A Rambling Post about Birthdays, Thursdays, and Music

I can smell this picture. It smells good. (Some rights reserved by ~K~ on Flickr)

Yesterday’s Daily Create:

Using your voice as the only instrument, create a recording of a verse and/or chorus from your favorite song.

At some point yesterday afternoon, Tim bowed out for a few minutes and came back and shared his version of this assignment. (Go listen to that NOW!) I thought that was the coolest thing ever, so at the end of the day I asked him to show me how he’d done it. I knew I wanted to give it a go.

I spent about half-an-hour in our studio, laying down six or so tracks (listen to me — using that crazy music lingo!!), and this is what I came up with:

This creation is a really rich one for me. Bear with me, because I’m going get all rambly here now. I have no idea where this post will go.

I. Birthdays

Next week is my birthday. I’ll be 38. My birthday has always been really, really important to me. It’s hard to say why. When I was a kid, my parents would sneak into my room and decorate it with balloons and streamers while I slept the night before my birthday. When I woke up, I felt like the most loved kid in the whole world. (I now do this for my daughter). There was always something magical to me about birthdays.

It’s not just that I think MY birthday is so important. I think everyone’s birthday should be magic.

Over the years, I’ve had some pretty amazing ones. I’ve fallen in love on my birthday, had surprise parties thrown for me, gotten a surprise visit from my mom when I was living in Montana, and had college roomates who threw me a week-long celebration that culminated in a trip to the Bahamas (Well, okay, that was really already planned for spring break, but it FELT like it was for me!!).

Here’s one that stands out more than any other:

I’m 22 years old, 8 months out of college. I’ve just gotten out of a long-term relationship. I thought I would die when it ended. I didn’t. I had just started my dream job at a place that is, to this day, one of my favorite places on earth. I was acting for the first time in years; I’d just gotten the part of Laura in a production of Glass Menagerie. Every weekend, I was going to visit one of my best friends and college roommates and having some serious girl-power bonding time.

On my actual birthday, I took the metro home from work and my mom picked me up at the station for a family party. My new co-workers had bought me a potted plant — well, actually, plants. It consisted of miniature daffodils, tupips, and hyacinths. It was unseasonably warm. It felt like spring, even though it was the last day of February. I buried my face in the hyacinth on the way home and just breathed really, really deeply. I was happier than I had been in forever.

To this day, I always try to buy myself a potted hyacinth for my birthday.

And, what this has to do with my birthday is that this song (Sophie B. Hawkins, As I Lay Me Down) is my birthday song. I discovered it the year that my then-fiance was living in Montana and I was back east planning our wedding. I listened to it every night before I went to bed. The very first line, “It felt like springtime on that February morning,” captures completely the way I feel about my birthday.

II. Thursdays

I was born on a Thursday. Thursdays have always been magical days for me. I fall in love on Thursdays. I meet best friends on Thursdays. I go to awesome parties on Thursdays. I dig deep and find my most creative self on Thursdays. When I go to bed on Thursdays I believe that there is a really good chance that when I wake up on Friday something amazing will happen. Sometimes it does. I will probably die on a Thursday, and that will be just fine.

III. Music

I am, and have always been, musically inept. Well, let me say that again. I actually used to be an okay piano player and for a while I could sing music just by sight-reading. That was neat.

What I’m inept about is what’s cool. I don’t know what’s cool when it comes to music. I like show tunes. I like songs that feature strong female vocalists. I like songs with lyrics that tell stories. I have no idea why they are or are not musically worthy. I cannot, for the life of me, remember who sang any song.  I don’t particularly care except when it makes me feel like I’m missing a limb in conversations about music (or trying to figure how to participate meaningfully in an internet radio station).

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this song. I don’t think it’s cool that I do. I have a feeling it’s not a particularly cool song to love. Until now, I’ve only told a handful of people that I love it. And I don’t think they realize that when I say I love it? I mean that I will listen to it, on repeat, for a 90 minute drive. Seriously.

So, this? Recording my not-so-stellar singing self, singing a not-so-cool song, and putting it up on the Web for anyone to listen to. THAT’S KIND OF A BIG DEAL.

That’s all I got tonight. Peace.

3 thoughts on “A Rambling Post about Birthdays, Thursdays, and Music”

  1. When I was 15 my parents took me to a Japanese steakhouse for my birthday and I thought it was the most amazing thing ever. That next year I asked them to do something equally as amazing. I said “I want my birthday to be an experience!” and you could see the look of dread in their faces as they tried to think of what to do. I think we ended up going to Joe’s Crab Shack.

  2. So nice of you to share a different side of yourself! Sounds sweet and I hope you are now addicted to garageband!
    I also celebrate my birthday in fine style and think that everyone should do the same! After all, this is my day of existence and I’m pretty happy to be here. A couple years ago I made up my own music festival in Yangshuo, China. Basically you had to be with me to really see the festival, but in my world… wow! I played at the side stage and hosted an open mic. I played with lots of people on the street, handing out random kazoos and chicken shakers, and then I even got to plug in and jam with the folks on the “main stage” at another pub in town.

    I hope I get to celebrate with you some day!

  3. Martha-time! I hope your birthday was exemplary. I wish I had read this before hand but it’s still fascinating afterwards. I truly thought you would have considered yourself musically talented because that rendition was truly beautiful. Like Leslie, I love reading all these interesting things about you. The complex and amazing Martha.
    And finally, as a fellow 1974er I feel a new special bond. Cheers!

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