I remember sitting on the mauve carpet of my bedroom in front of my boombox, patiently waiting with one finger poised above the tape deck’s red RECORD button. As soon as the radio DJ finished their boring spiel and “my song” came on, I jammed that sucker down and silently congratulated myself on yet another score for my mixtape.
I was in fifth grade and this tape was a very big deal. iTunes wasn’t going to be a thing for several more years, our shared home computer probably just barely had a CD drive, and anyway that was my dad’s realm. All I needed were the sweet, sweet jams on Y-98 FM.
While I sorta wish I could find some of those old tapes for the nostalgia factor, I also know that they were very time-specific. Listening to a tape of my hard-earned “jams” would probably give me that embarrassed-for-someone-else feeling and ruin the memory. (Also true for CDs I made in high school and college… some things should just live in your head.)
To me, the importance lies in both the right-now-ness as well as the process of creating a collection of faves – whether on tape, CD, iPod, or Spotify playlist. It makes me wish it were possible to make a “mix” of other forms of media, and what I’d really love to have is a short story mixtape – a personal anthology of the short stories that spoke to me at a particular point in my life. Read More..