Sunday, July 12, 2020

More of one thing leading to another, with no beginning or end in sight / Gratitude for my mysterious parents














The Bob Dylan of my mother 

(am's chalk pastel drawing from the 1980s of Bob Dylan which my mother hung in a prominent place in the small home overlooking the Pacific Ocean in a tiny town in Mendocino County where she and my father lived for 25 years until her death in 1994 and where she listened to "Oh Mercy" during the final years of her complicated life.  My mother thanked me for introducing her to the music of Bob Dylan when I was a teenager in the 1960s.  My father told me during those same years, "You were a nice girl until you started listening to Bob Dylan."  My parents, the first people I knew, remain a mystery to me.  They didn't seem to have much in common and argued frequently.  It was only after they died that I felt safe enough to love them.  That process continues.)

Although I wasn't looking for current articles about Bob Dylan, this arrived in my email inbox today:

"... The Bob Dylan of my dad was the one that told the story of his life drifting, constantly changing in his perspective of being a rolling stone. My Dylan is the one who alludes to the wisdom and guidance to know that even through the years, we can stand confused and be transformed. As he even proposes in “Tryin’ to Get to Heaven,” a confident voice of only one thing: “When you think you’ve lost everything, you find out you can lose a little more ...”

"... The body of work that he has created is proof of time, of life experienced and lived against being analyzed, we’ve grown with him, and he has a perfect way of expressing it, like a medieval troubadour courting life, the perfect witness and acknowledging that there’s a Bob Dylan for all and that is where his greatness lies ..."

Tatiana Altagracia (click on her name to read the article)



Of course, not everyone is for Bob Dylan.  My father, for instance, thought that listening to Bob Dylan had ruined his firstborn daughter as she made her way through her teenage years.  He didn't understand that Bob Dylan's music brought to me what he could not bring to me -- validation of the creative woman I was becoming and yet, there was more to my father than met the eye.  I have come to understand that his life was as complicated and conflicted as my mother's.  Perhaps that is what they had in common.  Here is the gouache and watercolor painting of mine that he chose to hang in his living room until the last few years of his life when he moved to a smaller independent living apartment:

Calendar Series: 46th Month / Land Fish with Open Hearts Confronting Stranded Tool (1989)



Here are two views of one of the art works of my father who stated that he was not an artist:




















The gorilla that my father carved in redwood lives on my porch next to my abbreviated garden, which reminds me that my father expressed his love of beauty and design through gardening and landscaping.



My mother was an artist (look here, below my post for today, to see the mandalas she created that inspired mine) and a writer of poetry and short stories, although she abruptly stopped writing creatively in the late 1960s and began doing art work instead, beginning with learning to paint using watercolors and moving, over the years, to Japanese brush painting, silkscreening, batik, stained glass, and finally working at complex pattern knitting until the last days of her life.

When I was out walking in the past few days, I could feel the presence of my friends who have died and of Oboe.  It occurred to me to ask my parents if they wanted to walk with us and then I found it difficult to picture them walking with me.  As I write this, it becomes clear that my parents were not people who walked with other people.  I can picture them wishing me well but declining to walk with me.  What I want to focus on is that I sense that they wish me well.  I wish the same for them.  I know that I know nothing about their inner lives except what was expressed through their creativity.

The formatting elves are playing with my layout again  (-:

Be well.  Be safe.  The world is still being born.



Vocal, guitar and harmonica:  Terayama

3 comments:

Lilycedar said...

Parents are so complicated. I'm my children think the same of me. There is a divide between children and parents which prevents us from seeing each other as people. I have finally come to understand that my father did love me, he just didn't know how to show it. It's taken me twenty years though to come to this realization. I wish I could talk to him now.

Thanks for sharing with me.

ellen abbott said...

parents. childhood was happy until my mother committed adultery and got caught. they stayed together but my father became angry and my mother depressed and self centered. life changed irrevocably and not in a good way. they burned any love I had had for them out of me by the time I was 20.

I scrolled through your mom's mandalas and they are lovely. as for Bob Dylan, I've never really been a big fan of his or of folk music in general or poetry for that matter.

37paddington said...

Your parents gave you art. If you understand them through their creative selves, perhaps you have grasped the most essential part of them. Your mother's mandalas are lovely and you are an artist of true originality, I love that stranded tool series. I love that your dad also knew how special it is.