A squadron of musical notes hitch rides
on silver dust motes amid light-streaked mist.
An autumnal draft carries melodic fragments onto my dry skin,
Each pore drinks until notes and grime are no more.
Micro boats in my bloodstream
set swift sail to my heart—
But the beat of the drums hit
its shores full-force first,
offsetting its own rhythm,
making a pulsating crescendo of my chest.
Several trebles uncoil from the stage
and crowd-surf straight to my tapping lace-up boots,
Then slither up each leg,
my midriff, torso, goosebumped neck,
and infiltrate my eyes.
All I see is a muse on fire.
The final song’s gasoline.
The effervescent wings
that spontaneously burst
from my back, unscathed.
I hover above the cataclysm for a moment longer,
then head to the home that will feel less like home now.
I’ll be washing off ashes from my eyelids for days—
And even then, the mosaic windows to my soul will never be the same.
Stories of Music: An Award-Winning
Anthology about Healing and Hope
In Holly E. Tripp’s award-winning, interactive anthology Stories of Music, she brings together over 40 authors and artists from 11 countries who tell their personal stories of how music has affected – and changed – their lives. It’s used to heal emotions, lullaby babies, mourn losses, transform criminals, bond differences, and celebrate culture. Music is the all-powerful, non-excluding force that makes this book difficult to put down.
Stories of Music is an interactive anthology featuring artists, photographers, writers, and musicians, using their individual mediums to express what music means to them. The book, full of award-winning works, also features a companion web edition that allows readers to listen to voice-recorded poetry readings and original music through your mobile device, as well as watch videos that support some of the stories, making this both a visual and auditory experience. Of the 10 original songs, one was performed to honor first responders at Ground Zero.
Find out more about this exquisitely moving anthology series in the interview I had with Holly below…
What was your main inspiration for this anthology?
My inspiration for Stories of Music originated from a few different places. Years ago, I read my great grandmother Gwendolyn’s autobiography and really enjoyed learning how music played a role in her life growing up—she talked about how local fiddle players would play their music through the telephone party line when the weather was too bad for gathering in person, and how she would dance to the music on the other end of the line. This story has always stuck with me.
As a musician, music has been front and center in my life for as long as I can remember, but it became especially important to me after my brother Brandon passed away in 2008. He and I shared a love for music—we wrote and played songs together as kids—and it was through music that I was finally able to cope with losing him. I wrote several songs the year he died; it truly felt like he was with me as the songs came together, as if we were able to say goodbye to one another through music.
Considering these stories, and those of people I know, I became curious about how music has impacted other people’s lives. So, I set out to discover what I could, requesting stories about music from authors and artists from around the world. The response I received was incredible—with more than 1,000 submissions—and those stories further inspired what would become the first of (hopefully) many volumes of Stories of Music.
It’s safe to say music played a VERY important role in your life. Can you tell me a little bit about your creative journey?
I began writing—both story and song—at a young age, and went on to study music and creative writing in college. But when neither of these things seemed to pay the bills (in all honesty, I wasn’t very patient with it), I moved into the marketing field, using my creativity and writing skills for campaigns and promotional purposes instead.
After 10 years in the corporate world, I began to feel like I’d taken a wrong turn somewhere, and I really missed writing and creative projects that I really cared about. So, I left my full-time job to reconnect with my passions, and as I continue to work toward writing my own story, the Stories of Music anthology series has helped me to focus on both music and creative writing again, and to create a wonderful community of talented authors and artists.
That’s wonderful, Holly! What are some prevalent themes in this anthology?
While all of the works in Stories of Music are centered on the ways in which music impacts people’s lives, the book also takes readers on a journey around the world and through a lifetime of experiences. Beginning with stories about coming to learn about music for the first time and how it connects people to their families and communities, there are also stories of the healing power of music, how we can learn about other cultures through music, and how music can bring people together despite their differences—be it race, religion, language, or otherwise. The book progresses with stories of how we age with music and how it continues to inspire and influence our lives until our final days.
What powerful messages! So, Stories of Music includes essays, poems, photography, music, AND video. What inspired you to include such a wide variety of storytelling styles within this book?
Because music itself is so multidimensional—there are countless genres, purposes, and influences music can have—I wanted to create a publication that would mirror its intricacy. That being said, I also wanted to invite creative people of various disciplines to tell their stories their way, in the hopes of showcasing stories from a wide array of people, and from a wide array of places around the world.
So, even if someone didn’t speak (or write) very good English, they could express the power of music through photography or art or music itself. I wanted to capture how universal music is in people’s lives, so seeking out a variety of storytelling styles allowed me to accomplish this.
That definitely sounds like the epitome of art to me. What was your process for selecting stories for this anthology?
I tried to bring together stories that everyone could relate to. Plus I wanted the stories to inspire people—the ways in which music can heal, create community, and help us remember special moments in our lives, and how music can teach us about the world around us—today’s world and that of generations past. Music is so universal; it was important to me that the stories reflect this.
I couldn’t agree more with you! Also, it’s important to note to anyone who is reading this interview that this is not just a book to read, it’s a book you can actually listen to. Can you please explain the audio part of the book with its web-based poetry and music?
Yes, it’s certainly a unique reading experience. Some of the poets, in addition to sharing their poetry, shared audio recordings of them reading their works. These recordings provide a sense of the people behind the poems—the emotion in their voices and the ways in which they articulate their chosen words—and it becomes a more intimate reading experience that, I think, brings the poems to life.
Also, a few of the stories were centered on how musicians came to write some of their music, and particularly the impact of their music, so I was also able to include some of these songs. Readers access the audio works (and a couple of videos as well) through a free companion web edition that is included with the print book—URLs and QR codes within the print book direct readers to the specific pages in the web edition where the audio/video is available, but readers need the print edition to enjoy the full collection of stories.
I really love the idea behind this and am so glad something like this exists! I believe Vol. 1 was released last year, with Vol. 2 coming in the fall. How many volumes do you plan for this series?
That’s correct. Volume 2 will be released in Fall 2016, and I hope to release a third volume in Fall 2017. If I see enough interest in these collections, I would happily continue creating additional volumes.
♪ ♫ ♬
And I hope you release more as well! I’m very excited about this anthology. And I’m sure our fellow artists are as well. Again, if anyone who’s reading this would like to have their own copy, go here. Thank you. 🙂
Let’s go out
To outer space,
Erase the dark,
Take back the stars.
Let’s weave a path
in infinty’s shape,
Connect the dots,
That’s the road we’ll take.
Undo my spiral galaxy,
The only way
To get to know
My heart between my bones.
It’s absolutely wonderful to hear my poetry dance off the page like this. I’ve sent my friend & her partner in music + life some more poem snippets they can work with, so expect more enchanting tracks in the near future!
About the Spoken Word Poem “Empty” (in his own words…)
Our fates in life are experienced for a reason. It’s like a road map to our growth and development to adulthood. “Empty” is a reflection of what happens when missing pieces in our lives eventually catch up with us.
“Let your scars show, they can’t heal covered up.”