This Creative Life

Welcome to the creative work of Alan White, head writer and producer of "FEEDBACK; A HERO'S CALLING," now at Broken Sea. The "Feedback" in question is Matthew Atherton, My Hero. He and other heroes of mine have links found down the left side of these pages. Enjoy!

Monday, December 11, 2006


After I posted, and before I responded to comments, I went to the gym. Nothing does an old man good like going to work out the muscles, right? Until, of course, you get surrounded by the flexing, tanned, buff young studs jockeying for the honor of "Most Better Than You" award. So I skipped the weights to avoid the competition, and went to the treadmill/stepper, blasting my Sansa iClone.

And lo, I wound up on the treads for two hours. Freak me out.

I really felt like I was losing my mind on those treadmills. At one point I had to cover my head with my towel because ... well, whatever. I'm just glad that when endorphins are coursing through your system, it isn't that easy to cry.

So, the last most scariest 45 mins of treading was spent listening to a certain Playlist I put together the other night. I was watching "House" at the time, where Hugh Laurie plays a crotchety OLD American doctor trying to solves medical riddles while a patient is dying. If he solves it, the patient is saved. And I thought, hey! I too am the focus of a riddle. Namely it goes like this--"WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH ME?"

So I'm going to lay out some clues and see if I can figure it out before I, as my patient, dies. Let's look at my Playlist;

Sade - "Kiss of Life"
Aaliyah - "Miss You"
Roberta Flack - "My Foolish Heart"
Stephanie Mills - "I Never Knew Love Like This Before"
Roberta Flack "Oasis"
Roberta Flack "Only Heaven Can Wait"
Enya "Orinoco Flow"
Chaka Khan "Papillon (aka Hot Butterfly)"
Corinne Bailey Rae - "Put Your Records On"
Santana & Michelle Branch - "The Game of Love"
Vanessa Williams - "Save The Best For Last"
Roberta Flack - "Set The Night To Music"
Carole King "So Far Away"
DeBarge - "Stay With Me"
Carole King - "Sweet Seasons"
Stevie Wonder - "Sweetest Somebody I Know"
India.Arie "The Heart Of The Matter"

That's as far as I got before I decided to leave the gym before I melted down and embarassed myself beyond any possibilty of returning. So ... what have we got here? An eclectic mix for sure. Any common threads in this bunch?

Doctor #1: Ummm... lots of sappy love songs there.

House: Yeah. Get me a barf bag.

Doctor #2: They aren't all love songs.

Doctor #1 : What? Oh, you're right.

House: Oh, yeah. Actually I like "Heart of the Matter". That one is decidedly an anti-love song.

Doctor #3: So is "Hot Butterfly" by Chaka Khan. That one used to rock the block back in the day.

Doctor #2: Back in the day. Yeah. All but three of them were recorded at least ten years ago. Or more.

House: And I don't know who this India-Dot-Arie is, but Don Henley's song is a remake from the 80's? 90's?

Doctor #1: You know, most of them are love songs. Only a few are anti-love songs.

Doctor #2: Well okay. But why would he pepper love songs with anti-love songs?

House: Do your research! Go out there and listen to them!

*Next day*

House: Okay what have we got?

Doctor #2: *sighs* Well ... even though most of them are love songs -- they must be the most depressing sounding love songs I've ever heard.

Doctor #1: What do you mean?

Doctor #2: They were slow! And kind of ... I don't know ... did they all play in minor chords or something?

House: That's it then. He likes listening to slow songs, even when they are love songs. Because love, to him, is sad. These songs, despite the words, mean sadness to him. That's also why the anti-love is there too. Those are the ones that really represent how he feels. "Stay With Me", "Miss You" and "So FarAway" are about how lonely he is. "Only Heaven Can Wait", "Heart Of The Matter" and "Papillon" are about the kinds of love he expects to have. Probably the only kinds of love he's ever known or seen.

Doctor #3: So what about the other ones? "Kiss Of Life", "Never Knew Love Like This..", "My Foolish Heart", "Sweetest Somebody I Know"?

House: The fact that he hasn't just outright killed himself yet means that he still has hope inside there somewhere. But the way those songs play -- they still sound melancholy, almost remorseful. "Kiss of Life" to rescue him. "Never Knew Love" because he's inexperienced and scared. "Foolish Heart" -- well, that's what he's working with and he knows it. It's hard to try to get into a relationship when you can't trust your heart. "Sweetest Somebody" is probably who he's looking for. Maybe "sweet" is all he can handle.

Doctor #1: I see your point. Even "Oasis" and "Set The Night To Music", the successful love songs -- those are both isolated and lonely locations. "Orinoco Flow". A wandering location.
"Save The Best For Last" heartache, pain and confusion before love is achieved.

Doctor #2: And "Put You Records On?" What's that?

House: Whimsy. Escape. It's his way out. That's the only way he survives anything. By running away.

Doctor #3: Okay! So what can we do for him?

House: Do him a favor. Shoot the poor bastard before he learns for himself how overrated this "love" thing really is.


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