Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Adolescent Remembrances

There are two novels that resonated with me when I was in junior high school, The Catcher in the Rye and A Separate Peace. While my friends were off learning about elves, dwarves and hobbits, I was imagining myself dealing with "serious" issues of identity, discovery and friendship. I also longed to go to prep school, so that I could experience Gene and Finny's world. I longed for the city (Washington, DC specifically), because I thought that I might see some of the things that Holden saw. It was clear that I wanted to leave my corner of Virginia behind. Alas, the idea of going off to prep school (I thought that I might have been a good fit for Woodberry Forest or Lawrenceville) was immediatly removed from the realm of possibility by my family (the schools in my town were rather good), and my dreams of the city would have to wait until I was an adult.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

For The Love of Sade

I have been going through some changes of late. A friend of mine passed unexpectedly three weeks ago, and I have been trying to sort some things out of my sometimes muddled world (finishing the Ph.D, determining my next move in terms of employment, etc.). I was searching for Sade videos on YouTube, and I found a video for the song "Keep Looking." The video consisted of nothing more than a portrait of Helen Folasade Adu, and the music played in the background. "Stronger Than Pride" is an exceptional album, and this song spoke to me in ways that I'd almost forgotten. "Some will tell you that you're wrong. You do it all the wrong way...They enjoy cheapness. Don't show your weakness. Don't let them bother you, no." I needed to hear that song. "There's no use getting down. Don't walk 'round with a frown. Oh no, ahh, keep looking. There's no use sitting around with your head in your hands. Hold on, ahh, keep looking." I couldn't have put it better myself.

Sade's lyrics resonated with me ages ago, but it seems that I needed to hear them again for my current circumstances. I cannot express how important Sade's music has been in my life. "Hang on to Your Love" was the first Sade video I saw on television ("Friday Night Videos" on TBS). I begged my folks for my first London Fog coat after I saw the video for "When am I Gonna Make a Living." I dreamed of feeling the emotions presented in "Sweetest Taboo." I had my first meaningful kiss while listening to "Cherish the Day." I even felt the pain in "King of Sorrow." Sade has been there for me since 1984, and it has been a love affair that I am determined to maintain regardless of the absence of new material (though I loved "Mum," and I am not forgetting the wonderful work of Sweetback).

This is no "Ordinary Love," and "Nothing Can Come Between Us." Whenever I listen to Sade, I feel like I have been given the "Kiss of Life," and I usually "Feel No Pain." I look forward to "Every Word," because I know that Sade is "By [My] Side." I am sure that you Sade fans out there know exactly what I mean.