Author Billie Bates says it’s hard to imagine a life without music.
“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, a charm to sadness, and life to everything.” – Plato**
It’s hard to imagine my life without music. It’s my pharmaceutical when I’m down, my best friend when I’m lonely, and my Muse when creativity feels too tired to come of its own free will. It calms my children when they’re wild and revs them up when they’re deflated.
This morning I’m sitting in a cafe, writing, and U2 just came on. It’s probably because I’ve been asked to write on the subject, but I’m acutely aware of a combination of things happening in response to the familiar guitar riff opening the U2 classic, Where The Streets Have No Name.
A warm feeling grows in the pit of my stomach. It travels up to my chest and catches my breath, and I wonder if the lyrics will cause a flood of warm memories or forgotten hurts. Probably both. Either way, my mind races to pinpoint moments in time when it has played as a backdrop to my insignificant life.
“I wanna run, I want to hide. I wanna tear down the walls that hold me inside.”
…A smoky pub in Darwin, Australia, when I’m barely 19. A furtive glance at a cute boy across the room that doesn’t progress beyond shy smiles and what-could-have-beens…
“I wanna reach out and touch the flame. Where the streets have no name.”
…A goodbye wave through a coarse curtained window of a Greyhound bus, watching my room-mate run, Hollywood-movie style, to catch me for a hug before I roll out of the lot for a new life, far away…
“I wanna feel sunlight on my face. I see the dust cloud disappear without a trace.”
…A rainy day in a poky Melbourne flat when I miss old friends and have yet to make new ones…
“We’re beaten and blown by the wind, trampled in dust.
I’ll show you a place high on a desert plain. Where the streets have no name.”
…My first weekend release from boot camp, playing pool in a bar with other recruits, and suddenly and viscerally understanding the meaning of camaraderie…
“Oh, when I go there, I go there with you. It’s all I can do.”
…A soul-stirring U2 concert at Soldier Field in Chicago that my husband has surprised me with for our third anniversary…
And this is all before the song has even reached midpoint. Flashing by in a combination of imagery and emotions. To say music is an important part of my life would be an understatement. It’s more like an invincible web that captures my memories and forever binds them to my heart.
The U2 song ends, and with it, the inspiration to finish this post. I break to work on edits for my second book, check some email, and outline a script that has been burning a hole in my head. Two hours later, I’m packing up my things, and another track comes on that causes the familiar warmth in the pit of my stomach. I recognize the music on a cellular level but can’t yet place the song.
“I love this song!” I blurt out, turning to the woman beside me before I can stop myself. “Who sings this?”
She smiles and shakes her head. “I’m not sure… is it Brian Ferry?”
Then I hear the words. “There’s a band playing on the radio, with a rhythm of rhyming guitar. They’re playing ‘Oh Yeah’ on the radio, and so came to be our song.”
And so came to be our song…
I chuckle out loud at the inside joke between my Muse and me, like she’s saying: “Here’s a nod to the playlist of your life, and while I’m at it, the score to the denouement of your guest post.”
Today’s playlist of songs that inspired:
Roar – Katy Perry. Inspired me to run.
Where the Streets Have No Name – U2. Inspired me to write.
Oh Yeah – Roxy Music. Inspired me to complete this post.
Good Life – One Republic. Inspired me to give thanks.
Long Live – Taylor Swift. Inspired me to dream.
**Commonly attributed to Plato but the root source of this quote is unverifiable.
When Sienna Harris joined the Australian Air Force as a flight attendant for the Prime Minister, she thought she’d hit the glam-job jackpot. But three years of weapons training, outback destinations, and a cheating fighter pilot fiancé, and she’s realised it’s not so fabulous after all. Time to embark on a new adventure, this time to the prestigious world of international VIP aviation.
Sienna and her best friend leave behind their small-town lives for a glitzy career flight attending on a Saudi prince’s private jet. Money, parties, designer clothes, and exotic locations fill the job description, while the sexy pilot, Ted, makes it hard for Sienna to obey the “no fraternizing” rule. But even the most opulent of journeys can hit turbulence. Sienna’s boss, the appearance-obsessed chief stewardess, issues diuretics and Botox with the uniforms and catering orders, and the prince is a man who’s never told no. Underneath its lush appearance, could this desert oasis be more of a muddy puddle?
The Devil Wears Prada meets Pan Am in this fun frolic to the glamorous side of air travel, inspired by the author’s own experience as a VIP flight attendant in Saudi Arabia and Europe.
Billie Bates grew up in Australia with unquenchable thirst for travel. After seven years exploring the world as a VIP flight attendant, she finally settled in the quiet Midwest of the USA where she now lives with her husband and two children.