Friday, July 24, 2009

Live to Tell

I know where beauty lives
I've seen it once
I know the warmth she gives
The light that you could never see
It shines inside
You can't take that from me
     --Madonna, Live to Tell

"How far is it?"

"Not far."

"I can't see a thing."

"Yeah, it's pretty dark."

"I literally can't see the hand in front of my face. This is fucking crazy."

"They stopped coming up the mountain back in the twenties or thirties. They cut off this road when they built the new cemetery entrance."

"It's pretty damn windy."

"Don't worry."

"This is crazy."

"It's not much farther. Are you scared?"


"Watch your step."

"How far is it? Jesus."

"Okay. Right up here. Come on. I'll light the candle."

"God, that's bright!"

"We can sit here."

"When are we starting back? I don't want to be very late."

"Tell me something. Just listen a minute. To woods and night. Just listen."


"Do you feel that?"

"Feel what?"

"All around you. In the quiet. Do you feel it?"



"No. Now can we go?"

(At seventeen, I discovered this song and these lyrics. They still haunt me.)


Mona said...

some songs are timeless...

McKoala said...

And you lived to tell after another massive contest. Well done! I didn't have the strength to read them all this time (yes, I know, I'm a wimp, oh mighty one), but am off to read the winners now.

JaneyV said...

This song reminds me of college. Good times, bad times, but I lived to tell the tale. Terrific vignette Jason. Were you the scared one or the one enchanted by the woods at night? Hmmm … I wonder?

JR's Thumbprints said...

It's not easy trying to convey "beauty" to someone else. Taking someone there is even more difficult; they might not see or hear the same thing.

Karen said...

Fear blots out nearly everything else. Isn't it sad that some people live their lives in fear?

Laurel said...

I'm having a Visionquest flashback.

Great lyrics make a song, don't they? Good music and uninspired words make me cringe because it was just so close. Great lyrics, however... Ah! Flash Fiction or poetry with a soundtrack!

Aniket Thakkar said...

As the great Morpheus once said 'No one can be told what the Matrix is, you have to see it for yourself'.

We can only try our best to write the best of words, to paint the perfect picture, to sing that soulful song, but everyone has their own sense of beauty and belonging.

Its so hard to find that connection... to be in the same place.

Charles Gramlich said...

I didn't think I'd ever heard that song but when I played it I had. It's interesting how different songs have meaning for us. This one does nothing for me, but when I was growing up songs like "Simple Man" by Lynyrd Skynyrd had much of the effect you spoke about.

Terri said...

I used to space out big time on this song - close myself in my room, headphones on, light a candle & write. Though what I was writing in those days, who knows.
It's a great song.

(btw it's me - I've moved to WP, so you know where to find me from now on. Haven't figured out how to get my Pic to appear next to comments using my new identity yet)

JR's Thumbprints said...

I agree with Charles. Give me Skynyrd, man. And I'm from the Metro Detroit area. Went to college not far from Madonna's childhood home. Still, give me Skynrd, or how about Kid Rock!

chris eldin said...

So frustrating when the person next to you doesn't get it.

I love this song. And your vignette is perfect. I can almost sense, from this choice of song and these accompanying words, there was a period of aloneness back then that has stayed with you.

Aine said...

I felt it. I feel it. I love such moments....

And those that don't? Well, they just...don't.

Anonymous said...

Mona, very true. You can share one of yours, if you'd like.

McKoala, I'm not going to lie. This one took a good bit out of me. But I'm happy to be getting back to regular blogging.

JaneyV, I was the one leading the scared soul into the darkness. :) He just didn't see the light there.

JR, I think I learned that very starkly for the first time that night. But, I like how writers and other artists often do succeed in sharing beauty.

Karen, fear is a terrible foe. Yes.

Laurel, it's kind of weird for me to latch onto this song, since it's basically a movie soundtrack. But the mood of it has such a draw. I remember it being very popular that one summer. Anyway, I think I have to have the music. The lyrics can degrade the experience, but great lyrics with a crappy song don't get off the ground for me.

Aniket, truer words were never spoken. The best we can do is throw a rope to the beauty. Bring someone there to see it. But whether they see it in the end, is up to them. It's magical when you do find a resonance, however. We as writers try to build those bridges.

Charles, anyone who collects anchor songs that take them back to other, dear times are of a similar mind, in my book.

Terri, wow! That's really great to find another person who was mesmerized by this song. Respect. (Is there a link to your new site from your old blog?)

JR, Kid Rock did great things with his reminiscence song. I'm there.

Chris, you sense right. You really were there. Thanks for seeing it.

Aine, you hold the very treasured distinction of taking the same walk a year or two later, and feeling it.

the walking man said...

I loved the light in the darkness.

"God, that's bright!"

And then how even in the brightness of the light the questioner still could not hear the little voice found in silence.

Kim Smith said...

Love this. The beauty of nature and that feeling it gives truly is wonderful. It's like music that way. Wonderful and indescribable.

Sarah Hina said...

It's difficult not to feel understood and connected with. Especially when you invite the person to share the darkness and instead, he can't get outside of the small shadow he casts.

Great use of only dialogue to get this across. I like how we only hear the voices of that night, too. It could have been more.

Unknown said...

I had forgotten Madonna's song, it echoes throughout time.

The words reflect the feelings of the wanders, to each their own.


Mona said...

Wham - Careless Whispers

Anonymous said...

Walking Man, a probing question, indeed. Not even in the light.

Kim Smith, wonderful and indescribable is a perfect description of how I'd love my writing to be seen. Thank you!

Sarah, that's true about the voices. That's all there were in the moment. Just voices (and the mysterious thoughts behind them). Here's to getting out from under small shadows!

Dottie, Madonna has appeared in so many versions of herself. I tend to think this one was one of the most different and fleeting.

Mona, I can see that song being haunting.

Vesper said...

Jason, this song is one of my favourites.

And the vignette... yes, I know what you're talking about.

Anonymous said...

Vesper, I like that. :) It's oddly comforting to find people that still love that song.