I don't know what it is about Neil's music that gets inside me so much but it's been a part of my life for so long, and through so many different stages of my life, I can't imagine not knowing it. We're some years younger so he's not entirely our generation yet so much of his music, odd, raw, and obscure as it can be, has spoken to me more than that of any other artist. I'll never get tired of listening to it even though I've heard the songs hundreds of times. We mostly listen to classical music these days, it provides a good backdrop to life in general, but nine out of ten times when I actually put something specific on, it'll be a Neil young album. There's so much to choose from and we have them all.
Last night we went to see Neil Young, back together on tour with Crazy Horse, live. He came out on stage...grey, balding, sort of pudgy, troll-like...all of it forgotten as soon as he started playing. Once the music took over nothing else was significant. How fantastic is that in an age when new music is built around and sold by how the musician looks first and how the music sounds only second? When image is more important than depth of talent? With Neil it's always been all about the music first. He's never sold out, he's never let his integrity be compromised by the music industry. As an artist, he's a huge inspiration for that alone.
Anyway it was a fantastic show. Here's one off the songs he played...from his new album Psychedelic Pill:
Now, as to printmaking...
I suppose it's been coming on for a while but a state of mild funk has settled over my creative spirit. Having finished the blossom print, I began on something new but, in truth, I can't seem to summon up much enthusiasm for working on it. We're at the tail end of a long weekend and we gained that extra hour of time recently, both of which I've used to definite advantage in the past, but this year I've just let the extra time slide by. I have a bit of an excuse for this weekend: a trip over the border to pick up some things we can neither buy nor get shipped to us here and the Neil Young concert last night. But that only covers this weekend and not the times I've let slip by when I could have worked on the print and just simply didn't.
It's mostly my parents I think. My father has recently (and finally) been officially diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. Prior to this, while we all knew there were serious issues, he sailed through the mental exams and fell through the cracks. This left us doing more and more for them both, with less and less time for ourselves, and not being able to do a damn thing about it. But then he went through a particularly bad spell, started having some delusions, and having some real lapses. On the basis of this we have a diagnosis and a geriatrician's confirmation that my father is no longer competent to look after my mother and himself. It's become a matter of safety and they are now on a list to get into a care home where they will get more help than we, with our work schedules, can give.
Sounds great right? Amazingly, my father also thought it sounded ok and told their case worker as much. In fact, he openly acknowledged it was time for them to go into a home. That was a few weeks ago. Now he's forgotten all about being on a waiting list for a care home. He has no short term memory so no matter how many times we can talk about it, he won't remember. And the way it works here is that once a couple of spaces open up for them, we'll have 24 hours to accept and another 48 to move them in.
This means that when the call comes, there'll be some significant upheaval. I spent a week agonizing over the decision and talking to every one I know about it and I know it's the only decision I can make if I want my parents to be safe. It doesn't make it easier. Roland and I are doing a workshop on the Transition to Care put on by the Alzheimer's society; hopefully they'll give some ideas on how to deal with the process once the time comes. But I'm having a rough time shaking the worry which, in turn, is affecting my printmaking efforts.
Instead of sitting and carving which I find requires a stiller mind than I currently have, I'm distracting myself in random ways, lapsing into bouts of domesticity (making sauerkraut, hunting for and trying out new recipes, and reading. I'm on a WWI kick and flew through two books back to back...incredibly compelling somehow and, compared to the hell those boys were subjected to, my life is a cakewalk.
And I've done a small bit of work on the next print, but really not much:
That's the long and short of my story for this time around.