Erika Marks got me started on the song lyrics track this morning and … well … it’s almost 4:00 pm and I’m still here.  Funny how that works.

Erika’s blog post (and particularly Downith‘s response) set me to listening to songs from the 1970’s, which coincides with the biggest timeline in my memoir.  You guys triggered a rash of note-taking today, and I thank you. Who ever said blogging is a waste of time isn’t doing it right.

I found this video of Janis Ian singing AT SEVENTEEN live.  I’ve always been able to belt out the chorus, but listening to it here I realized the poetry, and the shot in the gut, of so many lines in that song, lines I’d completely forgotten if I ever knew them at all.  And in related news, I couldn’t help but imagine Emma Bovary when she sings “and high school girls with clear-skinned smiles, who married young and then retired.”

Don’t you love it when your day goes nothing like you planned, and it’s a good thing?


12 thoughts on “17

  1. Sherry Stanfa-Stanley

    Oh, Teri–You totally floored me with this one! This is one of my very favorite songs EVER.

    I was actually a fairly content and socially accepted teenager. Yet Janis Ian’s words were so universal, everyone found something to relate to in these lyrics.

    Did you know she wrote her first hit, Society’s Child, when she was only 13? Genius.

    I took my kids to see her in concert when they were junior-high aged. They didn’t really appreciate this song until I played it again for them when they were much older. To capture emotions and experiences like she did? It’s every writer’s dream. *sigh* Thanks so much for sharing this.

    1. Teri Post author

      Sherry, I’ve listened to this no less than 5 times today and it breaks my heart. Her voice and those lyrics. So smart and on the money of every teenage girl I ever knew, including me.

  2. erikamarks

    This was me all last night thinking of songs that moved me, so I apologize for the distraction, Teri, but Downith indeed hit the mark with this song.

    “Inventing lovers on the phone…who call and say come dance with me?” I mean, seriously. I dare anyone to NOT well up at that one.

    1. Teri Post author

      Oh no, Erika, you started it and it was — I swear — a break I needed when writing about my mother. I’d totally forgotten, but when this played on the radio in the 70’s my mom was divorced (for the 2nd time) and I was worried she would never find someone to love her. So when I hear it, I think less about myself (though that’s certainly there) and more about my mom, and how I thought, when I was a teen, that she’d be sitting at home alone forever —- because she had to take care of me.

      So tears? Yes ma’am. Every time.

    2. Downith

      And what about “those whose names were never called when choosing sides for basketball.”

      That is a whole story in one line.

  3. amyg

    you cannot live through your teenage years as a female and not feel like this song is your anthem. it can’t be done.

    t–good going on the note taking. i’m raising my writing pom-poms in your honor today.

  4. lisahgolden

    A few months ago, a friend from high school sent me a cd with a bunch of songs from when we were kids and teens. It was completely out of the blue and I spent days listening to it on repeat.

    This song is on it. Oh yeah.

Comments are closed.