September 10, 2013

Me Vs. Music

It was on the good ship Venus

We often look to music to say the things we cannot. It speaks for so many things — love, joy and despair. Originally, this piece was going to be a tribute to lyricists and some of their greatest lines. Now, it seems I need to put the lyrics to work for me as a sort of letter to all the readers who have spent these last two years with me.

And I’ll take with me the memories …

I need them to say something that fills me with both excitement and anxiety.

Rising up, back on the street/Did my time, took my chances.

That’s how I felt when I began Me vs. Music. I was at a crossroads when I started this column, and it seems, dear reader, I’ve come to yet another one — how to wrap it up in a neat little bundle and say “goodbye.”

It’s a new dawn/It’s a new day/It’s a new life for me.

My life has transformed over the last two years. I became a mother, the most fundamental game-changer. I told some of my stories, some embarrassing and some angry. These tiny tales have made some of you giggle, and aroused the ire of others. Some were angry enough to create lyrics of their own, about me.

And it don’t mean I don’t love you/When I put a gun to your face.

I want to leave Me vs. Music on a positive note. If I made you cry, if I made you laugh, if I made you feel nothing at all, I still want to thank you. Thanks for reading. Thanks for responding. Thanks for arguing and speaking back.

And so today my world it smiles/Your hand in mine, we walk the miles.

A writer lives for the reaction of the reader. I got that chance, and it means, on occasion, I did my job right. I was given the space to do something many writers never get. Because of that, I know I am a lucky girl.

When I was very young, I made the decision not to leave home for greener pastures. I wanted to be close to my family. I could not perceive a life away from them, nor take the chance that something could happen while I was gone.

Being a young writer in Louisville, opportunities to showcase my work were limited. New York should have been my destination — not necessarily to write the next Great American Novel, but to find a job at a publishing house or some other practical application of my degrees.

Here I am in silence/Looking ’round without a clue.

I was positive then, and I’m positive now, that I made the right decision. Louisville is still no publishing mecca, but I’ve found ways to have my voice heard. When opportunities presented themselves, I learned to skip my hesitations and try. In more ways than I like to consider, I forced myself on a stage when I’m not a person who likes to be in the spotlight. I’m a Cancer, and true to my sign, I’ll try anything; but if it frightens me or makes me too uncomfortable, I will retreat into the safety of my shell.

Unpredictable as weather/She’s as flighty as a feather/She’s a darling!/She’s a demon!/She’s a lamb!

Despite my protective nature, Louisville has given me the chance to do more in my life than many could do in four. This has been either my city of dreams or my city of pure dumb luck. Nevertheless, I’ve encountered this city from its homeless shelters to its palaces, and I look forward to what comes next. I’m not leaving, I’m transmogrifying.

It seems LEO is moving me to the “front of the book,” the cheeky devils. I’m considering E2 as the new title. Hold your excitement. I am not limited to telling you stories about music — now you get all of my dumb stories. With that, I leave you with my favorite lyric. It is one that expresses in a succinct way my feelings about this new opportunity.

Oop-ip-ip oop-ip-ip, yeah!

Erica Rucker is a freelance weirdo, writer and professional wedding/portrait photographer at eElaine Photography.