My Muse Rides Shotgun with David Bowie

In so many ways, I’m a typical writer: introverted, a lover of solitude. I can be neurotic about noise, especially when thoughtless teenagers blast rock and roll next door. But then there’s the other me, partly submerged as I grow older, yet still there, cruising the freeways with the radio cranked.

I grew up in California. No doubt that’s why gunning the engine and blasting music from an open window has so much gut appeal.

Whenever I visit the West Coast these days, I switch on the radio as soon as I leave the rental car lot, dabbling among “old school” funk, grunge, and ancient bubblegum like “The Rain, the Park, and Other Things” (“I love the flower girl”) that I’d never listen to otherwise.

It’s one of my guiltiest pleasures. Forget about the local NPR station. I don’t want news or talk. I want music, my kind of woolgathering music.

While I appreciate good song lyrics, I’m not looking for verbal complexity. A mantra-like chorus helps my mind drift. In one of my favorite driving songs, “Golden Years” by David Bowie, the words function as rhythmic elements rather than sense-makers: “wish upon, wish upon, day upon day, I believe oh lord, I believe all the way…”


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