While I was singing pop hits like “Memories” from the movie “A Star is Born” into my hairbrush, my mother was watching Glen Campbell TV “specials,” as we called them back in the 70’s. The “Star is Born” album cover had Kristofferson and Streisand gazing into each other’s eyes, their dissimilar profiles depicting true love. Campbell had a corny sense of humor and musical sincerity that mother loved. I think my father even sat in his “chair” and tapped his cowboy boot to Campbell’s “Rhinestone Cowboy” on our pinkie length, gold shag carpet. They were free-wheelin’ music men who sang what they wanted and charmed many a suburban wife at 7p.m. or teenage girl playing records on her turntable after midnight.
As Shakespeare says, “Love’s not time’s fool, though rosy lips within his bending sickle’s compass come.” (Sonnet 116) Last month in Nashville, the ravages of time stealing away more than rosy lips premiered at the Country Music Festival in the form of an award winning documentary about Campbell’s descent into Alzheimer’s, “I’ll Be Me,” scheduled to release nationally later this year. Despite being placed in a memory care facility in May, Campbell’s music is still a joy to him and to his fans. He recently completed a farewell tour and was able to make it through most of the material. “More amazing were his pitch-perfect singing voice and masterful guitar work, which a doctor theorizes were so well honed, the parts of Campbell’s brain that control them will be the last to go.” OC Weekly Blogs, April 25th, 2014.
Kris Kristofferson is also confronting memory loss by continuing in his music and movie career and being thankful for the “blessed” life he has been given. A life that has allowed him to do what he loves since he began writing songs as a child, stay happily married for 33 years and share his blessings with his eight children. Although many facets of his cognitive life are flickering, the music still remains strong, “A couple of years ago my memory just started going but I can remember my songs so I can perform, but other than that…” Kris Kristofferson to Fox News, 2013
In my new novel, A Minor, Clare Cardiff experiences a similar phenomenon. Confusion is growing, everything is fading, but the music remains. Why this thread of cognitive continuity? Why is music so powerful that it can stay with us? It has to do with the hippocampus, neurons, dendrites, ketones, amyloid protein, possibly even glucose absorption. There are many scientific areas we can delve into and discuss, but the heart of the matter lies in the pages of A Minor, so you’ll have to read it to find your answer. A Minor, published by Koehler Books, releases June 1st. It is one of the first books to have a soundtrack included in all ebook formats and live music streaming through the publisher’s website for print readers. Available via your local bookstore (go there first), Barnes and Noble and Amazon.
A couple of years ago my memory just started going but I can remember my songs so I can perform, but other than that…” Kris Kristofferson to Fox News, 2013