Music and Madness

Hello again.  I wanted to share with my small but attentive group of followers a really curious and perplexing change that has occurred in my life, related of course to the big life change with which I’m dealing.  It’s about music.  Not too critical, right?  Read on…

I haven’t said much in my posts about my family of origin and formative factors in my early years.  Without boring you by getting into a long description, I will say that I came from a large, loud, contentious and extremely unsettled family.  I’m the youngest of seven surviving children (two others died), with an overworked, overstressed, rage-filled, abusive and alcoholic father and an overtaxed, severely depressed, shut-in mother.  Fortunately, I was raised more by my caring siblings than by my parents – but there was no escaping the impacts of the madness that existed in that household.  To sum it up: my friends NEVER came to play at my house!  You get the idea.

Well, in that kind of environment, sanity and survival depend on both adaptability and finding escapes or diversions (both physical and emotional).  Starting as young as 6, I spent most of my days and evenings away from home – roaming the streets, at friends’ places, playing sports and games, etc.  I put off my return home as long as I could.  When I was in eighth grade, I found another type of diversion – music – which I embraced immediately.  I absolutely loved to fall under its spell – it helped me forget about my family madness and stirred my imagination as nothing else had.  I was VERY fortunate that I had an older sister whom I convinced to take me with her on her frequent visits into Georgetown (Washington DC) where she went to places like The Cellar Door and other intimate venues where top-notch talent played (I saw Clapton at Cellar Door).  Of course, the fact that I was well under drinking age was a bit of an obstacle, but one we always managed to overcome.  And yes, I drank, but never much – I was too enthralled by the music.  And a bit scared of the crowd as well.  Until I got older…

As you can guess, music became a life-long pleasure, shelter, comfort and calming influence for me.  I listen to music all the time (prefer vinyl at home, but any way I can get it is just fine), and really count on it to help me keep my equilibrium.  I still think of it as a shield against madness in my life – mine and others’.  So now to my dilemma: I have known and been in love with my wife almost 42 years.  Most of the music I prefer has come into my life during that time frame.  And, the memories and emotions associated with my music are very much wrapped up with her, our relationship and other related aspects of my life (my children, for instance).  And most of those associations and memories are rather painful to me right now.  So, when I’m down or needing some emotional transformation, I can’t really count on my music.  Every time I put on my headphones, I hear something that brings up painful memories and strong emotions about her – about US, really.

It’s a real challenge for me.  I miss my wife.  I miss us.  I miss my music.  I still listen and still love what I’m hearing.  It’s just a lot harder to enjoy.  I have to work at it; so, it has gone from a clear shelter to being something much more complicated.  I love it and need it, but….  I thought you might enjoy/understand better what I mean by looking at this picture. It’s my wife and me posing and playing in front of a Bob Dylan poster.  It was taken quite recently – October 2016 – on a three day trip to “Oldchella” in the desert near Palm Springs.  Great trip; we look happy, right? This was less than three months before our split.  Complicated.  Here’s the pic: Dylan Poster/OldchellaI wrote a poem about all this, entitled “Tangled Up In Blue” (one of my favorite Dylan songs).   The link is here…Tangled Up In Blue

Long post; sorry.  Hope you enjoy the poem nonetheless.  Talk soon.


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