- A Story In Song (Part 1—Tom Waits)
- A Story In Song (Part 2—Kings of Leon)
- A Story In Song (Part 3—Ben Harper)
- A Story In Song (Part 4—Amos Lee)
- A Story In Song (Part 5—Blind Pilot)
- A Story In Song (Part 6—Right Away, Great Captain!)
- A Story In Song (Part 7—Amos Lee)
- A Story In Song (Part 8—Ray LaMontagne)
- A Story In Song (Part 9—Janis Joplin)
- A Story In Song (Part 10—Peter Bradley Adams)
- A Story In Song (The End)
I have a story in my book Pieces Like Pottery—”The Gravesite: The Fifth Sorrowful Mystery”—in which I experimented with a number of different literary devices. More and more readers have begun to notice one of the devices more regularly.
In addition to breaking the story up into ten sections, each of which follows one of the themes from the fifth sorrowful mystery, each section in the story also has a song that is paired with it. Yes, you read that right. I paired a song with each section. Like a fine wine paired with a good meal, the song’s lyrics are intended not only to add another layer of meaning to the words, but can also be listened along with that section of the story.
While more and more readers have been picking up on this, it’s certainly not an easy task for the casual reader, especially not one reading the print version of the book. I’ve promised to do this for quite awhile, so here you go. In ten parts, here is “The Gravesite: The Fifth Sorrowful Mystery” paired with each song. Enjoy!
(For those of you that might be interested in how this section ties into the fifth sorrowful mystery, the fifth sorrowful mystery is The Crucifixion and the “spiritual fruit” is the Pardoning of Injuries. Part 3 reflects the theme of when the side of Jesus is pierced with a lance, his body is taken down from the cross, and then placed into the arms of His Mother.)
The Fifth Sorrowful Mystery
Lisa was more than just a proud mom when it came to Chris’ writing. She found his words inspirational. They made her reflect on her own disposition in life. She often sat and wondered about the meaning of each blog post, marveling at the innocent wisdom of her own son. She could have done without the quotes that opened each blog entry, but it was his artistic choice, she figured.
“Why don’t you credit where you’re taking the quote from?” she asked him once.
“The beauty’s in the words, Mom, and in the search,” she remembered him saying. Then, as if pausing with levity, he continued, “Besides, you can just look it up on the google machine anyway.”
She laughed at him calling the internet “the google machine.” It seemed funny to her that if someone of her generation had called it the google machine, the term would have been viewed as ridiculous. She would have been laughed at for being too old and unhip, and she would have been told that she just didn’t get technology. Since it was spouted by youth, however, it was somehow acceptable and adopted. This affectation amused her at the time.
Despite not appreciating the quotes that began his blog posts, Lisa always searched. His last reference on May 19th, she learned, was from someone named Caleb Fallowill. She had never heard of him and didn’t particularly like the despair in the quote. She sometimes failed to grasp why Chris provided the quotes he did. They oftentimes didn’t seem relevant. On the other hand, she loved the many references Chris always had throughout his writing. He was so smart and well-read that she always loved finding out what the references meant. The reference to This Is Water was one of those she found fascinating after she researched it more.
Why couldn’t she have said this when they drove to the airport? Why couldn’t she have told him one last time how wonderful of a son he was?
The night after dropping Chris at the airport, she was not yet concerned with these thoughts. She went about her night like a parent always does, trying to ignore irrational fears that continually arise and hoping her son is happy. She also eagerly awaited Chris’ next post.
The following morning she checked his site over her morning cup of coffee. A new entry was there. She smiled and sipped her warm drink.
“Unspoken rules of solitude wound without a trace. A lifetime of dreams roll down your face. All that we can’t say is all we need to hear. When you close your eyes does the world disappear? There’s something in everyone only they know.”
We never lose the biases that are intertwined in our lives. How we think and who we become are tightly wound up within our experiences and origins. As Michael Sandel argues, it is impossible to efface past experiences or family of origin from our thought processes. The moments that they have pierced me in the past, color my thinking in the present. I became a product of my mother the moment I was first placed into her arms. I am my father’s son. We must first understand that these experiences, these biases, exist, before we can truly understand what is right.
Lisa scratched her head and stared at the screen. Sometimes she was unsure if her son was a lot smarter than her, and spoke far above her ability to comprehend him, or if he was merely spouting gibberish to be combative. She enjoyed it nonetheless. She envisioned his plane landing thousands of miles away as she sipped her coffee.
Check out Part 4 of “The Gravesite.”
Never Leave Lonely Alone (Lyrics)
Like an old man
Sitting alone at a lunch counter
Like a small town girl
A big city devours
Some of us laugh
Even in our darkest hour
Never leave lonely alone
Unspoken rules of solitude
Wound without a trace
A lifetime of dreams roll down your face
All that we can’t say
Is all we need to hear
When you close your eyes
Does the world disappear
There’s something in everyone
Only they know
It moves in the hidden ways
Of joy and sorrow
Never leave lonely alone
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