I have one of those six-CD changers in the trunk of my car plus a single CD player on the inside…but as much as I love music, I rarely change what’s in there. In fact, most of the time, I have NO IDEA what’s in there and everytime I go through them I say to myself “I really need to update these!” My sons think it’s quite comical. We have been listening to Darius Rucker’s solo debut CD “Back to Then” for over 5 years now. But they don’t seem to mind – it is one of their personal favorites.
This weekend my youngest son and I went to Tiffin University to visit the oldest son. When we were about 20 minutes away all of our regular stations started to sound like bacon frying so it was time to switch to my “dynamic” CD collection. Once there, my college man whips out Alicia Keys “Unplugged” from somewhere…knowing him it was probably in his pocket, or something, because he knew mom was not going to have anything to listen to. (don’t get me wrong…I AM a really cool mom…just spending my time doing “cooler” things than making sure I have CDs in my car!)
Of course, three days later, I am still listening to Alicia, but I’m loving it. I bypassed the song “Goodbye” several times just because music really “get’s me” and saying goodbye to my son again was a little hard… but as I was riding in the car this morning, I really, really listened to that song. Since it is a live recording, at the end Alicia talks about the fact that she wrote that song when she was 14 years old!! I backed it up and listened to it again and then again. All I can say is….WOW! The interesting thing about the way it affected me was that knowing that a genius 14-year-old wrote the song reached an even deeper region of my heart when I listened to it again.
And that, my friends, is the powerful pull of the backstory. How often do we feel something different when we have more knowledge of a person, a place, or an object? In an episode of the Style Network’s “Dress My Nest” with Thom Filicia (what happened to that show??), he was attempting to find the design style of a client who was all about everything “green” – eco-friendly green, that is. He showed her a graphic pillow that she just kind of tossed aside. But, when he told her the story behind the recycled materials that went into making it, she just had to have it…the powerful pull of the backstory.
This is how I like to design. I want to provide a sense of connection beyond the fact that my designs just “look cool.” This is how I think most modernists view their objects and spaces. Everything must have a reason for being there. Like a well-worn antique, it is meaningful for contemporary objects to have a story. It means so much more to purchase an item that appeals to your heart as well as your eyes.
(The featured Lifeline freehand drawing is “Eclectic”)