Fleet Foxes
>Take Your Guess – Tom Rosenthal
>Green River – Real Estate
>Gone – Jr. Jr.
>Electric Love – BORNS
>Landforms – Other Lives
>Tokyo Sunrise – LP

Go get it,
Gabriella

The Unusual Disposition of Alastair Adams

Alastair Adams was old. So old, in fact, that the wrinkles on his face were no longer lines, but deep ridges that seemed to fill to the brim with the very substance of joy when he smiled. Alastair Adams was always smiling. When he walked to the park each morning to sit on the rickety bench with the chipped paint – he smiled. When the little swallows swooped over his head and landed like feathers at his feet – he smiled. And most of all, when the wind swept over the pond and gently rustled the leaves of the shady dogwood trees – he smiled.

The townsfolk of Prescott Gulch all knew Alastair Adams, and he knew them. It was common knowledge amongst the little boys that “Age-Old Adams”, as they called him in their decrepit treehouses, had already been 50 years alive when Prescott Gulch was first christened as a town. Each morning, as Alastair Adams ventured out of his “modest mansion”, as he lovingly referred to his miniscule homestead, the people of the Gulch were just waking up. The womenfolk were just rising to gather eggs for breakfast and sweep the invasive dust off the kitchen tables. The menfolk were just stretching aching limbs through the holes of well-worn and faded long johns, and still, many children stirred in light slumber, minds already anxious to begin the day’s shenanigans.

And all the while, Alastair Adams walked, and he smiled while he walked. And when the dishes had been cleared after breakfast, the men were pulling on mud-caked boots and sunbleached hats, the children had already run out of doors to swirl their toes in the cool grass and commandeer sticks to make them into Indian spears. As they ran wildly through the crackling shrubs, they observed Old Alastair from the corners of their bright and wandering eyes, and they liked him. For there was something about the air that surrounded his shoulders and tousled his snowy white hair that felt peaceful and right. In their parents, they saw only anxiety and pain. That was their norm. The ritualistic way in which life in Prescott Gulch played out, from beginning to end. There was worry about the ever-present dust, and because of the dust, there was worry about the crops. And from this anxiety about crops, sprouted a fear of going hungry. And hidden behind this fear of starvation, there was the overarching, all-consuming fear of death. But this fear, this sadness, did not exist within Alastair Adams, and the children did not understand it, but it comforted them greatly.

But on one unusually cool and windy day in Prescott Gulch, where the clouds billowed overhead like weightless boulders, Alastair Adams was not smiling. When the sun was already gaining height in the pale, grey sky, he strolled through the center of town, down the rows of dull-colored houses. The families had already sat down to steaming bowls of breakfast porridge when they spied Alastair Adams through their scratched windows, dragging his feet on his way to the little pond where he simply sat for hours, counting the ripples caused by brown leaves cascading onto the water. The women cleared the dishes and went out of doors to hang the laundry on delicate clotheslines, and the dingy linen flapped loosely in the wind like whispers to the neighbors about what could possibly be the reason for kind old Alastair’s abnormally somber disposition.

All that day, Adams sat silently on that decrepit bench, but the swallows did not fly near him, and the wind did not whistle through the dogwood trees with the same gentle sighing as before. And instead of counting the ripples made by falling leaves, he counted the circles created by his salty tears dropping into the glassy water.

As the sun dipped slowly down from the sky, casting heavy shadows across the creaking porches of every dilapidated house in Prescott Gulch, Alastair Adams remained by the pond. The men, returning from a laborious day’s work of tilling fields and kicking up dust, passed the little park at dusk, and their minds, though exhausted with anxiety about the season’s harvest, found the energy to worry about Good Old Alastair as well. They knew what was happening, the cause of his sorrow, but still hoped it was not true. When they reached their front doors, and their children swarmed about their legs in nervous excitement, they deliberately pushed past them, eager to reach their wives, who would surely offer some motherly comfort concerning the status of Alastair Adam’s mood. Much to their dismay, when the men swept their dainty companions into their stained and grimy arms, and inquired about the old man, they were met with disconcerting explanations.

On that day, thirteen years before, Alastair Adams had lost his wife. She was claimed by time, as time comes to claim all things, living and unliving. And only a year prior, the couple’s son and his family had come in a rusted Ford Model T to visit the Gulch, and on their way back home, they blew a tire on a bumpy dirt highway and lost control, sending the vehicle and all its passengers tumbling down a deep gorge to their demise. All his life, Alastair Adams seemed to be stalked by misery, and yet he never dropped his smile for more than a moment. But on that day, October 26th every year, he merely sat at the pond, tears spilling down his cheeks, ignoring the biting wind, despite the fact that he was shivering terribly.

The children felt the change in the air, and they furrowed their freckled brows at both mother and father as they spoke softly of Age Old Adams. They lingered on the outskirts of their range of hearing and began to be troubled with the thought of the kindly man in distress. Father was always somewhat agitated, on account of lack of rain for the crops. Not a day passed when Mother was not overworked and exhausted from chores and looking after her family. But the old man was different. When Alastair Adams cried, the world wept along with him. When he was troubled, everyone’s lives came screeching to a halt until he was spotted smiling again.

As was done each year on this day, the folk of Prescott Gulch took care of Alastair Adams. The men chopped extra firewood for Old Alastair and stacked it orderly along his little house. The women cooked him delicious, warm food and laid it in fragile glassware on his doorstep. And the children, innocent and gentle, wove delicate crowns made from all the local prairie flowers and weeds, and placed them around the potted plants on his porch.

When their kindly work was done, the townspeople returned silently to their homes, though their hearts were still heavy with worry for the man. One by one, the oil lamps were extinguished and the shutters drawn, but Alastair Adams did not budge. As the darkness deepened, the moon rose steadily, but still, he sat on the bench with the chipping paint, thinking of his past: his wife, his son, and all the unfortunate happenings of his youth.

At dawn, when the world was fresh with the sights and sounds of rebirth, something in Alastair Adams seemed to awaken. The life-giving sun shone bright light on his age-worn cheeks, drying his tears and filling his mind with brightness. His pain faded away from him like the residue of a dream and he remembered the ways he had been blessed. He remembered the way the stars twinkled in the summertime, and the sound of crunching leaves beneath his scuffed shoes, the compassionate love of his neighbors and the sacrifices they made for his well-being. He thought of his dear wife, and of her everlasting peacefulness, even in the darkest of times. And he rediscovered, just as he did every year, that she would not want him to spend what time he had left in sorrow. Rather, she would wish him to be joyous, in spite of the woe found in living.  So with her memory, and that of his son alive in his heart, he rose steadily from the warped bench and began the return journey to his small home.

Each family, with tables swept clean and plates set, sat down to the morning meal, and as they ate silently, were interrupted by a sudden knocking at their door. As each wife rose from her table, crossed dusty, distressed floors, and heaved open creaking wooden doors, she was greeted by an unexpected sight. Alastair Adams, bashful smile playing on his lips, stood patiently on the porch.

“Thank you,” he said, “so very much for your kindness and care. It means the world to both me and Roxanne.” And with a slight nod of his head and tears forming in his clear eyes, he departed, and moved on to the next home.

When the wives returned to their quaint kitchens and told their families of Old Alastair’s actions, a calm descended over each household. The children could return to disturbing the grass and climbing the broad trees without a care in the world. The men would find their minds once again preoccupied with issues of farming and growing. The women, however, would think long and deeply on Mr. Adams’s disposition, and their hearts would break and mend themselves again many more times in that day before they came to conclude that he truly was a uniquely joyous spirit.

For Alastair Adams was old. So old, in fact, that his life was beginning to stretch thin, and his misfortunes seemed to outweigh his graces, and yet, he lived, and in each day he chose to find a surplus of blessings.

 

See your blessings. Find your joy.

Gabriella

One Word, One Way of Life

It’s Wednesday again. A day devoted to words that enrich our writing, speaking, and our very lives. But unlike last week, this word of the day is not complex. It is not a dozen syllables or used only by Oxford professors and linguistic snobs. It is a common word, but it is a tremendously important one. One that we all need in our lives.

Love:

1. Unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another

2. Warm attachment, enthusiasm, or devotion

3.  Strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties

Love. Thank God for love. We want more of it but don’t give nearly enough of it. This life essence that makes everything worth while – it is what makes us human. It is pure. It is kind. It is hopeful and rejuvenating.

And while I say all this, I am sure that a certain someone has been floating subconsciously through your head, tap dancing his or her way across your heartstrings. I know he’s been on my mind. Savor the thought of them. Let the very idea of their joy and laughter fill your heart to the point of bursting. As your face turns to a darker shade of pink, remember to always be a source of their smiles, and to give more than you receive. Let us be selfless and always strive to love more perfectly, more purely, more beautifully. For him, or for her, and for all creation.

Love,

Gabriella