Thursday, January 19, 2012

Björk from Iceland visits my studio via YouTube on Janis Joplin's birthday with a gift of creative energy / "You shouldn't let poets lie to you"

The YouTube video below is about all I know about Björk from Iceland: "You shouldn't let poets lie to you." (3:29).

If you have time, it is worth listening to all that she has to say in this interview from 24 years ago, before so many households had computers in addition to TVs and before flatscreen TV.

In the video, Björk's television is sitting on a table that reminds me of the kitchen table from my childhood! Did anyone else have a kitchen table with a red top and a silver-colored band at its edge? Our family of five ate around that kitchen table for many years.

* * * *

Today is Janis Joplin's birthday. She was born in 1943.

If you wish, you can listen once again to Janis singing "Me and Bobby McGee," which was written by her friend, Kris Kristofferson.

"Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

The first time I heard this song was the day Richard returned from Vietnam early in the morning on December 8, 1970. I've told this story before, but I will tell it again in today's context. We were both stoned on bad acid cut with speed, given to Richard by his older brother who was also a veteran and had been in Thailand a few years previously. It was just after sunrise, and we were in my pale blue-green (anyone remember that color?) VW bug, driving out to Half Moon Bay to surprise his family who had no idea that he had returned from Vietnam.

Here's a photo my sister took of me with my 1966 VW before Richard returned from Vietnam:

I can't remember which of us did the driving that early morning when we were 21 years old, but it was most likely Richard. He had survived a year in Vietnam while functioning on various drugs--marijuana, speed, LSD, heroin--for much of that time. He went through withdrawal from heroin in Vietnam and never used it again. That day I was unwillingly in touch with my total inability to handle drugs and was suffering from extreme paranoia and relentless hallucinations that lasted for about 24 hours. Janis' voice of experience and understanding, singing ("Busted flat in Baton Rouge, waiting for a train, feeling near as faded as my jeans...") from the car radio, broke through my shatteredness with about 4-1/2 minutes of relief from what was surely hell.

Janis Joplin had died the previous October 4th, alone like Amy Winehouse, suffering from alcohol and drug addiction. Jimi Hendrix, an Army veteran, had died under similar circumstances a few weeks before Janis.

Thank goodness for Janis' voice that day and always.

My surprise and relief at hearing Janis' voice singing a new song was much like that moment in my bewildering and often terrifying childhood, that moment when I was 6 or 7 years old, and my distress was interrupted by Mahalia Jackson's powerful voice, unafraid, coming from the television set.

It was like the moment I first saw Augustus Tack's painting titled "Liberation".

It was like the moment I learned about Ayin (nothingness/nothing left to lose) from a book and then was able to find that page again in that book this morning.

My creative energy is moving today.

One more chorus of Janis singing from her heart at 4:11 in the YouTube above:

... Lordy Lordy Lordy Lordy Lordy Lordy Lordy Lord
Hey, hey, hey, Bobby McGee

(That photo up at the top of this post was taken from my porch a few days ago when there was a sun break. Mostly we've been under a heavy snow-cloud cover. It was 50 degrees inside my home when I woke up at 5 a.m. this morning to begin work in the studio. It's almost 11:45 a.m. now. Almost 7 good hours in the studio! Time for my yoga practice and then some breakfast. I'm looking forward to a 4-mile walk in the snow with a neighbor, Jenny, this afternoon at 1 o'clock.)


Taradharma said...

beautiful beautiful landscape out your front door.

the picture of you and your vw -- you look so young and innocent! A sweet smile, and demur, downcast eyes. Wow.

That Janice would be in her late sixties blows my mind. I wonder what her work would have matured into had she lived. What a shame, and a waste. (only the good die young)

bev said...

So nice to come here today and find several new posts speaking of creative time in your studio, am. Enjoyed the little video clip from Iceland. We did not have a red table like that, but one of my uncles had an almost identical one in his cottage that was just down the shore from our cottage when I was growing up.

robin andrea said...

So much going on this post, it's like a sand painting that you stir after each paragraph. Each a gem, then gone.

Hayley Rose said...

Beautiful picture of you! Very interesting story- loved it- I too love Janis- and "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose" is one of my favorite quotes-great song- there's so much about her that is relate-able- aside from the addiction- I can relate to her pain of being an outcast -which likely led at least partially to that type of self abuse-
Interesting video clip- poets can be bad news I guess lol-

am said...

Taradharma -- Had no idea how innocent I was in those days. It is only in looking back that I can see the innocence. I remember when you posted a photo of you at that age on your blog. My recollection is that you are sitting next to a tree. You had that same look of innocence.

bev -- I've been wondering what you have been creating during your winter in Bisbee. Good to hear from you. One of my neighbors, in his 50s, also remembered those red tables (-:

robin andrea -- Interesting that you mentioned sand painting. The neighbor who remembered the red tables (see above) mentioned Tibetan monks coming to Half Moon Bay (where he used to live) each year to create sand paintings and then putting the colored sand in the ocean afterwards.

am said...

Hayley Rose -- It is strange what eating disorders do to one's mind. At the time of that photo, I weighed about the same as I weigh now, but I was pathologically obsessed with trying to lose weight. It was a revelation to me that when I stopped binging and throwing up, I didn't become morbidly obese or even gain any weight, as had always been my greatest fear.

Thanks again for your comments.