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February 21, 2018

Book Notes - Andrea Gibson "Take Me With You"

Take Me With You

In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book.

Previous contributors include Jesmyn Ward, Bret Easton Ellis, Celeste Ng, Lauren Groff, T.C. Boyle, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Andrea Gibson's poetry collection Take Me With You is visually arresting and compelling,

Clint Smith wrote of the book:

"Andrea Gibson's work is imbued with the unfettered honesty and beautifully rendered language that made them a pioneer in the spoken word community. Their work does not apologize for existing at the intersections. It holds complicated truths together and rejects the false choice of artist or activist. In many ways, my work is only possible because of theirs, and we are so fortunate that they continue to create art and put it out into the world."

In their own words, here is Andrea Gibson's Book Notes music playlist for their poetry collection Take Me With You:

Bon Iver, "Holocene"

There’s much in the book about reckoning with my own wholeness, and included in my wholeness are my shortcomings. “I was not magnificent” is a repeated lyric in Holocene and a few years ago I started pushing myself to start saying, “I was not magnificent” instead of “I hate myself” whenever I failed to show up to the kindest version of myself. It’s a gentle way of recognizing that I can do better, while still being kind to myself through the process.

Angel Haze, "Battle Cry"

I love Angel Haze’s work and this song in particular wakes me to my own power, light, and resilience. There is a section of the book titled Becoming, and Angel’s line “You the only person alive who holds the key to your healing” weaves itself through the pages while reminding me that vulnerability and strength go hand and hand.

Sia, "Alive"

"I’m still breathing, I’m still breathing, I’m alive." This song is an anthem to me, and as the book speaks a great deal to mental health, suicidality, and staying alive, I hear it in the background of so many pages. One of my biggest hopes in putting this book together was a hope that people would be able to open to any page and be immediately inspired to acknowledge the power and force of their own survival.

The National, "About Today"

Take Me With You is broken up into three sections and the section on love includes a number of pages on loss. This song is so hauntingly casual in its heartbreak, and so familiar, I feel as if I could have written each word myself. There is a line in the book that reads, “In the ghost town of our love there is a player piano trying to prove it can make music without being touched. My fingertips miss her so much.” That line feels like the sequel to this song.

Iron & Wine, "The Trapeze Swinger"

If I picked one song to sum up the book this would be it as it’s encompassing of many of the themes and spans a lifetime, as much of the poetry in the Take Me With You does. The song is at once about failure and success, about someone who loved and failed to love, someone who lived and failed to fully live, who was wise and unwise, but eternally growing and becoming through it all.

Lizzo, "Good As Hell"

It was really important to me with this project to create something that would lift people up. Something that would leave a person more awake. Something that would make loving ourselves a little bit easier. This is the song I sing when I give myself permission to celebrate who I am, where I’ve been, and where I’m headed. It’s like a shot of sunshine directly to my heavy heart every time I hear it, and that was also my dream for my book.

Chris Pureka, "Holy"

To me, this is one of the most beautiful songs ever written, and I specifically love the lyric, “The weight was a mountain of old pain, like I could have walked on the sea if you had just noticed me, hanging around. But we danced, to be whole, to be whole, to be holy.” So much of Take Me With You speaks to the light that is possible in spite of the darkness we have each lived through. And this song is holy in it’s repeated return to tenderness, the journey from heartache to freedom. That is my goal---to add to every hard moment of my life a lens that includes the words “But we danced…”

Gregory Alan Isakov, "Amsterdam"

In Amsterdam Greg writes, “Churches and trains—- they all look the same to me now, churches and planes, how we ache to come home somehow.” For me, all of art-making is a journey home. Each, poem, each book, a map. Throughout Take Me With You there is a longing for home that is persistent, a sense of pushing oneself to push forward, and there are so many ways to get there.

Nina Simone, "I’ve Got Life"

This song gives so much and is so stunningly heart-generous. I can’t name another piece of art that fills me with a clearer sense of gratitude for my precious life. This song pushes me towards grace and opens my chest like a parachute. In the book there is a line, “I want to break every promise I have made to my pain.” By that I mean, I do not want my pain to dictate the entirety of my life. I want to fuel my own joy by putting my attention on what I’m grateful for whenever possible.

Strays Don’t Sleep, "For Blue Skies"

There is a line in Take Me With You, “Do you ever get homesick? I can’t get used to it. I’ll never get used to it. I’ll never get used to it.” And that line is sung to a person who is no longer alive. Some of the lines in TAKE ME WITH YOU are written to people who are no longer with us, people who left this world on purpose and whose loss I will never acclimate to. I love this song because it recognizes that there are some wounds that will never not be wounds, and that’s a truth that I believe is loving to acknowledge.

Andrea Gibson and Take Me With You links:

the author's website
the author's Wikipedia entry
video trailer for the book

Queen Mob's Tea House review

Brit + Co interview with the author
Daily Camera profile of the author
Georgia Voice interview with the author
HuffPost profile of the author
Mountain Xpress profile of the author
Out interview with the author

also at Largehearted Boy:

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Book Notes (2015 - ) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2012 - 2014) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2005 - 2011) (authors create music playlists for their book)
my 11 favorite Book Notes playlist essays

Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly comics highlights)
guest book reviews
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week (recommended new books, magazines, and comics)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
Shorties (daily music, literature, and pop culture links)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtracks)
weekly music release lists

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