*In relationships, we sometimes get to the point that we feel we know everything there is to know about someone, or that they know everything there is to know about us. It gets more and more difficult to remember some of those little things that make us who we are. Things Mr. P. Doesn’t Know About Me is a recurring feature in which I share some of the little (and not so little) things that have simply never come up in conversation or seemed important enough to tell. They can be few and far between, as I am by nature a “talker” and share quite a bit, but when I do have one, rest assured, it’s a good one.
Actually, I wrote and sang the Blues
in my kitchen in middle school.
As I’m sure you’re all aware, life is serious in middle school. Your feelings are so intense. Every crush is your soulmate. Everything is potentially epic and life changing. Your whole world can be ended outside of your locker before first period. Forget bubbly pop and bubble gum lyrics; that kind of nonchalance is for high school. In middle school, it’s all about heartfelt ballads and the blues.
I grew up in a household where music was at the center of enjoyment. My stepfather was an amateur jazz musician, amateur only because he didn’t play professionally. He played in a band with his friends in our basement. His primary instrument was the keyboard, but he also played the guitar. He taught himself to play both instruments, as well as congos (I think…the tall drums, two, attacked..help me, musicians). He introduced me to Earth, Wind, & Fire, Fats Domino, Pieces of a Dream.
My mother’s a hybrid when it comes to music. She will listen to just about anything if she can groove to it or feel it. Her favorite music is music by people like Gerald LeVert & Toni Braxton. In later years, she listened to hip-hop, jazz, even country. But when I was a kid, her very favorite music seemed to be the Blues.
I can’t tell you the number of times I caught my mother, headphones on (the big ones that cover your whole ears with the long cord), rocking and singing to the blues. My favorite songs for her to play were “Members Only”, “Down Home Blues”, “Wank Dang Doodle” ( I think that’s the name), “Cheating in the Next Room”, and “Who’s Making Love?” Over the years, I’ve discovered other Blues songs that I liked: “The Thrill is Gone,” “Bill,” “If Loving You is Wrong, I Don’t Wanna Be Right.” Music was always one of those things that my mother and I shared that kept us close as I was growing up.
There was just something about the blues that spoke to me. I could understand people wanting to sing when they were hurt, lonely, mistreated, betrayed, jaded. I knew about hard times and struggling (or so I thought; what does anyone know at 12 or 13 and younger?). Music was my way of dealing with life, and the Blues gave me a way to express the disappointing side to life…and love.
In many songs in the blues tradition, performers sing songs with a certain structure that include telling the audience they have the such and such blues and why. Sometimes, they would start out talking about the incident, or break down in the middle and begin talking, like Lenny Williams in “Cause I Love You” talking about how watched TV until TV went off (which actually DID still happen when I was very small; they played the national anthem over a picture of a flag, then the TV would become static; scary to think of now). I would think to myself, “What’s that jarring it would keep someone up all night?”
Then I found out. If you read my series “A Valentine’s Day Carol,” based on a Christmas Carol, you found out about the boy that I had a crush on FOREVER. That boy gave me the blues. No one else measured up to him in my mind. I would try to like someone else, but it seemed no one else was as good. My ears would perk up when I heard people talking about him. I wrote a seven series essay (using the different types of essay–descriptive, etc.) on why I like this boy (sure wish I could find THAT!), and later, my award winning, published personal essay, “A Different Point of View,” on how he completely changed my perception of myself. That’s all known documented fact.
But: I also wrote a blues song about it. The song, if I still have it, is somewhere in a box in Michigan, but, for your viewing pleasure, I will include the chorus, which came to me randomly as I was going about life. It took me a while to realize that these words were my words, written long ago by a lovelorn girl in the throes of an intense rejection. I’m
embarrassed impressed at my early attempts at songwriting, and figured I’d share. Enjoy!
I’ve got the “not over you,
No one el-else will do,
And you don’t have a clue
How I’m missing you blues.
This wasn’t the beginning or the ending of my songwriting career…but those tales are for another time.
New Feature!: Thoughts From the Cubicle will be at the bottom of each post each day…it’s just a quick glimpse at the randomness that crosses my mind while I work
Thought From the Cubicle: Ever want to shake your computer like an Etch-A-Sketch? I do, every time I make a mistake.
- When White Girls Sing the Blues (thesnarkoleptic.wordpress.com)
- Girl, 11, in Court After Writing in Wet Cement (foxnews.com)
- Middle School Girls Arrested for ‘Attack a Teacher Day’ Facebook Event [Kids] (gawker.com)
- Blues Bash 2011 reveals schedule (charlestoncitypaper.com)