Catharsis Catalogue

Hi friends,

Usually I try to respond to every comment left on this blog.

I have been so humbled by all of your warm and supportive comments on my last post, however, that I was rendered speechless.

Thank you. Gracias. In every language, merci.

Know that I have read, re-read, and will continue to cherish, all of your encouraging words. They have touched me so; I’m sure they will be gems I return to many times. (You made me smile and cry at the same time. I am becoming the master of smiling and crying simultaneously. I’m coming to kind of dig this ability, actually).

As I mentioned, I have my heart set on gratitude, beauty, and compassion as much as anything during these shaky times. You all have confirmed by about ten million (10,000,000!) why I am so thankful. Wow, I also feel joyful and amazed!

I never wanted this space to become a record of a breakdown (and hopefully it won’t now, either!), but I thought I’d share a bit of my journey over the past several months in song-form (ahem, other people’s songs. I have not suddenly gained the ability to sing, though that would be awesome!)

I’m one of those people who alights on a song and plays it over and over and over again (obsessive much?)…until I discover the next one that helps me. I’ve always been like this, I think, no matter what’s going on in my life.

I don’t know if it’s wise to continue sharing tidbits of information that reveal me as slightly strange (heck, y’all already know I forget to take my bathrobe off when I leave the house sometimes!), but I guess I’ll hope it’s as endearing as it is eccentric.

A lot of my time has been wrapped up in said bathrobe, working on my novel, and taking breaks to listen to these songs on repeat. I cannot write with music (or any sound – one reason I can’t do the whole working in a cafe thing), but when I’m stuck, I often get up and put on some music and dance around the house. I think it loosens up the ideas again. (I sometimes wonder what my neighbors must think of me. Can they see into my window?)

I haven’t been organized enough to do it, but I thought at one point of trying to do my own musical map of the stages of grief (and then the attendant rebirth – yes, the phoenix rising!)

What each person finds cathartic is of course very personal, but if you’re interested, these are some of the tunes that have found themselves on repeat, roughly in the order they were moving through me. I know I always love when people share with me what inspires them.

Though inspires. Well, I admit a lot of these are kind of, well, you know, melancholy. But heck, I’ve always been kind of emo. I’m a passionate Scorpio! I very well live and breathe intensity.

I’m developing a new theory that my ability to remain so positive is because I have these other outlets where I can explore the darker territory. In fact, I got a letter back from my writing advisor yesterday where he mentioned my story being “dark and gothic” (in the good way!), like Edgar Allan Poe.

(For the record, my novel is nothing like Poe, but I had used a line from a Poe poem and my advisor said it was a good reference, as he was dark and gothic, like my story).

I’ve never been happier to be called dark and gothic! Hooray!

Anyway. Right. More quirky Paris posts soon (including another free giveaway!). I promise. But for now, without further ado, a few selections from my Catharsis Catalogue. (Email readers: lots of embedded videos. Go to the blog if you want to see them, though I’ve also linked the titles, too.)

* Dinah Washington/Max Richter – This Bitter Earth/On the Nature of Daylight

When I first stumbled across this on YouTube, the incredible music paired with a beautiful ballet took my breath away. I think for copyright reasons, they had to take that video down, but watching just the ballet is also well worth it. But here’s the song, as it’s Dinah’s vocals on overlay that made it really sing for me:

* “Cosmic Love” – Florence and the Machine

This one is good for pure emoting. This is the kind of music I love listening to anyway. But yeah, give me a breakup and it becomes an entirely new animal.

* “Soon This Space Will Feel Too Small” – Lhasa

I was blown away when a new friend (a brilliant writer) introduced me to Lhasa. This song is so lyrical and haunting. I often use it when I’m trying to work through particularly tough passages in my writing, too. Lhasa, the artist, died last year of breast cancer. She was only 37 years old. That piece of information reminds me yet again to make every day precious. Every, every day.

* “Sad Song” Au Revoir Simone

Actually kind of an upbeat sadness. I’m getting better. I am made of light and joy. Even sadness can have a beat. This is how I started to think of it. The audio to my laughing/crying periods? (Also, do I look like the women in this video when I’m dancing around the house?)

Can’t embed this one. Check it out here.

Other goodies:

* “This Woman’s Work” – Kate Bush
This is just classic. I mean it’s so often about Woman’s Work, isn’t it?

* “Running Up That Hill” – The Chromatics
Another Kate Bush song, actually, but I love this synthy version. Good for dancing (notice a theme?)

* “Breate Me” – Sia

* “Slow Dancing in a Burning Room” + Wade Robinson dance
Again, love the pairing of dance + music

* My current fave is Adele’s “Someone Like You.”

And this doesn’t necessarily belong in the category I’m compiling here, but I never tire of watching this routine to another Adele song. And yes, it’s from the show “So You Think You Can Dance.” One of my guilty pleasures.

(Can you see why I wanted to dance again?!)

Thanks for indulging me, y’all.

Which songs do you have on repeat? Always love suggestions!

15 Responses to “Catharsis Catalogue”

  1. 1 Lindsey May 13, 2011 at 10:57 am

    Lots of these on my list too! “Breathe Me” stings everytime I hear it, almost always makes me cry. Not sure why… Adele is also on my list of late (she’s a must!). Have you heard Maxwell’s “This Woman’s Work”? Definitely a repeat song in my house.

    Music in general has helped me get through so much and its power astounds me everytime it heals.


  2. 5 Adam May 13, 2011 at 11:54 am

    Ok, I’ll go with a couple…

    ‘Near Wild Heaven’ by REM – ‘not near enough’ is the next line, and that always reminds me that perfection is never possible, and just to accept that. (I guess it’s a good break-up song too – “Whenever we hold each other, We hold each other, There’s a feeling that’s gone, Something has gone wrong…”

    ‘Home’ by American Music Club – a really powerful song full of despair and frustration, where the chorus is basically singer Mark Eitzel shouting ‘Home, home, home, I hope I make it home’. What I love here is just how many interpretations can be taken from such simple words. Does he mean arriving back somewhere after a difficult (personal) journey, or does he mean transforming a current location into a place to live and call your own. As someone who has left one country for another, leaving behind friends and family, this whole idea of making somewhere new a ‘home’ is something that touches me enormously.


    • 6 paris (im)perfect May 13, 2011 at 3:59 pm

      Good call, Adam! Wow. “Out of Time.” That REM album was definitely one of my adolescent repeat albums, but have not thought about it in a very long time. Thanks for the reminder! (And now, I’m thinking of that song on same album “Half a World Away” to go with your home theme. I agree I am very taken with this idea of home. Though I always get a wee bit jealous of Brits in Paris. You can just hop the Eurostar!)

      I’ll look for this other band, too. American Music Club. This has been happening to me a lot lately – people from other countries telling me about good American music. 🙂


  3. 7 Dani May 13, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    I have one, from the band Decoder Ring. I find Lenka Kripac’s voice in this song like a cool bath in the hot sun.


  4. 9 C May 13, 2011 at 10:34 pm

    Funny, I’m going through a divorce right now, too and Florence + The Machine has been on repeat around here. I’ll have to check out the rest of your playlist to give that album a break…


  5. 11 Buffy May 14, 2011 at 3:07 am


    After working like crazy all week with no days off like I normally would after working my 3 24hr shifts, I finally was able to look at my emails and catch up. I am sorry you are having a hard time. I have been through a divorce myself, and though it was actually a blessing for me, I know it can be a hard time. Getting out in your blog is probably the best thing for you. You can use us to vent.

    Take care and hang in there!


    • 12 paris (im)perfect May 14, 2011 at 11:03 am

      Thanks so much, Buffy. I appreciate all of the support. I do already think this is a blessing. I didn’t feel able to share until I was feeling more at peace with it, so I am already in the phoenix rising stage, I think.

      (Love the permission to vent, though! 🙂 )


  6. 13 Julianna Palazzolo May 16, 2011 at 7:16 pm

    Had to add a note when I read that you listen to Lhasa. I discovered her about 11 years ago; her CD “La Llorona” is incredibly beautiful. It is entirely in Spanish, which I don’t speak, but the language barrier hardly matters, as she manages to communicate with her voice and raw emotion. I am deeply saddened to learn of her tragic passing.


  1. 1 Fete de la Musique/Bon Iver in Paris « paris (im)perfect Trackback on June 21, 2011 at 8:43 pm

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paris (im)perfect?

Sion Dayson is paris (im)perfect. Writer, dreamer, I moved to France on – no exaggerating – a romantic whim. As you can imagine, a lot can go wrong (and very right!) with such a (non)plan. These are the (im)perfect stories that result.

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