The acknowledgments page in the back of his book read as a who’s-who of every writer I’ve wanted to meet since 8th grade. Every hero and heroine of over-enthusiastic music writing that I have ever had.
Rob Sheffield has always been on that list, but I think he has transcended that too-slight title.
This man wrote a book that made me cry and laugh in unequal measure. He made me mourn his losses and celebrate the fact that he was able to come a decade this far.
Rob Sheffield wrote a beautiful book about a woman that he loves. A woman that no longer lays on the couch listening to Pavement with him anymore.
Yet, it was more than that. He wrote about the music that made him fall in love with her. That the songs so entwined with the girl he fell in love with are constant reminders of what he lost when she died over ten years ago.
It was a book about mixtapes and a book about love and a book about the fact that those two things are almost inextricably linked. At least that’s true for the music geeks, the ones that live their lives through the music they love.
The book is called Love Is A Mixtape. By Rob Sheffield.
“Have you ever been in a car with a southern girl blasting through South Carolina when Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Call Me the Breeze” comes on the radio? Sunday afternon, sun out, windows down, nowhere to hurry back to? I never had. I was twenty-three. Renée turned up the radio and began screaming along. Renée was driving. She always preferred driving, since she said I drove like an old Irish lady. I thought to myself, Well, I have wasted my whole life up to this moment. Any other car I’ve ever been in was just to get me here, any road I’ve ever been on was just to get me here, any other passenger seat I’ve ever sat on I was just riding here. I barely reconized this girl sitting next to me, screaming along to the piano solo.
I thought, There is nowhere else in this universe I would rather be at this moment. I could count the places I would not rather be. I’ve always wanted to see New Zealand, but I’d rather be here. The majestic ruins of Machu Picchu? I’d rather be here. A hillside in Cuenca, Spain, sipping coffee and watching leaves fall? Not even close. There is nowhere else I could imagine wanting to be besides here in this car, with this girl, on this road, listening to this song. If she breaks my heart, no matter what hell she puts me through, I can say it was worth it, because of right now. Out the window is a blur and all I can really hear is this girl’s hair flapping in the wind, and maybe if we drive fast enough the universe will lose track of us and forget to stick us somewhere else.”
And it was perfect.