Flannelkimono, the mixtape

My mom has been sick for years, and stayed sick until she got a new liver at the end of 2018. When we weren't sure that she was going to make it, my siblings and I took the time to clean out her house, which had needed done for years. My life wasn't really stable enough in the past for me to take the trinkets from my childhood home with me, but it is now, so I grabbed a few totes and brought them home.

Going through my things, I wasn't surprised by the things that I had made sure to preserve: concert tees. Ticket stubs. Flyers and zines from various bands. And a tote filled with cassettes, most of which were "bought" from Columbia House and BMG, but some had been purchased at favorite local record stores.

I grew up in the early nineties, so a good portion of this stuff is from iconic 90's alt rock bands. I also got into punk and ska, but I think a lot of that music was purchased on CD.

The few journals I still have from back then, I talk a lot about music: going to shows, hearing new bands, buying concert tickets.

I still love music. Music is the one thing that got me through the darkness and chaos that was my life for a really long time. Going to shows saved my life, and still continues to do so. The majority of the traveling I do usually centers around taking photos during the day (malls, roadside attractions, interesting abandoned places), and going to a show in the evening.

I have recently started to feel stir crazy and sad, because this is the longest I have gone without seeing live music probably ever. I started going to shows in 1990 and I've never stopped. I haven't been to a show since the end of February, when my husband and I drove to Detroit to see Sturgill Simpson. I haven't seen my friends play since the end of September*.  I miss spilling the wine and singing along to songs that I feel down into my guts.

But, for now, like many of  you I am stuck at home. I've been working from home for years, so that's not much of a change. The staying home part is. It's weird to have nothing planned, nothing on the calendar, nothing to look forward to. It's hard some days. 

I am going to use the time to dig back into these old tapes, and write down the stories that come to mind as I listen to them. A lot of what I listened to back then, I still listen to now. There are also mix tapes, both mixes made for me, and I found a couple that I never gave to the guy I wanted to give them to, for whatever reason. One of the highest compliments ever paid to me came from an old boyfriend. A mutual friend ran into him at the grocery store, and he asked her about me. He told her that he still had the mix tapes I had made him many years ago, when mix tapes were still a thing.

I've been wanting to write more, but I find it nearly impossible to focus on anything...except for music. So, I'm going to write about music here. It will very possibly be drenched in the sweet nostalgia of my own life as well, because music is attached to nearly every single moment in my life I can't remember what I ate for dinner last night, but I can remember that one time that I went on a bad date and my car got towed,  and we made out to Foo Fighters "Everlong" on a really gross couch.

That's where my stories are.

*(but that night was absolute magic--West Virginia always is-- and I'm happy that was the evening I am left to savor until we all meet again.)


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