Mix Tape Monday: The Apology Mix

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There’s a lot more to making a mix than just throwing a bunch of songs onto a Spotify playlist or a CD.  It’s about creating a mood or emphasizing an emotion, playing to a theme or singing what you can’t speak aloud.  You don’t make someone a mix unless they’re really important.

So I have a new feature here on the blog–MIX TAPE MONDAY.  I’ll dissect mixes I’ve made for other people, and maybe even a few people have made for me, to dissect what works.  A note before we begin: we’ll use the term “Mix Tape” as a general term here, because “Mix CD” or “Playlist” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

The Big Rewind CoverUp first, we have the APOLOGY MIX.  I’ve made a few of these in my day, but this one, titled The All Or Nothing Days (2014) is especially poignant because it was made for my friend Jason.  The epic fight we had, which lead to seven years of silence between us, was part of the inspiration for The Big Rewind, and the first thing we did when we reconnected (thanks to our awesome friend Corey, seriously, she rules and I owe her my whole life.) was make each other mixes.  I would be lying if I said I hadn’t planned a lot of this mix ahead of time, and I was glad I finally had a chance to use it.

A quick word about Jason: He was my mix tape protege, and has taken the art form to a new level.  He can pick songs and clips that are so precise, so devastatingly perfect, that it borders on sadistic.  He has made several of my all-time favorite mixes, including She Doesn’t Think My Tractor’s Sexy Anymore (2005) which should be in some sort of mix CD museum for it’s sheer brilliance.

The Apology Mix is meant to be listened to on headphones.  It’s a close, intimate type of mix, so make sure each of your messages comes through loud and clear.  You won’t around to explain the meaning of each song, so be precise in your choices.

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On Keeping a Notebook

I got back into using notebooks a few years ago, when I cracked open a beautiful, untouched leather journal Jason brought me back from Italy as a present for my 23rd birthday.  It took a lot to write in that journal because I, like most writers who are gifted with beautiful journals, panic “It has to be perfect if it’s going in such a beautiful journal!”

But I got thinking about the notebooks I kept when I was living in New York City, these wild things filled with magazine clippings and pictures and fold-out pages of articles I wanted to save.  I thought about how good it felt to physically write, pen on paper, how much I enjoyed going back through old story notebooks from high school and after college, reading false starts, pithy observations and scenes that didn’t make the final draft.  I could trace the what was going on in my life through those notebooks even better than I could my own diary.  Fragments like What is a poem to a creme brulee? told me what I was thinking and feeling at an even greater depth than scrawling I love a man who will not tell me he loves me in my journal.

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