Friday, August 21, 2015

Still They Write

My sister-in-law from North Dakota popped in for a visit last weekend.

I enjoy chatting with her.

Although we're separated in age by nearly a decade, she and I seem to have a lot in common, especially when it comes to our tastes in music.

My own sisters are ten, nine and six years older than me, so I grew up listening to what is, in my opinion, the greatest era of rock music in history -- the 70s and early 80s.

Pink Floyd. REO Speedwagon. Led Zeppelin. Heart. Foreigner. Fleetwood Mac. The Eagles. Nazareth. Foghat. Alice Cooper. ZZ Top. Journey. SuperTramp.

The list could keep going for days. In fact, I feel bad for stopping where I did because I feel like I'm not giving credit where credit is due by only naming a few.

I've long been under the impression that I was born a decade too late because when I listen to these songs I feel a strong sense of high schoolesque nostalgia. Most of the bands listed had members going solo or had completely disbanded by the time I donned a cap and gown.

The stories I write are set in the late 70s and early 80s because of the deep emotional connection I have with that era of music. But I never could understand why I felt that connection. Then this past weekend Annie -- my sister-in-law -- and I were perusing each others music collections, and I found a copy of Journey's "Still They Ride."

I love the song, but I'd forgotten all about it.

The urge to listen to it hit me again earlier today, so I pulled it up on YouTube. In the comments section -- of all places -- I found something that sums up why I write about that era.

In part, the comment was: "... this song came on the radio and everything stopped. In that moment, everything changed. We realized that one day it would all be over....We weren't immortal. We were teens who just realized we were going to grow up, move away -- so goddammit we were going to enjoy that night and every night after that until it was over."

I guess writing about that era allows me to be "that age" in an era I was too young to be "that age" in. It also gives a sense of immortality despite the evanescence of youth.

But I'd still jump at the chance to be a high schooler in that era if given the opportunity.

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Kathryn Harris is a journalist, a weekend blogger, a wife, a mother of two and the author of "The Long Road to Heaven," a novel about finding faith and forgiveness in the aftermath of addiction.

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