Slice of Life Story- Musical Appreciation In A Notebook

I was recently given a special notebook as a gift. A notebook clearly designed to celebrate music in all its forms. The deliberate and intentional focus of this small notebook, challenged me to think about how I would respond as a writer. I began to think about my personal history with music and it was immediately apparent that music has been a constant in my life. Music has left its mark on me for as long as I can recall. 

Throughout this notebook pages are periodically marked with musical quotations. One in particular set me to thinking. The quotation, attributed to German writer and poet, Heinrich Heine simply states, ‘When words leave off, music begins.’

From personal experience this maxim has always been borne out. Words and music locked in an embrace. At times they have co-existed, working in splendid synchronicity and feeding off each other’s special energy. During my writing history I have written three musicals along with the lyrics for more than twenty songs. Words and music have been the oxygen that sustains me. A day without either leaves me feeling depleted, incomplete.

So, I have taken to this new notebook with much gusto. My journey with words and music is a refrain I wish to record. This notebook provides the perfect impetus for undertaking this writing project. It will be for me a celebration of a sweet melody –a musical memoir of sorts. Each morning I take my notebook with me when I venture out for coffee. I have filled fourteen pages already and more memories come to mind as I sit at a table at my preferred coffee haunt, The Filling Station and sip, dream and write.


‘My love of music has been further fuelled by listening to the radio as a small boy. I thrived on the songs bursting forth from the Bakelite box sitting on the mantel piece. Even the meagre offering of the hit parade once a week was bliss to my keen ears. I hung out for the weekly countdown of the eight most popular songs of the week. This soon expanded into the Top 40 and I found myself in musical heaven. Such was the extended countdown that Sunday afternoons (as it was back then) could be easily devoted to listening to the entire countdown of songs.’

‘Our house was filled with numerous musical offerings. My father sang to us regularly and his catchy songs became ingrained in my musical lexicon. I later passed them onto my children and then my grandchildren. These songs have endured. Dad also played the harmonica. In time I got one too, but I couldn’t control it in the same assured way he could. When he played I could easily recognize the tune. My particular sounds were more closely aligned to laboured breathing. To have a dad who both sang and played music was a joy. He was a somewhat private man, shy in fact. His music was only ever shared with his family. No public performances were ever part of the deal. Upon reflection, this makes the memories just a bit more precious. Providing a small glimpse behind the public face of a quiet and private man, who nonetheless found a way to share his love of music.’

So, my little notebook has been launched and is in a way creating new music in my head. There are many verses to add. I look forward to singing their praises. Ah, words and music, enabling me to create a little harmonic history. Maybe you will join me in the chorus?


  1. Love, love this post! How wonderful that you've turned a thoughtful gift into treasure. Your love for music and writing shine through and the photos you chose to include are a delightful accompaniment to your text. The excerpt about your father and his music was especially touching. Thank you so much for sharing. What a great way to start my day!

    1. Thank you for your kind remarks Molly. Indeed, I believe this little notebook has set me on a most pleasant journey of rediscovery.

  2. I know it is boring to notice this, and completely beside the point, but your handwriting is perfection.

    That said, I think music is our soundtrack, our inner child. I break out into song regularly and while my students and my own children laugh and mock me, I know they get it. There is music there beneath our words and our thoughts, just waiting to escape through the cracks. Great piece today.

    1. Thank you Kimberley. Like you i also believe music is a soundtrack running alongside our lives. The handwriting? -well that is a story for another time. just to say, I am left handed, and my first teacher told me I would never be a neat writer...

  3. I second Kimberley's noticing. So many wonderful words and gifts you possess, yet I notice your handwriting. That, and the idea of a filling station. Beautiful post.

  4. I love the idea of a 'musical memoir', Alan. What a lovely gift you were given, and your inspiration to start what might end up a "mashup' of words and music. My son-in-law, a film editor is known for his great choices of music in his work, grew up singing with family, etc. My point is that he is singing with his daughters who already know so many. I loved hearing about your father singing and playing the harmonica to you. Those experiences stay. Thanks for sharing what you've been doing!

  5. So interesting how a gift of a notebook can inspire this whole new project! I've never had a love affair with music and I am jealous of people who are so inspired by it.

    1. its never too late to let the influence of music wash over your soul Dana. Do you hear what I hear? It is a new project, and one I am enjoying immensely. It is a gift that continues to give.


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