When I started writing my memoir, I planned to tell my entire life story from childhood until the present. My memoir playlist included songs I listened to throughout my life, from Kris Kross to the Counting Crows. After discussing the “beats” in the Memoir Incubator, I decided my memoir should focus on a shorter time period—the 18 months or so when I first admitted I was an alcoholic, when my marriage was teetering on the edge of collapse, and my subsequent early recovery.
With the new framework in mind, I arranged my playlist so that the songs fit into three categories: 1) Songs that match a scene from my memoir, 2) Songs that represent how I was feeling during that time period, and 3) Songs that I listened to during that difficult time.
For example, the first song on my playlist “Build Me Up Buttercup” by the Foundations was playing on the radio on the night I fell in love with my now-husband. It’s pretty obvious how “My Own Worst Enemy” by Lit fits into my story of alcoholism. And “Brand New Day” by Joshua Radin was a song I listened to on repeat in early recovery when I first began to feel hopeful. “For the first time in such a long, long time, I know I’ll be okay.”
My memoir and its playlist is a journey through a time when forced to face my demons, I was able to reconnect with the beauty of life. Listen in good health!
Elizabeth (Liz) Jannuzzi, Project Write Now’s operations and communications manager is a mother and writer living in New Jersey. Her work has been featured in Pangyrus, Cagibi, and Entropy. She is currently enrolled in book inc’s Memoir Incubator where she is working on a memoir about recovery.