Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Case Study 40: "The Frozen Moon"

"It's dreamy weather we're on
You waved your crooked wand
Along an icy pond with a frozen moon
A murder of silhouette crows I saw
And the tears on my face
And the skates on the pond
They spell Alice."

-Tom Waits

They say a picture's worth a thousand words.  Memory is bland without a sense of smell. But for me, there is no sense stronger than sound.  

Sound spurs a mood, creates a moment, and inspires creativity.  I still own nearly every mixtape, cd, playlist I've ever made, and there must be hundreds.  Because these veritable life diaries hold a power, beyond sight or smell, to take me back somewhere.

"The Frozen Moon" is a vanilla cupcake with frosty blue vanilla buttercream. Simple at it's best, it is topped with traces of snow sprinkles and evokes the enchanting cold stillness of winter.

Senior year of High School. I'm ready to graduate, and it's more than evident by the miles I've put on my Jeep. December and an early college acceptance roll by, and I hit the back-roads, where the air is crisp and my car knows just where to go.  My cds all begin with the same dreamy song by Air, and have titles like "Driving Around with the Moonroof Open on a Cold Night." But there was one song that captured what I was searching for: "Alice" by Tom Waits.  

Sounds, subtle yet powerful, set the scene. A metronome of tick-tocking piano notes hold visions of lustful clock-watching. It's brooding, the horns are haunting, and his voice is full of smoke.  My destination is certainly not a place, but an emotion as lyrics speaks of icy ponds, dark silhouettes, and forbidden love.  So I drive on, up Route 57 and past the snow-filled fields and motionless tree skeletons that hang against a frozen moon.

Since words just won't do it justice, I'll let Tom tell the rest...

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