Sunday, January 15, 2012

A morning's work in the mystical studio / Martin Luther King's Birthday 2012

Yesterday someone from Ashtabula, Ohio visited my blog without commenting. I knew that because their visit showed up on my ClustrMap. According to the Wikipedia site, Jack Kerouac passed through Ashtabula in a Greyhound Bus in his novel On the Road, Ashtabula is listed as a train stop in "The Pilgrim (film)" by Charlie Chaplin, and the name Ashtabula means "river of many fish" in the Iroquois language.

Immediately my mind starting playing Bob Dylan's song "You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go."

"... I’ll look for you in old Honolulu
San Francisco, Ashtabula ... "

I found many many cover versions of that song on YouTube. Here are two I especially like:

For me, Bob Dylan's songs are mystical and wide open to interpretation. Bob Dylan loved how Jimi Hendrix took "All Along the Watchtower" and sang it his own way. Bob Dylan continues to reinterpret his own songs. He's done that as long as I can remember. At first the reinterpretations bothered me, but I got used to them years ago and began to appreciate the way a song has a life of its own and eventually had to accept that Bob Dylan could even choose to sing his songs in such a way that it is nearly impossible to know what he is singing.

"Old Man and Old Woman at the Ocean" is the gouache and watercolor painting at the top of today's post. Some years ago I had a clear vision of Richard and me as an old man and an old woman, reunited at the ocean. Maybe it was the ocean of compassion. Maybe it wasn't us at all. Maybe it was. Maybe "twas in another lifetime." Who knows? That must have been in the late 1990s when I was out of touch with Richard. The vision gave me hope. Someone else might see something different in this painting. Let me know if you do.


"Having a spiritual meaning or reality that is neither apparent to the senses nor obvious to the intelligence."
(from Merriam-Webster)

From that definition, could it be said that Zen koans sail into the mystic?

Here are life-long friends, Van Morrison and Bob Dylan:

Here's an older version of "Into the Mystic."

In my searching, I discovered that Jakob Dylan does a cover of "Into the Mystic" that can be found on YouTube.

And today, on Martin Luther King's Birthday in 2012, I learned this about Ashtabula on the above link to the Wikipedia article on Ashtabula:

"Ashtabula was founded in 1803 and incorporated in 1891. The city contains several former stops on the Underground Railroad which was used to convey African-American slaves to freedom in Canada in the years before the American Civil War. Among the stops is Hubbard House, one of the handful of termination points. Ex-slaves would reside in a basement of the house adjacent to the lake and then leave on the next safe boat to Canada, gaining their freedom once they arrived in Ontario."

"... Yer gonna have to leave me now, I know
But I’ll see you in the sky above
In the tall grass, in the ones I love
Yer gonna make me lonesome when you go."


"The working place of a painter, sculptor, or photographer."
(from Merriam-Webster)

I've been working in the studio since 5 a.m. this morning. It's 10:30 now. Creating these blog posts gives me the same feeling I get when I paint or draw or weave or write a poem.

"Work is love made visible."
(Kahlil Gibran)

“No work is insignificant. All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.”
(Martin Luther King Jr.)


Anonymous said...

About the painting: Outside two persons for a while regarding in the same direction with their own thinking, desire, perception inside us.

Taradharma said...

coincidence discovering Ashtabula on this significant day? I didn't know it was a stop on the underground railroad. Wow. I am reading an excellent book on President Madison's enslaved servant, Paul Jennings. It is a fully fleshed out portrait of life in America at the time.

I adore the young woman's version of the song -- what a new envisioning of it!

Thank you for your comments on my post today. You uplifted me.

Taradharma said...

oh, and my gosh, that Van Morrison just slayed me!

Here's a link to a Sacramento local band that I LOVE, playing All Along the Watchtower. Music begins at 1:33. You've got me in a Dylan mood today, and that's always a good thing.

The Solitary Walker said...

Wonderful, am.

Ashtabula: the name reverberates, and will go on reverberating.

"Into the mystic" — yes, Dylan, Van Morrison, others.

Wide-open, your post. Open and wide and significant. And connective.

Thank you.

am said...

Anonymous -- kjm? Is that you? Thanks to the person who wrote down this comment, if you aren't kjm.

Taradharma -- Thanks so much for the mention of Paul Jennings. I just looked on Google and found some of his book here:

Listening to other songs on that young woman's YouTube channel, I am guessing that she, too, suffered from domestic violence something like you and others witnessed today.

Thanks for the introduction to Walking Spanish via "All Along the Watchtower."

Solitary Walker -- Thanks for your appreciative comment. The connections do continue to nourish my spirit. All these years I have loved the idea of the (to me) seemingly random and almost mythical town of Ashtabula being rhymed with old Honolulu. Now there is more to love, more reverberations. I wonder if there is something reverberating about old Honolulu besides Barack Obama being born there in 1961.

Anonymous said...

I love how one thing leads to another, a spark lit by Ashtabula.

Anonymous said...

late to the party, and appreciating all this and those appreciating Ashtabula. The anonymous- another fan, not me. Your connections extend. kjm