Slice of Life: Remembering a Song about Remembering

(This is for Slice of Life, a weekly writing activity hosted by Two Writing Teachers. Come write.)

I am in the midst of reading the autobiography of Elvis Costello. The book is called Unfaithful Music and Disappearing Ink (a title I like very much) and it packs a literary punch and becomes a musical journey through Elvis Costello’s songwriting and life, with plenty of meandering along the way. Yesterday, during part of a Snow Day from school, I read with interest the section about Costello’s collaborations with Paul McCartney.

There was a time when I was deeply into Costello, and the album, Spike, was a favorite cassette in my car. The album had the radio hit — Veronica — on it, and in the book, Costello connects the song that he and McCartney wrote to his grandmother, suffering from Alzheimer’s in old age.

I had one of those strange moments, realizing that it was that song by Costello — Veronica — that led me to write a song myself long ago with my old band, The Roadbowlers, called Inside Mary’s Pocket, which is about my own great-grandmother in old age. Or rather, the song is sort of built off memories of her. It’s interesting that I only realize that now how influenced I was, as I am reading Costello talking about songwriting, and that I did not realize then what I was doing. (or conveniently forgot.) It’s also interesting how Costello talks openly of reworking Motown chords and lines and grooves for his early albums. I guess we all gather what we can find.


Of course, my song is nothing like his (I could only wish). I recorded this track more than 20 years ago now (dang!) on an old four-track. But I still have the Mp3 of our recording, and so I spent part of yesterday tracking it down in my computer files. Here goes …

Peace (in the songs of our memories),


  1. Each time I return, I get to unwrap another layer. My 10 year old son remarked how much he liked your song and your voice. Elvis Costello amazes me. I must read this book. During a bad break up once I listened to So Like Candy thousands of times on repeat.

  2. Kevin, You are a gifted song writer and musician! I love the song so much!! These connections are powerful and I believe through writing we notice more and more! I love this! Thank you for sharing!!

  3. Kevin, your meandering mind has so many avenues and passions to explore. I enjoyed your song that has a great beat and filled with such a wonderful memory.

  4. I love the serendipity of connections, that you remembered an old song from reading Costello’s bio. Glad you found it, and loved listening, a little sad, but also good memories, right?

  5. As I was reading your post, I was crafting my response. It was to be: Please, post the song. And then, there it was. I enjoyed your insight into writing, and loved hearing your song. What a treat!

    And my anti-spam code is “hasty deb”–you should write a song about her. 🙂

  6. I noticed you switched to Box for hosting your sound file this time. A little worried about Soundcloud’s lifespan? Fascinating how much of my stuff will die if Soundcloud dies. Looking for solutions and noted yours. Do you like Box?

    antispam palindrome fail: ok arctic Try as I might I could not make “ok arctic” work as a palindrome. It looked so promising at first. I will never get those minutes back.

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