A Necessary Derailment

On Tuesday morning, I was happily chatting with a speaker for a webinar that I am producing, when the lights went out on my ability to speak. I mumbled to the client, “hang on”, and unable to find another word in my linguistically-inclined brain, I hung up the phone.

After a minute or so of staring at the cell phone in my hand as if it were a foreign contraption that I’d never held in my life, I fumbled as I prayed that God let me be okay for my family. When after a minute or so, words and actions re-converged into something that I could understand and act upon, I dialed 911.

I had a transient ischemic attack (TIA), a mini-stroke. I am just home from the hospital and tests show no further attacks are imminent. Yet, I find myself weepy with worry, relief, living, breathing, thanking, needing, aching, and love.

The ability to complete the tiniest task is monumentally awe-inspiring today. Tactile and auditory interactions with the world overwhelm me as I know that Tuesday could have been so much worse.


Steven Tyler/Joe Perry @BostonMusicAwards


#RitchieBlackmore #DeepPurple (far left) Boston.


#BuddyGuy/ V.L. Brunskill Boston

This morning someone shared a music video on Facebook, and as I listened to Steven Tyler croon out a tribute of Paul McCartney songs, I recalled years spent immersed in the music business. Images of those years flashed like a slide show-

  • The first time my husband met Steven Tyler at a press conference and Steven’s spirited, in-your-face greeting.
  • Buddy Guy‘s warm coaxing hand upon mine as he attempted to teach me a few guitar chords,
  • Ritchie Blackmore of Rainbow/Deep Purple strolling down a hotel hallway, leading a group of 15 to his impromptu birthday party.




However, more than those musical interactions, it was the  sweeping beauty of the music that sent my mind spinning with possibility, joy and revelry.

Once upon a time, Capitol Records gave me a thank you gift of two tickets to see Paul McCartney at Sullivan Stadium in Massachusetts. From the third row of the enormous arena, I wept as Paul’s iconic voice delivered lyrics that are engrained in our culture. “Yesterday, all our troubles seemed so far away.” As anyone who has ever listened to a favorite performer in concert knows, it is a memory so all-encompassing that it is difficult  to describe in words.

Recalling all of this, one day after experiencing such a significant health scare, I  realize that I have abandoned the melodies of my life. I have set aside the reverberations, rhythms and breathtaking vocals that gave me such joy and built my music journalism career. While I’ve been chugging along meeting life’s deadlines, my musical roots have waited patiently for me to rediscover their healing powers.

Sometimes it takes a derailment to rediscover the possibilities, and pleasures you left behind. Today, I want you to consider these questions-

  • What crucial task, hobby or habit have you left behind?
  • What joy have you given away?
  • What makes you happiest?
We are all but a breath away from losing our melodies.

Listen to your heart before a derailment makes it impossible to look away from what you are missing.

Hugs and blessings that you keep your joy close,

V.L. Brunskill

Follow me on Twitter- @RockMemoir
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Waving Backwards book trailer- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_ufjmq0l-U





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