Remember When

Pandemic singing

Remember when you were a pre-teen, or a teenager, and conversations revolved around just a very few things. How much you disliked (not really) your parents, or at least their rules. How you looked; hair, clothes, makeup, etc. Music, for me it was the time of the Beatles and all the other bands that came along as all the musical rules were broken. And it was about boys, at least for some of us, not so much for me.

I was not a popular girl, I didn’t have a clique, I was not thin or pretty. I was chubby and wore braces. At most schools – I changed schools a lot – I had one friend. Nobody thought I was funny or particularly smart and I didn’t work hard enough to prove them wrong. I started smoking young to try to be cool. It was the sixties after all, everybody smoked. It was cigarettes that gave me a blues voice, very different now.

I skipped a couple of grades and had a late in the year birthday so from junior high school on I was always much younger than those I went to class with. I don’t really remember ever dating in the traditional sense. I remember my first “boyfriend”, a bass player from Queens, when I was in tenth grade – I was 14-15. This only meant that we played music, hung out and smoked pot, there was no real dating involved. It did start a long line of crushes on musicians though, not sure I have outgrown that yet.

From that time on it was always in a pack. It was hippies, free love, the grateful dead, playing music and a tribe. And I never really gave any thought to what I might want in a partner, even though the subject comes up periodically amongst women and girls. I have been married three times and still, until recently, never actively or consciously thought about what I might want in a partner. I note here that I am partnerless and generally think I will remain that way. But it is interesting to think about the what ifs in life every now and again.

At this advanced time of life here is what I would wish for in my imaginary prince charming: someone who notices that I am wearing two different earrings, someone who notices when I get a haircut, someone who doesn’t mind if I sing all the time (preferably someone who can play music with me), someone who will travel the world with me and hold my hand all the time, someone who reads, someone who can fix things, someone who will cook for me every now and then, someone who will hold my feet on his lap along with the cat. Most important, someone who sees me and doesn’t mind me being who I am. Too much to ask I think, that’s why it is imaginary.

Things I Want My Son To Know #19 ~ Love Books

Learn to love reading. There is a world of knowledge and imagination out there. You are absorbed in the virtual and technological worlds. But you are missing the life of imagination you had as a child.

In every area of our lives technology has stripped us of imagination. There are fantasy worlds and fantasy games and fantasy movies; but those fantasies are spelled out for us. In those fantasies the people all look like movie stars or the anime creations of someone else’s imaginations.

On the internet you can look up anything you want to know about, you can find information but you can’t necessarily confirm its accuracy, currency or relevance. Anyone can publish on the internet, make themselves an expert and how would you know if they really are. You can track down credentials but do they publish a bibliography?

You cannot learn anything without reading, whether on line or off. In every area of your life there will always be things to learn. You can learn much by experience, but experts in everything put down in words what they have mastered about the thing you are learning about and how you can do the same. The experience of others is only transmitted by words, generally written (like this blog!). In order to excel at anything, you have to learn about it.

People always ask if I have seen movies made from books. I always want to read the book first and I am almost always disappointed by the movie. When I read fiction (which is not for everyone I realize), I am able to populate the world of the book with my own vision of the scenery, my own imagination creates how the people look; the author creates how they act. And so the book is the stage setting for my own fantasy, not that of anyone else.

Don’t lose the life of the imagination; read and create your own worlds. Don’t neglect the life of learning; the experiences of generations, experts and whole cultures documented for you. Books may be becoming obsolete but you should hold on to them as long as you can. And don’t believe everything you read.