The Music Mandala
I am a music fiend. I absolutely adore music, and I pursue it like a true lover. I have some favorites, of course. And I am also open to new music. Collecting music is part of who I am; what I do.
I have written here at least twice about a few personal music projects I've been working on. I digitized the songs to replicate a set of 80s mix tapes I loved. I digitized CDs I inherited from my sister (that set is mostly country, as that was her taste).
But the biggest project of all is the Songs2SaveMyLife play list. It started out as a list of about 25 songs, grew to around 200, and is now approaching 500 songs. It's turning into more of a lifetime play list, including every song that has been really important to me at one time or another.
So I decided around Christmas time that I would take some time and energy and really build that play list. I had a master spreadsheet I was working from, which grew. I used Christmas money to buy CDs I wanted, and I even (for the first time) began purchasing digital copies only of certain things.
This process has involved scouring the discographies of some of my all-time favorites (hello, Springsteen, Nicks, Mellencamp, Benatar, and Petty), and trying to fill in the missing pieces. It's like putting together a jigsaw puzzle.
I've had to make ridiculous decisions like - do I really want that Pat Benatar CD (Go) enough to pay $228 for it new, or $67 for it used? (The quick answer was NO, and no, it's not available digitally. So: No Go!)
I have had to make other hard decisions, like whether to buy a CD for a single song. And yes, I have done that. Hello, Wallflowers cover of the Bowie favorite Heroes on the Godzilla soundtrack. Also, hello, Bob Seger's Living Inside My Heart, from the About Last NIght soundtrack. Yeah, I'm a fool for love, and I know it.
I have also been forced to resort to purchasing used copies of a few items, which has worked out pretty well so far. A 2-CD Springsteen tribute called One Step Up/Two Steps Back arrived on Tuesday. I got it for $7.99 used on Amazon and enjoyed the heck out of it on my drive to work this morning.
My husband, for his part, has watched the music arriving with some level of interest, but also concern. When I informed him yesterday that the last CD had finally arrived, he raised an eyebrow and shrugged unbelievingly: "I bet you can stop any time you want, but then again, all addicts say that, don't they?"
Of course, I never TOLD him I planned to stop; I just said that was the last CD . . . for now. And I laughed heartily, but I noticed he wasn't really laughing with me. He might have even said something about this turning into a major obsession of mine. Obsession. MOI? :-) Say it isn't so!
I was trying to think of a way to photograph the newest additions to my CD collection. But then I went downstairs and saw a braided rag rug my father's mother had made. And it reminded me of a mandala, a circle of patterns, without an end.
And so I arranged my CDs in roughly alphabetical order in the circle, and took a few pictures. It looked more artsy in black and white, and I almost posted that version, but you just couldn't read the titles easily on it and that bugged me. Anybody curious would want to identify some of my picks. So here is the regular version. (Added later: I've included a list of names of the artists below, to be helpful.)
I looked up the word mandala online and found two definitions: 1) a geometric figure representing the universe in Hindu and Buddhist symbolism, and 2) a symbol in a dream, representing the dreamer's search for completeness and self-unity.
And I almost HOWLED with understanding when I saw that second part, because that is EXACTLY what it is! THIS dreamer's search for completeness and self-unity involves the magic of photography . . . and the magic of music. My mandala.
The soundtrack song . . . let's give us two. The first one has to be this one: Richie Havens and Peter Yarrow (of Peter, Paul, and Mary), with The Great Mandala. The second is for my husband, who would tell you that THIS is more of what I've got a case of: Animotion, with Obsession.
*Artists whose music appears above:
About Last Night (soundtrack)
Mary Chapin Carpenter
Melissa Etheridge, with Bruce Springsteen
Guns N' Roses
Hall & Oates
Jeff Healey Band
Waylon Jennings (tribute)
Ladysmith Black Mambazo
Local Hero (soundtrack)
Tom Petty (with and without the Heartbreakers)
Road House (soundtrack)
Bruce Springsteen (tributes - THREE of them!)
St. Elmo's Fire (soundtrack)