Poem: Gone Electric

Gone Electric

Our music choice was known as folk
We all laughed at a knock-knock joke
Acoustic was our favorite sound
In D.C. The Beatles played in the round

We cried when JFK was killed that day
And why the war we asked LBJ
Newport Folk Festival was going strong
And Bob Dylan wrote our favorite song

On TV we got Lost in Space
And Ryan O’Neil was on Payton Place
Way back in ’65 the words were Supreme
And played the greatest lyricist ever seen

The times were a changing because of him
Sara Lownds never went to the gym
Just gave him three sons and a little girl
Some before, some after the tour that rocked the world

His acoustic half sounded the same
The electric half critics called a shame
As his music changed the world
Shouts of Judas started to swirl

They hated him at the Royal Albert Hall
And some were glad when he took that fall
Others thought after his motorcycle accident
That his life and career were spent.

Eight years before he toured again
Wouldn’t let the critic boss him with their pen
And his music never really would change
Though his voice now shows age’s strain

To the arenas, we still all come
And he sings never chewing gum
Just Like a Woman, Mr. Tambourine Man and Desolation Row
And singing Like a Rolling Stone, he closes the show.

© 2011 by Jimmie A. Kepler

The Muse, Transformational Grammar, and Writing

Example of Transformational Grammar
Example of Transformational Grammar

Have you ever had a muse, or a muse-like experience where you felt so passionate, or “taken over” by a creative spirit or compulsion to express and create? This is more than just “in the zone” … it’s almost as if someone or something takes over and writes for you.

Four examples of a muse in my life are shared below.

One – I was taking a senior level English course with the ominous title “Transformational Grammar and Advanced Creative Writing”. The course was exactly as the title … a writing class that made sure you dissected the grammar. Remember diagramming sentences? This was far more interesting as it dismembered each sentence to parts of speech, syllables, suffixes/prefixes and even lower in structure. You could get credit for the class as a senior level English or Linguistics course. The professor was my first muse. She believed in and encouraged my writing. She was the first to point out the value of reading regularly, journaling, and submitting what you wrote. She helped get me published the first time in a university publication and then a historical article in a military magazine. She told me I should embrace a bohemian lifestyle and write full-time. She turned me on to Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez, Sylvia Plath, Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, and Jack Kerouac.

Two – I was motivated to the point of being driven – me driven, can you imagine? Anyway, I wanted to get into a doctoral program and needed to start getting published in my chosen discipline – religious education. I went to the right conferences, met the right people, and paid the price. This wasn’t a once and done thing. It was getting one then two then three then four then five then six a year published. Sheer vanity … I wrote some very good articles like “What I Learned when a Church Member Died”, an article about preaching my first funeral and the shortcomings of the religious education curriculum to prepare the associate minister in this critical area is an example.

Three – Nancy Karen Vandiver Garrison … I know her from high school. We also went to the same university. We did prose interpretation and literary criticism together in University Interscholastic League competition way back 45 years ago. Thanks to social media and email we converse almost every day for years and still do, as recently as in the last few seconds. She holds me accountable to keep on writing and never give up. More than anything, she encourages me to not give up or listen to the rejections. She also says what’s next when I get an acceptance. She is a darn good poet and supporter of the arts. Plus, we both love The Monkees!

Four – In 1992, I wrote 275 pages in one night for a nonfiction book I was working on. The damn broke, and it just flowed. I was on prescriptions that powered my writing. I was taking Seldane. Remember it? It  wasthe first non-sedating antihistamine. It was later taken off the market in 1998. It fueled me as it is about 80% amphetamine. It taken with Celebrex we now know were causes of my first TIA (commonly known as a mini-stroke) as per the cardiologist and neurologist. I have had some 50 to 75 page experiences in writing that happen the same way without drugs to energize me. Sometimes the poems bounce around in my head and won’t quit talking until I relocate them to paper. It can be very surreal. I’ve had several magazine articles I wrote that I have sold to publications like Children’s Leadership and Preschool Leadership that just flowed almost perfectly.

I find the muse magically appears when I put my behind in the chair and write.

Background on Muses: The Muses, the personification of knowledge and the arts, especially literature, dance and music, are the nine daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne (memory personified). Hesiod’s account and description of the Muses was the one generally followed by the writers of antiquity. It was not until Roman times that the following functions were assigned to them, and even then there was some variation in both their names and their attributes:
• Calliope -epic poetry;
• Clio -history;
• Euterpe -flutes and lyric poetry;
• Thalia -comedy and pastoral poetry;
• Melpomene -tragedy;
• Terpsichore -dance;
• Erato -love poetry;
• Polyhymnia -sacred poetry;
• Urania -astronomy.

Meet the Poets: Bob Dylan – 2008 Pulitzer Prize: Special Awards and Citations

The Pulitzer Prize jury in 2008 awarded Bob Dylan a special citation for “his profound impact on popular music and American culture, marked by lyrical compositions of extraordinary poetic power.”

Birth: May 24, 1941 in Duluth, Minnesota, United States.
Occupation: Singer, musician.
Family: son of Abe Zimmerman and Beatrice Rutman; m. Sara Lownds (or Lowndes), Nov. 22, 1965 (div. June 19, 1977); children: Jakob, Jesse, Samuel, Anna, Maria; m. Carolyn Y. Dennis, June 4, 1986 (div. Oct. 1992); 1 child, Desiree Gabrielle.
Education: self-taught; student, U. Minn., 1960; Music Dept., Princeton U., 1970.
Avocations/Research/Interests: Achievements include devising and popularizing folk-rock.
Addresses: Office, Columbia Records, 550 Madison Ave, New York, NY, 10022-3211.

Named to Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, 1988.
recipient Lifetime Achievement Award, Grammy Awards, 1991.
Prince of Asturias Arts award, Prince of Asturias Found, 2007.

Musician: (albums) Bob Dylan, 1962; The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, 1963; The Times They Are A-Changin’, 1964; Another Side of Bob Dylan, 1964; Bringing It All Back Home, 1965; Highway 61 Revisited, 1965; Blonde on Blonde, 1966; John Wesley Harding, 1967; Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits, 1967; Nashville Skyline, 1969; Self Portrait, 1970; New Morning, 1970; Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits, Vol. 2, 1971; Dylan, 1973, Planet Waves, 1974; Blood on Tracks, 1975; Desire, 1976; Hard Rain, 1976; Street Legal, 1978; Masterpieces, 1978; Slow Train Coming, 1979 (Grammy Award for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance for “Gotta Serve Somebody”, 1980); Bob Dylan At Budokan, 1979; Saved, 1980; Shot of Love, 1981; Infidels, 1983; Real Live, 1984; Empire Burlesque, 1985; Biograph, 1985; Knocked Out Loaded, 1986; Down In The Groove, 1988; Oh Mercy, 1989; Under the Red Sky, 1990; The Bootleg Series, Vols. 1-3: (Rare and Unreleased 1961-1991), 1991; Good as I Been to You, 1992; World Gone Wrong, 1993 (Grammy Award for Best Traditional Folk Album, 1994); Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits, Vol. 3, 1994; MTV Unplugged, 1995; Time Out of Mind, 1997 (Grammy Award for Album of Yr., 1998, Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album, 1998; Grammy Award for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance for “Cold Irons Bound”, 1998); The Best of Bob Dylan, 1997; The Bootleg Series, Vol. 4: The Royal Albert Hall Concert, 1998; Essential Bob Dylan, 2000; The Best of Bob Dylan, Vol. 2, 2000; The Very Best of Bob Dylan, 2000; Love and Theft, 2001 (Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album, 2002); The Bootleg Series, Vol. 5, Live 1975; The Rolling Thunder Revue, 2002; The Bootleg Series, Vol. 6: Live 1964, 200;, The Bootleg Series, Vol. 7: No Direction Home: The Soundtrack, 2005, Live at the Gaslight 1962, 2005; Modern Times, 2006 (Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album, Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance, 2007); musician: (with various artists) The Concert for Bangladesh, 1971 (Grammy Award for Album of Year, 1973); Bob Dylan 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration, 1993; musician: (with The Band) Before the Flood, 1974; The Basement Tapes, 1976; musician: (with Grateful Dead) Dylan and the Dead, 1988; musician: (with Traveling Wilburys) Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1, 1988 (Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal, 1990); Traveling Wilburys Vol. 3, 1990; musician: (soundtracks) Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, 1973; The Last Waltz, 1976; Wonder Boys, 2000 (Academy Award for Best Original Song for “Things Have Changed”, 2001); Masked and Anonymous, 2003.

Composer: (songs) Like a Rolling Stone and over 500 more.
Dir., editor: (films) Eat the Document, 1972.
Appeared in: (documentaries) Don’t Look Back, 1967; No Direction Home, 2005
Actor: (films) Pat Garret and Billy the Kid, 1973; Hearts of Fire, 1987; actor, composer, dir., editor, writer (films) Renaldo and Clara, 1978; actor, composer, writer Masked and Anonymous, 2003.
Actor: (TV films) The Madhouse on Castle Street, 1963.
Author: Tarantula, 1971; Writings and Drawings, 1973; Tarantula: Poems, 1994; (book of sketches) Drawn Blank, 1994; (memoirs) Chronicles, Vol. 1, 2004 (Quills award-biography/memoir, 2005).

“Bob Dylan.” Marquis Who’s Who™, 2008.

Review: Chronicles, Volume One

I received this book from my son Kristopher for Christmas way back in 2004. The book is a lot like Bob Dylan … different and genius. We start in 1961. We witness some history in him signing his first record contract.

It is an odd memoir that is as inspired, impulsive, and to a degree as eccentric as Dylan’s greatest music. He never tells us what he is about.

Biography lovers will find it wanting. You get near, but not close to Dylan. He chases “rabbits”. It reminds me of someone talking in to a tape recorder and then having it transcribed – word for word.

With a title of “Chronicles, Volume One”, when will we see Volume Two? Save your money. Borrow the book from the library, unless you are a big Bob Dylan fan. Read in January 2005.