Sunday, October 4, 2009

A Kind Of Intellectual Elation

I met Paul in May of 1992 at a Dylan show at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood. I was on a date with a friend of a friend, a nice guy, (and I still feel guilty about how I kinda ditched him that night). I knew I'd see friends at the show and I kept making excuses about needing to go to the bathroom or needing a drink from the bar and I'd leave him sitting there waiting for his date to return and Dylan to begin.

Out in the lobby I did run into folks I knew,  but I was surprised to see my friend Andy Paley, one of Brian Wilson's co-writers and ex-best friends, among them. I was on a big Brian Wilson/Beach Boys music jag at the time. I'd always say that it was " informing my new music" and it was ...but mostly Brian's music and life story was a great narcotic for a girl still reeling from a broken New York romance (and lost record deal and lost-stolen car, lost booking agency, manager,...) . The smokey phantasm of Brian's great music lead me down a yellow brick road into an enchanted forest of weird dreams which included some Beach Boy "visitations"; new friends related to the Beach Boys story (Andy being one of them) and a brand new song-cycle of tunes having nothing to do with the lost New York boyfriend. I still remember zoning out alone, after my funky VW bus was stolen (along with all my belongings as I'd just moved back to San Diego from New York) listening to the Surf's Up CD, the song Feel Flows captures that hazy rapture perfectly, you don't even need the hash pipe.

Along with Andy, Dominic Priore was in the lobby and Wes (John Wesley Harding), and Paul Williams. It was remarkable meeting Paul, I'd just read his old CRAWDADDY! pieces on Brian's SMiLE period. We hit it off right away. I was very happy to talk to another Brian fan and asked him if he'd join me for lunch at Canters the next day. I wanted to ask him a million questions about what it was like smoking pot in the tent at Brian's house back then or what did the SMilE music sound like on those original acetates. 

We met the next day and shared a pastrami on rye and then proceeded to talk through the rest of the day. Paul then invited me to come back to the Dylan show two days later, on May 19th and join him and his wife Donna. It would be Paul's birthday. 

I wouldn't say I fell in love with Paul that day but he made a huge impression on me. It was just such a pleasure to meet and talk with another lover of music and not feel the least bit geeky about it and have it parlay into discussions of Stephen Hawking's theories of black holes and Science Fiction or whatever. It's always a great kick to meet a fellow traveler. 

Later I was to realize that this experience I'd had with Paul, a kind of intellectual elation,  was not particular to me, others had had it as his friend or through reading his books and essays. 


  1. You nail it on the head describing your experience as "intellectual elation". My discussions with Paul, first at lunches and later on the phone, always took me to the next thought, revelation or understanding of where a song or text could lead us.

  2. One experience that I had with Paul where I experienced this kind of "intellectual elation" was while walking and talking with Paul along Venice beach in December 1998 while Cindy went for a run on the beach. We got into quite a discussion of the concept of Amae and he sent me an email with a chapter from his then book in progress...

    hi Keith...It was good to see you and fun hanging out on the Venice Boardwalk together. Here's the recent piece I mentioned, a chapter from my book-in-progress The 20th Century's Greatest Hits, A Top 40 List

    #20: The Anatomy of Dependence (published 1971) by Takeo Doi, M.D.

    This is a book of transcultural psychology by a Japanese psychologist. Its
    original title was Amae no Kozo, which means "the structure of amae"
    (pronounced ah-ma-eh or ah-my-ay)...

    Paul shows that Amae is the human desire to love somebody and to have somebody to love us. It can be God or the universe as well as another human being.

  3. Paul was very fond of that book and was fortunate enough to meet the author while in Japan. I think the American edition of it was called Anatomy of Dependence but Paul thought the word Amae was more like Cherishment

  4. It was very enlightening to me to gain insight about Japanese psychology from Takeo Doi through Paul and his life experience. His interpretation of the cherishment aspect is very astute. Cherish is the word...

  5. Cindy, I'm Dan Dougan and you used to play @ Stache's, in Columbus, Ohio, that I used to own. Yes, I owned the whole damn town, at least I felt that way. Anyhoo, I'm preparing a radio show featuring music and personal tales of my "Glory Days!", and I found a disc of yours that you signed, significant, because I collected so little memorabilia. The show will air Thanksgiving Day, and my story for it will be about having turkey with the SunRa Archestra. But now I can also direct people to your marvelously manifested blogsite, that I just stumbled upon , quite by happenstance. Steve Earle and I share similar exhabits and in the recovery process I heard "coincidence is God's way of remaining anonymous". He better stay that way, cause I might punch him for causing my wife's wonderful mother, to have to care for her alzheimer's/parkinsons, husband. Wes (Harding), also played there, so if you see him again tell him howdy from the heart of it all. I think I'll spin your song about highjumping over anything I gotta. PS. My wife blogs alot about our spaceloving son Declan@ All our best, DOD.