Tuesday, November 4, 2008

who's a tom waits?

When RT and I moved in together (about 8 years ago or so) Rollie’s dog Angie came to live with us. She was a sweet mutt, somewhat wolf-like in appearance. She was an old dog when she came in to my life and I like to think that I put a sparkle back in to her twilight years. We walked our street twice a day, all the way down to the cider mill and back. She got lots of treats and lots of gentle talk.

RT had a game he played with her. It was called “Who’s a fawn?” Basically he’d ask her that, “Who’s a fawn?” while he touched her little gold eyebrows. Then he’d say “You’re a fawn.” You have to imagine his voice – not quite baby talk but tender and sweet with a little bit of goobie-goo thrown in. And you have to imagine her sweet face, happy for the attention but nonplussed. (I love the word nonplussed. An emotional word with a mathematical feel.)

So in honor of Angie, I’m launching the “Who’s a Tom Waits?” portion of my blog. It’s to be asked in the same tone. Sweet. With Goobie-goo.

As for why Tom Waits. Tom Waits has become my symbol of an artist who is an individual, artists who make art that no one else in the world can make. Artists who are fearless (or overcome their fears) to make honest art of true vision. (Not, necessarily, that the vision is truthful – although to me it seems that it usually is – but more in that the vision is true. Narrow and specific. True like a bicycle wheel.)


Really, I don’t need to explain Tom Waits to you. If you don’t know him, just listen and you’ll probably get it. The songs he writes, his voice, his arrangements, they are a particular view of the world. They’ve got intelligence, they’ve got balls and they’ve got heart (heart -- profoundly important.) They are art. They relieve people’s suffering. They impart joy. And they give me hope, for me and for my world.

And so soon I’ll launch my “Who’s a Tom Waits?”

I guess I should also say that I think we’re all Tom Waits’ (Pronounced “Waitses”) We’ve all got our own particular way of looking at the world. We’ve all got the goods inside to translate our world into art (whether it’s a nicely made sandwich, a straight yellow line painted on the highway, or a high falutin’ painting) that can affect other people, affect the world. And life is just the journey we take to find, or maybe a better word is uncover, what has been inside us all along.

How’s that for some goobie goo?

1 comment:

Suma said...

Who's a Tom Waits? You are, my dear bridge jumper...