February 12, 2013

Love Songs

Valentine’s Day is almost here! Is there anything more romantic than a love song? They’ve been around, at least as far as we know, since 4,000 B.C., according to Robin Frederick, author of A Brief History of Love Songs.
Though they are thousands of years old, the earliest love songs sound so contemporary, so honest, so urgent, they might have been written yesterday. 
They are proof that human emotions have not changed. When we fall in love today, we feel what men and women felt in centuries past: desire, joy, disappointment, yearning, fulfillment.
Some of the lyrics survive.

If I meet you suddenly,
I can’t speak – my tongue is broken;
A thin flame runs under my skin.
Seeing nothing,
Hearing only my own ears drumming,
I drip with sweat.
Trembling shakes my body
and I turn paler than dry grass.
At such times death is not far from me.
-   Sappho, from “He is More Than a Hero,” c. 630 B.C., ibid.

As a clueless preteen, locked away, alone in my room with the purple shag carpeting and mod, light-green-and-vivid-orange-flowered wallpaper, I day-dreamed of being a muse. Specifically, in my feverish, Monkee-induced hallucinations, Davy would write the most passionate love 
songs for, and about, me. I would be Davy's muse, and We would scale the peaks of fame and fortune (and passion) together. Romance, ecstasy, and symbiosis would define Us forever; the world would gaze upon Us in amazement and envy; and joy would fill the airwaves.

(SFX: needle on vinyl screeching scratchinly to a halt)

Or so I imagined.

I was no different from any other naïve young girl of any generation, suffering from newly-invasive hormones and fairy tale propaganda. However, reality is a harsh mistress:
“I’m not gonna write you a love song, ‘cause you asked for it.” 
                                                                                            - Sara Bareilles, Love Song
Oh, snap.

My first "muse" inspired more sad, weepy and pathetic "poor little me" compositions than an Oklahoma classic country station:  "Here I sit, all alone, Can't even get you on the telephone ..." (He hates me, Waah, waah, waah.)

While I did tend to be more prolific during my broken-hearted periods, my growing catalog never appeared to include much of anything worth performing, let alone, selling. The ups and downs of my love life rended me like a Catherine wheel. Muses can be bad for the health.

Witness lyrics by one of today’s most popular bands, Maroon Five:

"All those fairy tales are full of it
One more stupid love song, I'll be sick"
                                                                                              - One More Stupid Love Song

I still believe in love. I know he’s out there, probably with a broken GPS, embarrassed to ask directions. Hope springs eternal. (Alexander Pope)

May your Muse be just around the corner
and put a smile upon your face.

- Mona L.

 Copyright 2013 by Amuse The Muse by Mona L. All Rights Reserved.

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