Memoir Mixtapes Vol.2 // B-Sides

Carry On by Claire L. Smith

“If you look in the mirror and don’t like what you see, you can find out first-hand what it’s like to me,”


About the Author: 
CLAIRE L. SMITH is an author, poet, filmmaker and artist currently based in Melbourne, Australia. Her opinative essays, fiction and poetry have been featured in many online bulletins and magazines including Luna Luna Magazine, MookyChick, Moonchild Magazine, Peculiars Magazine, Death and The Maiden, Anti-Heroin Chic, Horror Scribes, Zeroflash, Business Woman Media, A Woman’s Thing and NerdVana TV. Since January 2018, Smith has served as a Representative for SPREADING THE LOVE, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to spreading awareness about bullying, mental illness and suicide. She is also the curator of Spreading the Love – Melbourne and an official contributor to Outlet Magazine.

Memoir Mixtapes Vol.2 // B-Sides

Whitesnake Saved My Life by Cate Meighan

It hasn’t even started yet but already 2018 has handed me a huge gift in the form of Whitesnake tickets. Yeah I know, either you love them, hate them or you’re totally indifferent. But what you don’t know is that David Coverdale quite literally saved my life. We go way back, even if he doesn’t realize it yet. Back to when my Jehovah’s Witness mother dragged me to church three times a week and I’d play hair bands in my head just to survive the two hour sentence. Back to when I rushed to my after school job at Arthur Treacher’s, where I mopped up the baked potato bar and ran the register for hours. Having to strategically place the fast food joint’s hat over my big hair was totally worth it to get away from my bible thumping mom.


About the Author:
Cate Meighan is an accomplished entertainment writer by day, a radio DJ at night. Vinyl, coffee & cat obsessed. Her first book, “Diary of an 80’s Girl,” is coming in Spring 2018.

Sam Recommends: “Big Fish” by Vince Staples

When they ask why you look so tired, tell them you were up late night ballin’, counting up hundreds by the thousands

This song goes hard about going hard.

I play it whenever I need a little kick in the ass to get my head right, which is pretty often to be honest. I got a lot to get done, y’all. I’m in this life game to win it.

So even though I can’t afford a life coach, I consider Vince Staples to be an invaluable mentor. Because Rick Ross might hustle every day, but Vince knows that to really make your big dreams come true, you gotta pull an all nighter every once in a while.

(Song recommendation by Samantha Lamph/Len)

Memoir Mixtapes Vol.2 // B-Sides

Bruce Springsteen’s The River and the Limitations of Love by Carly Plank

The protagonist of the title track of Bruce Springsteen’s 1980 double album The River asks, “Is a dream alive if it don’t come true, or is it something worse?” He dreamed of spending the rest of his life whisking Mary, the woman of his dreams, across the country on grand adventures without anything tying them down. Instead, this man—based on Springsteen’s own brother-in-law—finds himself getting hitched at a courthouse in a shotgun wedding because the girl of his dreams is pregnant with his child. Sure, he can still spend his life with her, but the dreaming has come to an abrupt end only to be replaced in the near future with hard living. Dreaming is always easier than living.


About the Author:
Carly Plank is an adjunct professor at Kendall College of Art and Design and Grand Rapids Community College. She is currently based in Grand Rapids, Michigan and is working on a memoir. Bruce Springsteen is her favorite musical artist of all time.

Memoir Mixtapes Vol.2 // B-Sides

Clueless in the Sixties on Woodstock Weekend by Ben Fine

In 1969, three hundred thousand people went to Woodstock.  However by 2017 seven million people remember being at Woodstock.  The memories of baby boomers  have transformed the sixties into this magical, mythical landscape where everyone was a hippie, everyone was a draft resister, everyone was a veteran, and everyone was at the forefront of sex, drugs and protest.  

In truth, most of us were entirely clueless during the sixties.  We ambled through the decade much as we ambled through the fifties before and the seventies after, not realizing much of anything.  We confronted big historic moments and didn’t realize that they were big and historic. We concentrated as always on the trivialities of getting through each day.


About the Author:
Dr. Ben Fine is a mathematician and professor at Fairfield University in Connecticut in the United States.  He is a graduate of the MFA program at Fairfield University and is the author of thirteen books (eleven in mathematics, one on chess, one a political thriller) as well over 130 research articles, twelve short stories and a novella about Pirates. His story August 18,1969 published in the Green Silk Journal was nominated for a Pushcart prize.  He has completed a memoir told in interwoven stories called Tales from Brighton Beach: A Boy Grows in Brooklyn.The stories detail his growing up in Brighton Beach, a seaside neighborhood on the southern tip of Brooklyn, during the 1950’s and 1960’s. Brighton Beach was unique and set apart from the rest of New York City both in character and in time. His latest novel Out of Granada is came out in July of 2017.

Memoir Mixtapes Vol.2 // B-Sides

On American Dream by LCD Soundsystem by Adam Strong

The synthesizer is the thing that tractor beams me to the song. This synthesizer knows of my love for late 70s early 1980s synth: for New Order, for Joy Division, for Berlin-era Bowie for Brian in bell bottoms listening to massive headphones Eno.

There’s a countdown to the sway of the keyboards, the way each tone is sent out, the creator making the clock tick faster.

That synthesizer is a voice from the past come to destroy our future.


About the Author:
Adam Strong has worn glasses since he was four. Adam Strong’s work has appeared in Nailed Magazine, The Gravity of the Thing, and in the anthology City of Weird. He writes and loves in Portland, OR. He is the founder of the quarterly reading series Songbook PDX.

Steve recommends “Into the Mystic” by Van Morrison

I know this is not a particularly deep-cut, but Van’s performance in this video is exceptional. A brief (or maybe not) list of what I like about this performance:

  • Van is sweating even before the first chorus; it’s almost like he was shadowboxing backstage just to work up a good lather.
  • The shirt that Pete Wingfield (keyboard) is wearing.
  • How Van starts off slow and then wakes up about 1:20 into it and blows your scalp off.
  • The bass reverb working as a foghorn.
  • The microphone guy getting his ass kicked by the Van-ness at 2:50.
  • The nothing-fancy-but-appropriate keyboard solo, like rain falling on the bay.
  • Van showing that he’s not too shabby on guitar.
  • Van’s non-verbal scatting that is better than most people’s singing.
  • It is a seven-minute song that does not feel like a seven-minute song.

(Song recommendation by Steven McCarty)


Memoir Mixtapes Vol.2, Track 34

On The Dark Side of the Moon or: Around and Through Beyond by Sam Rasnake

“There’s someone in my head, but it’s not me.”
– “Brain Damage”

Music dates us. Yes. That’s something we can’t escape. There is a music – a part of its time – that’s in us all. Like the famous paradox: does life imitate art, or is it the opposite? – music does define us, but the belief that “we define the music” carries its own truth as well. That truth has its own season. We live our lives anchored in a time, and that time sings its own songs, plays its music, dances its dance. Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon is of my world, my time, my breathing – and I do listen. I don’t stop.


Memoir Mixtapes Vol.2, Track 33

A Moon Shaped Pool by Frank Houston

It ended just like that. One day I was married, the next day I was taking down all the pictures of myself and my ex-wife to-be. The wedding photos, the beach getaway scenes, even the family portraits. The ending was like an ice shelf plunging into the Arctic: invisible but known forces roiling in the background until the day when something broke.


Memoir Mixtapes Vol.2, Track 32

A Decade in the Ring with Boxer by J.S. Robson

Things fall apart, inevitably. The only remaining uncertainty is what you do when such a time arrives. Collapse is a constant companion on The National’s 2007 album Boxer, a collection of twelve elegant songs strung together with nocturnal unease. The collapse may take many things: your friendships and relationships, your health, or your joyful adolescence, consigning you to a grey and unremarkable adulthood. All things, as they say, are on the table.