Friday, December 08, 2006
December 8, 1980
It was 26 years ago today that John Winston Ono Lennon, age 40, was gunned down in front of the Dakota in New York city. I learned about it and cried on an oddly foggy, almost otherworldly night in Albuquerque while on the way back from the airport to pick up a friend. All the incoming planes were being turned away due to the weather. I heard the shocking report on the tinny car radio, my Cherokee surrounded by billowing gray ground clouds. The misty fog seemed fitting, matching my melancholy about another one gone too early, another one gunned down, another kindred spirit cut down in his prime, another creative and courageous soul lost to us in violence, in tragedy.
I went home and listened to John and Yoko's album Double Fantasy, released just 3 weeks before his death. And wept again. It's almost impossible to describe what Lennon meant to my generation. In the end, I guess you had to be there to truly understand. We had literally grown up with his music as a primary groove in our soundtrack to life. In many ways, we had also grown up with Lennon himself, evolving in tune with him and his emotional and political explorations.
The profound changes of the era and those in us progressed along with his changes and those of so many other transcendent artists, writers and political figures of the time. We projected onto them. They projected onto us. Somehow we were all in the trip together, in a powerful circular flow of kinetic generational energy traveling up-an-octave peaks and bottoming-out valleys. There was a strange kind of linkage among us and our shared flaws and our shared joys, a web of in and out and around. And now blood spurted once more, spattering our branching hopes and dreams with pain, again, again, again.
What I am writing probably comes across as corny, cliched, melodramatic to those too young to remember. But those of a certain age will surely understand.
This year, Yoko Ono released a statement called forgive us as a full-page ad in the New York Times. She asks us to commemorate John's life and death as well as the suffering of souls across the globe. With so much of the world in bloody chaos, it's time. As she says, "Let's wish strongly that one day we will be able to say that we healed ourselves, and by healing ourselves, we healed the world."
BarbWire! I hope you are feeling better. I know we haven't really been in touch too much lately - you've been sick and busy changing the world and I've been busy providing the soundtrack. But I'll be home for Christmas on Dec. 18 and I'll hopefully have plenty of time to visit you and MEB and have another of our famous double dutch marathon conversations.
I remember my mom telling me that John Lennon had been killed in the morning before I went to school. Your generation is so fortunate to have had so many cultural leaders shaping the consciousness of the country. Of course, we see what happens to them. They all seem to meet the same end. Today it's like we're in freefall, no strong leaders, no prolific artists creating music that inspires a movement. Just Paris Hilton and reality TV leading the current generation into the vapid wasteland of self-centered ignorance. Thank goodness your generation is still up for the fight.
Posted by: Liz Melendez | Dec 8, 2006 1:34:04 PM
Hey Liz! Good to hear you are coming home for the holidays! We will definitely have to get together for some double dutch supreme and hugs. And I know your birthday is right around now too. December 9th? (Too many lost brain cells.)
Wish you could play somewhere while you're here. Been way too long since we've heard you live.
Some of my generation may still be up for the fight but we need some younger blood in the battle for sure. We're getting rickety!
Posted by: barb | Dec 9, 2006 10:30:08 AM
Lovely post. And I'm old enough to remember. Thank you.
Posted by: Linda G | Dec 9, 2006 12:25:36 PM