this is amy in my head

*For most people, music extends beyond pleasure: it is a crutch when things get rough, it is a place of refuge when times are bad. I used to think this was the case for myself (read: the epitome of attempted teen angst is listening to Neutral Milk Hotel blasting out of a boom box, in the dark, on your bed. Good ole 14-year-old days!), but if I wasn't wrong, then things have certainly changed.

*When I am sad, I can't stand sound. All I want is silence. Music holds no allure, whether it is sentimental or heartfelt. I shut down, and I turn it all off. It's as if I want solitary confinement for myself, either for respite or for deprivation (I can't pinpoint it). But I know without music, I am a hardened person who does not like to be touched or moved, who is irritated by sensory stimulation, and who only wants to wallow in her own puddle of tears - silently.

*In high school, when I was angry, I would sit in my car with the windows rolled down and blast jazz. Something totally intense and incomprehensible, like Brad Mehldau. I'd lay my head back and let Brad blow off the steam for me. If things were alright, then it'd be a Ken Burns jazz CD, and if I was really feeling the love, I'd cue up Ella & Louie's silky duets. Music made me fall in love, but somewhere along the way, as a self-imposed separation or punishment, I fell out of love with music.

*I used to sing in the shower a lot. I rarely do this anymore, though I'll still sing along to anything on the radio when I'm driving to work (my favorite: Picture by Kid Rock and Sheryl Crow). I used to strum my guitar and play my piano when I was sad. I used to write lyrics to show my sorrow. I don't anymore. In Italy, on the coldest days, I walked up and down the streets of Florence listening to Bach's inventions or NPR. That's the most I could I bear. Losing a love is a sad, sad thing.

*I've been thinking about my relationship with music because Amy Winehouse died yesterday and in the end, her love for music was not reason enough to live.


  1. This is a gorgeous post, Natalie, even if the ending is so sad. Music is definitely something that keeps me going.

  2. you listened to NMH when you were fourteen? what a cool kid.

    i would say people die in spite of reasons to live, not for lack of them. and that is tragic in a more bitter way, like considering how many people starve while food abounds...