Here’s a mix of twenty-one tracks to inspire and uplift, occasionally veering into the cornball but mostly keeping it real, including music by Oneida, Ella Fitzgerald and Desmond Dekker.
When I look back over the last few years, there’s sure plenty to get down about: floods, murder, war, personal hardships aplenty for my family and friends. Yet through it all I have continually returned to a more or less positive mindset that amazes even me. Maybe it’s genetic, or maybe it’s the way I was raised. I’ve had many differences with my father over the years, but one fundamental thing we agree on is the value of staying positive. Dad’s actually quite devoted to the philosophy articulated by Norman Vincent Peale in The Power of Positive Thinking. I’ve never actually read the book, but that hasn’t stopped me from forming an opinion. Peale’s philosophy seems too Pollyanna-ish, and indeed that’s my main criticism of my father — that he doesn’t seem to me to take seriously the pain and negative aspects inherent in this existence. For my part, I try not to shrink from harsh realities; I still nourish a great deal of anger over injustice in society, and the universe seems to me a basically absurd place. But I agree with Camus: “Crushing truths perish from being acknowledged.” At the end of the day, I share my father’s conviction that it’s important to stay positive. I really don’t have any other choice.