Image provided by Robert K. Elder

Remember that time your heart got smashed into a million little pieces? Remember? Sure you do. It’s OK. You’ve moved on.

And remember the song that perfectly encapsulated that horrific moment in your life? Or the song that reminds you of your grandparents or the song you listened to after your first kiss?

In his new book – it’s a journal, actually – The Mixtape of My Life local author and journalist Robert K. Elder encourages readers to think back to the music that helped shape their lives.

Elder is holding a launch party for the book on Sunday, April 29, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at School of Rock, 219 Lake St.

The event will feature Northwestern literature professor Bill Savage, who will discuss the Chicago Cubs and music; music writer Janine Schaults, who will give thoughts on Leonard Cohen; and writer Christine Wolf, who will discuss the band Supertramp.

School of Rock students will perform classic hits such as Queen’s “Fat Bottom Girls” and Pearl Jam’s “Alive.”

“It’s the cheapest form of time travel and the easiest way to evoke memories,” Elder tells Wednesday Journal.

Elder, who recently was named president and publisher of Blockchain News, has written seven books on a range of topics including film, comics and literature. He’s also written for publications including The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and The Chicago Tribune.

Elder has also written often about Ernest Hemingway and his ties to Oak Park. In 2017 he published an article in the Paris Review on his discovery of Hemingway’s first romance, Frances Coates, a fellow OPRF student.

He said his newest book “encourages people to write their life story through their music collection.”

The journal prompts readers to answer questions such as, “Who is an artist or what is a song you can’t listen to anymore because of a past romance?” and “What song do you want played at your funeral and why?”

More information about the book is available at


Join the discussion on social media!