Lou Reed Died Today but my Memories Live On
Lou Reed's Berlin album missed the stage in America. It was a hit in the UK, but Americans rebuffed the suicidal tones.
What does that mean to me?
I was fairly new into my return to college - studying fine art - and that's where I got my introduction to Lou Reed. In fact that's where I was introduced to any number of singer songwriters that came on the scene after the 60s.
But Lou Reed was different
so he caught my attention with Sad Song because it fit in with the part of me that I was hiding. My move back to college was an experience of jubilation at returning to my love of education and freshness of viewpoints.
But it also meant the consideration that I was perched on an escarpment with no pattern as to how to navigate this tremulous situation.
Lou Reed's gravelly, sounding washboardy to me at time, voice and reverberance tapped into my covered reservoir of grief that I had hidden so well, I thought.
The young art student guys
were playing his tunes and sharing them with me on tapes they compiled. I think they thought that if they brought Lou Reed into my life I'd come to like more of the rock songs they sometimes blasted throughout the university art studios.
They were right about one thing. Every time I heard a Lou Reed song I paused and actually listened to the lyrics as I rumbled with the beat.
Crazy Feeling has to be my favorite
because it looped around me like a kaleidoscope, taking me on a bouncy journey throughout my painting days. I just had to be careful at times that I didn't bounce right off the scaffolding on which I painted, up near the ceiling.
Leaving home after a long marriage
and dealing with the confusion of that action flooded my thoughts with tugs and wavering and deep seeking. After my oldest child's traumatic brain injury, during these years, Turn to Me resonated with me personally. Grief interplayed in conjunction with a new spiritual journey.
Rooftop Garden tweaked my emotions
especially because I was so often on my scaffolding perch, able to look out the two story window to the college activity outside. Most of my thinking was nonverbal, and I was often glad that in the art studio I was free of the day-to-day chores and bills and troubles. So up there I did indeed share his rooftop garden.
I was examining the origins of our Western justice
systems, and painting expansive works with religious overtones. So, I considered the groundbreaking work of cutting into brains, of funding the opening of brains in living persons, of legislating about the treatment of the disabled, and I mentally asked all those in power if they might just like to switch positions for a moment or two.
My dearest friend taped Lou Reed for me
providing me with hours of hand-picked songs, without which - either the man or the singer - my plunge into the world of art as a profession, and into the arena of advocate for the disempowered might have stagnated.