Dearest Patti,

Let me first start by saying, thank you. Thank you for providing, to not only me, but to the world, such an amazing, touching piece of literature that tells your story. It not only brought me to tears, but it inspired me, made me feel like I was a part of your time with Robert.

The struggles that accompanied your lives were hard to read through. I found myself getting wrapped up in the occurrences of people that I don’t even know, however towards the end of the novel I felt as though I did know you. Or at least to some extent. You captivated those of us reading your book, and really got us interested and attached to you and Robert.

I praise your work, and your patience. Starting from nearly the bottom and working yourself into the creative wonderful person that you are, despite all the hardships that were in your way. I am in awe of the love that held you to Robert. It was so powerful and I respect it greatly.

It couldn’t have been easy to watch him go through the things he did, but yet your love and support for one another was unending and allowed you to get through poor times, sad times, drugged times and so many more together and in one piece.

I was so touched by the section where Robert spoke to you about your children. He told you how beautiful your daughter was. I can’t really explain why that touched me so much. Maybe partially because so much time had passed and his love and respect for you still managed to shine through every word he said. He spoke about how the two of you never had children, and that brought me back to a section where you discussed how the two of you were trying to define your love. With Robert questioning his sexuality and yet loving you so much, I can understand how it would be hard to classify the type of love that you had. You answered him by saying that your work was your children and that was also beautiful and it helped me see how even though your love wasn’t typical or easy to define, it was very real and very powerful. Although it didn’t result in family, or children, it resulted in work that will live forever.

By writing this memoir, you also allowed Robert to live forever. He will live in the hearts of the readers of your book. You have done him a great justice by putting your story down on paper, to be permanently found, read, and respected. I wish he could have read it, but I know that he trusted you to tell the story. I praise you for creating such a masterpiece, your writing is poetic and unforgettable. I hope to read your book again soon, I can tell that it will be one that I will remember and someday come back to. I am happy to have met you through the pages of your book. I am thankful to have been exposed to it and your story.

Live long and happy Patti. Thank you.

Meryl Ramsey

Musical MD

“Listening to music is a daily thing for me, and while it makes me feel close to my country, it makes me sad that I am not there. Sometimes I go after day in distress because I want to go back to my culture. What should I do? Should I stop listening to Spanish music? Should I change my way of thinking?”

Dear Alex,

I am sad to hear that you are still not happy in the United States and that many things that interest you are connected with your culture and therefore bring you sadness. I will start by saying, never lose hold of your roots. They are a significant part of you and it is obvious to me through reading your letter that you are passionate about your heritage. Hold onto it tight, embrace it, and trust in your love for music from your home country. You love it because it is a part of who you are, don’t be afraid of that, and don’t be afraid that holding onto it will prevent you from fully submerging in the American culture. II think you should listen to that music is different ways here. Try to only listen to your Spanish music and songs from your past when you have a really good day, or when you are happy or have done something exciting. That way you will associate that music with happy feelings and feelings that associate with a positive USA experience. On regular days or on sad days try to experiment with other genres so that you continue to broaden your horizons. Try Frank Sinatra, maybe Elton John, go for some classics, like the Beetles or Fleetwood mac. Maybe even try some Mexican Music, which can give you a cultural feel  that is a little different from Spain Music. I would suggest Selena!

Always be open to trying new things and when you feel yourself slipping into a homesick rut, try something new and exciting and accompany it with some new music!


Soundtrack for the Summer Season

Now that I have lived  in wonderful, beautiful, colorful Colorado, I definitely have gotten used to so many seasons of change. Starting school in the fall, bearing through the winter, appreciating the coming warmth of spring all leads me to my favorite season, summer. Summer is Durango is really unlike any other place I’ve been or lived. Spending time on the river, hiking in the beautiful outdoors and taking road trips all fill my summer with happiness and adventure. But with every adventure, or trip, music is a priority for how I appreciate it and the season. This past summer, I found one album in particular that comes to mind when thinking about what I want to write about for my favorite season soundtrack.

I have always been a huge John Mayer fan, but when I heard he was going to test the waters in a more country style genre, I was surprised and also excited. This was a few years ago actually, but when John Mayer’s album Born and Raised came out, I listened to it nonstop and fell in love with the way it made me feel when I sang along, listened to it in my car, or played it on a speaker outside on the river. It really was the perfect album for the summer. It was fun and really really good. I loved it and to this day i love it. know that this summer when I am taking trips to Wyoming to see my family, I will definitely be playing it as I drive.

Some songs in particular that I really love from the album are Something Like Olivia, A Face to Call Home, Shadow Days, and Queen of California!

Jennifer Hudson’s Unforgettable Dream Girl Performance

I am a movie person. I love to go to the movies, watch movies at home, memorize lines from movies, buy and own movies. I would actually say that one of my favorite things to do is snuggle up with some tea and my boyfriend and watch a good movie. However, I am also a music lover. So when a movie and music are combined in genius and appealing ways, it really gets me. I love musicals, movies with great soundtracks and movies about music. When asked to provide a moment from a movie, where music played a huge role. One of the first movies that came to mind was Dream Girls.

Dream Girls can easily be described as a movie musical about a trio of black female soul singers who cross over to the pop charts in the early 1960s, facing their own personal struggles along the way and growing through friendship, relationships and show biz. Girls has a superstar cast, with actors and singers such as, Beyonce Knowles, Eddie Murphy, Jamie Foxx and Jennifer Hudson.

Jennifer Hudson plays Effie White, a strong black woman, with vocal talent that is out of this world. As she, Deena and Lorell all start to rise to the top, she falls in love with a man who supports them and helps them get started in the music industry. The movie is filled with old school music that is fun and entertaining, but as Effie’s life comes crashing down due to an unexpected pregnancy, losing her lead singer position, and finds out her man is cheating on her, she delivers one of the most powerful songs to hit the silver screen.

And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going, was powerful, emotional and unbelievably, chillingly good. Take a look for yourself and prepare to be blown away.

Music quiz

Music can tell us so much about a person and their history. This music quiz was designed to do just that. Shaquana Desiderio was kind enough to share some background on her musical inspirations, loves and of course, her all time favorite band Nirvanna!

At what age did you begin to develop your love for music?

I lived in a home filled with music. My parents didn’t play instruments, but they sang. My siblings also have beautiful voices, especially my eldest sister. My brother unfortunately can’t sing, but he can play the drums and the guitar. So, our house was always filled with music. I think hearing them sing, listening to my brother play, helped me broadened my music taste and influenced the way I listened to music.

What bands or artists helped you to do this this?

parents will probably say that I developed a love for music when I was a toddler. But, I think it began for me when I first heard Nirvana. I was fourteen, gawky, timid and shy. I didn’t resemble the punk rockers at my school, with their multi-colored hair, their spiked jewelry or even their obsidian eye shadow. I was all things, but ext I rarely ventured out of myself. Hearing them for the first time was everything to me. It helped me see past myself and gave life purpose. Everything changed for the worse and for the better.

What kind of role did music play in your childhood?

When I was younger I used to listen to everything on the radio. I rarely ventured out of that public radio sphere. But it wasn’t until I received my first record that I started to listen to other types of genres. Nirvana helped me to see that there was a whole world of music than what was playing on the radio. So, the biggest transitioned occurred when I was fourteen. I went from pop radio to grunge in just a matter or years. I guess, now, it has changed a great deal. I listen to all types of genres. I don’t really have a fixed artist or band in mind.

List 3 songs to summarize your childhood

Dreams- Fleetwood Mac, Tiny Dancer- Elton John, Fortunate Son- Creedence Clearwater

How did your love for music change with age?

My mother recently was diagnosed with breast cancer, so everything changed. Things I used to enjoy, like music and writing, suddenly didn’t have appeal for me anymore. There were times when I wanted to quit school, but my mother convinced me to continue. When she underwent surgery she asked the nurses if they could play Elvis Presley for her while she slept. And they did. It was the most heart-warming things any one has ever done for my mother, my family and especially for me. She was nervous going in and the only thing that calmed her was Elvis. So, whenever I find myself struggling, I listen to Elvis and am reminded of the things I’m grateful for.

Has music ever helped you through a tough time?

What genre/band/artist would you compare yourself to?

I don’t think I would compare myself to any band. But one band I think my friends would associate myself with would probably be, Warpaint. I have a huge fascination with women that can play instruments. It really motivates me to play an instrument. Currently, I’m learning how to play the piano. It’s a slow, painful process but I like to think that I’ll get there at some point.

What song would people close to you associate with you?

Think a lot of people would say Rhiannon by Fleetwood Mac. I don’t why, but when I asked them this question this is the answer they gave me. I think it’s because I listen to this song all the time, or that I obnoxiously sing this song whenever I’m around them. Or maybe that I’m the complete opposite of the song’s lyrics. I am in no way mysterious or mythically divine like Rhiannon. And they know that, which makes this song weirdly perfect for me.

What song would you like to be remembered by?

When I was younger, my father wrote a song about me in his native tongue, which is Navajo. He wrote the song when I was baby and has it recorded on a cassette tape that I keep with me. It’s just him singing. No instruments, only distorted sounds in the background and his angelic, soft voice. This is the song I’d like to be remembered by.

If you could chose a wedding song what would it be and why?

I’m not a firm believer in marriages, but if I were, I wouldn’t probably choose something vintage and classy like Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You by Frank Valli. I think it’s a fun, romantic song that everyone would enjoy.

If you could chose a song to be played at your funeral?

Funeral by Band of Horses. Well for one, the title says it all. And two, the acoustics and the voice is amazing. It’s not too sad, not too boisterous, and has a tinge of hope in it.

What band have you listened to most consistently throughout your life?

To this day, I still listen to it. It has been a wonderful seven years with them. I wouldn’t trade it for anything else.

What musical taste do you share with friends or family?

A musical taste I share with my family would probably be our love for classic roc My mother was a huge fan of Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Elvis Presley and Jimi Hendrix. So, in that respect, I grew up listening to them quite a lot.

If you could sing/perform any song what song would it be and why?

If I could perform any song, it would have to be Moonlight Sonata by Ludwig Van Beethoven. I’m not much of a singer, but I would love to be a classical performer. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a beginner at playing the piano. So, to master this song would be amazing.

Has a song ever influenced you to do something?

Little Wing by Jimi Hendrix really inspired me to play the guitar. And I did for a while, but never fully committed myself. Growing up and hearing that song for the first time really encouraged me to play and write poems. But above all, it motivated me to write.

What does music bring to your life that you would lack without it?

There are some people who document their memories and histories by certain smells or tastes. But I prefer sounds. Without music, there would be no past. A lot from what I remember is tinged in sound. And I often based those sounds on certain memories. Without music, I wouldn’t have much of past.

In what ways can music change the world?

People say this all the time, but it’s t Music has the power to do anything. It’s enough to change our attitude, our emotions and our memories in just a matter of minutes. It’s strange the things music can do for and to us. I truly think music can change the world. For me, it evokes imagination. I’ll be listening to a song and suddenly become hit with an idea for a poem, or just a writing topic in general. I think listening to it can change the way we see ourselves, and how we interpret the world

Use three words to describe music and what it does for you or the world?

Nostalgic, Beautiful, Life-changing. I think these three words accurately describe my love for music. It brings me back to a time when things mattered, when life wasn’t so difficult. I believe all music is beautiful, even the glitzy pop songs. And they’re also life-changing.

If someone had never heard music and you could only play them one song, what song would it be?

Anything by Frank Sinatra, or even Ludwig Van Beethoven. You can’t go wrong with these two artists.

What is the absolute best band of all time? Not just in your opinion, but what band do you think can be recognized as the most loved band of all time?

I am a firm believer in Nirvana. And I always will be. Kurt Cobain has never disappointed me.

Songs for Love

Love, is the ultimate, most desired, most wonderful, worst emotion that I can think of. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for love, I love love, I hope that everyone can find love and experience it, but I also recognize that love is one of the few things in this world that can rip you apart in ways that seem unimaginable and in ways that are so damaging and painful.

I am sure that I am not alone in saying that I have been through heartbreaking breakups, have been so in love and been in stages where love made me sick to think about. Luckily throughout all of these various stages of love that I have been through, there has been music and songs to accompany my emotions.

In order to share with you some of the artists and songs that helped me get through breakups, fun dates and so one, I am going to pick five songs that have represented different phases of love throughout my life.

The first song, is a Barbra Streisand song, one that I listened to a lot as a little girl and one that I associated with love about for most of my adolescence. Even to this day, the song holds a very special place in my heart. I’ve Dreamed of You is a beautifully honest song that talks about the dream of finding the perfect love, finding yourself totally submerged in a perfect love and then making the life long connection of love with someone.

There are some lyrics that I just find so emotionally connecting and lyrics that I can imagine thinking or even saying to the person I decide to marry. I think that I have always fantasized about growing up and getting married someday, especially when listening to this song. I hope that when I do find the one, that I still feel the same way I feel when I listen to this song.

“I promise you as I give to you my heart, that nothing, nothing in this world shall keep us apart. Come happily ever after be the man I’ll love until the very end. I’ve dreamed of you my great love and my best friend. For God must know how I love you so, he’s blessed us here today as man and wife. Come dream with me as I’ve dreamed of you all my life.” Barbra

The next song that I have chosen to share is one of my favorite songs of all time. Let’s Stay Together by Al Green. It has such a groovy beat and it is a great song to sing along with. I have so many memories associated with this song, I’ve listened to this song and made connections to probably all of the relationships I’ve had. When I was graduating from high school and about to move across the country from my boyfriend, I listened to this song, trying to convince myself that a long distance relationship was the way to go. I made connections to a relationship I had when my boyfriend and I were going to spend 2 months of a sumer apart, and yet the feeling of wanting to get back together later. It’s just a good song to listen to and groove to when you want to feel like your love is strong enough to withstand anything.

The next song that I have to chosen to incorporate into my top five, is one that hits me kinda hard. Its a song that talks about a relationship, when you lose trust. At a point in my life, I was going through a tough roadblock in a relationship. I had found out, from my guy, that he had cheated on me months ago. I was crushed and going through a really tough time, where I couldn’t make a decision between my head and my heart. I was torn to pieces, but in a relationship that I was very happy with. The incident had occurred almost an entire year in the past and my guy finally decided that he couldn’t keep it from me any longer. I struggled with decisions and with my feelings for a long time, but in the mean time, stayed with him, for his honesty and for the love we had at the time. It was probably only a month after the truth came out that I was introduced to this song. I heard it for the first time and I really connected with it. It talks about those feelings that you have that just don’t go away. About the resentment that you harbor against someone who was supposed to love you enough to be faithful. It talks about the action of cheating and what it means to lie to someone you love. But most importantly and the way that I connected with it the most was in the way it describes trying so hard to move on past the problem, trying so hard to forget it, in order start over.

Resentment by Beyonce Knowles.

This next song, is a really long, really orchestrated and really powerful song that I have loved all my life. Its All Coming Back To Me Now by Celine Dion. Let me first start by saying that Celine Dion is one of my favorite artists of all time. She has remarkable talent and this isn’t the only song of hers that I have listened to over at least a thousand times throughout my life. I think this song holds meaning to me because it touches on feelings that I think are really common. The feeling of losing love, or choosing to leave a love behind, but the memory and the connection that you always have with that person. I think that love is one of those things that if you give it away to someone, even if they try to give it back, or even when the relationship or love ends, you never get back all of the aspects of love that you gave away. I dont think it is possible to come out of a relationship without leaving behind some emotions. And when you leave behind unresolved feelings, it is often really easy to get sucked back into the relationship in some way or another. I think it is really common for people to break up but at some point circle around again, because of loneliness of desire for something they had a long time ago and when you make a connection like that with someone, it doesn’t always go away very easily.

Here are some lyrics that symbolize, just that.

“If I kiss you like this
And if you whisper like that
It was lost long ago
But it’s all coming back to me
If you want me like this
And if you need me like that
It was dead long ago
But it’s all coming back to me
It’s so hard to resist
And it’s all coming back to me
I can barely recall
But it’s all coming back to me now.”

The last song I am going to include is Ordinary People by John Legend. It is also a very honest song, talking about all the various aspects of a relationship. It touches on the fact that no one is perfect and that in relationships, you have to work together, you have to take things slow, and you have to recognize that not everything is going to be perfect. Love is all about growing and learning and making mistakes that you learn from. Love is never perfect and it takes time and effort and hard work to create a successful relationship. I think this song summarizes how I feel about love, and I have listened to it myself on many occasions, making connections and falling in love with the power of just a man and a piano expressing what love means.

Guns ‘N’ Roses: My Guilty Pleasure

I grew up in a rural, very conservative, small town in Wyoming. I was your typical animal loving, well behaved, girlish, sweet and pleasant little girl who wanted nothing more than to be a singer when I grew up. Lucky for me, I had a father who was extremely interested in music and was more than happy to help his little girl work towards her dreams of being a famous musician. I didn’t even make it into 4th grade before he told me it was time I started listening to the women who had really made it in the music world. He took me to Walmart and bought me a Barbra Steisand greatest hits CD and a Heart greatest hits CD. I listened to them constantly and aspired to be like Barbra in everyway that I could.

But with a mind like a sponge around the age 10 or 11, I was listening to everything around me and developing interests that I probably didn’t recognize or even understand. The countless other CD’s that my dad had in his little white honda civic, began to capture my attention and for years I rode with him in his car listening to not only the CD’s he bought for me, but listening and falling in love with CD’s that he had bought for himself.

This leads me to the one band that I developed a strange love for at a very young age that I have held onto throughout all of my phases and years of getting more and more into music. This band is Guns ‘N’ Roses. It may seem strange to picture an 10 year old girly girl riding in a car with her Dad singing along to almost every song on every GNR CD he had. But that was me. I can still hear my Dad’s voice explaining to me that Sweet Child O Mine and November Rain were classics and that Slash could make his guitar “scream”. I didn’t really know much about instruments or the guitar at that age, but I listened to everything he said and soaked up as much information about them as I could. I even remember when he bought me a little fender electric guitar, so that I could start experimenting with music of my own. I never got very far and eventually asked my mom if I could sign up for guitar lessons. And the way that I asked her, I promise, I will never forget.

I told her to sit in the dinning room of our house and watch me prove to her how bad I wanted to learn to play guitar. So I brought my very old and very big black stereo up to the kitchen, strapped my little black and white electric guitar on and hit play on a CD that started to play Sweet Child O Mine. I then pretended to play the guitar to the entire song, singing every word and performing the song to the best of my ability. At the end, I explained that if I had lessons, someday I could really play like that and after a little convincing she got me signed up. Unfortunately my guitar playing days didn’t last long and I moved on to other instruments and hobbies, but I never lost my interest in Guns ‘N’ Roses.

Compared to all of the other bands or musicians that i frequently listen to, Guns ‘N’ Roses sticks out like a sore thumb. They are so talented, but in a lot of ways, very controversial, dangerous and risque. It always shocks me when my friends tell me they don’t know GNR or don’t know any other bands similar to them from the late 80s. I always feel so hypocritical when I tell people how much I love classic pop divas, but that I also love Guns ‘N’ Roses, I guess I can thank my Dad for giving me this wide gap in the spectrum of genres.

Even though I listen to completely different styles of music most of the time, occasionally I still like to throw on the Appetite for Destruction album and jam out to my strangely satisfying guilty pleasure, Guns ‘N’ Roses.