Breathe out, tune in: Face down in the stacks

A woman lies on the ground in front of a bookshelf.
Crying is best served on the dirty Honnold-Mudd floor, according to music columnist Hannah Weaver SC ’24. (Hannah Weaver • The Student Life)

Dear reader, I write to you from Honnold-Mudd Library’s multi-tier stacks, lying on my stomach in one of the many aisles of books. I have specifically chosen an aisle on the level between the first and second floor due to its remoteness — I am unlikely to see a single other living soul during my time here. This makes it the perfect place to stretch out on the greyish-brown carpet and have a good cry. 

Now you may be wondering, “Hannah, how did you think to do such a thing?” To answer your question, I must credit a friend who was talking at lunch the other day about how she likes to lie down between bookshelves in the library and listen to guided meditation. I was greatly inspired by her idea and decided to put my own spin on it by going to a more private section of the library and listening to music.

Below you will find the playlist I compiled to accompany me on this journey. Of course, I recommend actually going to the library while listening in order to experience the full catharsis. These ten songs, however, can accompany most any crying session — particularly a stress-induced one. 

To listen along to the playlist, click here. 

“Sea, Swallow Me” by the Cocteau Twins, Harold Budd — I let go and let the Cocteau Twins’ wails lead me to the perfect spot betwixt the bookshelves. Though I’m not exactly sure what the lyrics are, they seem to be about wanting more from life, which feels appropriate. 

“I’m Not A Mountain” by Sarah Kinsley — Sarah Kinsley’s haunting voice mixes wonderfully with a violin that slowly builds in a way that will definitely get the tears flowing — speaking from personal experience. 

“Ave Maria, D. 839” by Franz Schubert, Renée Fleming, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Andreas Delfs — As you may have already come to see, this playlist is all about embracing melodrama, and what’s more dramatic than opera? And if I’m going to include opera, what better than a classic?

“Last Days: Non Voglio Mai Vedere II Sole Tramontare” by Oliver Leith, Matt Copson, Caroline Polachek, 12 Ensemble — Continuing on the opera theme, here’s the very same Caroline Polachek who did “So Hot You’re Hurting My Feelings,” now showing off her incredible versatility — and vocal range.

“Is It Cold In The Water?” by SOPHIE — As I lie on the ground, I imagine myself floating in a stream. I let the water and this hyperpop soundscape envelop me. 

“Haunted” by Laura Les — Ever since the iconic moment Lexi walked the halls of the “Euphoria” high school with this song blasting in her headphones, I’ve been obsessed. Conveniently, Laura Les’ shrieks in this song work just as well for a crying session as they do for a hallway strut.

“Crazy” by Doechii — Now is the time to translate my sadness into rage and embrace the absurd nature of it all. Maybe even laugh a little maniacal laugh. 

“Lost” by Zola Jesus “In my woods I find a spot / To forsake all that I’ve got” feels fitting of this nook I have carved out for myself in the library.

“Fetch The Bolt Cutters” by Fiona Apple — I have now spent a solid chunk of time on the ground, my face inches away from dusty Noam Chomsky books. I feel my time here is coming to an end — it’s indeed time to fetch the bolt cutters.

“Exit Music (For A Film)” by Radiohead — Arising from my stupor, I attempt to return to my impending deadlines. Thom Yorke guides me on my way up, reminding me to “breathe, keep breathing.”

Hannah Weaver SC ’24 enjoys being dramatic, but surprisingly, her only acting role was as Deputy #3 in a fifth grade production of “Bubba the Cowboy Prince.”

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