music, trash by taylor

Who Makes These?!: My love of mix tapes

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I feel like this post has been a work in progress for ages, and you might feel the same if you know me, even a little bit. It is common for me to wake up every morning and my gaze turn to a pile of dusty cassette tapes on my shelf. Some days I look back on them with nostalgia and other days, I just look at them and wonder why I ever stopped making mixes on cassette. I felt like they became such a part of my identity, even before I knew what an identity was.

My story with mix tapes has a beginning, middle, and an end, like all stories do. However it’s a story with a bunch of noise in between and I think about continuing the story often. I can recall images of childhood glances toward my father’s big cassette cabinet, where every tape featured his incredibly meticulous handwriting. I can recall an image of sitting on the floor of my new boyfriend’s dorm room, sprawled out with CD’s, in an attempt to show him what I could do; Mix tape creation felt like a secret talent. I don’t remember what I put on that first tape for him except a song by The Clash, but I do remember I never made him another tape for the four years we were together. I struggled with how much time he spent making his own tapes for me, especially when we were in a long distance relationship. He was attempting to write a story featuring Gordon Lightfoot and They Might Be Giants songs, and I guess I realized I had stopped “writing” by then.

My story with mix tapes isn’t all sad; it’s a story of joy, laughter, questions, confusion, and a whole batch of emotions I can’t make sense of, but they are all perfectly outlined on the tapes I’ve made. I was inspired by an article I saw recently from NPR about conveying the right message when making a tape (specifically, how to not “look like a creeper”). When I read the article, a story immediately came to mind from high school where I had given a mix to a guy I’d really liked. I don’t think we had anything in common except for our mutual love for music. I made and gave the tape pictured above to him, which he examined closely and proclaimed “WHO MAKES THESE?!” I was really upset because I realized this was the first time I had realized making tapes had become my favorite way of expression. I was the “who” in the situation for the first time.

I specifically remember making this tape for Dude No. 2 (the number two is very significant. I didn’t like him as much as I liked Dude No. 1, and he was also a piece of number two). I’d considered the mix just to be a mix of songs I really liked but this tape was probably the first and only tape where I did not construct a mix full of meaning. My very idealistic teenage self searched for meaning in absolutely every lyric, and I spent hours agonizing over how the person giving me the tape felt about me, and what possessed them to put a certain song on the tape. I drove my friends absolutely nuts with the constant squealing and questioning over the next few years of tape looping; something they chose to slowly reveal to me much later. 🙂

I’ve got a ton of mixes and a ton of stories to tell through songs so I’ve decided to dedicate my next few blog posts to these tapes and stories. Some have been long worn out and some of them are still going strong with new mixes being created, and a few are really cringe worthy and give me feelings similar to the stomach flips I felt after dropping my beloved purple boombox in an elevator while moving. I consider that to be the “end” of the story, but there is a ton of feedback in between for your listening pleasure!

“Who Makes These?!”

December 2009

Side A:

“Shabby Doll”- Elvis Costello & The Attractions

“Beware of Darkness”- Concrete Blonde

“Wendell Gee”- R.E.M.

“Can’t Get There From Here”- R.E.M.

“A Million Miles Away”- The Plimsouls

“Candle In The Wind”- Elton John

“The Bucket”- Kings of Leon

“Hey! Hey! Nadine”- R.E.M.

“Burning Down”- R.E.M.

“All The Young Dudes”- World Party

“Skin Deep”- The Stranglers

“And Your Bird Can Sing”- The Beatles

“Other Arms”- Robert Plant

“In The Mood”- Robert Plant

Side B:

“Take A Chance On Me”- Roxy Music

“Everywhere At Once”- The Plimsouls

“Love My Way”- The Psychedelic Furs

“(I’m Always Touched By Your) Presence, Dear” Blondie

“Mirror In The Bathroom”- The English Beat

(note: “Mirror In The Bathroom” was apparently the only song he liked).

 

poems, trash by taylor

i’d forget to tell you in the morning

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i’d forget to tell you in the morning

that i have red blotches on my right arm because a gnat received its dinner in the night.

it seems trivial, but

wouldn’t you want to know?

 

i’d forget to tell you in the morning

i have a noise machine box from a store in the shopping mall that plays me sounds of ocean tides

and how sometimes, i dream of pink hues of our time together

it’s a far fetched fantasy,

but you never know.

 

i’d forget to tell you in the morning

how i believe in you every single moment

and that all i want

is for you to know everything would be safe with me, but i’d still wonder sometimes

if i’m a waste or a faraway whisper in your daily sea of

who knows what? i wish i’d know of the terrible things, the tiny things, and the other things.

and even go so far as to organize your worries

like a sock drawer

i’m not romantic with words

i’d forget to tell you in the morning.

 

i’d remember in the morning

to let you know i love you

and sometimes (like right now)

i’m really unsure of myself

but i’m glad you wandered in

would you stay if i-

made you tea in the corner

and read you which ever words you needed at night.

 

i’d remember to tell you in the morning-

it’s going to be all right.

trash by taylor

i had a really bad migraine at church

 

laughterI’d like to preface this by apologizing, because I still feel the need to apologize before writing about difficult subjects especially when there are feelings I’m still working through about Big Issues and Changes I’ve undergone in the last six months. This post was inspired by a sociology project where I was instructed to go deep into a memory, and recall as many details as possible in hopes you can uncover some new details about your memory and feelings. This recollection is about the first time I went to Sunday school as an adult.

 

why didn’t i eat breakfast this morning? i rolled over too early to answer a phone because i’ve been instructed to sleep alone because jesus might not like it if i had someone else roll over and try to wake me up. i’ve walked into church this morning like a turtle- i walk like a turtle anyway, i think. my head was tucked under my neck, like the time i was once told to hang my head because my boyfriend and i were both registered democrats. i can feel the stupid fluid building up behind my ears like i’d jumped into a pool so i could have a cheeseburger later after swimming lessons.

my significant other drove like he was bored. he drove to church like he was bored with the system- or so i thought at the time. he’s not my significant other any more but he’s okay with me writing this because we’re nice to each other, and he knows i really admire his driving. he was really bored that day because i swear he could tell i was breathing like i was talking to myself in my head. stay alive, because a lot of people get solace out of weekly drives to church. it’s as big of an event like kentucky basketball. people treat their brunch like a holy excursion. like the one i was about to go on, but the coffee was too bitter. i will be too bitter if he rolls his eyes again. i can’t tell if he is in his own head, or he just knows i’m terrible.

services are services. i can disappear and be quiet like in a college lecture. i am good at sitting in the back and standing up and sitting down. i can lip-synch really well because i love pop music. i don’t know the words to these hymns but they’re hymns and i love words. i don’t have to understand. i like how words sound together. i like certain combinations of words, and i like how my boyfriend and i kind of were on the same page- he’d lip synch a little and i would a lot. but god, this morning, i was super hungry and i could see some black swirlies in my eyes prompting me to wonder if this was rapid aging?

i can go along and digest difficult situations, and there was a time i was comfortable because i could look into his eyes and he seemed to get why everything was so unrelatable and i have always concerned myself with fitting in. i really thought so, but this morning i had to go meet new people in a small setting, and i was warned and conditioned so many times before this. are they going to know that we’d listened to the first Clash album on the way here, and does jesus like punk rock? i really have a headache, woah.

i talked to my mom once about how i felt that the children’s wing of a church always smelled like urine and i was right today. i’m sensing a “cradle to the grave” vibe as i walk through the children’s hallway and question whether my apprehension had to do with the fact i was never a product of that notion. socialization has reared its ugly head on me now. i don’t want to go home, because i can handle this. i’m just wearing a skirt instead of the elvis costello t-shirt i slept in, and i would much rather vomit in my skirt that i guess jesus wants me to wear?

suddenly i have a ton of questions about the different stages in life as we walk into the classroom. all of our college age peers are tall, beautiful, and so very married- none of which we are. well, he was a little taller than me. god, i miss him sometimes, but i do not miss this. i really do not miss this.

but my point is- do we have to be all of these things before we’re able to get what we need from church? my logic and stereotypes tell me so, but also i am admittedly close minded due to previous experiences, and also because i will die if i don’t eat this biscuit that is hard as a rock.

the ladies are looking at me. they’ve seen me before, but they don’t like me because i didn’t press my boyfriend’s sunday best. oh, god, the wrinkles in his shirt are now really bothering me. why didn’t i iron his shirt before we left? am i supposed to? i wonder if they think so.

my boyfriend is slumped on this faux leather couch for the sunday school discussion. we’ve been here before. he just really doesn’t care (or so i thought) and he’s on facebook. i have the textbook dutifully spread open on my knees. am i supposed to “do” this? i don’t want to think like this! i know the answer already! i don’t want to think like this. i just need to eat this really rock hard biscuit. is this what jesus means by breaking bread?

my glances go around the room because i am searching for an understanding like these people are, but i don’t know if it’s really the same type of understanding. these other young ladies seem pretty nice. i smile softly, they know i am going to drink glasses of wine later as i whine about my experiences. i am really trying to understand this lesson about forgiveness and kindness tailored to the young adult, but damn it, if my boyfriend lets the Sonic the Hedgehog ring out of his phone speakers, like i could feel in my gut that he is about to do, i am not showing patience and forgiveness.

my inner monologue is so loud right now. it’s louder than this class discussion that it not getting off the ground. the teacher (professor? preacher?) is answering his own questions because he can tell we’re not going to be the first to speak because what happens if you get a question about jesus wrong?

i swear i am going to cry if this girl with the giant engagement ring doesn’t stop staring at me. i might throw a biscuit at her. my boyfriend says she transferred a few weeks later. she’s being judge-y as Dolly Parton would say, but good lord! i am too! please understand that i am an individual still learning her place in the world and practicing patience in her own way, and i am so sorry that my boyfriend looks so dissatisfied oops, i guess it’s my fault. so if i reject your invitation to the bowling night on wednesday, it’s because i am trying to open my mind and get over the rejection of living an uncrucified life, as my boyfriend’s mom would later say.

i ate my food and changed into some pants, but i’m still learning. i swear not to have any more headaches at church until i finally figure out who i am, and stop asking questions about others and their form of sunday morning solace.