*Instructions for entering our contest are below in bold
Some folks honestly can’t remember a time in their life without Van Morrison. Maybe it was “Brown-Eyed Girl” that appeased both you and your parents as a fussy four-year-old on a long car trip, Astral Weeks that got you through some horrific break-ups, or the lesser known but equally groovy “T.B. Sheets” whose harmonica solos did something inexplicable to your core. We all have them. We all know for certain they are ours alone. We all have Van stories. Are you an Astral Weeks or a Moondance kind of soul?
When music critic Greil Marcus toured the U.S. with a short book he had written about the transcendent moments in Morrison’s music, something he calls the yarragh, he noticed a trend. In his fantastic essay, “Listening to Van Morrison” not only does Greil share some thoughts on this phenomena of seemingly universal “Vandom,” but the man himself shows up as well. Greil writes,
Usually, when a writer shows up at a bookstore and reads from or talks about a book he or she has written, people ask questions: how do you write? Where do you get your ideas? What made you write this book? But not this time. This time, in San Francisco, Oakland, Portland, Seattle, New York, Los Angeles, people weren’t necessarily interested in my stories about Morrison. They wanted to tell their own stories.
One other story Greil picked up along the way was from a fan who had just been to a performance.
When it was over, we went next door to a bar, a lot of people who’d been to the show were there, and of course that’s all we were talking about. How great it was, and did you notice this and did you hear that – and then Van Morrison walked in. He came in, walked to the bar, everyone stood up and applauded, and he just sat down at the bar. Finally I got up the nerve. I went over to him, and I said: ‘Mr Morrison, your music has meant so much to me. Sometimes it pulled me through, when I didn’t think anything would. I couldn’t live without it.’ He waited for me to finish, and he looked at me, and he said: ‘Why do people feel they have to tell me these things?'”
*At City Lights, we definitely want to hear those things! Send us your best Van Stories! Whether it is a memory attached to a song, or a chance encounter with Van himself, we want to hear it! We’ll post our 5 favorites here on the blog and, if yours is chosen, we’ll send you a copy of Van Morrison’s collection of lyrics (curated by Van himself) recently published by City Lights, Lit Up Inside.*
You can e-mail your stories directly to [email protected]. *Only folks who send their stories to that email will be considered for a prize.
The deadline is Monday, January 19, 2015
For maximum share-a-bility, please limit your stories to one page – that’s roughly 1,000 words. Let’s see what you got!