My oh my, I don’t even know where to start with the Judd Apatow’s incredible documentary on The Avett Brothers, May It Last. When it was first announced that the film would have a one night showing in theaters nationwide, prior to the release of the film on HBO in January, I was still living in Florida. The closest theater playing it was about two hours away, and it was a Tuesday. I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to swing that, but the temptation was real. Well, I moved to Nashville Labor Day weekend, so it turned out that I was lucky enough to be about fifteen minutes from a theater playing it last week. From reading tons of posts of praise across social media, I knew I was in for something special, but I wasn’t prepared for how amazing it was. As a viewer in the audience, it felt like these people invited you into their homes (well, they did literally,) and gave such an intimate glimpse into their lives. The rawness and realness that is portrayed in the film is just something entirely unique. I have chills just trying to write about it. There are so many scenes in the film that made me love them even more than I did, prior to seeing it.
First of all – Happy Friday everyone! Second of all – I apologize for the lack of frequent posts recently. Things have been a little crazy over here, but I have a few things in mind I’d like to share with you. One of them being Kesha’s “Praying.” The whole Rainbow album is hands down – fantastic. But there is something extremely special about this song in particular. “Praying” was released in July, and I’ve been meaning to blog about it for a bit. The first time I heard it, I got chills and started crying. I’ve yet to listen to it, without tears coming to my eyes.My top adjective to describe this song? Powerful. Kesha is a powerful force, as a human, with her art, with her strength. I keep thinking about the metaphor of a Phoenix rising from the ashes. But really…Here we have this woman who has been through the ringer, and a lot of it in the public eye. I read an interview the other day where she talked about her time in in-patient rehab for her eating disorder, and how her time with the piano when she worked on Rainbow, she kept singing it to herself to get her through. I know music has an entertainment value, but it’s also an extremely influential tool in spreading your message. It’s amazing that someone who could’ve let her first single in years be fueled with rage and hate – yet…I think this is a song of grace. This woman has found peace. Can you hear the honesty in her voice? Do you hear the vulnerability? Because I think it’s all there. But I also think this is someone who has been through hell (as the lyrics referenced,) and has come out on the other side…though all of our experiences shape us as people, she seems to have evolved and come out on top despite the ultimate attempts to drag her to to the bottom. “We both know all the truth I could tell” Kesha sings. Light has been shed on parts of her battle, but I’m sure there are countless details we will never know. I just really believe in the raw authenticity of this song. It’s like an anthem – an anthem for those who have struggled with all kinds of traumatic experiences. Abusive relationships, mental illness, assault, the crappy cards we get dealt in life sometimes. I just think the message here can really resonate with listeners, and I have so much respect for Kesha for using her voice, her unmistakable talent to create this. In a time when others create “revenge” songs. Here we have this woman speaking her truth, and she’s doing it with poise. This song in itself shows such an evolution from the artist who brought us “Tik Tok.” When I think of Kesha, and I think of her art, her strength, her courage, her ability to be so real I just feel so proud of her. That probably sounds weird coming from someone who doesn’t personally know her, but she’s shared enough of her story with us to know that she’s come out on the other side of a very dark time, and she is glowing.
A few weeks ago I went to see the Taste of Chaos tour with some friends. That night brought on an onslaught of memories to my days and nights of teenage angst. Dashboard Confessional headlined. It’s not the first time I’d seen Chris Carabba preform, but I have to say he is really on his game these days. He transitioned from one song to the next and fit so many in, I was shocked. I loved that he went back to his first albums, and really got into the old stuff. The little emo kid inside of me was having a time warp party.
The lawn was closed, so we were all upgraded to seats. Our gang took over a center row, and while we waited for the show to start we reminisced about our younger years listening to these bands. I don’t think I quite realized, up until that moment, how utterly connected everyone sitting in that amphitheater was – in an invisible way. As we shared stories I found so many of us were those emotionally sensitive kids, going through a really hard time in our teenage years. These songs were the soundtracks to each of us holed up in our rooms, or awake in the middle of the night thinking about someone across town. I remember how desperately sad I was at some of my lowest points – the kind that’s hard to see around, the kind that makes you doubt there’s a time ahead of you where you won’t feel like that. As I looked around me at all the people singing their hearts out along to these songs. Lyrics we hadn’t sang in years, readily available in our minds- I realized something that gave me a shiver. All of us who’d hit those low points, who knows what happened over the last 15 years but we’d made it. Here we were, in a different spiral of days. And I smiled because I should always remember the present moment isn’t all we have left. Emotions are ephemeral (an old favorite vocab word), life keeps evolving and changing. Even with all that nostalgia swirling around, it was impossible not to love every minute. I’ll admit though, there were a few moments where I could feel myself slipping into the feelings associated when I hear these songs. “Ender Will Save Us” and “Best Deceptions” were two of those songs for me. They just hit just the right spot in my tender heart, and I had to laugh before I cried. If your teenage days lacked the joy of DC as a soundtrack, here’s a listen now:
The first book I read this year was kind of a bizarre experience. In January, I finally got my hands on a copy of Phyllis Reynolds Naylor’s Now I’ll Tell You Everything, which is the final novel in the Alice McKinley series. Just like the author promised, years ago, readers find out…everything.
Be prepared, NITYE is a long one, but considering it’s the last and it has to take you through Alice’s college adventures and give glimpses throughout the rest of her life, it ought to be! I’ll admit, I haven’t read the last few titles in the Alice series, but a younger version of me still hanging out in my heart, just had to know what happened. Did Alice become a psychologist or a counselor, did she marry Patrick, what about Liz and Pamela and Gwen? How about Lester, was he a bachelor forever or what? And Alice’s dad and Sylvia what about them? Where did everyone move off to – what were they like in college? Who became parents, who kept in touch? And it was easy to get sucked right back into the story. Some of the plot points I was expecting, and then others were sweet surprises. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this book if you haven’t read any of the other Alice books, but if you were a fan at any point in life, I think you owe it to yourself to see how Naylor wrapped everything up. It was kind of bittersweet reading that last chapter. I’ll admit a few tears leaked out. I kind of felt like some part of my childhood was wrapping up, even if I’m not a child anymore.
When I was in middle school, my mom was awesome enough to drive me to a meet and greet Phyllis Reynolds Naylor was having at a Barnes and Noble in Florida. She signed one of my books, and took a photo with me, and I thought it was one of the coolest days ever. I remember reading on her blog when I was younger, that she did try to write ahead, “just in case” something were ever to happen, so fans would know how she wanted the series to end. (I always thought that was such a nice gesture.) Back then I tried to imagine where I’d be in my own life when I’d finally find out how Alice McKinley ended up. In a way, it made me feel more like a “grown up” then a lot of things in life have, but it also let me connect with the awkward tween who first identified with Alice and all of her embarrassing moments growing up. They seem like such a staple. I remember being so excited when some girlfriends borrowed the books from me after a sleepover. I felt like the books would help them through some things (as all the best books do!)
If you haven’t yet, check out in the final edition of Alice’s journey! As for you, I’m curious: did you read the Alice books when you were younger? Did you relate? Let me know!
And as a little bonus, here’s a photo flashback to when I met her at that B&N:
Welcome back my lovely readers! That was quite a hiatus surrounding the fourth of July holiday time, I know. And why didn’t I blog since it was raining most of them time? Oh, I don’t know – working on paper journaling, collecting quotes for more word art, attempting to not want to plug my own ears as I work on basic chord transitions on the guitar, late night beach walks, mid day beach walks, day wine drinking, Scattaergories, laughing, talking, napping, running – there was plenty, ok? But here I am, and it happens to be Turn It Up Tuesday, and I’m going to share with you a song that just absolutely melts my heart every time I hear it: “A Father’s First Spring” by The Avett Brothers. I’ve been a long time fan of The Avett Brothers. You’ve read my rambles on “If It’s the Beaches” and they’re a band that’s on my bucket list to see live. I mean, the first time that I heard this lyric I was hooked. I know, I’m a sucker.
You know, Ben Folds wrote “Gracie” for his daughter and that song has always tugged on my heart strings. But there is something about this, so raw so pure. A kind of love that I don’t know about, but it sounds beautiful. And that’s when you know you’ve stumbled upon great song-writing. When the artist can make you feel something, that you didn’t know you could feel.