Category Archives: Music

Anthem: Float The River, Forget The Paddles

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Welcome to my twice-monthly feature about anthems, the songs that inspire us.  You can listen to most of the songs on my Spotify playlist, Carry A Watermelon Anthems.  Today’s Anthem isn’t available on Spotify, so please enjoy it by clicking on the links below. New Anthems will be posted here the 1st and 15th of each month. 

Please welcome Kristin Weller to our playlist.  Kristin and I met over a decade ago through the Penn State Lehigh Valley Writing Project. We wrote together in a writing group and the rest is friendship history.  Her writing is full of grace, rhythm, and beautiful details. Enjoy!

 

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Photo: Flickr Commons

As a writer and a teacher, I often find myself stuck upstream without a paddle. The washer leaks all over the place, the telemarketers just can’t get enough, one of the dogs pukes on the carpet – again, and my work-in-progress lays open like a wound ignored. My mind spins and leaks just like my wonky washer. It is times like these when I call upon music to set me back to rights.

I had my first Brother encounter as Musikfest more than a decade ago. That first time, I entered the crowd that was building like a heatwave beneath a white tent. During soundcheck, one of the kilt-clad brothers grabbed his bagpipes and twiddled a partial reel. A pack of red-headed girls let out a riff of shrieks and whoops, a mic squealed. And when the concert really started, we were awash in a wall of sound – beefy bass beating, a vibrating blast from a didg, a halo of harmonic voices unifying.Their sound and artistic energy made a complete circuit with us, their undulating fans.

A few years later, Brother released River. It personifies the struggle with resistance we all encounter at one time or another when we choose to jump into our  passions. Its chorus begins:

When I’ve been asleep so long…so long/I woke up cold…and I… I woke up.

To me it means that even when things go wrong, it only takes a small act, to wake up — to reignite passion and possibility. The chorus concludes with:

If we’re a river, let it flow… and don’t climb out the window, when I’m at your door

which is  a love-note to the self to be brave when opportunity knocks, to trust-fall with intent into passion’s currents.

The paddles are not required.

Just, float.

And, I do.

Special Note: Since Brother is a self-publishing indie band, River is only available through their artist’s website. You can sample River and purchase it here.

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Kristin Weller is a  writer, poet, essayist, and English teacher in the Lehigh Valley area. She facilitates Write Nights,  a community-based writing group for adults which meets every first and third Monday at the Nazareth Center for the Arts from 7-9 PM.

 

Don’t forget to follow Carry A Watermelon Anthems on Spotify for  a playlist of additional inspiring songs!

ANTHEM: Wrecking Ball

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 Welcome to my twice-monthly feature about anthems, the songs that inspire us.  You can listen to the songs on my Spotify playlist, Carry A Watermelon Anthems. New Anthems will be posted here the 1st and 15th of each month. 

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I was thrilled to be in the front row, but I can see the sadness and exhaustion in my eyes.

It was a bucket list moment: front row at the Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band concert at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on February 12, 2016.  My husband and I were the 16th and 17th people into the venue, a stroke of luck  I can only attribute to karma and possibly divine intervention of my cousin Harvey calling in a favor to the correct department in heaven. He’d passed away a month earlier from lymphoma, most likely caused by his first-responder work at the Pentagon on 9/11 .  He was only 49 years old, so I’d  been robbed of growing old with him. I was in pieces.

When Bruce started the strums of Wrecking Ball, I stood motionless for the first time in 2.5 hours, hands at my side, tears streaming down my cheeks. Breath came in gulps as I wept along with the lyrics.

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Life had taken a wrecking ball to my family and my heart.  Deaths of my uncle, my grandmother, and my cousin, along with other major life changes and some unmet  expectations, had left me tattered and raw. The image that described my life was a balloon floating into the sky, its ribbon trailing away, away, away. And there at the front of the stage, immersed in the throbbing music, I was momentarily anchored.  I wasn’t just signing along; I telling the world I wasn’t going anywhere.

Hold tight to your anger/Don’t fall to your fears…by this point in the song I was full-on screaming the lyrics through sobs.  When the last note ended,  I offered a quiet thank you to the band for their music. This was the song I’d listened to countless times in the car at full-blast, to convince myself it was going to be OK. For the first time in months, I started to believe it.

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Thank you, Bruce and the E Street Band.

Upcoming Anthems:

May 15 = Vickie Bartkus, teacher extraordinaire with a heart of gold, a love of Idina Menzel and a hard-core Brooklyn accent

June 1 = Patricia Florio,  author, former court reporter, and a founding member of the Jersey Shore Writers

Anthems: Because We All Need A Fight Song

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Screen Shot 2016-04-30 at 7.50.49 PMOn the first and fifteenth of the month, I’m going to be posting about anthems.  I’m going to start with one of my anthems (hint: Bruuuuuuuce!) and then share anthems of guest bloggers who have graciously offered to share the song that get them through.  I hope you’ll enjoy their stories of fighting through struggle and staying strong.

As an added bonus, please subscribe to my Spotify playlist, Carry A Watermelon Anthems, where I will add each anthem, plus some of my personal faves.  I hope it’s a place you’ll go to when you need to be uplifted, fired up, and ready to go.

May 1 = Me!

May 15 = Vickie Bartkus, teacher extraordinaire with a heart of gold, a love of Idina Menzel and a hard-core Brooklyn accent

June 1 = Patricia Florio,  author, former court reporter, and a founding member of the Jersey Shore Writers