Tuesday, January 3, 2017

ASK ME ABOUT MY BRAIN INJURY

Could brain injury have sparked soldier's rampage in Afghanistan?



"The U.S. Army staff sergeant who allegedly murdered 16 Afghan civilians in a dead-of-night spasm of shooting, ....is reported to have suffered a traumatic brain injury during a deployment to Iraq in 2010.

Research on traumatic brain injury has established a clear link between brain trauma and irritable, aggressive behavior that can be explosive, often without apparent warning or provocation. Sometimes, brain injury magnifies a victim's longstanding tendency toward irritability, depression or hostility. Some brain traumas bring personality changes in their wake, causing even laid-back types to become irascible and impatient." (LA Times 3/13/12)

It is worth noting that brain injury, especially in the front of the head/prefrontal cortex does cause a person to lose their sense of inhibition. Modern medicine now has the ability to save lives when people sustain a traumatic brain injury, but we need to put as much time and money and assistance into the other side of the recovery, and not expect TBI folks to go about their lives like they did before. 

Paul Williams, in his office in Encinitas. Two months after his brain injury and still in outpatient rehab


My experience with my husbands injury was such that they sent him home after two months of care, one month of ICU, then another month of In-Hospital-Rehab. Then one day the doctor announced to me, "good news, we will be sending your husband home with you tomorrow". 

I didn't know what to say. I was stunned.  Just the day before, Paul had screamed at a nurse and stayed up all night wandering the halls and then he failed his "making brownies and cooking strategies" test. A week before he had jumped out of bed, had a blood pressure drop, keeled over backwards and was wheeled out to the emergency room again. His face was still black and blue from his head slamming on the linoleum floor.

I didn't know the first thing about taking care of a person recovering from a brain injury. The thought of the responsiblity was too much. Looking at the doctor my turned pale. I could barely take care of myself, what were the doctors thinking...no I knew what they were thinking "we can't justify to his health insurance company why he has to be here longer".  

I asked the doctor for more time. He gave me 2 days and then we brought him home. I'd also asked for Paul to see a neurologist to see what he was capable of on his own,... at this time no one had asked to take his drivers liscense away or even suspend it. And Paul thought he was ready to get right back into his routine. For a while, I had to be clever about hiding car keys. 

The car thing stunned me. How could the government not require a driving test from someone who'd had 5 centimeters of their brain removed. Everyone assumed he was good to go

A friend of a friend was an eye doctor for our health provider. At a party I shared with him I was really concerned about what kind of blind spots Paul might have and whether we could find a way to suspend his liscense at least until we knew if he was a cogent thinker again. This doctor friend checked Paul's eyes and said, "he's got a big blind spot on his right side but that just means he'll have to turn his head around to see what's over there. Otherwise, he's good to go!" 

That was it. Everyone agreed, he was good to go. Other than a brain surgery buzz cut hair-do he looked like himself. He looked okay. Except, I could see the difference. Like: he wouldn't quite look you in the eye when he talked to you/he was sort of in another hazy-world. After the sun went down he would talk incoherently-this is called sundowning. And, he was a terrible driver-sometimes thinking an off ramp was just an extension of the right lane.

Some of these symptoms changed or went away in the six months post injury. I was told the first six months was when most of the recovery would occur, and that was mostly true. Because Paul had such a high IQ before the injury he faired better than most. His brain surgeon had even joked that with luck and with Paul's 180 IQ he could 'afford to lose a few brain cells and still be a genius'. And that 'folks with high IQ's often fair better after a brain injury'.

The nurses told me "whatever personality traits he had before, he will still have, but they may be played out more dramatically, more emphasized". This advice turned out to be mostly true. 

So in Paul's case he was quick to anger, was very impatient and liked to lecture. That looked like this: yelling at the security check person at the airport (pre 911) and getting his luggage examined, pushing a hefty security guard at a Los Lobos concert and getting collared and thrown out, talking non-stop with breathless run-on sentences during sharing time at a Buddhist meditation retreat, yelling at a meditation "expert" and calling the guy an asshole (the guy was full of himself and i rather liked this one), or wearing his bicycle helmet to the national booksellers convention with the words Ask Me About My B.I. written on it (this was a good one, B.I. meaning Brain Injury), yelling at the top of his lungs at a Belgian train station "I hate fucking Belgian Trains!" because it didn't follow the schedule precisely. 

On the note of the Belgian train...we sat near an Austrian couple who noticed Paul was snappy and impatient with the conductor. I noticed their discomfort. Embarrassed and thinking we'd just entered Ugly American territory, I explained to them he'd recently had a major brain injury and this is what a miracle-recovery case looked like. The man's reply was, "he should still behave himself." 

I had no idea how to handle Paul in these situations. (I wasn't from a family with rage issues). And I wasn't an occupational therapist, but I was thrown into the role of being just that. Where was the book, How To Handle Your Brain Injured Beloved Spouse in 5 Easy Steps.

I think of all the advancements made in battle-zone medicine. It's a heart breaking job for families with brain injured soldiers (and it's all gonna fall on the families) coming home from war zones. Spouses and sons and daughters rejoining families and then hospitals and then rehab and then looking normal but really, not being the same. Not being the same at all.



Monday, January 2, 2017

Just Like Starting Over

This was my goodbye letter to 2009, one of my life's toughest years. This year now, 2016 has been a collective tough one, having lost so many cultural heroes and icons (for me the loss of Prince, Carrie Fisher, Leonard Cohen and Gene Wilder were particularly sad). But no amount of loss will take the place of the awfulness of finally coming to terms with the fact that my wonderful brilliant husband and companion, Paul Williams was never going to get better. No amount of my wishing and fixing would bring back the broken neuro-highways of his brain. This post in 2010 was the beginnings of acceptance that my life, our families life was forever changed. And there is some degree of relief and peace in that acceptance. 


January 2010:
I'm happy. Really, I can't remember the last time a change of decade made me so happy. It's like looking at the house you've been living in for the last 10 years-- on the outside-- for the first time, noticing its windows and doors have fallen off and it's on a cracked slab-- and wondering how you did it.

I really feel like I'm starting over, all over again. I've noticed, I do seem to run my life in 10 year cycles, though involuntarily, with the end of times happening on the nine year and
starting anew on the one.

For example, a New York boyfriend and I broke up at the end of 1989 and I started my new life in 1990 moving back out west. Or.... Paul and I broke up in 1999, lived apart for a year, I found a new life for awhile in Los Angeles, dated some interesting guys had some fun times, wrote songs and then a year later Paul and I found out we still wanted to be together. 

The first time I crashed on a nine year was in 1979. I was in an unknown garage punk band and living in Hollywood (aka Hollow ood), we called ourselves The Stoopuds. I lived with the guitar player who was 23 and his girlfriend Jane, who was 45 in a studio apartment on Hollywood Blvd. Life sucked, but so what. I thought that was the "dues you must pay" to make it, or at least to be a real punk like our neighbor Darby Crash. The dues I paid actually turned out to be a severe depression I fell into after the bass player tried to kill himself with a safety blade razor and got into a car wreck because I wouldn't be his girlfriend. So much for making it at 20. I moved back home to little Ramona and tried to pull myself out of my first depression without medication. I did do it, but it took about 5 years. Antidepressants work so much better and you don't have to lose all those precious years. But I didn't know that back then. 

At any rate, I'm at the start of a new cycle. I'm feeling excited and hopeful, things are looking up. In September I'll be touring Italy and in June Alexander and I are going to the east coast for a family and friend vacation (and probably a few shows). I've got the start of a new album brewing, having written about six new songs in the past six months. It's finally getting easier to do things for myself, having spent so many years care giving. 

Some of my friends expected me to cut loose and start partying and dating once Paul got placed in a nursing home but it didn't work that way for me. The past six months has been a kind of inward journey which has been good for my writing. I think I felt bad, even guilty, living an independent life while my partner was losing it to dementia in a stinking nursing home. I suppose it's the survivors guilt syndrome. Just give me a year and maybe I'll become a celebrity party queen like Tiger Woods adulteress, Rachel Uchitel, who lost her first husband in the World Trade Center attack on 9/11.....or not. At any rate, life starts anew.

Happy New Year 2010. 
hugs and kisses, cindy lee b

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Maybe It Was The Dimming Of The Light

Maybe it was the dimming of the light as I drove east. Maybe the last 48 hours of an anxious, hateful, unpredictable election. But probably it was the Yo La Tengo song I heard, for the first time, wafting out of my radio speakers in the car. The sound of a woman's soft voice, groovy drums, a bass part from an aquatic whale tank.
Sometimes the lighting, the sound and a mood comes forth that breaks the crystalized atmosphere of what is and you see backwards and forwards at the same time, many years with ease. A kind of transcendence that cracks your personal sky open. 
I had that this evening. I had the experience of myself in 1995, living a life with Paul Williams; making music, writing a book, enjoying our shared lives together, back in a flash and meeting the me of right now. It was amazing and heartbreaking. I had the cry of a lifetime, I'll call it a Unicorn Cry, that kind that brings back your feeling of wholeness. I wasn't even afraid to continue crying when I saw my friends. I told them, don't be afraid, Im okay, and thank you for letting me share with you my Unicorn.


Monday, September 26, 2016

LOVE AND THEFT AND JIM MORRISON (originally posted 1/6/2010)



So what does become of a Love Life when the spouse goes into a nursing home? And you aren't 70 years old. And you have an eight year old child. And you're not even old enough to look back fondly on all the years gone by from your retirement recliner (does retirement exist anymore for anyone out there, post 2009?).

Sometimes I feel ripped off. I used to think, when I was a young adult, that when bad things happened to people it was because they brought it on themselves somehow. I'm not sure how, but it was their fault. I got involved with a group of older friends that believed that thoughts can be things. So I quickly surmised that it'd been my fault somehow that my mom died of cancer when I was eight years old. Was it my fault then, that Paul fell in love with me, moved to Encinitas, rode his bike to the Post office to turn in our 1995 taxes and fell off his bike on the way home?

The sun rises on the good and the evil, and it rains on the just and unjust. (Matthew 5:45) Then there is this line from Jesus' Sermon on the Mount. Good and bad things happen to both good and bad people. I don't think it's the hand of god, it's just the nature of things, like entropy-things fall apart.

Speaking of falling apart I'm worried about Paul's teeth. I got a look at his gums and now I realize he hasn't been brushing and no one at the nursing home is looking after his teeth. So I'm gonna have to go on the gentle war path again and set up a meeting and make sure they are standing over him while he brushes. I figure the home is used to the old guys in their 90s and who cares if they lose their teeth, but Paul is 61 and I'm sure he'll live another 40 like his parents, so lets keep them. And I made an appointment for him to get one of those damned root planings, that we all hate, but saves our teeth.

Yesterday I had to hustle Paul back to his nursing home after I took him out for a smoothie. I was in a rush so I could make it to work on time. I pulled him along to the car trying to get him to walk quicker. Do you remember the "old guy" in the Carol Burnett Comedy Hour, that shuffle walked with tiny little old man steps? That's what I'm dealing with. Paul got testy and yelled "Stop pushing me". It was the old Paul and I was happy to see the old temper flare up. He was never someone to push around.

There are a number of great stories of Paul's famously volcanic anger. My personal favorite was when he and Jim Morrison of the Doors were on a commercial plane ride together in the 1960s. Paul, very enthusiastic about a new Thomas Pynchon book, The Crying of Lot 49, he'd just read and had in hand, talked to Morrison about the book and then gave him his copy during the flight. The plane landed and they disembarked from the plane, down one of those outside staircases you see pictures of The Beatles waving from. As they were walking down the stairs Paul noticed that Jim Morrison didn't have the Pynchon book on him. Incensed, he screamed at Morrison and made him go back on the plane and retrieve the book. Morrison did as he was told.

Paul later got to march and cock rifles on Unknown Soldier. He actually liked the Doors quite a lot but thought of Morrison as a bit of an asshole and a drunk- but with amazing stage presence. And he was a very good friend of their producer Paul Rothchild. 




Thursday, September 15, 2016

LIKE FLOWERS FOR ALGERNON

Some reworking and editing of a post from 6/25/10

Paul's new glasses came in today. I'll take a picture this weekend and put it up. I was too tired and hungry after work to go over to the nursing home and put them on him, plus I'm going to need to put his name or his initials on the arms so they lose any potential "resale" value.

Do you ever wonder why it is that some aspect of your life turned out to be like a significant book you read as an adolescent? That would be Flowers For Algernon (Daniel Keyes) in my case.

In short, the story is told from the perspective of a man who had been born mentally disabled and undergoes an experimental surgery, which increases his intelligence. Through his journal entries you follow along with his increased abilities and eventually his slow deterioration back into his disability.

When I was in the eighth grade we had to read the short story, it was in our textbook and I was stunned that something so good could be in a schoolbook. (Apparently it won the Hugo Award for best science fiction story in 1960) I bought the full-length novel and dove in. Originally published in 1966 it became a joint Nebula Award winner for best novel. But I wouldn't have known or cared about that stuff then.

It was the 70s and I had arrived at the age where the first child of the family adventures out on their own into new and unknown radio territories. I must admit, though I loved music, I was very naive and unhip about what was going on in the world of pop. But I found a new station with the whirl of a dial that I dug deeply, and it became the soundtrack to Flowers For Algernon.

Here's a list of some of the songs I fell in love with: Eighteen With A Bullet, Me and Mrs. Jones, Using Me ('til You Use Me Up), Ben (especially poignant since it was about a rat and Algernon was a mouse), Shaft, What's Goin' On, Backstabbers....

The other station I listened to occasionally and when I wasn't reading the book had a few good songs but some dumb ones too. I liked The Needle And The Damage Done even though it was a scary song about drugs and I hated a song about a guy named Guitarzan. There was also a lady that sang about how terrible it was going to be to turn 17 (Janis Ian), dang it was gonna be depressing apparently.

So I stuck to my newfound radio station. I didn't realize at the time that it was for young black urbanites. For me these new songs were the sound track to this grand novel I'd discovered.


The parallel: When Paul had his bike accident way back in 1995,  I was with him through all of the various forms of rehab. Even then I thought occasionally of the book parallel. Paul's doctors said his recovery from such a devastating brain injury was miraculous.

I watched Paul go from his early days in rehab, answering simple questions about the date and the president to his later rehab days of having intellectual conversations with the cognitive therapist, her saying to me "There's no reason for him to be here".

Then in the past 6 years the slow, unstoppable descent into dementia. Flowers For Algernon the book had been my white mouse, doing a dry run before the real thing.

I don't see it all as a complete loss. We had eight years together after his brain injury where he lived a normal life as a writer, lover and father. And I don’t see it as a simple tragedy. Even the character Charly, knew he had done something very important for humanity, even in his final days of blissful naivete.

Paul enjoys looking at his books now and sometimes reads passages from them. Last year I asked him if he missed writing, he gave it careful thought and answered flatly, "no". And I could see he was alright with that.

He wrote more than 30 books. His words and perspective live on through them.


Sunday, September 4, 2016

PART 2: PAUL S WILLIAMS BIO PIC--The Crawdaddy Magazine Years

Paul starts CRAWDADDY! Magazine January 1966 out of his dorm at Swarthmore College. But by the fourth copy he has dropped out of college, moved back to Boston and gotten a little bit of funding from his grandfather Phil Williams, who wanted to support his grandson's burgeoning business. We pick up the story from there...


15. Paul sez “Jon Landau, certainly one of the best and most influential critics of the rock era, debuted as a rock writer in the fifth issue of CRAWDADDY!, September 1966. Paul now back in Boston was going to Club 47 three nights a week and hunting down rock and roll shows where ever he could,the rest of the week. Flipping for bands like The Animals’ two hour show at Rindge Tech, The Rolling Stones at Boston Garden and Lynn Football Stadium, The Beatles at Suffolk Down “plainly audible, beautiful to look at, and confirmation that we—and I—existed as a special body of people who understood the power and the glory of rock ‘n’ roll.” 


Jon Landau: "during those few short years we changed each other's lives--he certainly changed mine more than the other way around.  From the day he walked into the old Briggs and Briggs Records and Instruments store in Harvard Square, where I was a high school student with a summer job behind the counter, we started talking and talking and talking about music, music, nothing but music.  He was trying to get the store to carry the first issue of Crawdaddy! and I convinced my boss to let him put it by the register. When he came back the following week, I had read it and I volunteered.  With my classic teenage arrogance, I announced that I could do better than any of the writers in that issue, including him.  He responded,  'Ok, Mr. Bigmouth, give it a try'  Which is how I came to be a rock critic." 

16. Between the fifth and sixth issues Paul took a 2,200 miles “mostly business trip”, hitchhiking from Boston to New York, Cleveland to Chicago, and Wisconsin and back. In Chicago on a blues fan’s pilgrimage Paul stopped at Chess Records’ recording studios which resulted in a full page ad in CRAWDADDY! and an assignment to write the liner notes for new albums (each called More Real Folk Blues) for artists like Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, and Sonny Boy Williamson. When Paul gets back to Boston a local magazine distributor has ordered 2,000 copies of the sixth issue, which now has a print run of 2,800 copies (up from 1,500 copies of the previous issue).

17. The Sixth Issue of CRAWDADDY! was published Oct 20, 1966 (the first issue of Rolling Stone debuted November 1967), in a print run of 2,800 copies, up from 1,500 copies of the previous issue. Paul writes, “….sales of the fifth issue had been good enough to attract the interest of a local magazine distributor who ordered 2,000 copies of the sixth issue. Tim Jurgens, a young subscriber from San Francisco moved to Boston to help out as an editorial assistant. Paul wrote, “ I don’t think I could have made it through the next few months of the magazine’s progress and rapid growth without Tim Jurgen’s friendship and hard-working support”.


18. In mid November CRAWDADDY! moved to New York City. Paul writes in The Crawdaddy Book (Hal Leonard), “The new office was a big second-floor room overlooking Greenwich Village (I used to spend a lot of time sitting on the ledge of a large open window with headphones on, watching the endless parade of people walking across Sixth Avenue and Third Street)." The room had previously been a guitar shop called Fretted Instruments, and the walls “were pleasantly lined with natural-looking pine planks installed by the former tenant”. “All of us (additional staff persons came along soon) did much of our work on a huge table in the center of the office. There was a small back room with no windows (halfway up the stairs from the street) where Tim Jurgens (the assistant editor, also from Boston) and I slept,” Paul writes in the Crawdaddy Book. An article was written in the Village Voice of CRAWDADDY’s arrival, it was just the beginning of a lot of press attention.

Paul in Newsweek

19. Ralph Gleason from the San Francisco Chronicle wrote on January 1967, “The most interesting publication in the U.S. covering the rock scene is a magazine called Crawdaddy….it is devoted with religious fervor to the rock scene.”


20. The seventh issue of CRAWDADDY! came off the press the first week of December ’66. There weren’t many ads yet but there was a new look. The typeface inside had changed, Paul was now leasing an IBM “Executive” typewriter, the resulting page looking more like other magazines of that era, “Instead of looking like a letter from a friend typed on an ordinary typewriter”, writes Paul. 
The seventh issue is notable in hindsight for its opening sentences raving about the Doors (“the best new band I’ve seen this year...”)—the first mention of the Doors in a national publication. Paul had been given an acetate of the Door’s forthcoming album after he watched them make a promo film at the Elecktra office for their first single, Break On Through to the Other Side”. Paul had befriended their producer Paul Rothchild, at a Loving Spoonful show back in Cambridge at Club 47. 
The list of writers that wrote for CRAWDADDY! expanded. Paul said, “Crawdaddy! didn’t have any money to pay its writers, so writers wrote for us mostly as a way of communicating their enthusiasm for, the music they loved”. Sandy Pearlman and Richard Meltzer both came from Stony Brook, Long Island, Peter Guralnick and Jon Landau from Boston, David Hartwell was a childhood friend from the world of science fiction, an illustrious list of writers, rock producer/managers and editors that would all make their mark in the world of popular culture.
In the Crawdaddy Book, Paul writes: 
“Before we finished putting the next issue together, I made my first ever visit to California (thanks to a mid-sixties phenomenon called Youth Fare, which provided half-price airfare to those under twenty six). In LA I met the Buffalo Springfield and saw them do a great show at the Whiskey A Go-Go, and I spent a few days with Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys and attended a recording session for the never-finished SMiLe album. In San Francisco I was very impressed by Big Brother and the Holding Company at the Arc in Sausalito, and Moby Grape at the Avalon Ballroom, and Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead New Year’s Eve at the Fillmore. It was a good time to be a young music lover.”

In December Paul spent several days as a guest at Brian Wilson’s home in the Hollywood Hills. It was during the wildly creative Smile era and Paul stayed in Brian’s tent, which was in a sand box in his living room, next to the piano. The first time Paul smoked pot was with Brian in this oriental style tent. Brian played Paul the early acetates of Heroes and Villains and some of the other SMILE songs, which were never officially released. One day Paul spent time with Brian and the Beach Boys at the studio and remembered singing odd sounds and noises on one track (probably “Barnyard”-ed). And Paul was witness to this moment: “I was visiting a Beach Boys recording session in Dec. 1966 when Carl Wilson walked in with a record he’d just bought, something he’d fallen in love with during the group’s recent trip to England (Gimme Some Lovin’ by the Spencer Davis Group). He put it on a turntable eager to hear it--stopped after a minute and tried again--then grabbed the record and broke it over his knee in fury. He’d just discovered that the American record company had remixed the song in an attempt to make it more appealing to the U.S. market.”

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Bio Pic: Paul S Williams

Paul Williams: THE BIO-PIC--Part 1
(originally posted March 8, 2010)

1. Film begins with footage of the first atomic bomb. Parents meet and fall in love at Los Alamos both employed by the Manhattan Project under Oppenheimer. Robert Williams a young physicist, is invited to come watch the detonation of the worlds first atomic bomb. Women are not allowed near the test site but Paul’s mother Janet and a girlfriend sneak away and drive down to White Sands where they watch the explosion, from a safe distance, hidden behind boulders.

Janet Williams and her best friend Heidi Sitte. Janet is here holding young Paul. Both Janet and Heidi's husbands were physicists that worked together in Colorado, after Bob Williams Manhattan Project years. 

Kurt Sitte and Bob Williams (Paul's father) in the 1940s. Kurt was a Czech Jew who had escaped from a Nazi concentration camp. He was later arrested by the Israelies for spying for the Czech (communist) government. After Kurt was arrested Heidi and Paul's father left their spouses for one another, only to have Heidi die young of liver cancer. Some family members think Heidi was Bob Williams 'only true love'. 

2. Paul was brought up in Cambridge but lived a short year of his childhood in Princeton where his dad taught Physics….at age 5 Paul was left to “babysit” his 2 younger brothers and decided to walk them several streets from home to a library. His youngest brother changed his mind midway while crossing a busy intersection and refused to budge. A friend of the family happened by and scooped up and saved the 3 young children. Janet, Pauls mother said “Paul was so mature at that age, he seemed fully capable of caring for his brothers”.

3. Paul teaches himself to read at age three while looking at old 78 RPM records. His father said he was tired of reading the names to him and Paul taught himself the names. By age 4, it is said, Paul would read the New York Times while being driven to nursery school.

4. Paul, age 5, writes a note to his mother one day “ Dear Mom, I have gone to Clinton’s house, but don’t be surprised if I’m home, because Clinton may not be home”. She sends it to the New Yorker where he has his first piece of writing published in the Talk of the Town column under the title “Logician”.

5. According to family legend, by third grade it is discovered that Paul has an exceptional mind and is given an IQ test, the score is 180. His parents move him to a private grammar school in Cambridge. He has trouble fitting in at school no matter where he goes and once admitted that kids called him “spaz” because his hand would fly up for every question. 
Paul around the time his father left the family for Heidi Sitte. He felt the weight of having to be the responsible one now, even though he fought with his mother bitterly on most issues. He told me of her suicide attempt, with pills, after his father left. 

6. In sixth grade Paul starts a newspaper, The Sunlight Herald.

7. At 15 he attends his first Science Fiction convention, soon after he starts a Science Fiction Fanzine called “Within”.

8. Age 16, Paul graduates from Browne and Nichols and decides to go to Swarthmore College. According to his mother he’d been offered a full scholarship from Stanford, where his father and grandfather had both graduated, but he turned
it down… “I didn’t want to be lured into the whole bay area music scene, I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to concentrate on my school work.”

9. Paul becomes a DJ for the Swarthmore radio station. Paul has an argument, a disagreement in philosophy class with his professor, the man gets so riled up he threatens to kick Paul out of the class. Then Paul begins his first issue of CRAWDADDY Magazine from his dorm, two fellow college students contribute to the first issue. The name CRAWDADDY! came from Paul’s admiration of the UK music club where the Rolling Stones got their start.

10. After the first mimeographed copy of CRAWDADDY! is printed, Paul gives away as many copies as he can by hand, he receives a phone call at his dorm from Paul Simon who thanks him for his wonderful writing on the single “Homeward Bound” and praises him for writing intelligently about rock and roll.

11. One day while walking into his dorm a student yells out “Hey Williams! You got a phone call from Bob Dylan”. Dylan had read the latest issue of CRAWDADDY! and liking it invited Paul to come and hang out back stage at a show on the Blonde on Blonde tour. He also offers Paul an interview.

12. While attending Swarthmore Paul heard that his friend Richard Farina had died (Paul met him at a club in Philly where he was gigging and asked Richard for permission to reprint some of his writing in CRAWDADDY!, they hit it off) … there was to be a funeral for him in Carmel, CA. Hoping to catch a free ride on a cargo plane Paul is stopped in the airport and confronted by a Philadelphia police officer who calls him a hippy. A few hours later Paul is in jail and the next day in court for assaulting a cop. Paul told me the whole thing got thrown out when they realized that as he said “my glasses assaulted the cops fist.”

13. Unable to concentrate on his school work at Swarthmore…he moves back in with his mother in Belmont, MA where he starts his fourth issue of CRAWDADDY!, issue five would include writings by Jon Laundau a clerk at the local record store, Briggs And Briggs. Landau becomes someone that Paul would consult on music and current record releases. At some point Paul’s grandfather decides CRAWDADDY! is a good investment and pumps a little money into the paper, encouraging his grandson to start a business like he had, he’d manufactured a device called “the sniffer” which sniffed out gas leaks.

Paul gave free copies of his first few issues of CRAWDADDY! out to music fans
at the Newport Folk Festival. Here he is watching with zeal, Howlin' Wolf, with Grace Slick
looking over his way. He wasn't on stage here, just a fan standing around the stage, trying to catch an upclose of a great performance. 

14. Issue number 4 had Bob Dylan on the cover with a now widely reprinted article called “Understanding Dylan”. Paul ambitiously takes handfuls of copies of CRAWDADDY! to sell at the 1966 Newport Folk Festival where Jack Holtzman of Elektra Records bought a complete set. Elektra was to begin advertising in CRAWDADDY! with the next issue. There is a well known picture of Howlin’ Wolf performing at the festival that year, the photo includes a clear image of Paul behind him. He is also seen in the film “Festival” dancing with a young black woman during Wolf’s set.

(photos of Janet and Bob Williams courtesy of David Williams)