I do not have favorite singers or any kind of favorite anything. I outgrew the habit for ardently admiring people, places, things and all related matter. But before I became resistant to such distractions, there were a few people I admired for their work. Neil Diamond was one of those people. I admired him for his song-writing and his music. So much so, I once wrote him a poem titled “Ode to Neil Diamond”. I can’t quite remember how it goes but in it, I was telling him how his voice flows smoothly and his words touch my soul or something to that embarrassing effect. So much did I love Neil Diamond’s music, I fancied myself in love with the man himself at one point.
Last week while in the kitchen cooking I caught myself singing Neil’s “Brooklyn Roads”. It’s interesting how songs will just pop into a person’s head seemingly from out of nowhere. But there’s usually something that triggers the song. And back in the day I listened to Neil Diamond’s music more than I listened to anything else. I had several Neil Diamond CDs and they were mostly the only thing I listened to. So it’s hardly surprising to me that a Neil Diamond song would pop into my head out of nowhere. They are saved in memory, and throughout the day, different things can trigger something in our memory. We’re just not often in tune with all the thoughts that trigger our emotions and how they can send us spiraling downward or soaring upward.
Neil Diamond songs are usually triggers of positive emotion. But “Brooklyn Roads” can put me in a bittersweet frame of mind. It is such a rich song in terms of the story it tells, and the way Neil sings it, it can make me nostalgic for a Brooklyn I never experienced myself. I lived in Brooklyn, New York from age twelve (almost thirteen) to age twenty-five (almost twenty-six). It is always interesting to look back on your youthful days as Neil sings about in Brooklyn Roads. But sometimes nostalgia can trick you into forgetting what things were really like.