I am officially a vagabond for the summer--that is, my boyfriend and I are no longer in the old apartment and are now living in a rented room while he works for the summer and I try to get some writing done. I am not always the most embracing of change, but I am excited by this more transient existence, particularly that life has suddenly simplified. The only possessions we have are the clothes, dishes, and personal items we could fit in the car, and this unburdening of goods (by putting most of them in storage) has helped me feel lighter and more flexible. Not to mention, I also have plenty of time on my hands to walk around, think about poems, and listen to music while he works during the day.
Pop music is always an integral part of my writing process. Because I am working on a book about joy, I have been seeking out ecstatic and joyful songs that speak to the ideas and aesthetic I am trying to cultivate in my new work. Joyful songs are much easier to find than one would assume, in dance pop in particular. Interestingly, the pop stars that write and sing about joy seem to return to the topic over and over. Carole King, Alanis Morissette, Des'Ree, and Cyndi Lauper are some of the artists that revisit the topic of finding and keeping happiness.
Because she is gearing up to release a new single and album, I am particularly fascinated by how joy is a theme in Cher's music. Her approach to the topic sides with overcoming adversity to find contentment; we see this in early songs like "I Got You Babe," as well as in later break-up anthems like the ubiquitous club juggernaut, "Believe." Interestingly, it seems that Cher's music has grown more open, joyful, and optimistic as she has matured, her last LP, Living Proof, being her most generous, compassionate, and optimistic. In fact, her hit single from the album, "A Song for the Lonely," is indicative of her hope. I am excited to see if this trend continues with her forthcoming 2013 record. (And, of course, I have more to say about her new single, "Woman's World," once it officially drops on June 18th.)
I have noticed that joy has long been in a theme in my work too. Take for example, "Feel Good Poem," which I wrote about six years ago and when I was very unsure what I exactly wanted to write about; it's essentially a piece about finding pleasure and healing in art. Though I would approach this poem very differently if I were to write it now, I am intrigued by the subject matter, especially that this quest for finding and keeping joy continues in later poems too, like "The Gardener in Haying Time" and "Being Young and Green." It seems I have long been trying to figure out how to approach this topic; it is exhilarating to think I may be finally figuring out how to discuss this topic in a way that feels good to me.
That said, I still have lots of writing to do, and I look forward to sharing that journey with you, dear reader. Until next time, here is some more joyful Cher music for you:
Happy summer to you!