I Have Lost the Will to Write. Today, All You Get is My Nana’s Song.

I’m sure it will return, but for the time-being…a musical interlude.

Before the interlude, though, a little backstory. Because, you know…every writer loves a backstory.

The song I’m about to link to was the song my Nana and I would listen to on repeat while sitting in her micro-library on summer days in Miramichi, New Brunswick. When I say we listened to it on repeat, I mean I sat close enough to the turntable to reach in and move the needle back to the beginning. It was sometime in the 70s. It was a little crooked house. The books were musty and had doodles and lines drawn and written in the margins by my father and his siblings when they were young.

The last line I wrote reminds me of yet another of my favourite songs from that period in my life.

When you were young
And your heart was an open book

You used to say, “Live and let live”
(You know you did, you know you did, you know you did)
But if this ever-changing world in which we’re livin’
Makes you give in and cry

Say live and let die
Live and let die

Oh, those were fucking melancholy lyrics. Great lyrics have always been able to make me feel a need to rip out my veins. I know they did, I know they did, I know they did…

So, I would reach into that big ocean-liner of a box with the turntable in it and drag the needle back to the beginning of our song. And my Nana would tap her foot throughout the entire thing. She was HEAD OVER HEALS for the song. She knew every line, every note, every nuance. I had a cousin who could sing the same song like an angel. And it always melted my Nana’s heart to hear the words come from Christine’s mouth. I’m not sure Christine ever realized how much it meant to her.

I can’t for the life of me remember if my Nana read while we did this. I think she just paid full attention to the song, stared off into whatever memory she was visiting, and waited for me to be her repeat button. I, however, read. Not whole books…nothing so focused as that. I wanted to be inside all those musty books. Every single one of them. So, I just random-read them. There were trigonometry books and philosophy books and fiction books. It was a random sampling of 60 or so years of a house filled with kids who turned to teens who turned to adults and left. I honestly don’t think her library interested her so much. In truth, I’m probably the only one who called it a library. There was a living room and a back living room and a back-back living room. The back-back living room was the ‘library’. It had books in it. Does anything else matter? Oh…and a big whale of a console with records and 8-tracks. Sure, we listened to other stuff too. But that one song on that one record…we blew that motherfucker away!

Anyway, so…in lieu of writing, I think a song today will do.

We wore that record out, so I’m sorry I can’t reach over and drag the needle back across to the beginning. You will have to make do with Youtube…and some version of the original.

By Kevin Craig

Author, Poet, Playwright. Author of The Camino Club, Billions of Beautiful Hearts, and Book of Dreams, all from Duet Books, the LGBTQ Young Adult imprint of Chicago Review Press. Other books: Pride Must Be A Place, Half Dead & Fully Broken, Burn Baby Burn Baby, The Reasons, Sebastian's Poet, and Summer on Fire.

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