listen to this, meg says listen to this

Listen to This: “Tin Man”

It probably comes as no surprise that one of my favorite tracks on Miranda Lambert’s new album The Weight of These Wings is “Tin Man.” I mean how can you listen to this song, and not feel anything? I’m not really sure. On Sunday, she preformed it live on the ACM’s. Acoustic. Raw. I think there’s something beautiful and admirable about someone revealing their heart for anyone to see. It’s a real song, and it’s vulnerable, and I think that’s wonderful. The world needs more of that. I believe it’s a brave thing to do, even if it’s scary, to put your emotions out there like that. You never really know how that situation will transpire, but it’s better than hiding away. And isn’t that  kind of how love works, anyway? It’s all a risk, but what is life without taking those chances? Her performance gave me goosebumps, but the song has that effect anyway. I’m not sure I’ve listened to it one time without getting tears in my eyes yet. (*Sap alert* I know, but it’s so good.) It had been a few years since her last one, and this much anticipated album was well worth the weight. I believe it when they say she brought her heart to the table, ready to pour it out into these songs.

“Hey there Mr. Tin Man
You don’t know how lucky you are
You shouldn’t spend your whole life wish’
For something bound to fall apart
Every time you’re feeling empty
Better thank your lucky stars
If you ever felt one breaking
You’d never want a heart

Hey there Mr. Tin Man
You don’t know how lucky you are
I’ve been on the road that you’re on
It didn’t get me very far
You ain’t missing nothing
Cause love is so damn hard
Take it from me darling
You don’t want a heart

Hey there Mr. Tin Man
I’m glad we talked this out
You can take mine if you want it
It’s in pieces now
By the way there Mr. Tin Man
If you don’t mind the scars
You give me your armor
And you can have my heart”

If you haven’t heard it yet:

meg says listen to this

Meg Says Listen to This: “Feb. 20, 2000”

I don’t normally post “Listen to This” back to back, but if there’s anything I’ve been reminded of lately you can never have too much music in your life. (I guess or books for that matter, but if they’re on your floor that can be a problem. Plus, I can listen to more songs than books I can read in a week, so there will always be a little bit more to share.) Music is such a powerful force. It has healing powers, can be a source of inspiration or motivation, the only tie to some buried memory, the foundation for new memories…it’s all there. Lady Gaga’s Superbowl halftime performance, and last night’s Grammy Awards were just a larger reminder of all the emotional connections we can have through music, and the messages it’s artists carry. I try and space out repeats from artists in my posts  generally too, but even though I shared an Avett Brothers song last weekend, I’m going to share one again today. I was about to type that this doesn’t relate to the Grammy’s in any way, but they actually were nominated for two. Anyway, this past weekend there was an event in Mexico, a little tropical getaway of concerts for days (including other artists like Band of Horses and Brandi Carlile, but I digress. Someone posted a video from the show in Mexico last night, and it was Seth Avett alone on stage with just his guitar and a microphone. He played “Feb. 20, 2000” which is a song off their self-titled debut album. As far as I know, it’s been several years since he played this song. Someone mentioned in the Facebook group that it could’ve been prompted by someone mentioning it in a Q&A session over the weekend. Whatever the reason, it happened and my word…it was something else. Of course I say this living vicariously through a Youtube video, but it felt like someone was squeezing my heart as I listened. It’s just a beautiful song, and I was already crying after watching John Legend perform “God Only Knows” (one of my favorite songs of all time.) But even if you aren’t as emotional as me, I still think there’s something special to see here. I can’t believe the silence of the crowd. What a beautiful, raw moment.

Here are the lyrics (from AZ) if you’re curious:

The whipping of the flag above
It sung me to sleep
And I awoke to feel her hair
Dancing on my cheek

I awoke with the crazy feeling
That I was where I belong
And the sun warmed a remembered love
In my head I heard this song

Don’t leave, you’ve finally made it home
Ain’t this the girl that you wanted all along
I know it hurts to think about everything that went wrong
But I think its over now

And I cant believe how her hands
Still fit perfectly in mine
If I don’t take my chances now
I’ll be searching all my life

Trying to find the feelings that I knew
With this lovely country girl
If those plans are just a young man’s mistake
Then why am I still so set on her

Don’t leave, you’ve finally made it home
Ain’t this the girl that you wanted all along
I know it hurts to think about everything that went wrong
But I think its over now

And more than ever, now I hear
That sweet old voice inside my ear
It says

Don’t leave, you’ve finally made it home
Ain’t this the girl that you wanted all along
I know it hurts to think about everything that went wrong
But I think its over now

Her hair is still soft and sweet
Her eyes still green, her heart still beats
For you and for the lord above
Be done with the pain
And get on with the love

Uncategorized

Meg Says Read This: All the Light We Cannot See

18143977 There’s a reason All the Light We Cannot See won a Pulitzer Prize. It took me a few weeks to work my way through this one. In early January, one afternoon it was a surprise waiting for me in the mailbox from one of my favorite teachers. Over the weekend I was bound and determined to find out how this story wrapped up. Sometimes while reading, I had to take breaks because my stomach was in knots and my thoughts would wander (not out of boredom, quite the opposite – this book gave me so much to think about.) The story alternates view points, and points in time throughout the novel, later adding on to the character’s perspectives you’re seeing through, and eventually (as may have been expected), intertwining these character’s lives. There is so much to digest here, so much to take away. We have Marie-Laure a young blind girl living in occupied France during WWII. Marie-Laure’s father Daniel LeBlanc is a locksmith at the Museum of Natural History in Paris. You have orphan Werner Pfennig living in a children’s home in Germany with his sister Jutta, with their kind care taker Frau Elena. As you can imagine in war-time, all of these character’s locations change and their stories expand and they encounter more people who become essential to their stories. I’m intentionally being vague because I would hate to ruin the beautiful way this story unravels. I think some of the key points I was reminded of is the way art, music, books, and imagination can be threads of hope in the darkest of times. I was reminded that although we know what’s right and wrong, people who do bad things, are still capable of doing good things. Recently, I saw a tweet that said “Historically, ‘I was only following orders’ has not been a solid defense.” How true this is, and some people only come to the realization after so much damage is done. Friendship can sprout from curious places. Fear makes people do evil things. It’s never wrong to do the right thing, even if it means you’re going against the current. Doing the right thing takes a tremendous amount of courage sometimes. People can be very impressionable, it’s important to remember to think for yourself and not be a follower. We have a responsibility to maintain a knowledge of the past, so we don’t repeat history’s mistakes. This story tugged on my heart strings, and these characters will stay with me for years to come. If you haven’t read this novel yet, I highly recommend you do so immediately.

meg says read this

Meg Says Read This: Extraordinary Means

23149128Robyn Schneider has done it again. She finds this beautiful way of telling a story that involves grief, love, friendship and the roller coaster of life and adolescence all rolled into one. I was blown away a few years ago when I read The Beginning of Everything (so of course when I spotted it on a shelf in a visit to Powell’s last year I broke my own rule of  not buying anymore books to add it to my collection.) I was absolutely thrilled when I saw she’d come out with a new novel, Extraordinary Means – I may have even been the first person to check it out from the library.

So more about what Extraordinary Means is actually about. Seventeen year old Lane has been sent to special school, kind of like a boarding school, kind of like a summer camp – except here there is one link that bonds all the students together, and it’s not s’mores and kumbaya. All the kids at Latham have TB, albeit different strains so different levels of the way this diagnosis takes its toll on their bodies. On their good days the students might seem like normal teenagers, but whether it’s a fitful night of coughing that results in bloody pillowcases, or just the lack of energy and dark circles around their eyes – these kids are no longer able to lead something similar to their pre-TB lives. Away from their family and friends, sports and activities with no cure in sight their futures are uncertain.

Although what they considered “normal” lives are disrupted, and they can’t even continue a regular study path of school work – Lane and his new found friends have found a way to make the most of their time, and add some fun to their days. Who would have thought he’d find a familiar face at Latham? But why does this person seem to be so cold towards him? Even with a rocky start Lane will soon have new relationships develop, friendships evolve, and a spark of romance. The scary thing is no one ever knows how much time they have left – but Lane and his friends are cramming a lot of life in their days. Extraordinary Means is a heartwarming story that’s a reminder of the frailty of life, and the power of friendships in any circumstance in life. Schneider has shown us once again what a gift she has to leave such an impressionable story on the hearts of her readers.

(Image from Goodreads.)

 

meg says read this

Read This: Jenny Han’s Summer Trilogy

7cf3ec172ac1813da77baf827e27bc40

Once upon a time, several years ago in one of my routine hangouts at the public library in Tallahassee I stumbled across Jenny Han’s The Summer I Turned Pretty. Lucky for me, I was late to the party and didn’t have to play the waiting game to read the novels to follow. This Instagram  post Real Simple put up a few weeks ago, really highlights why I felt so connected to Han’s stories, as a reader. She really really gets it. I’ve mentioned it here before but anytime there’s a character in YA novels who has this relentless ability to hold out hope, and just plain hold on – I see myself in them. That’s been me, the character in my own life since preschool. Also, I’m a summer girl through and through. Summer me is my favorite version of myself, and all year round I try and bring the magic that graces summer days into other seasons. Belly was also in that same predicament. There were several similarities I found while reading this trilogy, and so many things that just opened up a well of emotion. The way Han describes dealing with terminal illness in a loved one, and then the process of grief, and that path that just seems impossible to navigate – she just nails all of it. Love and friendship and the confusion of life. The way things don’t necessarily get easier as we grow older, just our scope of experience has evolved.

Basically this is less of a review and more of a reminder of some seriously amazing books that I’ve gushed over in the past. When I saw that quote I was instantly overwhelmed remembering my appreciation for Jenny Han’s way with words. Seeing as we’re only halfway through July you still have plenty of time to throw these books in a beach bag, and read them were they deserve to be devoured – in the sand somewhere, or in the still of a summer night. Either way, wherever you are, just read them.