The Senior Soundtrack Project

When my seniors in English 12 asked if they, as a class, could read my book, how could I refuse? It is literary non-fiction, which their standards specify. And they were asking–almost pleadingafter all. I’m no dummy. Plus, what a cool opportunity all the way around.

(Please note: I did not require students to buy the book–that wouldn’t be right.)

But how would the discussion go, I wondered? We’d already talked a lot about it during the book’s launch presentation, particularly the process of writing the memoir, as well as any time questions came up in class. Maybe there was something we could do instead as a wrap-up project/ activity…but what? Then I remembered something that I’d always had success with, no matter the book: students create a soundtrack/playlist to accompany it, matching songs/lyrics and artists to plot points, themes, symbolism, etc. in the book.

But this time, it would be a competition! Whoever’s soundtrack was the best would win a spot as Permanent Marker: A Memoir’s official soundtrack FOREVER, as well as advertising and celebrity-dom on my blog!!!! (Of which, only nine people follow–so it’s a limited fame…Sometimes I think more people than that actually read it, but why not follow then?)

Wow!!! How could seniors in high school two months from graduation turn that project down?

Pardon the pun, but it was a SMASH! I listened to eight soundtracks (or nine?), and you could tell that for each one, every song had been very carefully chosen. I know what you’re wondering: did each contain a Ricky Martin song? And the answer is no–some chose to forgo the obvious. But one of them took the time to actually find the song of Ricky’s I mention in the book–thanks, Gordon–and that was a pretty cool moment. The soundtracks crossed genres and time, too…from 80’s pop to 90’s country to 70’s rock to today’s alternative. They were crazy good! (And might have brought a moment of tears to well up, sssshhhh…)

In fact, they were so crazy good, that I couldn’t choose just one! Instead, I chose songs from EVERY playlist to join the soundtrack, and then added a few of my own, because, well, it’s MY book’s soundtrack. I hope that for whatever this is worth to you, dear reader, you’ll take a moment to You Tube these songs and enjoy them. Just trust me.

And Reed, Daniell, Gordon, Race, Shayla, Gavin, Logan, Katie, Yessi, Kacey, Victoria, Morgan, Hannah, Lorena, Olivia, Brittany, Austin and Autumn: THANK YOU for a job well done!

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