I'm sort of in the process of just working on what is speaking to me at a particular moment. That's very common for me right now. --Bruce Springsteen, January 9th, 2014

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

“A Wonderful Life”

Blogging Friends…. So last month, I changed my alias from ‘Raelyn’ to ‘Mary Lou’!! Well…. I decided that since Raelyn has been a loyal, intricate, faithful part of my Life {and me} as an artist for over four years…. But I actually ‘created’ her in November 2010…. She deserved a proper ‘sendoff’. So I wrote Raelyn’s eulogy!! Let me make one thing clear…. Because Raelyn was me in every single way, shape and form, then her achievements, her success, her Life is mine!! Let me tell you something…. Although it felt weird to write my own eulogy? Strangely enough? It also felt amazingly therapeutic!! For Blogging Friends and Followers who read my fictional stories—if you suffer from Depression or experience low self-esteem issues—I highly recommend writing your own eulogy and memorial service/funeral!! Why? Because a little introspective self-giving praise and words of affirmation will boost your confidence!! I promise!! This is an emotionally autobiographical story…. It is a fictional story. Peace out, Mary Lou

Note Number One…. By the way? According to my Baby Name Book, ‘Mary Lou’ means ‘blessed’!! That is perfect….

Note Number Two…. I’ve mentioned that I disappeared during The River Challenge for ‘ten months’. Correction…. I actually disappeared—mostly—for one year and three months!! Yikes!!

Note Number Three…. My heart is in Las Vegas right now, with every single beautiful soul who was killed, with every single person who lost their loved ones, with every single survivor, and with Jason Aldean. Concerts are supposed to be one safe place where we go to forget our problems…. And just have fun…. What is the world coming to these days? I cannot help but wonder…. Come on up for the risin’, come on up, lay your hands in mine, come on up for the risin’, come on up for the risin’ tonight…. {Bruce Springsteen, 'The Rising'}

“A wonderful Life”

Changing seasons. Just like with Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn, Life certainly has several of them. Because, to quote Ecclesiastes 3:1…. ‘For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under Heaven….’ Pete Seeger even wrote about this in his beautiful song titled ‘Turn! Turn! Turn!’, which was made popular by The Byrds. Therefore, you must continuously reinvent yourself throughout Life’s changing seasons!! Because, as versatile musician, singer, and poetic songwriter, Bob Dylan once said…. ‘Nothing stays where it is for very long. Trees grow tall, leaves fall, rivers dry up and flowers die. New people are born every day. Life doesn’t stop.

So, as its seasons come and its seasons go, I—Mary Lou—have felt the need to reshape things!!

“A wonderful Life,” I said, “That is what Raelyn lived!! From ‘Monkeys In The Woods’ to ‘Keep On Keepin’ On’, she wrote thirty-eight fictional stories throughout less than four year’s time as an artist!! How many authors can say that?! Most likely not many, because Raelyn was an insanely prolific writer!! She started out creating children’s stories…. But eventually Raelyn threw the word ‘genre’ away and freely wrote from her heart, soul and mind!! Love stories….? Dramas….? Hallmark movie-like feel-good stories….? Whatever she was in the mood to express? Raelyn wrote it….!!”

I—Mary Lou—was inside Faith, Hope & Love Community Church giving Raelyn’s eulogy.

“Yes….” I continued, “It was a wonderful Life!! However. Like with George Bailey, Raelyn did not always feel as though she lived a wonderful Life. How so? For Raelyn’s Life was not sans emotional and mental issues which ate at her. Because like many—if not most—artists, she was an introspective ‘thinkin’ fool’ {to quote versatile musician, singer, and poetic songwriter Bruce Springsteen} and she felt a lot. Raelyn suffered from ‘mood swing-infused pity parties’ {which was a phrase that she coined} throughout her adult Life. During a particularly low season in Raelyn’s existence emotionally, she once fought {tooth and nail} to keep her love of writing alive when she did not feel like creating fictional stories anymore. Raelyn even mysteriously disappeared—mostly—for roughly one year and three months. During which she went on a time-travelling ‘soul searchin’, rock ‘n roll healin’ journey’ to 1980 called The River Challenge. This experience was Life-changing for Raelyn in more ways than one….”

“Because, during The River Challenge, Raelyn learned that she possessed a heart of stone which needed to be softened….”

“As resulted from her ‘mood swing-infused pity parties’?” I continued, “Raelyn experienced ‘emotional growing pains’ {which was also a phrase that she coined}. What does ‘emotional growing pains’ mean, exactly? What are they? Well…. Raelyn frequently gained maturity, perspective, plus she gradually grew up emotionally, mentally—and spiritually—following those ‘mood swing-infused pity parties’!! However. Just like with physical growing pains, ‘emotional growing pains’ always, always, always hurt. There were tears…. Raelyn experienced very complex thoughts, feelings and emotions….”

“For, although deep within Raelyn there was pain, she somehow became an even better version of herself….”

“So much personal Life happened during Raelyn’s one year, three month-long disappearance, both positive and negative,” I continued, “She was blessed to become an Aunt for the third time…. Her Grampa passed away…. During a season when Raelyn only created five fictional stories, she wondered if she even wanted to return as an artist…. Write for her Readers? Or write only for herself? Those were the questions. Well, when Raelyn came back from her disappearance, she did the best of both worlds…. Mostly…. Raelyn wrote for herself…. And for her Readers, often mixing emotionally autobiographical with fictional….!!”

“Yes, despite experiencing seemingly countless ‘emotional growing pains’ along the way, Raelyn did live a wonderful Life….!!”

“Sadly, that blessed existence came to an abrupt and tragic end on Monday, September 4th, 2017,” I continued, “Raelyn was riding her faithful sky blue-painted motorcycle {which she named ‘Triumph’} down the dangerous, germ-infested, busy, litter-covered, noisy, graffiti-decorated, potholed, homeless people-residing, filthy, Highway 9-2-13. Now, September 4th was Labor Day, so Raelyn had decided that it would be an incredibly soul-freeing idea to take off on her own…. Yes, all alone…. With just a journal, pencils, erasers, pencil sharpeners…. Plus her complex thoughts, feelings and emotions. Sadly, Raelyn lost complete control over ‘Triumph’. As resulted, she crashed, she burned and she died….”

“But, please dry your tears, dear friends, because Raelyn may be gone, but this is not a funeral, we are celebrating a wonderful Life lived!!” I finished.

‘Transformation’. If you were to look that word up in one of my three Webster’s dictionaries {I’m a writer, apparently I collect them} it means…. ‘To change the form or appearance of; To change the nature or character of; To be or become changed’. Ah…. Like when a preborn baby within his or her Mother’s womb gradually becomes an adorable child!! Ah…. Like when a tadpole develops his legs and he transforms into an amazingly high-leaping frog!! Ah…. Like when a caterpillar develops her wings and she becomes an incredibly beautiful, flitting, flower-obsessed butterfly!!

That is exactly what happened to me…. Raelyn was the caterpillar, and I—Mary Lou—am now a butterfly, completely transformed!!


Monday, September 4, 2017

“Blue Eyes”

I dedicate this fictional story to Bob Dylan, as I’ve recently been blessed to discover his poetic songwriting and his music!! What took me so long?!

Blogging Friends…. I want to change my Blogging name, my secret identity, my Online alias {call it whatever you will} from ‘Raelyn’ to ‘Mary Lou’!! Which, I have given a LOT of thought…. Because, to quote Bruce Springsteen…. I’m a thinkin’ fool!! I have been considering changing my alias since last November!! Here is what happened…. I thought about it…. I quickly told myself ‘No, I’ve been Raelyn for six years {at the time}’…. I forgot about it…. Only to recently consider changing my alias from ‘Raelyn’ to ‘Mary Lou’ again several months later!! Oh, my gosh…. I truly am a thinkin’ fool!! Well, in ‘Blue Eyes’, Bob Dylan kindly gave me permission to change my alias from ‘Raelyn’ to ‘Mary Lou’!! Stay hard, stay hungry, stay alive…. Mary Lou

“Blue Eyes”

What would your reaction be if destiny, Life or fate granted you an opportunity to randomly meet a particular well-known person? Such as Bob Dylan, for example? Would you be calm and rational? No…. Would you experience a mild, heart-pounding, blood-rushing panic attack? Most likely…. Would you respect his privacy and quietly walk on? No…. Where would the fun be in that?! What if you were granted the rare unplanned chance to literally sit down for a while {yes, with Bob Dylan!!} and actually have a normal, amicable, cordial, conversation?

Well, that was exactly what happened to me one Wednesday around noon!!

As the loner type, I had been driving my ‘old’ 1970’s baby blue-painted Ford pickup truck. I was obviously all by myself. I had been in a pensive mood…. And I was struggling mightily with Writer’s Block as an artist. My windows were rolled down. The radio blasted rock ‘n roll music loudly. For it was a lovely, breezy, clear-skied 70-degree Spring day in 2017. Bikers rode on loud, rumbling motorcycles. Dog owners walked their canines large and small, mutt or purebred. Teenage kids strolled toward school from lunch—as it was around 12 PM—backpacks in tow.

And then I saw him—sitting all alone—outside of De-Café Coffee…. Bob Dylan!!

Oh…. My…. Gosh….” I thought aloud, “Is that…. That…. That…. Bob Dylan?!”

But I did not believe my eyes.

Nah!!” I said, “It cannot be Bob Dylan!!”

Then, as if I were a spy, I drove my ‘old’ 1970s baby blue-painted Ford pickup truck closer to him and I sneakily, stealthily, secretly observed the versatile musician. Bob Dylan was wearing his buttoned black leather jacket over a thick white T-shirt and dark jeans. Although he had on what looked like an unmistakable, straight, bleached-blond wig, I simply knew!! For, even a disguise—or multiple aliases—cannot make him somebody else!! Because he is obviously still Bob Dylan!! The poetic songwriter was drinking pure, dark, black coffee and reading a book. Then he looked up. Through my pickup truck’s windows I could see his blue eyes….

They were as pretty as the cloudless Springtime skies!!

“I feel like a creepy stalker!!” I thought aloud, “Just walk up to Dylan and say ‘hi’!!”

So I stepped foot out of my ‘old’ 1970’s baby blue-painted Ford pickup truck.

If I were allowed merely five minutes with Dylan—five minutes—and I could tell him just one thing, I thought, It would be….

“I understand your song lyrics!!” I said, as I could literally sense my heart-pounding, hand-shaking, mind-racing nervousness, “All you need to do is listen and feel!! It is not that difficult or complicated!! Whenever I hear your songs, I listen with my ears, with my heart and with my soul!! Maybe…. That is what’s wrong with this world…. People just do not feel enough!!”

Bob Dylan must have appreciated what I just said, because his crystal blue eyes twinkled and he smiled!!

“You understand my songs?” Bob Dylan softly said, “Really. Not a whole lot of people have said that to me!!”

Bob Dylan seemed emotionally touched—and doubtful—that I would understand his song lyrics.

“I know!!” I said, with a smile written on my face, “And that, I just do not understand!! I read somewhere Online that your song lyrics are—quote, unquote—‘seemingly personal, but often mysterious and nebulous’. What?! ‘Mysterious and nebulous’?! Whatever. It only took me about three times to listen to ‘Tangled Up In Blue’ before I felt that that song is autobiographical and personal!! Three times. Or maybe four!! I thought, This is a song about Bob’s relationship and breakup with his first wife, Sara. Then I Google-searched ‘Tangled Up In Blue’…. Sure enough, I was right!!”

Very good!!” said Bob Dylan, with an impressed smile written on his face, “‘Tangled Up In Blue’ took me ten years to live and two years to write.”

“I have heard that!!” I said, “Well, I do not want to waste any more of your precious time, so I’ll leave you with a deeply personal story…. The only thing I knew how to do; Was to keep on keepin’ on like a bird that flew…. Mmmm…. That line {which you wrote before I was born} is speaking to my heart and soul right now!! What a triumphant, resilient line!!”

Why is that particular verse currently ‘speaking’ to you?” asked Bob Dylan in his distinctive voice.

I observed that he used air quotes {in a somewhat cynical fashion} for the word ‘speaking’.

Somebody who I love dearly and am in close proximity to has been suffering through some Life-changing health problems, which, obviously affects everyone…. Including me, for I am currently serving as one of my friend’s many, many, many part-time caretakers. And, quite honestly, The only thing I know how to do; Is to keep on keepin’ on like a bird that flew…. For doing so is all I have ever known!! Keep on keepin’ on…. This has become my mantra, my motto, my battle cry!! As a matter of fact.... If you—or anybody—were to ask me right now how I am doing, I’d say, ‘I keep on keepin’ on’!! And then I would think ….Like a bird that flew!! But…. I never say, ‘I keep on keepin’ on’ in a sad, negative, feel-sorry-for-me sort of way!! Although…. Sometimes, I must admit, I do not want to keep on keepin’ on like a bird that flew….”

Did I seriously just share something that personal…. With Bob Dylan?! I thought, as I was suddenly no longer feeling star-struck, I never do that, not even with close friends!! Wow, Dylan must make me feel comfortable and safe!!

“I’m very sorry to hear about your friend’s health issues,” said Bob Dylan, “That is hard. May she recover, heal and, ultimately, survive these health issues!! The human body is extremely resilient!!”

“Oh, she keeps on keepin’ on,” I confidently said.

I winked and smirked at Bob Dylan.

“‘….Like a bird that flew’!! I finished, “She is going to be absolutely fine!! Thank-you…. For your sweet ‘Get Well’ wish {or was it a little prayer?} for my dear friend!!”

Bob Dylan quietly smiled as I turned away and started to walk on. But then he stopped me.

“You’re not wasting my time!!” said Bob Dylan, as he shook his head ‘no’, “I was just on a motorcycle ride, but I stopped into De-Café Coffee for some ‘fuel’, if you will….”

To which Bob Dylan smiled and I laughed.

“….But now I’m just reading,” he continued, “If I were writing a song or something, then you’d be disrupting my Creative Powers!!”

Bob Dylan then put his book down.

“I completely understand!!” I said with a smile written on my face, “I am an artist, as well!! Although I cannot create a song, I write prolific fictional stories!!”

“What genre do you write under?” asked Bob Dylan, “Children’s stories? Drama? Do you write feel-good stories?”

“I have written all of the above, actually!!” I exclaimed, “I do not confine my God-given gifts, talents and abilities to only one genre!! Haven’t you done that as a musician?”

I smiled.

“Throughout your career, you have been a folk singer, a rocker, a blues singer, a gospel singer, a country singer…. I mean, look who is talking?!” I continued, “Me? I am a rebel rule-breaker!! I just write whatever I’m in the mood to create!!”

“Ah, I’ve met another fellow rebel rule-breaker!!” Bob Dylan excitedly said, as he gave me a ‘thumbs up’ of approval, “Keep writing!! Don’t ever stop!! Particularly if it’s your calling!! And keep being a rebel!! I don’t break the rules, because I don’t see any rules to break. As far as I’m concerned, there aren’t any rules.”

Bob Dylan paused for a nanosecond.

“May I give you some advice from one artist to another?” he asked.

Me?! I excitedly thought, Receive advice from Bob Dylan?!

Sure, go ahead!!” I calmly said.

“You have to be the best at whatever you are called at,” said Bob Dylan, “Whatever you do. You ought to be the best at it…. Highly skilled. It's about confidence, not arrogance. You have to know that you're the best whether anybody else tells you that or not. And that you'll be around, in one way or another, longer than anybody else. Somewhere inside of you, you have to believe that.”

“Awww….” I said, “That is very…. Fatherly…. It is very paternal advice!! Thank-you!!”

Usually, when people recognize me, things get uncomfortable,” said Bob Dylan, “There’s shrill screaming, there’s weeping, there’s ‘OMG, I’m in the very presence of a revolutionary bard, of a prophet, of the Messiah’!! But you have never even asked for my autograph!! You’re calm and rational around me!! Who are you? You’re obviously not like all the others!!”

To which I smiled.

“I am not a ‘Dylanologist’, I said, “I don’t even know what on Earth that is!! I am just a girl who feels way too much!! I mean…. Does nobody listen to your songs with their hearts?! I do!! Does nobody understand that the human heart actually has ears to hear?! I do!! Does nobody listen to your songs with their souls?! I do!! No, I am not like them at all. Because if everybody were to jump off of a bridge, I can’t swim…. It would be suicide!! I’d sink like a stone I'd and drown!!”

To which Bob Dylan laughed.

“No, I am not like them at all,” I continued, “Because I look at you and I see a human being…. With faults, with shortcomings, with sins just like everybody else. I look at you and I see a man…. With positives, with negatives, with character qualities, with character defects. I look at you and I see a person…. Well…. You get the picture!! Right? Anyway, unlike those ‘Dylanologists’ and everybody else, I do not have you on a pedestal!! ‘Hero’—in my opinion—is an overused word amongst celebrities. Agreed?”

“Yes, I do!!” said Bob Dylan, “I think of a hero as someone who understands the degree of responsibility that comes with his freedom.”

“I absolutely love that!!” I continued, “A hero is somebody who understands the degree of responsibility that comes with his freedom…. Very good!! Although I do search for your positives…. Because, heedless to contrary opinion, it is not that hard!! You know what? I do not understand your harshest critics…. They don’t just hate you for, say, particular political beliefs. No…. Your harshest critics seemingly think the worst of you constantly. And I just don’t understand that!! Although I do search for your positives…. At the same time, I also don’t hold you in high admiration!! You’re a musician, a singer and a songwriter, not Jesus Christ, for Heaven’s sake!!”

Thank-you!!” said Bob Dylan, “Wow…. I think I like you!! Sit down. What’s your name?”

Did Bob Dylan just tell me to sit down?! I excitedly thought, In a chair across the table from him?! What can I say?! Yes, sir!!

So sit down, I did!!

“What is my name?” I said, “Well…. I kind of have two names!! That is, if you do not include all of my many, many, many different ‘aliases’ in the fictional characters which I create!! My name’s Debbie….”

To which Bob Dylan simply smiled and nodded his head.

“....But as an artist, my Readers all call me ‘Raelyn’,” I continued, “Although I want to change it!! See, I’m not the same girl I was four years ago when I started creating fictional stories!! I have matured, I have changed, I have grown up!! I mean, I even disappeared—mostly—for roughly one year and three months!! During which I only created five fictional stories, I did far too much introspective soul-searching…. And I’m one-hundred percent certain that I returned a completely different artist!! No, I do not want to be ‘Raelyn’ anymore!! Because…. I want to be ‘Mary Lou’!!”

“Why don’t you change your name?” said Bob Dylan, “I went through several aliases before I found mine!! For I was born Robert Zimmerman, but I’ll die as Bob Dylan!!”

“I read about that, ‘Elston Gunn’!!” I said, with a smile written on my face.

I winked at the name ‘Elston Gunn’.

“Who is that guy?” said Bob Dylan in a mysterious and witty tone of voice, “Elston Gunn….? I haven’t heard from him in a long time!!”

To which I laughed.

“Is Elston Gunn dead?” I said, “See, as an artist, I am a tragedian whose mind can be incredibly dark at times!!”

I paused momentarily.

Hey….” I said on a whim, “If I change my name from ‘Raelyn’ to ‘Mary Lou’, then maybe, just maybe, Raelyn is dead!! For I have killed her off after all these years!! I can do that!! Poor Raelyn…. She has seen me through a lot of Life, its changing seasons, its ups and downs…. Saying ‘goodbye’ to Raelyn feels kind of bittersweet!! But she is dead…. Raelyn does not exist anymore…. Because she died in a motorcycle crash last year!!”

To which Bob Dylan first grimaced, then he smiled, his blue eyes sparkling.

“That’s brilliant!!” said Bob Dylan, “Elston Gunn is dead and you’ve killed off Raelyn!! I like it!!”

Speaking of names, monikers and aliases,” I said, “I know that you’re a very private man, which, I wholeheartedly respect!!”

Thank-you!!” said Bob Dylan, “I appreciate that!! A lot!! You have no idea how much I appreciate it, actually!!”

“Well….” I said, “In an effort to protect your privacy—because everybody knows the name Bob Dylan—I am going to give you yet another alias!! How about…. ‘Blue Eyes’? Because…. You have a pair of beautiful blue eyes!!”

“I like it!!” said Bob Dylan, with a smile written on his face, “Blue Eyes. It kind of sounds like a Native American name!! Yes, you may call me ‘Blue Eyes’…. But only if I can refer to you as ‘Mary Lou’!!”

“Alright!!” I said, with a smile written on my face, “Blue Eyes…. It is a deal!! This way, nobody will understand who I’m talking to if I do not say your real name!! See? I can be secretive and mysterious like you, as well!!”

To which Bob Dylan simply smiled.

“Do you drink coffee, Mary Lou?” asked Bob Dylan, “I’ll order you something!! But I think that De-Café Coffee also sells fruit smoothies and hot chocolate, as well!!”

“Oh, you don’t need to do that, Blue Eyes!!” I said, “I have money with me!! I can pay for my own drink!!”

“I know that!!” said Bob Dylan, “But so can I!! What do you want me to order, Mary Lou?”

“A medium-sized mocha, please!!” I said, “Thank-you, Blue Eyes!!”

I smiled.

“Do you use your actual real name while ordering, Blue Eyes?” I asked, “I am just wondering!!

“Who says I use my well-known name, Mary Lou?” replied Bob Dylan, in a mysterious tone of voice, “Now {thanks to you} I can get away with saying that I’m Blue Eyes!!”

To which I laughed. And then Bob Dylan disappeared in De-Café Coffee!!

Alright…. I thought, And while Bob Dylan is gone, I will awaken from this wonderful, impossible-to-believe, lovely daydream!!

Just then, ‘Like A Rolling Stone’ randomly appeared within my head…. To which I smiled!!

Then, Bob Dylan returned with my mocha…. And a double chunk chocolate chip cookie!!

“Why is it that when people talk about me they have to go crazy?” said Bob Dylan, “What is the matter with them? Sure, I had a motorcycle accident. Sure, I played with the Band. Yeah, I made a record called John Wesley Harding. And sure, I sounded different. So what? They want to know what can't be known. They are searching…. They are seekers. For what? Why are they doing this? They don't really know. It's sad. It really is. May the Lord have mercy on them. They are lost souls. They really don't know. It's sad…. It really is. It's sad for me, and it's sad for them.”

Uh-oh!! I thought, Did something happen inside De-Café Coffee?

“But as I mentioned earlier, you, Mary Lou, are not like all the others!!” said Bob Dylan.

To which I smiled.

Why do people go crazy when they talk—or write—about you, Blue Eyes?” I said, “I have the answer to that question!! It is because people are searching, seeking, looking for a savior. Lowercase ‘s’. Now, I don’t want to preach any sermons…. I am not sharing my Faith with you!! Well, people are searching, seeking, looking for a savior—lowercase ‘s’—in all the wrong places!!”

I looked Heavenward.

“But there is only One Savior…. Uppercase ‘S’!!” I said, “And, Blue Eyes? You are definitely not Him!!”

Thank-you, Mary Lou!!” said Bob Dylan, “Finally, I have met somebody who understands!!”

Then Bob Dylan smiled.

“But I thought that you weren’t going to preach any sermons, Mary Lou!!” Bob Dylan teasingly said.

Sorry, Blue Eyes!!” I said, “But people have been searching, seeking, looking for a savior—lowercase ‘s’—in all the wrong places forever…. I mean, why did everybody go crazy about Elvis Presley? Was it because he had a deep, soothing, somewhat sexy-sounding, God-like singing voice? No…. Was it because Elvis had dance moves that were almost un-human? No…. Was it because Elvis had soulful, angelic-looking—yet sadblue eyes? No…. It is because people are searching, seeking, looking for a savior!! Lowercase ‘s’. And, bless Elvis’ soul…. I’m not criticizing or judging him…. I absolutely love Elvis…. But everybody knows how he died. Which only proves my point. Elvis was not a savior {lowercase ‘s’}. Elvis, himself, even said so…. ‘I am not The King. Jesus Christ is the King. I'm just an entertainer.’ Elvis was a human being, a man, a person!! And I would not have him any other way!!”

To which Bob Dylan’s blue eyes lit up like Independence Day fireworks.

“You’re wise, you know that, Mary Lou?” said Bob Dylan, “Introspective…. Profound…. Smart…. You’re an old soul!! By the way? I absolutely love Elvis, as well!!”

Alright, I am, officially finished preaching my little mini-sermon!!” I said, with a smile written on my face, “I promise!! How much caffeine did they put in this mocha that you ordered me, Blue Eyes?! I am feeling kind of high and wound up!! Well, obviously!!”

To which Bob Dylan laughed.

“You understand the lyrics to ‘Tangled Up In Blue’, Mary Lou,” said Bob Dylan, “What about any of my other songs?”

Bob Dylan then smiled and winked, as his blue eyes looked mischievous.

“I’m almost afraid to ask, Mary Lou, because you possess a sixth sense when it comes to my songs, but….” continued Bob Dylan.

He paused momentarily.

“Do you understand any of my other songs, Mary Lou?” finished Bob Dylan, “I’m just curious!!”

I smiled.

“Well, I cannot mention ‘Like A Rolling Stone’, because—although, yes, I do, in fact understand that song’s lyrics—Bruce Springsteen did all the work for me!!” I said, “Repeatedly. See, Bruce analyzed ‘Like A Rolling Stone’ in interviews, and in his memoir, Born To Run!! That was the very first of your songs I ever heard…. Thanks to Bruce!! I pulled ‘Like A Rolling Stone’ up on my Kindle Fire!! In fact…. Bruce is completely to blame for why I love you, Blue Eyes, why I’m your fanatic!!”

“Ah,” said Bob Dylan, “I love Bruce like a brother. I care about him deeply.”

“That is so sweet, Blue Eyes!!” I said, “Speaking of Bruce, he’s also completely to blame for why I want to change my alias from ‘Raelyn’ to ‘Mary Lou’!! Why? Because Bruce has a The River outtake by that same name, and, well, Mary Lou {the character} is me!! We are Kindred Spirits, me and Mary Lou!! We’re the same!! Why? Because I tend to ‘crush on’ movie characters, the actors who played them, celebrities….”

I smirked at Bob Dylan.

“And I also tend to ‘crush on’ well-known musicians who just so happen to write their own songs and ride motorcycles, Blue Eyes!!” I said.

“Uh-oh, I’m in trouble!!” Bob Dylan jokingly said, “You’re too young for me, Mary Lou!!”

I laughed.

“So I am Bruce’s character, Mary Lou!!” I finished, “I’m totally pathetic, huh, Blue Eyes? I know I am!! And—just like with ‘Tangled Up In Blue’—Bruce wrote ‘Mary Lou’ before I was ever a thought, dream or glint in my parents’ eyes!! That, I think, is the best part about it!!”

“I don’t think you’re pathetic at all, by any measure, Mary Lou!!” said Bob Dylan, “You want to rename your alias after a song character?! I like it!! And I have a feeling that Bruce himself will approve, as well!!”

Me too!!” I said, with a smile written on my face, “And speaking of Bruce…. Do you know what drives this already crazy girl crazy, Blue Eyes? Even though it happened before my time?”

What, Mary Lou?” said Bob Dylan.

I had his complete undivided attention.

“Why is it that people compare particular musicians to other artists?” I said, “I do not like it. Such as comparing Bruce to you, for instance. I am not sure why…. But it just bothers me when people compare this musician to that artist!! Bruce is Bruce. Wonderful, gifted, talented, able Bruce!! You are you. And you’re great, as well!! However. You, Blue Eyes, are wonderful, gifted, talented and able in your own unique way!! So is Bruce!!”

“You mean you’re saying you don’t like it that people referred to him as ‘the next Bob Dylan’, Mary Lou?” he asked.

“No, I do not!!” I said, “‘The next Bob Dylan’? What on Earth did that mean? You know what I think? People were just trying to quickly replace you with Bruce!! But, honestly? The world did not need another you!! No…. The world needed a Bruce Springsteen!! We already have you!! And I mean that in a positive way, Blue Eyes!! Never—ever—stop being you!!”

I smiled.

“Because I kind of like you, Blue Eyes!!” I continued, “Sure, you’re different. Yes, you are—in my opinion—eccentric. Sure, you’re mysteriously intriguing.”

To which Bob Dylan looked at me, his blue eyes appearing knowingly.

Admit it, you are intriguing because you’re mysterious!!” I said, with a smile written on my face, “I don’t have to not be a ‘Dylanologist’ to feel that!! But I wouldn't have you any other way!! I do mean that, Blue Eyes!! You are a poetic songwriter!! So is Bruce!! I think that the world needs more poetic songwriters!! Because I personally love them!!”

“I have to agree with you, Mary Lou!!” said Bob Dylan, “Although they do exist, this world does, indeed, need more poetic songwriters!!”

“And, by the way, Blue Eyes?” I finished, “I do not see ‘weird’ in people…. But, then again, maybe it just takes one to know one!! Seriously…. How much caffeine is in this mocha that I am drinking?!”

To which Bob Dylan just smiled.

“You never answered my question, Mary Lou!!” said Bob Dylan, “‘Tangled Up In Blue’…. You understand that song’s lyrics. ‘Like A Rolling Stone’…. Do you—dare I even ask—understand any of my other songs?”

“Well….” I said, “I tend to understand musician’s songs better when I read its lyrics. People say that that means I am visual. But with your songs, Blue Eyes? I truly, honestly, seriously understand them!! Alright…. ‘Forever Young’ has such a sweet Jewish blessing or prayer feel to it….”

Bob Dylan’s blue eyes looked up softly from his coffee that he was drinking when I said the word ‘Jewish’.

“I know, I know….” I said, “Technically you aren’t Jewish, Blue Eyes. Not anymore!! I am sorry for mentioning it!!”

I was suddenly feeling awkward—as though I’d said something wrong—but Bob Dylan graciously came to my rescue!!

“There’s absolutely no need to apologize, Mary Lou!!” said Bob Dylan in a soft-spoken tone of voice, “I was, after all, raised Jewish….”

“Well….” I said, “It feels obvious to me that your Jewish upbringing came out in ‘Forever Young’, Blue Eyes!!”

To which Bob Dylan did not say anything. He just smiled.

“And then I quickly had a feeling that ‘Forever Young’ must have been written for your children, Blue Eyes!!” I continued, “Because it felt so much like a Daddy’s prayer!!”

“Yes, I wrote ‘Forever Young’ for my oldest son!!” said Bob Dylan with a smile written on his face, “You’re good, Mary Lou!!”

“Yeah, it is almost uncanny, Blue Eyes!!” I said, “My sixth sense regarding understanding your song lyrics!! Like I said earlier, I am just a girl who feels way too much!!”

Nonsense!!” said Bob Dylan, “You can never—ever—‘feel too much’, Mary Lou!!”

No?” I said, “Are you sure about that, Blue Eyes? Because I am way too introspective for my own good sometimes!!”

“Ah….” said Bob Dylan, “But to feel is to experience the compassion, empathy, sorrow, happiness, heartbreak and triumphant resilience of others!! I may have only met you today…. But…. I think that you, Mary Lou, possess those positives!! So how can anybody ever ‘feel too much’?! There's physical blood in the soul!!”

“That is sweet, Blue Eyes!!” I said, “Thank-you!!”

“And I meant every single word, Mary Lou!!” said Bob Dylan, “Wholeheartedly!! Because I try not to say anything I don't mean.”

“I know that, Blue Eyes!!” I said with a smile written on my face.

“Now that we are on the subject of your songs, Blue Eyes, can we talk about ‘Rainy Day Women #12 & 35’?!” I randomly said.

Maybe,” said Bob Dylan in a mysterious tone of voice, “Maybe not!! That depends, Mary Lou!!”

“On what, Blue Eyes?” I asked.

“Do you actually understand the lyrics to ‘Rainy Day Women’, Mary Lou?” asked Bob Dylan.

Noooo….” I said.

Then a light bulb illuminated within my head.

“Wait a minute!!” I said, “I know what you are doing!! Yes, I have figured it out!! You are not just asking me if I understand your song lyrics!! No!! You are challenging me, Blue Eyes!!”

To which Bob Dylan simply smiled knowingly. But then he paid me another compliment!!

“Ah....” said Bob Dylan, You’re too smart for me, you know that, Mary Lou?”

“Alright!!” I said, “Back to ‘Rainy Day Women #12 & 35’!! No, I do not understand the lyrics to that song, Blue Eyes!! Does anybody? But I do have unanswered queries about it!! Question number one…. Who are ‘they’ and why do you keep getting stoned by them? Question number two…. Is ‘Rainy Day Women #12 & 35’ about getting stoned…. As in the Biblical definition…. Like what happened to Stephen? Question number three…. Is ‘Rainy Day Women #12 & 35’ about being all alone in this world? Question number four…. Is ‘Rainy Day Women #12 & 35’ really about getting high? Confession…. I—amongst everybody else—have fallen for that ‘trap’!!”

To which Bob Dylan did not answer my questions. He simply looked at me and there was a sense of mystery in his blue eyes.

“Do not answer those questions!!” I said, “Any of them!! Because I seriously do not want to know the answers!! Why? Because not everything in this world needs to be explained!! I personally love the fact that I don’t understand ‘Rainy Day Women #12 & 35’!! Because, honestly? That is one of the best parts about it!! ‘Rainy Day Women #12 & 35’ makes me laugh!! I absolutely love the animation in your voice when you sang it…. Whether ‘Rainy Day Women #12 & 35’ is about something as ‘free-spirited’ as getting high, or something as dark as getting stoned, ‘Rainy Day Women #12 & 35’ always lifts my spirits!! Thank-you for that, Blue Eyes!!”

“You’re welcome, Mary Lou….” was all Bob Dylan could say.

“‘Tangled Up In Blue’…. ‘Like A Rolling Stone’…. ‘Forever Young…. ‘Rainy Day Women #12 & 35’….” I said, “Four songs. Which are all very different from each other, both lyrically and musically. But do you want to know one thing that those four songs have in common, Blue Eyes?”

Tell me, Mary Lou!!” said Bob Dylan.

“They were all written before I was born, Blue Eyes!!” I said.

“Are you trying to make me feel old, Mary Lou?” Bob Dylan teasingly said.

“No, I would never do that!!” I said, with a sincere smile written on my face, “You sound like a dear friend of mine {who also happens to be in her seventies} she teases me a lot about making her feel ‘old’, {because of the generation gap between us, I suppose}!! You know what? About seventy-five percent of my dearest closest friends are in their seventies!! You would fit right in.... As my friend, Blue Eyes!!”

Wow….” said Bob Dylan, “That is unique and unusual for somebody your age, Mary Lou!!”

“Yeah, I do not fit in with people—like me—who who are in their thirties,” I said, “I never have!!”

I quickly changed the subject.

“Alright, back to your songs!!” I said, “You know what, Blue Eyes? Although I do enjoy your songs that were not written and recorded in the sixties or seventies…. I like ‘Duquesne Whistle’…. And I also absolutely love the music video!! I like ‘Make You Feel My Love’…. Because I am such a softie for sweet romantic songs!! But there is something…. Special…. About songs that were written before I was ever a thought, dream or glint in my parents’ eyes…. I just love them!! And I am not sure why!!”

“You mean like with your newfound alias’ namesake, Mary Lou?” said Bob Dylan.

I noticed that he used mental ‘italics’ with the name ‘Mary Lou’.

“What do you mean, Blue Eyes?” I asked.

“Bruce’s song, ‘Mary Lou’ was written and recorded before your time!!” said Bob Dylan, “Remember? You said so earlier, Mary Lou!!”

“Oh my goodness, Blue Eyes!!” I said, “You have a really sharp memory!! Unlike me!! I am very impressed!! And envious!!”

“It’s not like I have a great memory,” Bob Dylan humbly said, “I remember what I want to remember. And what I want to forget, I forget.”

Bob Dylan paused for a nanosecond.

“I’ll always remember you, Mary Lou!!” said Bob Dylan, with an enormous smile written on his face, “Because you’re one-of-a-kind, you’re unforgettable!!”

“Ah, thanks, Blue Eyes!!” I said, “Now, if you ever decide to paint a picture of me—as I know that you’re an artist in every single sense of the word—make sure I’m prettier and skinnier.... Alright?”

“Maybe I’ll write a song about you, Mary Lou!!” Bob Dylan mysteriously said, as his blue eyes looked somewhat pensive.

“That is even better!!” I said, with a smile written on my face, “Can you write your harmonica into it, Blue Eyes?! Please?”

To which Bob Dylan smiled. Then, out of curiosity—and seemingly in no hurry at all—he glanced at his wristwatch.

“What time is it, Blue Eyes?” I asked.

2:00,” answered Bob Dylan.

“My, time flies when you are having fun!!” I said, “Doesn’t it? Have we seriously been talking to each other for twain hours, Blue Eyes?!”

“Yes, time certainly does fly when you’re having fun!!” said Bob Dylan, “Indeed, we have been talking to each other for twain hours!! But it’s been a good conversation, Mary Lou!!”

“Do you need to go, Blue Eyes?” I asked.

“No….” answered Bob Dylan, “I’m not in a hurry to be someplace or anything, Mary Lou!!”

“Well…. I…. I….” I sadly stammered, “I hate to say this, but I should go. So, I will leave you with this, Blue Eyes…. I do not only understand your song lyrics. But from one weird individual to another, one artist to another, one….”

I smiled.

“….Oddball to another,” I continued, “I understand you, Blue Eyes!! I do mean that…. Wholeheartedly!! Because—like you—I also try not to say anything I don't mean.”

Farewell, Mary Lou,” said Bob Dylan.

Why is saying ‘goodbye’ to Bob Dylan so hard?! I thought, Is it because I just made a friend who I sincerely understand and who gets me in return? Is it because we will most likely never chance-meet each other ever again?

As I walked on, I could see Bob Dylan’s blue eyes misting up a little bit….