29 November 2007

Speak, memory

This is going to be one eclectic post. When I was at the wedding this weekend, someone asked me to describe my blog and I said "A verbal collage." Well, we'll test that idea tonight I guess.

Once again, I have insomnia. I'm not quite sure what to do about this. When I was a little girl, whenever I couldn't sleep my father would pretend to be a sheep and jump over my bed. (Did I mention that I was the firstborn and the only girl?) That would be a bit creepy if he did that now, plus I live nowhere near my parents and my bed is lofted. So that is clearly not an option. Meet Me in St. Louis was on last night (again, at 2 AM-- this insomnia is fairly consistent) and I recorded it, so attempting to fall asleep on the couch to Judy Garland's trills is a possibility. But there is something about Judy Garland that defies sleep. Her voice is so alive that snoozing during her singing seems almost blasphemous.

I believe that the voice is a very powerful thing. Whenever I am in a relationship with someone, I always notice the quality of his speaking voice and see that as an embodiment of his persona. I've dated people before where you could hear their smile in their voice. I've heard about being able to tell that someone is upset through hesitances in their speech patterns, but smiling conferred through the voice quality itself? To me that suggests someone extraordinary, as if his happiness could not help bubbling up and coming through every medium, even a perfectly normal conversation. Maybe that's why I like champagne and blowing bubbles so much: the idea that simple substances simply cannot suppress their desire to bubble up and fizzzzzzzz. :-) Champagne can soothe frazzled nerves, but so can that little tickle in the voice of a friend or loved one that lets you know that somebody knows you well and is the type of person whose effervescence is an ever-present source of comfort.

Granted, I've never met Judy Garland or talked to her on the phone. But that little quiver in her voice when she sings reminds me of that comforting quality, where deep from the chest, through the throat, through the mouth comes very real feeling. Sometimes the trill is melancholy, as in "The Boy Next Door." Sometimes it is joyful, as in the triumphant final note of "The Trolley Song." I dare you to not be smiling when Judy throws out her arms, almost knocking over the "boy next door" who has crept up next to her.

Speaking of things creeping up, I've been sensing the stress starting to tap at my door. Starting over is far more difficult than I ever could have imagined, and it makes me want to revert to my tried-and-true response: run far, far away. I picture the "overwhelmedness" as those contorted creatures from Ghost, you know, the ones who come to take people to Hell? I'm trying to take things one step at a time, and I guess if I ever feel down I could just think of the line "Clang clang clang went the trolley, ding ding ding went the bell." Delivered with that vibrato from another (although hers was artificial) redhead, it seems to have the power to snap anyone out of a bad mood based on sheer ridiculousness of lyrics! Whatever, I'll keep "chug chug chugging" along... :-)


sparrowsoul said...

oddly enough, after our conversation a few nights back, the topic of "meet me in st. louis" has come up three or four times in different circles... it appears we are not at all alone in our love for it... i was always fascinated by margaret o'brien... as a child i related to her frisky, troublesome character, and as an adult, i am floored by her ability to convey so much emotion on her little seven year old visage - the actress in me is awed...
you are SO right about judy garland's voice...! if you haven't, you MUST see "that's entertainment, part III," where they show her in "annie get your gun" (yes, she was the original annie) in the only scene/song she shot for the film, before having one of what was to be many nervous breakdowns for poor, lovely judy... the reason i say you must see it is that you can clearly and quite disturbingly hear the crazy in her voice as she sings out, "i'm an indian, too, a siooooux...!" better yet, if you haven't seen it, wait, and we will have a judy garland night and watch it together...!

t.b.f.love. said...

Hi! I'm new to your blog (via 20SB, where I was drawn in by your bio), but already I really like it. And this post? I love it - it's so insightful and well conveyed!