To the Children: Time Out of Mind

Time Out of Mind

Bob Dylan titled an album with this phrase. I have the CD, but I don’t remember it too well. Maybe it will shuffle into my playlist? Context. Once in a while, a song will play in a context that suits it, offering me another chance to hear it. Capturing my attention, when previous listens did not. Perhaps, it is the context? Perhaps, I am not ready to hear it? Often, I need to be ready. Some say there is a need to be “open.” Others write about the need to be in the “right place.”

To summarize: be open and in the right place, and ready.

I wrote in another blog about being in a “timeless” place. Can a place be timeless? I don’t know. Often I wonder whether, these words, I type represent what I am communicating. Do you hear me? Just what is “timeless”? I write about time and timelessness, but, heck, what I am trying to say?

Chocolate.

Concrete. Crystallized experience. Returning to random songs playing in shuffle mode. Recently, I have been listening to music while I paint or do house repairs or write or wash windows. Many of the songs on my hard-drive are from others eras of my life. Many of the songs I bought were whimsical purchases. Reading reviews, looking at album covers, hearing a riff on the radio, or a random impulse. “This one,” I hear somewhere within me, and I buy it.

Upon playing it, I hope that I’ve found something that will speak to me. I hope the music will carry me to a place that I can be – taught. Riding that hope, I listen.

In the late 70s, I bought the Gang of Four – their first LP. I had read that they were an important new band, moving punk music toward art. Art + Punk. Other bands were exploring punk, adding concepts to their three or four chords, Wire comes quickly to mind. Anyway, I bought it with the hope of learning something. Their album art was intriguing. I remember the phrases about horses and books and trusting those who rule. Odd cartoon drawings that were unsettling for my 19 year old headspace.

I put the record on my turntable. I didn’t relate. It was harsh, edgy, dissonant. I had no category for the sound. I tried to like it. I tried to listen. But, I was not ready. “At home he feels like a tourist…” I had no relationship with their thoughts and observations. They were different than me. I tried to like it, and I couldn’t locate it or it couldn’t locate me. I listened to something else. Likely something like The Cure’s “Seventeen Seconds.”

I don’t remember. Maybe a year later? I listened again to Gang of Four. It made sense. Why, I don’t know. I heard them. I could stretch into their music, and I heard them. Why? Did I change? Did the record change? Had the space changed?

This and other like experiences lead me to ask, as if anyone is listening, can I, or anyone, affect change? Speed understanding. Open openness? Ready readiness? Alter headspace? Is it possible to work on the soul? The being? To move from time and space to spaceless timelessness? To move from Oingo Boingo to Gang of Four?

“Time Out of Mind” = No more Time? Has Bob Dylan left his mind? A “timeout” without time? Or is he “outside” of his mind? When I first bought the CD, I took it as “outside of head-time.” Leaving the mind. I don’t care too much about what my mind worries itself about. No Mind. Don’t Mind Me. Mindfulness = another marketing phrase stripped of religious/spirit meaning. I was interested to learn what the aging folk-rocker might explain to me about time. But, I don’t get it. I didn’t feel it. Shuffle me please.

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