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The "Cosmic" Yellow Submarine: Where The Beatles Took Me as a Girl...and Where They Still Take Me...Let It Be!

Recently, while working on a photography project, I fell into a real-time dream. Strong, vibrant memories of a time in my life when creativity ruled my being. A time when I was allowed to be anything I could imagine myself to be. I was breathless after...like I had just run up a hill.

The music of the Beatles "framed" this time for me. Held it and I always knew if I played certain songs, I could have this time back. The love back. And I have always known one thing for certain about myself. I must have love. I am always and will forever be one of those people who will, like Alice, fall into the "rabbit hole" of the Beatles music and somehow go home...perhaps to my soul or maybe just a date with my muse.

I always come away more awake and alive. I feel my "self"...more...I am in the world and not just of it. A deep sense of gratitude fills my heart...and I know I am not alone...and that for me is probably God.

There is no reason...nothing scientific to explain it. No equation...just a "knowing"...and in that "knowing" is what I believe to be the energy of Love. And that (I think) is what God is.

"And when the night is cloudy, There is still a light that shines on me, Shine on until tomorrow, let it be. I wake up to the sound of music Mother Mary comes to me Speaking words of wisdom, let it be. Let it be, let it be. There will be an answer, let it be. Let it be, let it be, Whisper words of wisdom, let it be"

"Let It Be" ~ Lennon/McCartney

"Hey Jude" was my brothers favorite Beatles song. One of the last conversations I had with him was about the song. About what it meant and why it meant so much to us. When I hear the Beatles music I am always transported and reminded of something inside me that is rich, full and very satisfying. But it also breaks my heart a little. And in the "cracks to the veneere"...something's get through. Perhaps the music breaks it open just enough...that I can heal a bit more. I do not think this business of healing...especially from the loss of a beloved brother...is an overnight process. I think it comes in fits and starts. And perhaps for me, it is the music that is the window to my souls healing. “Living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see. It's getting hard to be someone but it all works out. It doesn't matter much to me…. Let me take you down, 'cause I'm going to Strawberry Fields. Nothing is real and nothing to get hung about…”
~ Strawberry Fields ~John Lennon

When I was in fourth grade I saw "Yellow Submarine" and I was so entranced, so literally "taken" by the film that I decided to stage a version of it as a play at my school. Now, St. Monica's was very progressive...even as a Catholic school. We all wore POW bracelets, sent care packages to Vietnam, had pen pals in the "boys camps"...saw Angela Davis speak at the Rose Garden at UCLA. But this was a bit far-fetched, even for Sr. Cecilia ( who loved Simon and Garfunkle, wore a short skirt and modified coif.)

I began this project in my friend Peggy's basement and we of course began by staging "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds". In reality it turned out be a girl standing on a hope chest while the rest of us draping her chiffon and glass beads over her. Just an elaborate game of "dress up". But we went to where the music took us. All these girls clad in their grey and blue plaid wool skirts with matching beanies. We danced about and "lived" in the music. And why not? What girl...doesn't want to be dancing about in beautiful fabric with diamond studded eyes...I ask you?

It was a short lived project. One that ended in a fight about...what else...casting. Oh, life in Santa Monica in the 60's. We all lived on the fringe of "tinsel town". Some of us had family "in the business." We knew too much. Casting...we all knew...was no time to be coy. Casting was about gumption. I liked a girl named Colleen for "Lucy"...but Peggy figured it was her house and her costume...soo.....ew girls and the lofty notions of stardom...however it is got! By hook or by crook.

Even after that little heartbreak of my failed project, my romance with the Beatles endured. "Yellow Submarine" stuck fast. I think because of the artwork attached to the music. It was weird,we all carried "Pee Chee Folders" that had all kinds of artwork by Peter Max. We assumed he did the film. No, indeed the animation and design for "Yellow Submarine" was by an illustrator named, Heinz Edelmann. But we all carried Peter Max's work under our arms nonetheless...and the the Heinz Edelmann and whoever else gave us brilliant explosions of color and line.

I think it may have been because we wore uniforms in Catholic school. That is why we were so desperate for any form of self expression. Even in how we chose our school work folders, binders, book covers, lunch boxes, patches, buttons, stickers and pencil cases.

See! It is happening right now... as I listen to the music...I can smell the translucent bright pink erasers I loved best! Yes! I loved the smell of clear pink erasers! There I said it! But it is these simple moments of elation...that remind me. I AM STILL HERE! Damn it.

Even on my worst days...I still have the music. I cannot speak for anyone else. But I think the days when a martini would "ease the pain" still exist for me. I feel things...perhaps more intensely than others. And I have find ways to feel these intense things and not also feel like I will die from...whatever it is. I think loss is the worst. When someone you love deeply leaves the planet...well there is just no easy way around it. Your love for that person kind of hits a wall. The music helps those moment of deep loss or anxiety blend with moments of peace and acceptance. You see you cannot really accept anything...until you accept yourself. I don't know if I will ever be "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" but I think I have felt her...and that is enough for me to feel a part...and therefore not "less"...than the whole. The whole being love ...and love....being God.

I remember when I was little, we all LOVED a paticular Beatle. Most of the girls loved Paul or John...but me...my heart always belonged to George.That love stayed true. Just one note from his voice and I was undone...I would melt...my pain melted.

A few years ago I bought the DVD of his memorial at Albert Hall "A Concert For George" and more recently the Cirque Du Soleil has created "Love". How lovely to be able to share this legacy of music with my kids. My son LOVES the Beatles too. He (like me) jumps to attention when he hears the Beatle's playing. He has ideas of what the words mean and asks..."Mom is this song about love or drugs or war..." and I say "oh honey...all of it...we did and saw all of it...and so will you."

All you need is love...love is all you need! You know I believe and how. Speaking words of wisdom...let it be.

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Thanks for letting me know I'm not the only one transported by Beatles music. How fortunate were we to live in that magical era.
Peace.

winddancer1562 (anonymous profile)
August 9, 2010 at 10 a.m. (Suggest removal)

This is a very touching blog. It's like Beatles music is a way to tell your life story.

williamsbj_38 (anonymous profile)
August 10, 2010 at 5:23 a.m. (Suggest removal)

The Beatles were the Perfect Storm: the chance meeting of two great songwriters, another really good songwriter, and a very underrated drummer who knew how to creatively interpret the always groundbreaking music the three others were writing.

I often would have to explain to my mother that certain songs that she really liked that were interpreted by other people (Fool On The Hill and Help come to mind) were actually written by the Beatles.

What they had was a gift from God. When one considers for example that Yesterday came to McCartney in a dream, the divinity of music becomes more apparent.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
August 10, 2010 at 8:22 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I meant to say Ticket to Ride, not Help.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
August 12, 2010 at 3:03 a.m. (Suggest removal)

It is so good to read your writing. You brought me out of a Blue Meanie funk. I absolutely LOVE your photgraphy. OMG! The flying chair ride..WOW. I read you blog and then was trying to find some Beatles to upload,alas. But I did find an old stash of albums and I pulled out Revolver and Rubber Soul,then dusted off the stereo, a trip. You know you have gift for connecting us to the light within us. Lovely and amazing gift we have in you Miss Menzies.
Are you one of the Menzies of the original Newspress?
A note: I love Billclausen's writing. How nice to have other hopeless devotees to the Beatles.

gotosantorini (anonymous profile)
August 13, 2010 at 3:15 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Go to a McCartney concert and you will see people of all ages. I saw him in 1989 and 2005. It's a gamble as far as his voice sounds: sometimes he can turn the clock back thirty years and sometimes his voice sounds tired, but he still hits the high notes without any problem and his energy level and playing are always A1.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
August 13, 2010 at 5:13 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Great images... I cannot explain why there's a fascination for the sixties art, but for us Baby Boomers it is perhaps a continuous visual souvenir to remind us of what a great era it was!
That's why I started my collection of PETER MAX memorabilia and collectibles. Perhaps you would care to check out (not a business site) www.themaxcollector.com

And in fact, Edelmann did the whole Yellow Sub imagery, he was born a couple of years before MAX and had a completely different history, yet the Pop essence was there.

themaxcollector (anonymous profile)
August 15, 2010 at 8:50 p.m. (Suggest removal)

This is a great blog and what a great link to the Peter Max site!

gotosantorini (anonymous profile)
August 19, 2010 at 6:44 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Thanks for the link www.themaxcollector.com
Stunningly brilliant.
Thanks for all the comments and emails...wow!
I guess we like the Beatles.
I just remembered about a "cover" band we had at school dances in Atlanta...actually at St. Piux...they were called Revolver (I think) and they were awesome!All Beatles ...all the time.
Thanks

emenzies (Elizabeth Menzies)
August 19, 2010 at 6:48 a.m. (Suggest removal)

You know I have been reading your blog for 2 years and the work gets better and better. I feel like we need a book out of you. The Kaleidescope you present in your wriing is amazing. I know you mention you never did acid but that you experienced it through art and music and I can see that and more importantly feel that in your words. Love you work baby!

filmhead (anonymous profile)
August 22, 2010 at 9:20 a.m. (Suggest removal)

The most over rated pop band in history......

sbbrian (anonymous profile)
September 4, 2010 at 5:19 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Why comment if you don't like it! Ya buzz kill!

gotosantorini (anonymous profile)
December 27, 2010 at 1:50 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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