Tracking Desire, the Playlist

We’re moving ever closer to finishing the work on my first book, Tracking Desire: A Memoir(ish) Walk Through Faith, Failure, and Finding God Under My Feet, so an end date for the GoFundMe has been set. The full manuscript is with an editor, we’re getting closer to settling on a cover design, and have already raised enough money to cover the initial expenses. Now it’s time to finish the job!

One month from now, on September 22, 2020 I will close the books on the campaign to crowdfund my first publishing venture.

To let you in on my private nerd joke, this date is also known as “Hobbit Day” as it’s the birthday of both Bilbo and Frodo Baggins and seems as good a time as any to end the preparation for a journey and begin it in earnest.

I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like, and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.

In support of the final weeks of fundraising, I wanted to present what has come to be an audio accompaniment to my story. Several weeks ago, I began a playlist of songs that were meaningful to me and could be arranged in such a way as to share the broad narrative of the book.

What initially resulted was a 12+ hour playlist that was, mercifully for you and mercilessly for me, whittled down to 4.5 hours.

So, in the following weeks, I will present and discuss the songs in the playlist (which can be found both on Apple Music and Spotify), explaining what their music and messages convey to me and how they are used, inspired by, or resonate with the book.

Even as a child, creating a playlist was an important activity. A delicate balance must be struck between the music itself––from genre and era, to tempo and feel––and the lyrics. Going lyrics-heavy will typically lead to a ponderous, even laborious listening experience, while only focusing on the music will link songs that do not belong anywhere near each other. 

Basically, just watch High Fidelity and you’ll get it.

Armed with my dual cassette boombox and a stack of blank tapes, I listened to favorite tunes, trying to match one’s ending with the appropriate follow up. I added up track lengths, created two second bumpers, and listened as one favorite song was grafted into a new context for future enjoyment.

When Mikala and I began dating, I had moved onto ripping playlists from iTunes to CDs, and throughout our long-distance relationship, would send her a new album of love songs every month. When she confessed that music didn’t often convey the lyrics to her immediately, I wrote them into embarrassingly sappy love notes, hoping she would read into the poetry written by another of the growing love I felt for her.

Over time, I curated fewer of these playlists, content instead to craft ad hoc song lineups, but the impulse never fully departed.

Now, as I have moved into the back half of this process, I wanted to create something that would tell my story in a different way. Not only do I hope this will create excitement for where the story goes, but I can say personally, the linking together of these songs has opened new resonances of my own story for me (but that’s for another post) 

As the book itself is broken into parts based on the Church Calendar, the songs will be presented in these as well, though seasons will often be combined or separated, as the case may be, as they are less cleanly divided than the stories in the narrative itself.

So, in the meantime, enjoy the playlist, be on the lookout for the first set of songs and commentary, and share and donate to my campaign before it ends!

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