Monday, September 26, 2011

Mice Elf Again

I’m losing status at the high school
I used to think that it was my school
... All the pom-pom girls
Look down their nose at me
They had painted tons of posters
I had painted three

Status Back Baby
Frank Zappa

So today I was in a library. (I have completely lost my status at the libraries. I’m just a guy who likes books and nowadays libraries throw away books.)

Anyway, today I was in a library.

Over the weekend I read a book about Pink Floyd written by Nick Mason, the drummer from the group, and I read a book by a Famous Groupie who’d gotten her start “pulling” the group’s manager, and then turned her attention to poor Syd Barrett. (Everyone assumes Barrett went nuts from doing three or four acid trips a day, every day, but what if it was his affair with Jenny that pushed him into the twilight zone?)

It was time for me to return those books.

I managed to get into and out of a library without anything bad happening, but on the way out I saw that the library had set up a display of various Snow White books and one of the books had a beautiful cover. The cover was so beautiful I stopped and stared. Then I kneeled down to stare more closely. Finally I grabbed a picture of the picture on the cover because it was so beautiful. This picture:

Isn’t that great? I’ve talked about book illustrations before. The artists who do book covers are often vastly better artists than the artists doing graphic novels. That illustration is by Nancy Eckholm Burkert.

I didn’t check out the book—it was in a display—but I believe that image is “just” a color pencil illustration. But to my eyes that’s about as beautiful as an illustration can get. And from reading the comments over at Amazon, apparently a lot of people love the illustrations in this book. And, apparently, the version of Snow White by Randall Jarrell—a real writer—is a favorite of many people since he kind of ‘takes back’ the Snow White story from the Disneyfication variations that are so common today.

So today was a good day. It’s always a good day when you discover a new artist to look up and check out.

Today was good for another reason, too.

I want to thank you
For letting me
Be myself

A long time ago, some millionaire threw a birthday party for himself and he hired a super-famous band and when the band was performing, the millionaire got up on stage with them and sang a song with them. When you are super-rich and paying all the bills, even the cool musicians let you get away with jackass stuff like that.

I no longer remember who the millionaire was or who the cool band was or what song the guy sang with the band.

But when I talked about the story with my friend Linda, she asked me what song I would sing if I were rich enough to throw a party for myself and hire a famous band and sing along with them. I said I’d like to sing along with Sly Stone and sing, “I want to thank you, for letting me, be myself, again,” because I know I’m sometimes difficult to spend time with and I really do love everyone who puts up with me.

So I’ve always had a lot of affection for Sly Stone. Even though, of course, legend has it that he is, possibly, the most irresponsible performer in the whole pantheon of irresponsible pop stars.

Today the first news story I saw on the internet was the very sad story that Sly Stone is having all sorts of money problems and is something like homeless and living in a van.

And then later today—before I went to the library—I was chatting with a beautiful woman and I brought up the news story about Sly Stone and she didn’t remember, off hand, any of his hits. I said, “You’d know them if you heard them.”

So it became one of those moments. I was able to burst into song for a beautiful woman. And I did. I sang that bit: “I’d like to thank you, for letting me, be myself, again.”

It’s probably something like twenty-five years later, since I sang the words to Linda, but I still enjoy singing them. And I kind of suspect the woman I sang to today kind of enjoyed having someone burst into song while talking to her.

I’ve lost all my status at the libraries. But every now and then I get a little status back. Out there in the wild.

1 comment:

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