The Barbarian Bard

Tales and Musings by Michael A. Espinoza

Dear Carly Rae Jepsen

Dear Carly Rae Jepsen,

     I am writing this letter with the full knowledge that you may, in all likelihood, never read it. Let me start by saying: Thank you. Thank you for the music, the charming interviews, and everything else you have shared with all of us. If you take anything away from this letter, may it be the knowledge that your work and personality are truly appreciated.

     I was born, and still am, blind in both eyes. Not 100% blind, more like 95% blind, but that’s still pretty blind. Music has always been a huge part of my life, an outlet for my creativity, whether I’m listening or creating my own. Chiefly, I listen to and write heavy metal music; something about the loud, bombastic punch of metal has always spoken to me. As I say to my friends: There are two types of music on my iPod, heavy metal and Carly Rae Jepsen. What lead me to appreciate your work is a phenomenon I find hard to express in words. To put it as succinctly as I can: I like the fact that, when you sing, it truly sounds like you are smiling. Not a forced smile or a false sense of exuberance, but a genuine, warm smile. There is something about your inflection on certain words that conjures the auditory image of a small smile, just the most subtle upturning of the corners of the mouth, which yields such an honest, cheerful timbre to your voice. In a world where so many people struggle with expressing their true emotions, that authentic gesture speaks volumes to my listening ears.

     My life has been a good one overall, but I have experienced some unfortunate events, things that sometimes keep me awake at night, or rouse me from my sleep in an alarmed state of mind. For years, I did not have a cure for such circumstances, until I stumbled upon your music. When I lie awake, my nerves on edge and my mind racing, I know I can turn on any of your songs and feel almost instantly calm. Suddenly, the world is not so intimidating, and I am not so alone or powerless. My pulse stops hammering, my thoughts coalesce into a less jumbled mass, and I realize that the world can’t be so bad as long as there is one genuine smile amidst the chaos of life’s innumerable obstacles.

     Now, I’ve written and rewritten this letter a dozen times. Still, I’m not satisfied that I’m adequately conveying to you how grateful I am for your music. It has uplifted me during my darkest times, and beamed down on me like sunshine during the brightest days of my life. I truly hope that, by the providence of good fortune, this letter will find its way to you. So, I leave you with these final words: Thank you, Carly Rae Jepsen. Thank you for the heartfelt songs, thank you for all the good you do, and thank you for sharing your smiling voice with the world.

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