Having enjoyed every moment of this holiday in high school, (much at the expense of a good friend, an upperclassman who I didn’t realize I was embarrassing by sending him a rose and a Shakespearean sonnet in front of his class,) I now enjoy this day vastly more as an observer of middle and high school melodramas. (There’s a reason this holiday is such a money market!) ...But rather than to embarrass my students by recounting their amusing and touchingly heartfelt stories from today, I'll share my own musings on how I find St. Valentine in a crowd of cynics, and deep down in my own tough shell, year after year.
In high school I wrote poems. (Yes, I did, forgive me.) I wrote twenty or some-odd sonnets (you can read some of them here) as an aspiring writer before I realized that there was nothing I could say in a way that hadn't already been said somewhere before and by a far better writer than myself. So I capped the pen and put them away and looked to find love elsewhere.
I searched for truth, beauty, love and freedom in films instead. Mainly: Moulin Rouge, where I became bewitched like millions of other people with the haunting and tragic love story which entwined its way around our hearts with such amazing musical montages as "Elephant Love Medley" and featured a male hero that was finally more preoccupied with true love than killing something. There's a reason this movie is now a cult classic: it's theatricality, music, costumes, story, and actors are a dream we'd all like to fall into until even our cynical hearts are sated.
After Moulin Rouge, I fell under the spell of other "chick flicks" I'm ashamed to mention. None other more so, than the most quintessential genre stereotype, The Notebook. I never saw this movie coming. This movie caught me totally off guard: both the humble roots of love conquering all, including time- the young love story and the older, mature love of the couple in a nursing home, as the husband read the story to his wife who was suffering dementia. I remember being comforted recently by hearing in an interview with Ryan Gosling that he regretted acting in this movie, because so many couples broke up because of it. He and Rachel McAdams created such an unachievable caste of "soulmate" with their 1940's glamor that girls everywhere dumped their unsuspecting boyfriends that year in order to fulfill a similar level of lifelong love, only to be haunted by remorse and regret of their hasty actions.
Now, traumatized by The Notebook, I found a deeper hole to fill than the one Moulin Rouge had left me with and I found comfort in the beautiful piano and soothing dialogue and old fashioned (Victorian era England) romance of Keira Knightley's Pride & Prejudice. The soundtrack stands apart from the film as being a masterpiece in itself, songs I listen to over and over again on my iPod to relax, filling my head with images of a beautiful dawn, the English countryside, and the deep cliffs of the north country of Scotland. Love was more pure then, chaste, innocent. When a touch of the hand meant more, where a written word could be saved on paper.
There were other films which fulfilled my "hopelessly romantic" thirst; P.S. I Love You, Nights in Rodanthe, Leap Year, and most recently: The Young Victoria, which bears the most in similarity to Pride and Prejudice, and while I can watch these movies over and over again, they only satiate the 'longing' for so long...and so I search for different ways to fill that void- whether it is going to places I have always loved, to sharing experiences with people that I love, listening to my particular favorite songs, or rereading books that I have loved again in the never ending search for that je ne sais quoi.
So tonight I share with you my St. Valentine's album of love: songs to warm the heart and songs to wallow in, depending on your mood and feelings about the holiday. I hope you'll love them as much as I have.
Aimee's Heartwarming Playlist:
1. "Clair de Lune," by Claude Debussy. (Piano)
2. "Dawn," by Jean Yves Thibaudet. (Piano)
3. "Liz on top of the World," Jean Yves Thibaudet. (Piano)
4. "Notturno," -by Franz Schubert. (Classical Trio)
5. "Sincerely," -The McGuire Sisters (50's Pop)
6. "It's Been a Long, Long, Time," -Harry James with Kitty Kallen (40's pop)
7. "You Call Everbody Darlin'," -The Andrews Sisters (40's Pop)
8. "La Vie En Rose," -Edith Paif (40's Pop-Francais)
9. "Kissing You," -Sade, (90's pop)
10. "Vide Cor Meum," by Patrick Cassidy (Opera)
11. "The Red Violin Theme" with Joshua Bell on Violin. (Classical)
12. "Enchanted," -Taylor Swift (Country)
Aimee's Wallowing Playlist:
1. "Sometime Around Midnight," -Airborne Toxic Event (00's- Rock)
2. "Hate Me Today," -Blue October (00's- Rock)
3. "Chasing Cars," -Snow Patrol (00's Rock)
4. "Photograph," -Nickelback (00's Rock)
5. "Songs About Rain," -Gary Allen (Country)
7. "Every Mile a Memory," -Dierks Bentley (Country)
8. "Need You Now," -Lady Antebellum (Country)
9. "You Want to Make a Memory," -Bon Jovi (Country/Rock)
10. "Jar of Hearts," Christina Perri (Alternative/Pop)
11."Break Down Here," -Julie Roberts (Country)
12. "The House that Built Me," -Miranda Lambert (Country)