Today’s challenge is to write for 15 minutes about three songs which have influenced my life without editing or anything. First, I won’t promise to write for only 15 minutes, second I will go back and edit, and third, I may talk about more than three songs. Yes, I’m a rebel, but I’m also used to writing for an hour or two at a stretch without thinking much about it. I hope you’ll bear with me as I ramble and roam, at least in a literary sense.

I love the topic of songs which have influenced my life and have, in fact, on several occasions written on this topic and included a videos of such songs. The fact is, much to the disgust of my daughters, I can think of a song to go with just about anything you might want to say. In fact, I used to drive them nuts by demonstrating this unique ability on a regular basis, though I’ve since learned that an old high school friend, Joleen, did the same with her kids. Maybe it was just our generation.

One of my favorite high school classes was Mr. Litton’s English class in which we got to take the songs of the day and really get into the poetry of the lyrics. Lucky for us, we had the likes of Simon and Garfunkle, Bob Dylan and others to draw from.

But to narrow down which songs most influenced my life, you’d have to specify a time frame. For example, on the long walk alongside Sunset Blvd. from the dorms to the theatre building my freshman year in college, I used to sing while I walked. One of my favorites was Top of the World by the Carpenters.

At times in my life when I was sad or a relationship had ended, it might be Maybe This Time from Cabaret (did I mention I’m especially partial to show tunes?) or the silliness of Gary, Indiana from Music Man.

These days, I make up songs for everything from each of my cats to how much I love it when I get green lights all the way from home to wherever I might be traveling. You’ll never hear my songs on the Top 40, or frankly, anywhere near a radio or a place where people actually sing well, but music is the ultimate way (short of writing, of course) for me to express emotion.

But getting back to songs which influenced my life: Sounds of Silence by Simon and Garfunkel was a special favorite while I was young and full of teenage angst. Also, Scarborough Fair/Canticle for the haunting beauty of a love song interwoven with a song detailing the horrors of war, Done by the Band Perry, because don’t we all have times when we are just done with something or someone? In recent years, Why by Rascal Flatts has become especially poignant to me.

Why is actually intensely personal because it talks about someone who committed suicide, and how a friend and loved one is trying to cope with the decision. Perhaps having lost my parents to suicide makes me a lot more aware of songs and stories like this, but more, I want to help people understand that the stereotypical idea that suicide is selfish and cowardly is not only oversimplified but patently unfair, both to the victim and to those they leave behind.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful not only for being able to educate others about suicide, but to be able to educate myself.
2. I am grateful for the traumas in my life which allow me to give others support and understanding for their own trials and tribulations.
3. I am grateful for writing prompts which make me think, make me appreciate where I was and how far I’ve come.
4. I am grateful for the life I’ve lead and the path I now follow, neither of which would be possible without the other.
5. I am grateful for abundance: health, friendship, intensity, love, compassion, passion, words, inspiration, health (I am doubling this for the sake of my sweet kitties), peace, harmony and prosperity.

Blessed Be

And now for some shameless self-promotion:
I’d love it if you’d visit my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SheriLevensteinConawayAuthor?ref=aymt_homepage_panel and my website, www.shericonaway.com. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

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