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Palko POV: Any Three Notes

This fall, I’ve been visiting each of the center's eight different internship teams for one of their meetings, luxuriating in the opportunity to enjoy a behind-the-scenes peek at their work. It’s unsurprising but still fascinating to see the personality of each team reflected in the interns, most of whom are new to me each year, just as it is in the staff members mentoring them, most of whom I know quite well by now. 

Recently, I hung out in our conference room on a Tuesday evening, the sky outside those iconic round windows turning many shades of blue, tinged with pinky orange, before settling on an inky hue. The Iris team was workshopping their contributions to the latest issue. As they moved around the table, someone noticed that, thematically, the nostalgic power of music wove among the individual offerings, drawing unexpected connections.

As the students explained MCR and the importance of its recent reunion to me, I remembered deplaning one April day from a week in Spain to learn of Kurt Cobain’s death. They extolled the power of Spotify playlists and waxed nostalgic for the mixed tapes that are older than they are (how did that happen?). And I remembered a CD that lives in my car. A friend burned it for me nearly 20 years ago, and any three notes from it instantly remind me of that season of my life.

I confessed to the Iris team that their internship is the one I most wish I had done in college…

After they left, Mary (their incomparable editor – thank you for the quiet fierceness with which you mentor them, Mary!) and I were chatting, and I tentatively asked, “Might they want a freelance piece from me?” Reader, they said yes! Read on to learn what’s on my mixed CD.

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