It's these little things, they can pull you under.
Live your life filled with joy and wonder.
I always knew this altogether thunder
was lost in our little lives.
Oh, oh, but sweetness follows.
Writing about R.E.M. and the impact they have had upon me since i was 13 years old
is something i have been trying to do for a long time.
The music is such a soundtrack of my life and even my first real love story.
It began when i bought the first album i ever purchased on my own – Murmur.
Through all the little fandoms and phases, they were always true and always what i wanted to listen to in every mood i had.
Many days i would play them over and over again and wore out tapes like crazy. I
n between classes, Michael Stipe’s voice would soothe me when they kids
at school made fun of my non name brand clothing
or not perfect hairstyle, or not being as smart or ‘cool’.
My face would read “Fuck you, you turds”
but my heart was breaking in a million pieces.
Why’re you trying to second guess me?
I am tired of second guessing
what will be your look this season?
Who will be your book this season?
I crushed on the boy at school who wore the REM tour shirt and played guitar, and had the Stipe-esque look and sound. He was shy and quiet but on stage he just blew me away. At the school dance i did not have a date, i just hung to the side, watching in awe as they covered one of my favorite songs...
We are young despite the years
we are concern
we are hope despite the times
all of the sudden, these days
Happy throngs, take this joy
wherever, wherever you go.
He left that year (our Junior year) to go to a special music school and i moved on. I met new friends outside of school during my summer job at a 7-11, especially a sweet boy from The Big City. I found people equally passionate about music. 1987 was the year i graduated high school, experienced my first real relationship, learned a lot about myself, went to a prom and my beloved grandmother passed away. The loss of her took away my love for painting and it was hard to listen to any music for some time. it was hard to be myself at all. i lost touch with a lot but when Document came out and i heard “It’s the end of the world..” i felt that it was the perfect theme for how i was feeling. My life was so very different. No school, not having to do anything but work and put money away to move to a place where i could be among musicians and artists and feel like i belonged.
Singer sing me a given, singer sing me a song
Standing on the shoulders of giants
everybody’s looking on
(Old man don’t lay so still you’re not yet young,
There’s time to teach, point to point,
Point observation, children carry reservations).
Standing on the shoulders of giants leaves me cold
A mean idea to call my own (call my own),
a hundred million birds fly away, away, away.
I think i listened to this song (King Of Birds) a hundred million times. The music that this band gave to me guided me to feel again, to be able to take those steps that i needed to make important changes. Green came out the next year and things grew brighter and stronger. I was living the life i wanted. I was assisting my aunt in raising her sons after her husband died suddenly and did everything i could to make her life easier. I went to see REM at Madison Square Garden and i felt like a crazy person because i cried through the whole show. Seeing Stipe for real had a huge impression on me. The whole band being right before me was unreal. I felt like i was in another world and sang every song and worshipped at the altar of my musical heroes. It was like a religious experience.
This is my world
And I am the world leader pretend
This is my life
And this is my time
I have been given the freedom
To do as I see fit
A couple of years pass. There is more sadness and moving around. I lose my godmother to AIDS. My Stepdad suffers from manic depression. My brother’s best friend dies in a car accident. I moved home to be close to my mother because she is hurting so much from her sister dying and her husband’s illness. I decide to get a job at a local factory. It is so boring but I made decent money and i was able to help out Mom, and still feed my music habit and buy art supplies. Patrice, my younger sister, is dating a New Kid On the Block and i am going to concerts with her – this was NOT as bad as it sounds. We had a lot of fun back then – but i was really missing something in my heart. I’d dated off and on. I had a sweet long distance relationship with a guy from Illinois who thought he was the next Depeche Mode. He was very talented and even wrote me a song. I wish a had a copy of it still. But even so, through all the people i’d dated, i never felt IT. That moment where you are struck down and you feel that mixture of attraction, physically and mentally. My friends all spoke of it, but it had never really knocked me on my ass the way it was about to.
Dreams they complicate my life
I was sitting at my work area and completing the mindless task i did for 8 hours a day. There were a couple of people that came in and tested our work to make sure they were correct. Today i noticed someone i’d never really noticed before. He was a handsome person, but something about him made my heart race. For days, i would look up the 6 times he came in to do the testing. I would try to catch his eye. But i always got shy and stopped. I decided to just worry about other things and forget him. Guys that i liked never liked me back anyway. Weeks later, i was outside in the little picnicky area and heard The Smiths playing from a car. My ears perked up and i tried to follow the sound. Someone here listens to the Smiths?? Cool! I see a beat-up old Volvo and inside is That Guy! I walk back to my eating place and giggle to myself.
The crush is back on!
My heart thrown open wide
In this near wild heaven
Not near enough.
Little by little i tried to know him. I learned his name (Michael) and what he did there (Science Lab Guy). He and i finally had a conversation after a co worker found out i liked him. We three had lunch and Michael asked if i read comics. Comics? Huh? Yes folks, this was the person that got me into comics. He came in the next morning and brought me a bag of goodies. Some issues of GrimJack and the Watchmen graphic novel. This was followed by The Flaming Carrot, Zot! And OMG The Sandman!! :) every day we would chat and have the best conversations and laugh and really enjoy the budding friendship. I never even thought to ask about his home life. And then i did. He was married with two children. My reaction was so good though, i was so proud of myself - i was excited to hear about his family. In my heart though, i was a little broken. Not surprised, because that was what i’d come to expect. This was during the summer that Out Of Time came out. I accepted this news and decided i would just enjoy the really great friend i had made, however much i wanted to kiss his beautiful smile every time i saw him.
Of every waking hour
I’mChoosing my confessions
Trying to keep an eye on you
Like a hurt lost and blinded fool
Oh now i’ve said too much...
Oh now i’ve said too much...
End of Part One.