Thanks for clicking onto my site and considering my book.
The Last Playlist: A Sonic Epitaph (TLP) is unique in the realm of memoir writing. It combines a music playlist with personal essays for a trans-dimensional reading experience (wow, man) that is sometimes fun, sometimes uplifting, sometimes heartbreaking.
Right at the start here an astute observer might ask—who are you to write a memoir? The short answer, of course, is nobody. But it’s more complicated than that. Writing this book was motivated by the death of my mom. Even though I was in my thirties when she passed I found that I didn’t know her beyond a typical mother/son relationship, which greatly saddened me. I didn’t want that for my own children and since we always bonded over music I thought to write some stories about my life linked to songs I found meaningful. Combined into one package these songs and their corresponding essays make up TLP. Also, when I pass from this world, this playlist—the last playlist—is to be the music at my funeral party. So, it’s music, it’s memoir, but more than that—it’s a love letter to my kids.
TLP is broken up into three sections: Preface, Introduction and Essays (the actual playlist):
In the Preface I give a little history and how to on playlists, which I have been making since the early 80’s when they were called mixtapes. Yes, I’m that guy at a party who drops in his mixtape or hits up the bluetooth speaker and you’re like, “I never heard any of these songs, but OMG, this mix is altering the essence of my being. Please, P.A.Kane, take me home.” To which I’ll respond with a smile, “Thank you sir, but I’m spoken for.” Point is, I know a fair amount of music and know how to put it together into a good mix. So, it’s a little background information.
In the Introduction I give a brief account of my life starting from just after high school to present day. As stated I explain how I was motivated to write the book after my mom passed. Also included is a discussion about the necessity of planning your own death along with instructions about what should occur at my funeral party upon my demise—(*hint* no white wine or white claw). And, finally, I share some of my personal history, as well as my dreams, schemes and a whole lot of other things. More background information—see a trend?
The Essays—and the actual playlist make up the bulk of the book. Here’s where I detail all the episodes that shaped my life. While the songs and the corresponding essays have a “deep track” feel they are mostly artists familiar from the rock era such as: Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young. The biggest hit included in the playlist is the 1973 top ten song by Stevie Wonder—“Living For The City,” which presents some of the bone chilling realities people of color faced in the early seventies. I use the song to explain what I knew about race growing up in my all white neighborhood and what I learned about race when I actually met some black people entering high school in 1976. I use “Cut My Hair,” by The Who to detail my troubled life at home when I was a teen and “There’s Always Someone Cooler Than You,” by Ben Folds as the vehicle to mark those fleeting moments of grace where no one was cooler than me.
While TLP is set to music it is not necessary to know or like these songs. The essays speak for themselves with the music being an added feature—it’s like a two for Tuesday on your local rock station. But if you are interested in the music you can listen to TLP at my YouTube channel by clicking the link below.
In closing—while I'm not the typical person who would write a memoir, I found the experience of delving into myself was incredibly valuable and I'm very proud of this book. Sitting here, inch by inch, going through and writing out events from my life has given me great perspective and understanding of who I am. It has made me respect my experience and not be ashamed or afraid of the person I am. Through this process I've also come to believe that anyone and everyone would benefit from sitting down with pen and paper and jumping into themselves. With careful, honest consideration people would find many buried treasures living within.
Again, thank you for considering my book.