Each page has a song suggestion - I wanted to make a film script to be honest, but then I decided on a book would be better, but I still wanted to keep the music because I felt it was important. So, each page of the book is designed to last roughly the length of one song, though some pages don't have any music. The songs will be available as a playlist on spotify and youtube soon for ease of reading. The book itself is semi-autobiographical, and might be depressing. I'm not sure yet.
Calum Scott - Dancing on my Own
It started with a soft piano. It was the kind of broken chord that washes over you like a frozen wave on a Scottish Shore. It was the kind of day where you see water round the toilet floor and you know nobody showered today but you tell yourself its just the shower water and stop worrying about your wet socks. It was not a good day.
It was the day I got a hundred snapchats of bare rooms, a thousand facebook posts "moving in! :S", a million instagrams of a string of soon-to-be-forgotten friends hung across a bare brick wall. The first day of University. And I wasn't there.
I'd spent a long time thinking about University. Since I was young I'd known that was where you met your best friends, your intellectual equals, had the best memories of your life in a beat up old car stuck on the M6. But I'd missed the mark. I wasn't there.
I was in a car, listening to classical music, flying past open golden fields, my mum's hands on the bottom of the wheel, her frown pointing to the road. It was overcast. The summer had ended.
I used to love Autumn. It held the promise of new adventures, new memories, and September was always bathed in light across my memories. But this was nothing. This was stagnating. Stagnant water, browning and congealing in the sun.
Retaking my A levels shouldn't have upset me so, but without my friends, without crowded lunch times and loud study periods and drunken parties the whole world had shifted. My world had fractured and spread itself across Aberdeen and Lancashire, Glasgow and Plymouth. Only one friend remained in school, James. He was in the year below, but he had very few friends there. He must have felt the same as me, I'm sure. He saw the corner where we spread our circle at lunch, the rooms we filled with laughter the year before. I was lucky I didn't have to see them.
It hadn't hit me until then that my friends were going. I hadn't realised they'd be gone until they were. I hadn't realised how much I'd miss them until I'd had a chance to.
I jumped out the car and walked across town towards the Public Library. Henton moved in circles like a plastercine model melting. The people seemed small, moved in small circles, saw other small people, and so did I. I wanted to grow, but I was small.
I went to the cafe first. It was small, and the people there knew me. A latte and a doughnut, and a book. Always a book, usually a classic. Today, To Kill a Mockingbird. I'd be done in a few days. I had this time and lunch to read, now that I didn't have anyone to talk to.
A middle aged man with a pudgy stomach and northern features said good morning to me every day. I smiled in return. I didn't know him, and he frightened me some. I'd hide behind a book. I had a bookmark now. The mark of a changed person.
I stayed there until the library opened, 9 am. Mum went off to college on Thursdays so I had to go in early to Henton. I left. I never knew where to put my tray and empty mug. I left them on the table, but I always felt bad about it.
It had been raining, and the concrete still held the memory in its dark grey surface. Buses moved. Bollards had been put across one stretch of pavement. The library chairs were scratchy and badly cushioned. The librarians were old, the children in daycare were loud and unyielding, their carers tired but patient, the patrons were each serious and quiet. The people were each a life, and this upset me. But I only noticed for a moment.
I studied. I studied without stopping. I studied with my headphones in, and the world tuned out, and judgement far away, and my mind on my goals. I wouldn't stagnate forever. After this year, I'd be a bottle of fresh water, and I'd take on the world. One more year. One more year.
It seemed like an eternity.