Here's something new with me: In addition to Top Chef, Stephen Colbert, swing dancing, my traveling pants and the talkative little boy named Alan who lives next door, I'm in love with Bruce Springsteen's music. I'm not an expert by any means; please don't ask me to list random facts about his concerts, covers or album marginalia. I only started to listen to his music about a year ago (thanks to all my friends who have sent me songs and encouraged this investigation), but I feel like I am having an awakening to what music can really DO and MEAN in people's lives. I guess I was waiting for the right kind of music to come along.
In my freshman English class, we ended the semester by talking about argument and story-telling in music, and I had them bring in their own music, and we read the lyrics and talked about boring Englishy things. My choice was to listen to this song ("Thunder Road" from VH1 Storytellers). I have to tell you that I cannot even watch the first couple of chords without my eyes filling with tears. The first stanza kills me every time. Have any of you ever felt that you didn't want to listen to someone's music because you would never hear that next song for the first time again?
My students' feedback: "That's creepy. Why would you want to get in the car with that guy?"
My reply: "Um, because it's Bruce. You'll understand when you're thirty."
Here's another really great recording from 1978, "Prove It All Night" (thanks Nathan's friend Jeff C.). And a list of some semi-cliched but still relevant lessons about life and writing I've learned from Bruce Almighty:
1. Do everything with passion.
2. Don't worry if your stories are simple. They're yours.
3. It's all about the details.
4. Be real.
5. Wearing bracelets can be cool for men and women.