Rock ‘n Roll Journal Guidebook

You may look at my rock ‘n roll journal as a task too large to undertake. As I’ve mentioned in my journal many times over, the idea for writing the journal was simply to leave a simple list for my kids about the artists and music I like. That is a good place to start. After that, you might treat the journal as a diary of sorts, a place to journal information that no one but you really knows but which the people that love you might appreciate knowing if you were to depart this world without having had a chance to share such things. Since I am kind of a private person that doesn’t share much about my feelings and life experiences, I felt it was critically important to leave this kind of information for my kids, so that they might get to know their dad on a deeper level. In the end, the writing process helped me come to grips with some difficult issues during some difficult times. The benefits of writing are many but the exercise is simple, and you don’t have to push it as far and as hard as I did. That was my journey. The form your journal and your journey take are entirely up to you.

That being said, it is sometimes good to have a starting point. Below I have listed a few questions/approaches to consider. I would write each numbered questions at the top of a blank sheet of paper and then just start by writing on that page with a pen. If you need more space, just keep adding blank sheets of paper and staple them together. There’s no need to go in the exact order of the questions. I would tend to write the sections that I was most excited to write about. Often, in the process of writing about a section that interested me, I would get ideas (which you should jot down…for sure) about what to say in the other sections.

One last point. If rock ‘n roll is not your preferred music genre, then just replace the phrase “rock ‘n roll” with the phrase that describes your preferred musical genre and proceed in the manner outlined below.

  1. Think of the songs of your favorite TV shows from when you were a kid. Write down the names of the TV shows and the names of the songs or the lyrics. Write about why you liked those shows. Consider if those things that you liked about those shows are things that you still like or that you like about the TV shows of today.
  2. Research the top songs of your early years of life, when you were age seven and younger. Let’s say you were seven in 1997. Look up the top 100 songs of 1997 and write down the ones that you remember from your childhood. Now, look up the top 100 songs of 1996, and write down the ones that you remember from your childhood. Do this exercise for every year until you reach a year where you don’t remember any of the top 100 songs. Take a look the list and see if you notice any common themes. If so, write about those themes. When writing about these songs, think about the mood of the songs and not just the lyrics. Also, write about any artists that had more than one song on those lists that you recall. Are any of those artists still among your favorites?
  3. Think about the movies that you like that have a good soundtrack. Write down the names of the movies and the songs that you associate with those movies. Does the list of movies tell you something about yourself (i.e., the kind of movies you like, the popular culture of the time, etc.). Do you associate other things in your life with the songs that you wrote down?
  4. Think about the things you like (i.e., movies, books, poetry, sports, hobbies, etc.). Are there common themes in the movies, books, poetry, hobbies, etc., that you like? Are there songs that you like that you associate with these themes? If not a lot of songs that you know come to mind, then do a google search to identify “songs about …” that topic (for instance, “songs about dreams”) or go to your preferred music service (iTunes, Spotify, Amazon music) and search for a specific word, like “dreams” or “rock-n-roll” and listen to clips of the songs that pop up. If any of the songs you identify strike a chord, then write about the feeling that they elicited.
  5. Another idea is to write about music that you like to listen to when you do something like: exercise; do yardwork or housework; go on a road trip, etc. Explain why you think these particular songs help you in those particular circumstances. Might those same songs help you in other circumstances that you encounter in life?
  6. This one is the biggie: identify and write about your three favorite artists/bands of all time. It is a biggie because for each of these artists/bands, you’ll need to answer the following questions:
    1. How long have you been a fan of this artist/band? What attracted you to the band?
    2. How many of their albums do you have? Which of these albums is your favorite? Write about why it is your favorite.
    3. If you don’t own all of the albums of this band, research the albums you don’t have and buy one or more. Listen to this album (or albums) a few times over and then write about how you feel about the music and the message in that album (or albums).
    4. If you can find a book about the band, buy the book and write down some things that stand out about the band that you didn’t know or that resonated with you personally.
    5. Pick your 5 favorite songs of this group. Try to explain why you picked those 5 songs and maybe even list of songs that are “honorable mentions” and why the 5 songs you picked won out over those songs.
    6. Was the list of favorite songs influenced by the new albums you recently acquired or the book you read? If so, write about this idea of discovering something new in something (i.e., the artist/band) that has been with you for a long time.
    7. After writing all of these things, do you feel like your connection with this artist/band is deeper or stronger?
  7. By this time, you’ve probably written quite a bit. Reflect on what you’ve written and write down what you learned about yourself and about life. If there are lesson you wish to impart, then now is the time.

You might tuck this away in the fireproof box when you feel good about it, but don’t hesitate to pull it out and add to it when you stumble upon something that adds to your story as you go about the process of living life.

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