Local Opinion

Published on August 22nd, 2013 | by Liam Clements


Returning to Oxford

Liam Clements Column HeaderA music feelingsyear ago this August I was leaving Oxford, Mississippi, to continue my education at the University of Missouri in Columbia. For the past five years I had called Oxford and Ole Miss my home and thought I was waving my final farewell as I crossed the Mississippi to the west. I had heard the expression that “one never graduates Ole Miss” and it’s difficult to escape the velvet ditch. I never believed those sayings, but as I am writing this today, back in Oxford enjoying the unseasonably cool weather, those who espoused this idea were correct and I was left to eat my shoe.

My time writing for The Local Voice included a breadth of music musings and I found myself, while I was still in Missouri, reflecting on what I had learned and was learning about music; I thought I understood music. I learned there is more to music than what I had previously appreciated.

It’s an easy reach to say that I met interesting people during my tenure in Columbia. My environment included young parents and city dwellers far removed from the hustle of their former stomping grounds. Despite their different positions on the game we call life, they shared a common experience that brought these and others together: music.

In Missouri, I was reintroduced to the range of emotions that music communicates with us. Whether it was ending a relationship with a significant other or overcoming a natural disaster, we turn to music to counsel feelings we otherwise have a hard time articulating to our peers. I realized through hearing or feeling these experiences that I had taken music for granted. I understood what it meant for me, but I didn’t consider what it meant for others.

The type of music we turn to is different from person to person. (Again, that’s an easy reach.) But when I started to listen to the tribulations of the music my friends were familiar with, I heard elements of my troubles in the voices of my peers. I learned hardship occurred in the post-punk genre. Celebration occurred in outlaw country. Genres I had no exposure to were detailing experiences I had gone through and found in the music I sought out. Their music was their woes, woes that weren’t able to be articulated by their own unique words.

Over the past year, I learned to listen closely to the music of my friends. The notes of their music were telling a story we can’t always express in our own words.

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About the Author

Born and raised in Cincinnati, OH, Liam is a graduate student in Philosophy at the University of Mississippi.

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