The day I discovered Velvet Underground in my dad’s collection, music never quite sounded the same to me. I was 13.
I became entraptured with “Venus In Furs,” playing it over and over again on my sister’s old Raggedy Ann and Andy turntable while I wrote feverishly in my journal. I had no idea what the song really meant, just that from then on I could not listen to poppy radio without cringing a little bit. (So much conveniently-packaged gum-smackworthy expressivity there! Remember, these were the days of “I Think We’re Alone Now” and “Blame It On the Rain.”)
I wanted every slow song at my junior high dances to be “Sunday Morning,” but the DJ had never heard of VU. (Besides, he could tell none of the boys wanted to dance with the first person in her grade to grow a mustache.)
My love of storytelling began early through reading the tales of Paul Bunyan and Laura Ingalls Wilder. When I dusted off VU and gave it a spin, I graduated to the lyrical narrative of Lou Reed. I wanted to somehow recreate (mimic) the dramatically building—yet inevitably doomed—destiny of poor Waldo Jeffers ill-planned gift.
I want to write like THAT! I said to myself. And deep within, another voice said: “Crazy!”
Crazy freaking brilliant, is more like it.
I realized after a good hike in the rain, I’m pretty sure I quote more of Reed’s lyrics than anyone else’s.
What is it about those shiny boots of leather
make me want to be a whiplash girl?
Child, in the dark
You gotta run, run, run, run, run…