About a week ago I went to a multi-stage music festival for the first time in my life – Forecastle in Louisville, Kentucky. The first night I went with two friends, and when Sleigh Bells tore into their set, K joyfully set to boogying beside me. I couldn’t help but follow suit. After that we meandered to a different stage where a musical act was under way that I had never heard before, Flying Lotus. Once again K and I shimmied and shook to the music. Sweat, heat, bodies all around me, and on stage a joyful musician spinning his tunes.
Way back in college, I used to dance all the time in the basements of dilapidated fraternity houses, where anything from the Commodores’ “Brick House” to New Order’s “Perfect Kiss” might be playing. Dancing and singing along to all of that music I discovered through college friends was how I, an extremely shy introvert, could express the joy that music gave me. And for some reason it felt okay to physically release that joy when a song was on in those dark basements, even though I could barely make conversation with folks in the rooms above.
Now that I’m older, I don’t boogie in public all that much anymore. It seems so…energetic. Not to mention that I broke both bones in my ankle a few years back, so now various twinges sing in my right leg to their own tune. But my oh my – it sure felt good to dance and sweat during Forecastle, not only on Friday but also on Saturday to Washed Out and Girl Talk. In the midst of all that heat and sweat and movement to the beat, I felt in my bones what the main character of my book needs to feel too – how powerful and joyous music truly is.