Monday, October 27, 2014

This Morning I Awoke From A Dream, That Was The Second Of Two

This morning I awoke from a dream, that was the second of two.
The first of which was drawn out confused.
But the second
had Paul
and Lou.

He had just flown in from somewhere.
I wanted to spend time with him but I knew he was here on assignment.
We hugged and exchanged words and looked forward to the time we'd spend later.
But he was here specifically to interview and hang with, and get to know better, Lou Reed.

There were some handlers around Lou and I had to let my time with Paul go
so he could move into that inner circle they puttered about for a while then
left for the warehouse kingdom that Lou resided in.

Some time later, at a social event and a bar I caught back up with Paul.
We embraced and I noticed his energy was different. He seemed very far away.

"What's going on with you Paul?" I asked
But I knew already what he was going to say, before he mouthed the words.
It was something I'd thought a lot about.
How do you create more joy, bliss in your life.

"I need a lot of bliss in my life, really a lot. " he said.
A man with a blue dress on, long eyelashes and shimmering pink eye shadow walked by and
we were quiet for a few minutes, in contemplation.

"You want to go back in there with Lou don't you" I said.
He nodded in affirmation.

"I have been looking at the places I have joy in my life" I said to him
 "things like playing music, spending time with certain friends, writing songs,
children, creativity. "

He said again for emphasis, "I need a lot of bliss". 

I knew what he was referring to, on some level, and knew that meant our time
together was over. No one could administer that much continual good time feeling even
with a full supply of liquid bliss via IV.

I wished I had it again. That kind of bliss you have for just a little while, when
you are floating, soaring above all of mankind's woes with someone very special,  on a lovers pink cloud. It's a sand painting though, within a year the wind blows it away. If you are lucky, and
i have been, you are left with something wonderful and livable and sustainable underneath.
The floor boards of reality.

"I guess that means you are breaking up with me, we are breaking up" I concluded.
I looked at him angrily, took his chin in my hand and pulled it my direction. But his eyes
were looking another way. A far away place.

I felt lost and suddenly abandoned. He wasn't leaving me for anyone in particular
he was just leaving, and wherever that place was he was going, so was Lou.
Though he'd already apparently, been gone for awhile, It hadn't seemed permanent
until now.  I was losing a best friend, a companion.

At dreams end I'd come into acceptance, hugged him goodbye,  and left him there in that airport bar. An airport with planes to a far away land, places that I can't go, and no one can, still living.

When I awoke it occurred to me that Lou Reed passed away a year ago today and that Paul passed exactly 19 months ago today. God bless and enjoy that bliss dear ones.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

David Anderle, Paul Williams and Smile (an appreciation)

When I met Paul Williams (rock journalist, mastermind of Crawdaddy Magazine, man who was later to become my husband) at a Bob Dylan concert at the Pantages in Los Angeles, I said to him "funny meeting you right now, since I was just reading something of yours for the first time".  
"Was it Das Energi?" Paul asked. 
"No, it was the conversations you had with David Anderle about Brian Wilson's Smile album." 
Paul looked surprised and then we began talking about that conversation he'd had with Anderle back in 1967, when he was 18 and writing for his "startup" Crawdaddy Magazine. David Anderle was at that time, famously a best-friend, proponent, and music business advisor to Brian Wilson during the Smile recording sessions.

David Anderle and his haunting painting of his friend Brian Wilson.
David passed away last week

Excerpt of 1967 conversation taken from Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys/How Deep Is The Ocean:
Paul: Let's try to trace the history of Smile, from Dumb Angel, or even earlier; in fact why don't we start with the origins of Pet Sounds....
David: Fine. Okay. The origins of Pet Sounds...At one point I came into the Beach Boys' lives, or into Brian's life, right around the Beach Boys Today. 
Paul: March '65
David: Right, I came in through a relative of mine who was a friend of a few of the Beach Boys and then I was out again... And then I was brought up to Brian's house one night, a long time ago, and we just hung out for a while, and it was very groovy. I really liked Brian right away, I liked him because there was something there, that I had not seen in many people in my lifetime. And I was out again....
.....When I really got in with Brian was right around the time of the fourth, final "Good Vibrations". I heard it, and it knocked me out, and I said, uh oh, there's something happening here that is unbelievable. And then the next time I came up it was different..... And then I came up one evening, and Brian informed me that he had decided to totally scrap "Good Vibrations. " He was not going to put it out. The track was going to be sold to Warner Brothers to be put out as an r&b song, sung by a colored group. Brian has always had a feeling for r&b. So I went home talked to Danny and Danny (co owners of Brother Records, later members of the band America) said, well, let's work out a deal let's see if I can't record the song and have Brian produce it and finish it and the whole thing. I called Brian back the next day and I proposed, made a proposal to him, which I don't personally think caused him to decide to finish, but maybe gave him a different perspective. Anyway, he went ahead and he finished it.

*     *     * 

Who would have thought, so many years later, in 1997, I, CLB, would be sitting in an office at A+M Records with both Paul Williams and David Anderle and like a fly on the wall, listening to them, lo, these 30 years later, talking again about Smile. (And at a time before Brian Wilson's remaking of the Smile album in 2004.) That conversation ended up in a chapter entitled Smile Is Done, from Paul's book How Deep Is The Ocean. 

Cindy: I have various (Smile)bootleg tapes, and um, each one has a slightly different order to it. I just like that, I like the fact that it's so, you know, it's all mixed up...and you just get into the sound of the music...But you have all these little pieces and they add up to like these great orchestral moments you know?
David: It's like a kaleidoscope. Jonathan (David's son) had a bunch of those same things, those little pieces (of Smile music) here and there and he would play them and I would sometimes go in and hang out with him and try to tell him little stories about it, if I remembered the night this ws cut and whatever. And I, it was great to hear them that way, 'cause that's the way we heard them with Brian. 
Cindy: Yeah. That's the way, maybe, they're supposed to be. 
David: Brian was continu-you know, he was continually shuffling... 
....And that's where it all ended for all of us, that's where it ended, it ended with that kind of moving around of music. And I think that moving around of music is the album, and I think it's the only album ever made that way. 
Paul: Yeah. 
David: And it's over. It's done. Brian is free. Brian can go out now and do something else. 
Paul: Absolutely!

David:  Well, it's your fault anyway, Paul, if you wouldn't have written those interviews, none of this would have happened. I could have had a much quieter life, believe me! I'd have no Steven Gaines (Beach Boys biographer) in my life for months...
Paul: Oh God Right....I think that because Brian is so sensitive, because he does feel so much, that just even intuitively to feel that kind of responsibility, you know, for touching so many people...My own personal belief is, the ways we deal with our power shape our lives. And when we're talking about Bob Dylan or Brian Wilson, we are talking about people whom I regard as having great power. A fact of life is that that power in us actually scares us. That's natural. And we have to come to terms with that somehow.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Abstractedly Constructs Or Something Else Altogether

When you don't feel well, your life slows down and you find a proverbial bush to hide beneath for a little while, so that you won't be found ( or called or texted ). And in a way it's like your personal electrical system has gone off the grid and your water source comes from a place much closer to home.

I had friends that lived liked this, off the electrical grid, miles outside of town in Taos, NM. I stayed with them a time or two just to get a whiff of what that life must be like. It takes a lot of time for one thing. And it takes some preparation.

And so I forage for food at the grocery, things that will last most of the week. And bring home multiple DVD's from the library. It's no fun being sick and I'm on my 11th day down with a virus that's caused by Chicken Pox, aka Shingles. So I'm tired, so tired, itchy and achey.

But here's the interesting thing that came out of being sick; the altered state of consciousness. There were some very psilocybin moments going on and I wasn't taking in far-fetched meds, simply an anti-viral and Advil.

I had a nice connection with the orange tree outside our door. Yeah I've noticed it before, but I'd never really thought about how it's a living being, living it's life right alongside ours for the past 20 years.

And this; the nat-like bugs that are so attracted to the bathroom, one of them flew around me obnoxiously, I was swatting the air trying to push it away, be gone! Then I realized this; I'm here paying rent on a place, working a job to pay the rent, but this bug is flying around in the air here, in this apartment, rent free. Everywhere the bug goes, its free. The food is free. The water is free. And then I thought, hmmm, there used to be a time like that for humans, you know when all was free. Like how it is when you see guys fishing off the pier and they make a little catch and eat it that night. Free. Sure there's a cost to freedom, maybe it's anarchy-the biggest fish wins. But I started to realize, all the things you're brought up to believe in like; marriage, college a good job, are all in cahoots to this civilization thing called Non-freedom.

So that right there, is what a viral infection can get you....

        *     *     *

Each day now I am a little stronger, feeling better. And it's a good thing because next weekend I go in the studio to record 2 songs. Two songs some of you have heard maybe in the last year; An Affair of the Heart and Somebody's Angel.

Cellist Renata Bratt and I have been collaborating on the string parts via email and phone and I think we've come up with some really good stuff. I'm excited!

        *     *     *


...this photo of Paul came in the mail via our friend Gabriel Voiles yesterday. Paul and I moved to Encinitas in 1994 and he befriended some of the young musicians in the area. One of them was Denver, who was 19 or 20 and in a band called Powerdresser. Denver was about to move to Chicago to hang with some new music friends there, he visited Paul the day before he left. We saw Denver, with his hoodie smiling at us through the window as we sat eating at our local taco shop. That night Denver passed away. Things weren't entirely clear; he had taken acid, and gone for a swim, perhaps had a fallen off the sea-bluff. It was very hard for Paul, he'd felt a real connection with Denver, and it was quite reminiscent of a loss he'd had when he was 19 and his friend Don McNeil (who was a young writer for the Village Voice) died while swimming in a lake and on acid. 

Nonetheless, this is a beautiful photo of Paul. Perhaps it was taken by Denver.

Here's Paul's SD READER story on Powerdresser and that music scene 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Gravity Falls Live at Alan Bershsaw's

Like water fallen' off a mountain
the time-stream stalls
I look into your eyes and know
Gravity Falls...

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Paul Williams: Father of Rock Journalism SXSW 2014

A few friends have nudged me over the past 3 months, since the music conference to post some photos from the panel on my late husband Paul Williams. Truth is, with all the organizing of, getting the panel ready to go, I'd forgotten to ask someone to take photos. Luckily Anthony Butler and Raul Sandelin were shooting footage for an upcoming independent film they're making about rock journalism, called THE ROCK BARDS. My friend Jon Kanis was sent to SXSW to film our panel and grab some individual journalists interviews and other stuff. So thank you Jon, Raul and Tony for the stills!

I had uploaded about 50 photos of Paul through the years, covers of CRAWDADDY MAGAZINE, and a few of his books to show on Power Point behind the talk. I was thinking that morning; shit that's way too much, what am I thinking, a slide every 2 minutes? But as it turned out my over preparation was perfect. Whenever someone would talk about Paul in a certain year I had a slide. When David Fricke referred to Paul's book Outlaw Blues, I had a slide. When Ed Ward talked about the NYC CRAWDADDY! office, i had a slide. 

Ed had great stories about meeting Paul in 1966; a kid standing in front of a speaker jamming out to the band on the stage and handing out free CRAWDADDY'S like candy to the kids. And Paul's youthfully-full of himself -attitude when giving Ed a copy and asking him to write. Ed was full of cool stories of that time. I had hoped he would tell the tale, which is in print in the book A History of Rolling Stone, where he got fed up working for Paul and wrote a letter of resignation, put it on Pauls desk with a knife through it. Nice flare Ed. 

Through a series of friends I came to know and invite Paula Mejia to be a part of the panel and she was great. I was hoping there might be someone out there, under 30, in the current world of rock writing that dug Paul's writings, and might feel influenced by it, and she did. 

Earlier on, I started things off with a quick read, a quote from Paul's very good friend Pat Thomas, a summation of who Paul was as a writer, and a friend. Pat's lovingly written piece was originally featured on NPR after Paul's passing March 2013. 

I have been a fan of Ann's writings and her outspoken-ness on feminist issues for many years. It was an honor to have her speak about Paul's writings and join in on the panel discussions. Plus I loved having another mother in the group...

Ed telling that knife story with some flare....

At the SXSW panel David spoke of Paul's influence on his own writing and about how much he loved Outlaw Blues. I met David Fricke at a Patti Smith concert in 1995, in San Diego. Paul and I were guests backstage and afterwards we went out to eat with David. It was always a pleasure to sit back and listen to what Paul and another practicing rock writer would have to say about the current state of art. 

In 2008 I made a trip to New York and met with my friend David Bither and told him how Paul's health was deteriorating and we talked of a plan, of getting a group of Paul friends together to help create an awareness of Paul's situation  (i.e. needing funds to pay for health care). We rallied a super group of 7 friends including himself; Lenny Kaye, Jon Landau, Jonathan Lethem, Johan Kugelberg, Will Amato, and David Fricke. They met several times and devised a plan which jump started a fund-raiser that helped me get Paul special care and into a nursing home in our town. 

I will forever be grateful to Davids support and soothing words, at a time when Paul, and I, really needed it. 

The panel was an hour and we only had enough time for a couple of questions. Jim Fouratt chimed right in, from the crowd, and talked about the Be In he and Paul organized at New Yorks Central Park in 1967. 
Someone asked about Paul's spiritual side, and the panel got quiet, finally David Fricke fobbed that ball over into my court. Actually though not the place to talk about it at length, Paul's spiritual practices and pursuits over the years are indeed pretty interesting and did have an affect on his writings. I think I mentioned his belief in tithing, in which he would subscribe and pay extra to his favorite magazine The Sun, and his Buddhist studies. He and I went on several Thich Nhat Hahn retreats. I think the thing he dug most about Hahn was his anti war stance, and that Martin Luther King nominated him for the Nobel Peace Prize back in 1964. 

Thanks to everyone that participated and came to the Paul Williams panel this year. Thanks to SXSW for hosting it. It was a true pleasure to see Paul's good influence living on...

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Horsepower: Live at Alan Bershaw's

This was recorded by Alan and his NYC editing, production friend August of 2013 at a house concert in New Brittain, CT. I'm pretty sure they had two cameras going on, but I'm not sure now, my main job was try to remember the chords and to not fall in the pool, which was a few feet to my right. 

At one point a big odd bug flew down by my fingers while I played guitar and hovered for a minute or two. I think it was possibly a special visitation from a dear friend.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Love In The Light Of Day

So dang sad that family can become so separated at a time like this, just when he needs them to come together and love and rally for him.

I am still so deeply grateful to my husband Paul Williams family; his ex wives, and his adult children, and dear friends for being so incredibly supportive of what we had to go through with Paul's care in and out of the nursing home, and ultimately his passing last year. Everyone was gracious, generous, compassionate, and dignified in a time of heart break.

Paul was so happy to see us all coming together, being there for him. I wonder, does it have something to do with the way he lived his life? 

Paul was so fiercely honest, he 
couldn't keep secrets, really he couldn't. He always loved, in his own way all these people in his life. That love was enduring and it was a thing I loved, honored, and respected about him. Nothing and no one was exiled from his life. Not perfect, to be sure, but a form of loving that was inclusive and out in the light of day.

Paul's last few weeks; with our son Alexander, me, first wife Sachiko and her partner

Thursday, June 12, 2014

One More Loop Around The Sun

Thanks to my bandmate Renata Bratt for this photo from our breakfast in Austin a few months ago. 
What am I doing on my birthday?
Well, Dave Alvin started it out wonderfully with a text and invite to see him and brother Phil last night. Great show and new album.
I'm going to see my all time favorite movie 2001: A Space Odyssey and get the full mind expanding effect of todays full moon. And the actor DAVE will be in attendance. 
I will relay impressions and results as I return to Earths atmosphere. 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Present Moment

 Alexander and I walking the San Elijo Lagoon trails today. I still feel Paul's presence here, his enjoyment of life, and of this place. As Thich Nhat Hahn once said (and I paraphrase) "You are a wave in the ocean. At some point the wave stops being a wave, it falls and breaks, but it is still the ocean. "

And since the last post had photos of us from so long ago, 2006/ we are today

Thursday, May 29, 2014


The grouchy face of an overworked, overtired caregiver
Paul and I at the beautiful San Elijo Lagoon 2007 (photo by 5 year old Alexander)

The following is another piece from my talk at the California Brain Injury Assoc. conference

From Spouse to Saint=No Fun Zone:
The rest of this story is about me landing on the ground....taking things one day at a time, becoming a responsible adult that could work and make a living, take care of Paul and our young son and find some time for myself. It's was a daunting enterprise.

I found friends to be extremely helpful. As things with Paul worsened some friends went away and some came closer. In retrospect I wish I'd gotten myself into some kind of therapy or self help group earlier. Eventually I went back to a 12 Step Program I'd been in years before, Alanon, which became very helpful. I needed a place to put my anger and sadness. I felt like I had to 'buck up' suck it up, and take it all on, and be a warrior for my family.

Eventually I found a few helpful resources. One was the Southern Caregiver's Resource Center in San Diego. I arranged a meeting and told the social worker my story. We talked about what she called Caregiver's Burnout. She made me feel okay about what all I'd done so far by saying "Some caregiver's in your position would have given up a while ago, and some could go longer. It all depends on what you can handle and only you will know your limits". She helped me get onto a temporary program called Caregiver's Respite Time and the State of California paid for Paul to go into a very nice and nearby Alzheimer's care facility for 12 days. It was a lovely place, they sewed his name into every shirt and pair of trousers he came in with. And it was heaven for me, and Alexander to be free to drive out of town, or just hang out somewhere besides home for hours at a time.

Avoiding Caregivers Burnout:
1. Make time for yourself (steal it wherever, whenever you can)
2. Honor your feelings and make time for them
3. Know when you are reaching your caregiving limits
4. HALT: don't let yourself get too- hungry, angry, lonely, tired
When It's Time To Ask For Help

By 2009 I could no longer take care of Paul. Our son Alexander and I could rarely get away and Paul was not easy to take out of the home. It was dangerous leaving him alone, for fear he might start a fire.

He did indeed start an oven fire when we were away for a day even with our neighbor looking in on him every hour, Paul put a pan in the oven with oil in it, the apartment alarms went off and when we got home our neighbor was spooning oil out of the bottom of the oven.

I rallied a little money from Paul's family and used some savings and hired a full time "baby" sitter to stay with Paul while I was at work. It was expensive. I didn't have enough, nor make enough money to keep this up and I couldn't handle this for long...

San Elijo Lagoon w Paul and Alexander 2007

*      *      *

And a memorial thank you to this kind hearted friend from our church who watched Paul and Alexander on numerous occasions, just to give me a little sanity break. Bless you dear friend, Heidi Salomone.