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

Monday, December 4, 2017

“Meaningless Nothings”

Blogging Friends…. I wrote Part Three of my ‘Bob Dylan Stories’ with twain things…. A head/chest cold. And chocolate. This ‘Never Ending Tour’ called a nasty cold has played more than enough ‘shows’. It’s lasted over three weeks and counting. I am more than ready for the headaches, {which are no longer a symptom}, sore throat, hoarse ‘smoker’s voice’, coughing, and asthma attacks to end now…. Peace out, Mary Lou
PS. Why are my ‘Bob Dylan Stories’ always so long?!

Note Number One…. ‘This is not a {continuous} love story between me {Mary Lou} and Bob {Blue Eyes}. It’s a friendship story.’ That is what I have repeatedly told my youngest brother, Michael…. And me. However. As I wrote—and reread—Part Three of my ‘Bob Dylan Stories’, I could definitely feel the love between me {Mary Lou} and Bob {Blue Eyes}!! Then—when I was almost finished writing it—my crazy, never-shuts-down head got to thinking before 9AM…. Could this be a love story after all between me {Mary Lou} and Bob {Blue Eyes}? It just is not your typical, traditional, ‘normal’—whatever ‘normal’ is—love story? No sparks flying between me {Mary Lou} and Bob {Blue Eyes}, no kissing, no Hallmark film-like love story? However. Could this be a love story between twain friends?

Note Number Two…. Back when I was Raelyn—before I changed my alias to Mary Lou—I dreamed of becoming a published author. However. This year, after Bob changed my way of thinkin’ {that is cliché, I know…. But it’s explained in ‘Meaningless Nothings’}, and after I killed off Raelyn {because I am a tragedian like that}, and after I counted every single fictional story that I’ve written in Raelyn’s—I mean, my own—eulogy, {Read ‘A Wonderful Life’!!} I started to finally count my blessings!! Then a funny thing happened…. I do not want to be an author anymore!! For I am a writer!! I’m an artist who ‘paints pictures’ with words!! And that—according to Bob—is my calling!! Now, if {that is a big word, ‘if’} I do become a published author? Then that will be my calling, as well!! But until then? I am living out my calling!!

“Meaningless Nothings”

Have you ever known somebody who is far better at being a faithful and loyal friend than you’ll ever be? Like Stephanie, Lynne and Adelaide, for example? How can I ever repay the countless emotional highs and lows that Stephanie has weathered with me? How can I ever repay every single sweet comment from Lynne, whose Friendship I miss so badly? How can I ever repay the encouragement that Adelaide has continuously given me as an artist? Well…. That is exactly the kind of friend {albeit an unlikely one} that I have in Bob Dylan!! Yes, he’s somebody who is far better at being a faithful and loyal friend than I will ever be!! I mean…. How can I ever repay somebody who graciously allowed me twain hours of his precious time?! How can I ever repay somebody who encouraged me to finally {after months of thinking about it} change my alias from ‘Raelyn’ to Mary Lou?!

How can I ever possibly repay an incredibly dear friend who gave me something as deeply personal as his artwork and a song?!

Unfortunately, I may never know the answers to those queries, because Bob Dylan and I do not exactly possess your typical friendship. We don’t have each other’s contact information. I do not even know where Bob Dylan lives {which is absolutely alright with me…. I respect his privacy} and he does not know where I reside, either. Bob Dylan has only ordered me medium-sized highly addictive, caffeine/sugar-loaded mochas at De-Café Coffee—where destiny, Life and fate brought us together—because, as a fanatic, I ‘stalked’ him. He just turned me into an official ‘believer’ of The Beatles. And Bob Dylan was merely unexpectedly there for me through his songs during six long, hard, emotionally stressful months {because ‘the only thing I knew how to do was to keep on keepin’ on like a bird that flew’}, and he made me laugh, he made me smile, he made me feel good for a while when Life was hard. I may never know the answers to those queries, because, sadly, we’re merely acquaintances.    

See, Bob Dylan and I are bump-into-each-other kind of friends!!
I had driven my ‘old’ 1970’s baby blue-painted pickup truck—all alone, because I am the loner type—toward Servito Con Amore {Served With Love} Italian Restaurant for a delicious lunch of cheesy chicken/broccoli Alfredo, crisp garlic/butter bread and strawberry lemonade. I had just sat down to eat when I saw him standing at their counter where you order…. Bob Dylan!! As per usual, I observed that he had on a disguise…. Bob Dylan was wearing his trusty bleached-blond wig!! He wore blue jeans with a black leather jacket. Nonetheless, heedless of his disguise, Bob Dylan still looked typical, he still looked ordinary, he still looked like an average Joe, he still looked common, he still looked ‘normal’…. Whatever ‘normal’ is!!
Yet Bob Dylan also kind of looked like a rock ‘n roll biker!!
I do not believe it!! I thought, with a smile written on my face, That’s Bob Dylan!! This is the third time in recent history that I have randomly seen him!! First it was De-Café Coffee. Then it was Food For Thought Bookstore & Music. And now…. Bob Dylan is at Servito Con Amore {Served With Love} Italian Restaurant?! What are the odds….?!
I temporarily abandoned my meal so that I could approach Bob Dylan.
“Yes, I do understand your songs, Blue Eyes,” I said, with a smile written on my face, “Gee…. You and I sure have a knack for ‘bumping into each other’!! We must frequent all the same places!!”
Mary Lou!!” said Bob Dylan, in his soft-spoken, distinctive, ‘smoker’s voice’, with a smile written on his face as his blue eyes looked happy, “How are you doing?!”
“I am okay….” I said, “I was just having some chicken/broccoli Alfredo!! I eat at Servito Con Amore {Served With Love} Italian Restaurant…. A lot!! For I am part Italian, Blue Eyes!! Which means that I possess a cosmic love affair with all things pasta!!”
To which Bob Dylan smiled, as his blue eyes sparkled.
“Well….” I said with a regretful sigh, “I will let you order your meal, Blue Eyes!!”
And, just like that—it is the same situation as always—I randomly ‘bump into’ Bob Dylan…. I thought sadly, But…. We have to part ways…. Once again….
“Oh, I’m not planning on eating lunch here, Mary Lou!!” said Bob Dylan, “I was just buying a gift card for my daughter!! She absolutely loves the food that they cook here at Servito Con Amore {Served With Love} Italian Restaurant!!”
Bob Dylan did not say which daughter—Maria, Anna or Desiree—that he was purchasing a gift card for…. I never asked.
“Do you have someplace to go, Blue Eyes?” I said, “Because I am all by myself. I’m just slipping into yet another one of my ‘loner abysses’, and I could use a friend right about now.”
“I’m not going anywhere,” said Bob Dylan without hesitation in his blue eyes, “Are you alright, Mary Lou?”
“The most interesting thing about having loner tendencies is that whenever I am feeling pensive or I’m slipping into an abyss, I do not need to be all by myself,” I said, “Sure, this may be what I want. But deep down inside, Blue Eyes? What I really need is somebody to talk to, even about meaningless nothings.”
“Well, I’m listening,” said Bob Dylan, with compassion in his blue eyes, “May I walk over to your table and sit down so that you can talk, Mary Lou?”
To which I shook my head.
“No….” I said, “I do not want to burden you with any of my problems, Blue Eyes!! Besides, just because I am feeling pensive or I’m slipping into yet another one of my ‘loner abysses’ could simply mean that I have a lot on my mind right now!!”
“But what if we merely talk about meaningless nothings, Mary Lou?” asked Bob Dylan, as his left blue eye winked at me.
To which I smiled.
This Bob Dylan guy….? I thought, He is a keeper!!
Alright!!” I said, as I pointed toward my left, “Well, come on, Blue Eyes!! My table is right over there!!”
“I won’t ask something as personal and private as what’s eating at you, Mary Lou,” said Bob Dylan, after he sat down across the circular-shaped table from me.
Yet his blue eyes looked sincerely concerned.
“So you’re safe with me, Mary Lou!!” said Bob Dylan.
Just then, my faithful waiter named Smitty—who always wears clothing as dark as midnight, a silver-colored belt, big round earrings and has jet black hair, plus tattoos—approached the table.
“Oh, would your Grandpa like to order something?” asked Smitty, with a soft-spoken voice and an attractive smile.
Wait. What?!” I protested, “He is not my Grandpa!! Doesn’t this man look way too young for that, Smitty?!”
“No, he is my Dad!!” I lied on an impulsive whim.
To which I secretly winked at Bob Dylan. He smiled back in return. Yes, I was giving Smitty—who seemed absolutely oblivious to mine and Bob Dylan’s telepathic connection—a hard time!! For he has been my waiter for several years!!
“Uh, I am sorry, would your Dad like to order something?” stammered Smitty.
“No, thank-you,” said Bob Dylan, in his distinctive, soft-spoken tone of voice.
I could use another refill of strawberry lemonade, please!!” I said.
To which Smitty walked on to eventually return with some more of my sweet-tasting beverage.
“He did not even recognize you!!” I whispered, “That brilliant disguise of yours really works, Blue Eyes!! Smitty did not even know who you are!!”
Exactly!!” said Bob Dylan, as his blue eyes looked confident, “Yeah, I can usually get away with being incognito…. As long as Smitty, for example, isn’t the paparazzi with their hidden cameras!! That’s when I always get caught being somewhat normal’, Mary Lou.”
“Whatever ‘normal’ is?” I said, “You are eccentric, I am weird. What’s ‘normal’, anyway, Blue Eyes? I am not sure there even is such as a thing as ‘normal’!! Because in my opinion? ‘Normal’ is just a word that people overuse!!”
“I absolutely agree!!” said Bob Dylan with a smile written on his face, as his blue eyes twinkled, “‘Normal’ is just a word that people overuse!! Well, my being incognito doesn’t fool you!! Right, Mary Lou? And I’m so glad that my disguises don’t work on you!! Because, otherwise we wouldn’t be long lost ‘father and daughter’!!”
To which I laughed.
“If I truly were your biological daughter, Blue Eyes?” I said, with a smile written on my face, “I want to thank you for not giving me messy, curly, frizzy locks!! But I could have ‘inherited’ your blue eyes!!”
Just then, Smitty returned with a new glass of strawberry lemonade.
“Thank-you!!” I said, as I gratefully took my drink and I sipped it.
Smitty walked away once more with a smile written on his face.
“Well, Mary Lou, my ‘daughter’, since I’m your ‘Dad’ now, this gives me full permission to pry into whatever personal and private issues that are eating at you!!” Bob Dylan teasingly said, as his blue eyes looked clever.
“Alright,” I said, with a smile written on my face, “That is fair. I will tell you what’s bothering me, Blue Eyes!!”
“No, I was just joking, Mary Lou!!” said Bob Dylan, as his blue eyes now looked apologetic, “You don’t have to do that!! Unless…. Unless, that is you want to!!”
“I do….” I said, “I actually want to tell you what is bothering me, Blue Eyes!!”
“Then I’m all ears, Mary Lou!!” said Bob Dylan, with empathy in his blue eyes, “Talk to me!!”
“I am a writer, an artist who ‘paints pictures’ with words….” I said, as I fought back wet, hot tears, “I have written at least over forty or fifty-plus fictional stories in less than five year’s time, Blue Eyes….”
“Whoa, you’re a much more prolific artist than I ever was, Mary Lou!!” exclaimed Bob Dylan, as his blue eyes blinked in astonishment.
“Oh, I do not know about that, Blue Eyes!!” I said, “I haven’t composed, like, a billion quadrillion songs!! I haven’t released thirty-eight studio albums!!”
Bob Dylan is already trying to make me feel good inside and provide a diversion!! I thought.
“Alright, carry on, Mary Lou!!” said Bob Dylan, with humility in his blue eyes.
“Yet, none of my ‘books’ have ever been published or sold in particular places such as Food For Thought Bookstore & Music….” I said, as I blinked back wet, hot tears, “This was an issue that frequently bothered my original alias, Raelyn…. You know, before I became Mary Lou….? This issue somehow does not bother me nearly as often as it used to…. But sometimes, I feel so lost and without any purpose in Life…. Sometimes, I feel like I don’t do anything with my existence…. Sometimes, I feel like a complete failure whose Life will never, ever amount to anything…. I have felt this way ever since I was seventeen years old…. I am thirty-three now….”
“You’re not a ‘failure’!!” said Bob Dylan, “Now…. This is going to sound like a stupid question, but bear with me, okay? Do you write, Mary Lou?”
“Yes, every single day….!!” I answered, as I wiped wet, hot tears from my eyes, “I have written children’s stories, dramas, love stories, dark tragedies, comedies, feel-good stories…. Why do you ask, Blue Eyes?”
“A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do,” said Bob Dylan, with wisdom in his blue eyes, “The same thing goes with women, as well, Mary Lou!!”
To which I smiled.
“Do you get up in the morning and go to bed at night and in between do what you want to do, Mary Lou?” asked Bob Dylan.
“Yes….” I answered.
“Do you live out these words, Mary Lou?” asked Bob Dylan, who still had wisdom in his blue eyes.
“Yes….” I answered, “I am living out those words, Blue Eyes….”
“Well, then in my mind, you’re a success—not a failure—Mary Lou!!” said Bob Dylan, as his blue eyes looked confident.
“Even though my dreams, ambitions and aspirations are not happening, Blue Eyes….?” I asked, as wet, hot tears freely fell.
Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever stop writing, Mary Lou!!” said Bob Dylan, with wisdom in his blue eyes, “Don’t give up hope on your dreams, ambitions and aspirations!! Because nobody knows where destiny, Life or fate could take them!!”
“Oh, I will never stop writing, Blue Eyes!!” I said, as I wiped wet, hot tears from my cheeks, “Why? Because writing is the heart that beats a steady rhythmic beat within my chest!! Thump, thump, thump, thump, thump, thump, thump, thump. Writing is the blood that pulses through my veins!! Without this God-given gift, talent and ability, I would be dead!!”
Everybody has a calling, don’t they, Mary Lou?” said Bob Dylan, who still had wisdom in his blue eyes, “Some have a high calling, some have a low calling. Everybody is called but few are chosen. There’s a lot of distraction for people, so you might not never find the real you. A lot of people don’t.”
“What are you saying, Blue Eyes….?” I asked, as I blinked back stubborn, wet, hot tears.
“Being a writer, an artist who ‘paints pictures’ with words?” said Bob Dylan, as his blue eyes looked fatherly, “That’s your calling, Mary Lou!! Even if you aren’t a published author with books being sold in Food For Thought Bookstore & Music or even on the New York Times’ Bestseller’s List…. Not yet, anyway!! You’re a writer, an artist who ‘paints pictures’ with words!! That’s the real you!!”
To which my eyes filled with fresh, new, wet, hot tears. Only this time, it was not because I had been feeling sad. No, my eyes filled with positive, touched, happy tears!!
“To me, writing is the best form of therapy!!” I continued, “It’s healing in every single way!! Writing is the superglue that holds me together…. Emotionally, mentally and spiritually!! Writing helps keep me sane!! It is my heart and soul!! And to quote you from your song ‘Maggie’s Farm’, Blue Eyes…. ‘I’ve got a head full of ideas that are drivin’ me insane’!!”
Good!!” said Bob Dylan, with a strong sense of vehement energy in his blue eyes, “I’m glad you’re so passionate about writing fictional stories, Mary Lou!! From one artist to another, I completely understand that vehement energy!! It runs deep within your heart and soul!! It really makes no difference none whatsoever whether you are thirty-three or seventy-six years old!!”
Being a writer, an artist who ‘paints pictures with words’ is my calling,” I said, “I love that!! How would you describe your calling as an artist, Blue Eyes?”
Mine?” said Bob Dylan, with humility in his blue eyes, “Not any different than anybody else's, Mary Lou. Some people are called to be a good sailor. Some people have a calling to be a good tiller of the land. Some people are called to be a good friend—”
“Like you?” I interrupted, with a smile written on my face, “You’re definitely a good friend, Blue Eyes!!”
“You have to be the best at whatever you are called at, Mary Lou,” continued Bob Dylan, with wisdom in his blue eyes, “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.”
I think that Bob Dylan already said this to me!! I thought, with a smile written on my face, But I do not care!! I seriously needed to hear this message!!
“Can I ask you some questions, Mary Lou?” asked Bob Dylan, “They’re kind of weird, though!!”
Go for it, Blue Eyes!!” I answered, with a non-hesitant smile written on my face, “I embrace weird!!”
“Is one of the reasons why you want to become a published author for fame, Mary Lou?” asked Bob Dylan who still had wisdom in his blue eyes.
What?!” I snapped, in a defensive fashion, “Why are you asking me that, Blue Eyes?! I just want my fictional stories to be sold at Food For Thought Bookstore & Music!! What does fame have to do with anything? Explain, please!!”
“Do you want to get yourself noticed, Mary Lou?” continued Bob Dylan, who still had wisdom in his blue eyes.
“Well, yes!!” I snapped, while still in a defensive fashion, “I do want to get myself noticed!! Isn’t that sort of the point, Blue Eyes?! But I have made several dear Blogging Friends along the way!!”
Am I shouting at Bob Dylan? I thought, In a moody, irritable, agitated, edgy sort of way?
“I am sorry….” I said, as shameful, wet, hot tears filled my eyes, “I did not mean to be short and cranky with you, Blue Eyes!!”
No apologies necessary!!” said Bob Dylan, with grace in his blue eyes, “You’re obviously upset, Mary Lou!!”
Bob Dylan handed me some napkins so that I could dry my tears.
Being noticed can be a burden, Mary Lou,” said Bob Dylan, with wisdom in his blue eyes, “Jesus got Himself crucified because he got Himself noticed. So I disappear a lot.”
“Yeah….” I said, “When I disappeared—mostly—for one year and three months, it was the best thing that I could have ever done as an artist!! I left in a creative slump, but I returned with ‘a head full of ideas that are drivin’ me insane’, Blue Eyes!! I came back as an entirely new me!!”
To which Bob Dylan simply smiled.
“I am so sorry that I’ve been a sobbing mess, Blue Eyes,” I said, “And crying does not fix anything!! It won’t make my Lifelong dreams, ambitions and aspirations come true….”
“Ah, but crying {both internal and external} is an important emotional outlet, Mary Lou!!” said Bob Dylan, with wisdom in his blue eyes, “Yes, I know that crying can make you feel terrible within for a while. However. Crying will also make you feel better in the long run!!”
“I always suffer from what I call ‘mood swing hangovers’ after an incredibly good, long, hard sob, Blue Eyes,” I said, “Translation? I literally suffer from headaches and then I always feel so stupid for wasting several hours of my precious time in what I call a ‘mood swing-infused pity party’.”
“Ah, but crying is essential for your emotional and mental well-being, Mary Lou!!” said Bob Dylan, who still had wisdom in his blue eyes, “Just like with laughter!! Because both are good for your soul!! Everybody possesses feelings and emotions such as sadness, joy, anger, fear or disgust!! Right? You can’t shut out sadness but still completely feel joy, anger, fear and disgust!! Therefore crying is an important emotional outlet!!”
“So much for talking about meaningless nothings, Blue Eyes!!” I said.
To which Bob Dylan simply smiled.
“I absolutely love my song that you wrote for me, Blue Eyes!!” I exclaimed, “It is so sweet!! I have listened to ‘Beautifully Unique’ literally countless times!!”
“I’m glad you’re enjoying it, Mary Lou!!” said Bob Dylan, as his blue eyes looked pleased.
“I wish that I could compose poetry—and songs—like you,” I said, “Because not only have I written fictional stories…. I also used to compose prolific poetry, Blue Eyes!!”
“You did?!” Bob Dylan excitedly said, as his blue eyes twinkled like the nighttime stars, “I absolutely love poetry, Mary Lou!! Why did you stop writing it?”
“Well….” I said, “I ran out of inspiration and my Creative Powers stopped working their magic…. I actually started composing poetry when I was seventeen—almost eighteen—years old. Tuesday, September 11th, 2001 had just happened. I needed an outlet to express my very young, complex thoughts, feelings and emotions. In many ways, I was immature, yet in many ways, I was an ‘old soul’, as well!! So I did the only thing I know how to do and do well, Blue Eyes!! I wrote…. I composed poetry!!”
Wow, Mary Lou….” was all Bob Dylan could say, as his blue eyes misted up.
“And then, I stopped composing poetry,” I said, “I moved on to create other things, because I never, ever stop writing, Blue Eyes!! But somewhere along the way, I picked up composing poetry again!! Then, I eventually quit, because, like I said, I ran out of inspiration and my Creative Powers stopped working their magic….”
“Do you have any favorite poets, Mary Lou?” asked Bob Dylan, with an intense sense of curiosity in his blue eyes, “Such as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow? Dylan Thomas? T.S. Eliot? Or Ezra Pound? Do you have any favorite poetesses? Such as Maya Angelou? Or Elizabeth Barrett Browning?”
“I don’t really read poetry, Blue Eyes,” I said, “But I do absolutely love Emily Dickinson!! Also, for probably some dark and twisted reason {or just because I am weird!!}, I totally love the story of Romeo and Juliet!! So I guess that means I like William Shakespeare? And Helen Keller—who is one of my biggest heroines—she composed poetry, as well!!”
Emily Dickinson and William Shakespeare,” said Bob Dylan, with an intense sense of interest in his blue eyes, “I’d like to read some of your poems, Mary Lou!!”
To which I blushed and my face literally turned red.
That is…. If it’s alright with you!!” said Bob Dylan.
“Oh, uh, like I said, my poetry is not nearly as good as your songwriting, Blue Eyes!!” I stammered.
“Ah, we’ll see about that, Mary Lou!!” said Bob Dylan, as his left blue eye winked, “So can I read some of your poems?! Or not?”
How can I possibly say ‘no’ to Bob Dylan?! I thought, After all, he did write a song about me and paint me a picture!!
Yes!!” I said, “You may read some of my poems, Blue Eyes!! Which, unfortunately, I do not have with me here….”
“Then let’s ‘bump into each other’ again at De-Café Coffee!!” Bob Dylan and I said together, “Tomorrow. Same place, same time!!”
To which Bob Dylan and I laughed simultaneously.
“We have ‘a place’ in De-Café Coffee, Blue Eyes!!” I exclaimed.
To which Bob Dylan simply smiled.
“You were there for me when I needed it so bad {encouraging my heart and soul to ‘keep on keepin’ on like a bird that flew’}, you made me laugh, you made me smile, you made me feel so good for a while when Life was hard,” I said, “Blue Eyes? I feel as though I owe you my Life or something!!”
To which Bob Dylan shook his head ‘no’ and scowled, yet his blue eyes remained soft.
“You don’t owe me anything, Mary Lou,” he said in his soft-spoken tone of voice and with humility in his blue eyes.
I was too busy talking and crying that I never finished eating my now-cold chicken/broccoli Alfredo. I brought it home in a doggie bag.
The following morning, I drove my ‘old’ 1970’s baby blue-painted Ford pickup truck toward Mother Nature Organic Grocery Store. I usually purchase food items there, but not that day. Instead, I wandered through Mother Nature Organic Grocery Store’s card isle for the perfect ‘Thank-you’ card to give Bob Dylan!! Because I am old school like that!! After I seemingly spent hours searching for Bob Dylan’s ‘Thank-you’ card, I marched toward one of Mother Nature Organic Grocery Store’s long checkout lines. Then, I saw them…. There were pictures of me on the covers of several tabloid magazines sitting across my circular table inside Servito Con Amore {Served With Love} Italian Restaurant with Bob Dylan. There were also pictures of us sitting together outside of De-Café Coffee.
I was being labeled as Bob Dylan’s ‘Mystery Girl’.
“You’d like a mocha, right, Mary Lou?” asked Bob Dylan, as his blue eyes twinkled, once we had met inside De-Café Coffee.
Just like the last time when Bob Dylan and I purposefully got together, he was not wearing his trusty, straight, bleached-blond wig…. I could see natural, curly, somewhat messy, silver hair!!
“Are you sure that you want to order me a mocha, Blue Eyes?” I said, “I mean…. Those drinks here at De-Café Coffee always make me high on caffeine, sugar and chocolate!! I will get hyper!! I’ll talk at, like, one-hundred miles per hour!!”
To which Bob Dylan laughed, as his blue eyes sparkled.
Would you like a mocha or not, Mary Lou?” asked Bob Dylan.
“Oh, twist my arm, Blue Eyes!!” I teasingly said, with a smile written on my face, “Yes!! I would love a mocha!!”
So {just like he always does} Bob Dylan ordered me an incredibly addictive medium-sized mocha…. And a double chunk chocolate chip cookie!!
But what Bob Dylan did not know was that I already had something cosmic weighing on my mind….
“Have you seen the recent magazine stands, Blue Eyes?” I asked.
No….” answered Bob Dylan, with curiosity in his blue eyes, “Why do you ask, Mary Lou?”
“Oh, nothing!!” I said, “It is just that our pictures are all over the covers of ‘Fake News’ tabloid magazines, Blue Eyes!!”
To which he sneered, scowled and pursed his lips…. If Bob Dylan’s blue eyes could shoot bullets, the paparazzi would all be dead!!
“I’m so sorry that I had to get you dragged into this, Mary Lou,” said Bob Dylan, with a strong sense of regret in his blue eyes, “I’m somewhat used to it…. The paparazzi, people taking your pictures without you being asked—which, yes, is an invasion of my privacy—it all comes with the package, unfortunately. But you…. You aren’t used to being a well-known celebrity….”
“I think it is kind of funny!!” I said with a smile written on my face, “Apparently, I am your ‘mystery girl’!! I have never had that alias before!! It feels like I just went from being your ‘daughter’ to being your ‘mystery girl’ in only one day’s time, Blue Eyes!!”
“You think it’s…. Funny, Mary Lou?!” said Bob Dylan, as his blue eyes looked simultaneously perplexed and relieved that I was not mishandling these complex circumstances.
I took several sips of my mocha.
“I mean, what do those paparazzi and ‘Fake News’ tabloid magazine writers think…. That we are dating?!” I said, “You and I…. When there are how many years between us?! Not that I couldn’t fall in love with an older man—I actually would—but…. Well, you know what I mean, Blue Eyes!! Right?”
Then Bob Dylan’s blue eyes suddenly softened.
“This is going to sound like a weird question, but what month were you born in, Mary Lou?” asked Bob Dylan.
January,” I said, “Why do you ask, Blue Eyes?”
Hmmm…. There are almost forty-three years between us, Mary Lou!!” said Bob Dylan, with intelligence in his blue eyes, “And roughly four months!!”
Wow….” I rattled on, as I drank my mocha, “Those paparazzi and ‘Fake News’ tabloid magazine writers really need to get a Life!! I mean, seriously!! You were almost forty-three years old when I was born?! Not that we couldn’t fall in love and be a couple!! It isn’t impossible!! Because I have always firmly believed that age between two people does not matter…. Love matters!! But we are just friends, Blue Eyes!! Those paparazzi and ‘Fake News’ tabloid magazine writers seriously need to get a Life!! Really? Really?! I am thirty-three, you are seventy-six!! Uh…. This isn’t me talking, it’s my mocha talking!! Sorry, not sorry!!”
“I think they do have a ‘Life’, unfortunately, Mary Lou,” said Bob Dylan, as his blue eyes once again shot invisible bullets at the paparazzi, “It’s stalking well-known celebrities. But I absolutely agree with you!! Those paparazzi and ‘Fake News’ tabloid magazine writers indeed do need to get a Life!!”
“But I thought that you don’t care what people say—or think—about you!!” I said, “By the way? That is a characteristic of yours which I truly admire, Blue Eyes!!”
“I don’t….” said Bob Dylan, with a tender sincerity in his blue eyes, “But I do care deeply about what people think of you, Mary Lou!!”
Aw, you’re so sweet, Blue Eyes!!” I said, “Normally, I care way too much about what people think of me!! Which is why I admire your badass—in a good way—attitude!! But right now? To quote Bruce Springsteen from his song, ‘I Wanna Be With You’…. I don't care what they say, go ahead and let 'em all talk!! Maybe I should live out that line!!”
Ah….” said Bob Dylan, with an intense sense of vehement energy in his blue eyes, “You should, Mary Lou!! Being a badass and not caring about what people think of me helps make Life somewhat easier!! This way, I’m free to do whatever I want to do!!”
“So that is your secret!!” I said, with a smile written on my face, “Don’t care about what people think of you…. Do your thing…. And then you are free to participate in whatever you want to do!! Is that the recipe for a badass rebel, Blue Eyes? I love it!!”
Maybe…. Maybe not, Mary Lou!!” Bob Dylan mysteriously said.
Then he placed his right hand pointer finger against his lips.
Shhhhh!!” said Bob Dylan, “Don’t tell anybody, alright, Mary Lou!!”
To which I laughed.
“Did you bring some of your poems for me to read, Mary Lou?!” Bob Dylan asked, with an intense sense of vehement energy in his blue eyes.
Suddenly, I felt self-conscious and nervous.
My poems are not nearly as good as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s, Dylan Thomas’, T.S. Eliot’s, Ezra Pound’s, Maya Angelou’s, Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s, Emily Dickinson’s, William Shakespeare’s or Helen Keller’s!!” I said, “Heads-up, Blue Eyes…. My poems kind of suck!!”
“That’s only in your opinion, Mary Lou!!” said Bob Dylan, “You must be a perfectionist!!”
“Oh, I am my own worst critic, Blue Eyes!!” I exclaimed.
“Ah, an artist is never satisfied with his {or her} own work, Mary Lou!!” said Bob Dylan with an intense sense of vehement energy in his blue eyes, “And I think that whether or not you’re a perfectionist makes absolutely no difference none whatsoever!!”
Why do you think that an artist is never satisfied with his {or her} own work?” I asked, “Is it somehow ingrained within my D.N.A.? And, {I am assuming right now, so forgive me} is never being satisfied with your own work somehow ingrained within your D.N.A, as well, Blue Eyes?”
Bob Dylan decided to leave my last question mysteriously unanswered.
“I suppose the reason why an artist is never satisfied with his {or her} own work is because you continuously desire to do your very best no matter what,” said Bob Dylan, with an intense sense of vehement energy in his blue eyes, “And, yes…. It’s definitely ingrained within your D.N.A., Mary Lou!! Like being the oldest child…. Inheriting character defects from your parents—”
“And having ‘a head full of ideas that are drivin’ me insane’, Blue Eyes?” I interrupted.
Exactly!!” said Bob Dylan, with a smile written on his face and a softness in his blue eyes, “And there’s absolutely nothing that you {or anybody} can do about this strong feeling of never being satisfied with your own work, Mary Lou!!”
“Well, I am a writer, an artist who ‘paints pictures’ with words, Blue Eyes!!” I said.
“So, {Miss Artist Who ‘Paints Pictures’ With Words}, are you going to show me some of your poems? Or not?” said Bob Dylan, with a sense of almost childlike impatience in his blue eyes, “Because I can’t wait to read them, Mary Lou!!”
What is the worst that can happen? I thought, I give Bob Dylan some of my poems to read and he absolutely hates them because they suck?
“Alright, alright!!” I said with a laugh, “I do not want to keep you waiting, Blue Eyes!!”
“So…. I thought I’d start at the very beginning, from when I first started composing poetry,” I nervously continued, “Uh…. Here are some of my Tuesday, September 11th, 2001-inspired poems….”
“Are you somewhat nervous showing me these, Mary Lou?” asked Bob Dylan, with a sense of knowing in his blue eyes.
No…. Yes…. Maybe…. Can you see right through me, Blue Eyes?!” I stammered.
Then I calmed my nerves down…. Temporarily, at least.
Start with this one, Blue Eyes!!” I said, “‘ground zero’. It is my very favorite Tuesday, September 11th, 2001-inspired poem!! I was sort of channeling my inner Emily Dickinson, in that I’ve never travelled to Manhattan, New York {or anywhere on the East Coast, for that matter}, therefore I never saw ground zero. However. I did read about ground zero and its horrific cleanup progress in our local newspaper and a weekly magazine. Oh yeah…. I also watched part of a nightly news program about the unimaginable cleanup progress at ground zero on television. So, for some reason, I felt compelled…. Well, actually, I was called….”
To which I smiled at Bob Dylan and he smiled back at me.
“….To compose a poem about ground zero!!” I finished, “Alright, I will shut up now so you can read it, Blue Eyes!!”
I am feeling very nervous, I thought, Not to mention…. I am also high on this mocha of mine!! And I babble when I’m nervous!!
“You truly are like Emily Dickinson, writing a poem about someplace where you’ve never, ever been!!” said Bob Dylan, with honesty in his blue eyes, “I love it, Mary Lou!!”
“Even though Emily Dickinson wrote about much lighter and happier subjects than the aftermath of a tragedy, Blue Eyes….” I said.
“Did you know that Bruce released a 9-11-inspired record titled The Rising, Mary Lou?” asked Bob Dylan.
Yes!!” I answered, “I absolutely love The Rising, Blue Eyes!! Here are three more Tuesday, September 11th, 2001-inspired poems that I composed, Blue Eyes!!” I said, “‘2,823 Strangers’…. ‘Breathtaking’…. And ‘America’s Heroes’…. The last of which I actually turned into a fictional story titled ‘Honor’s Ultimate Sacrifice’!! But I will shut up now and let you read them!!”
“‘Why is it that I care enough to go this far? Because I am a New Yorker at heart; When the towers fell, 2,823 strangers died; That is the reason why I cry; Because I love 2,823 strangers.’….” said Bob Dylan, as he read aloud from ‘2,823 Strangers’, with wet, hot tears filling his blue eyes.
“‘Why, when they were so brave; Did their heroism lead them to their graves?’….” said Bob Dylan, as he read aloud from ‘America’s Heroes’, with wet, hot tears still filling his blue eyes.
“There’s human blood in the soul, and yours was definitely bleeding….” said Bob Dylan, as wet, hot tears continued to fill his blue eyes, “Wow…. You really poured your heart and soul into these poems, Mary Lou….”
“Thanks!!” I said, “I may be a perfectionist, but whenever I read these poems {which do not flow} I think about how my heart and soul composed them!! I cannot believe that I wrote these poems!! Me!! So, believe it or not, whenever I reread these poems, Perfectionism kind of gets thrown out the window, because my very young thoughts, feelings and emotions composed them!! You are absolutely right, Blue Eyes…. My soul did bleed when I composed these poems!!”
To which Bob Dylan speechlessly wiped wet, hot tears from his blue eyes. I handed him some napkins.
Here….” I said, “I think that you could use some napkins, this time, Blue Eyes!!”
“You’re a dog lover…. Right, Blue Eyes?” I said, “Because if I Google-search you with canines, I can find several pictures!! And, of course, there is your song, ‘If Dogs Run Free’…. Which I have yet to hear!!”
Mary Lou?” said Bob Dylan, with negativity in his blue eyes, “We were just talking about how the paparazzi and ‘Fake News’ magazine writers need to get a Life!! Well…. You seriously need to get a Life if you’re Google-searching me with dogs!!”
Then Bob Dylan smiled, and his blue eyes softened.
Yes…. I do love dogs!!” he said.
German Shepherds…. Beagles…. Boxers…. Collies….” I said, “I can find pictures of you with all of those dog breeds and then some!! I love canines, as well!! I am a mutt kind of girl, though, but to each one their own!! Anyway, I absolutely love seeing pictures of you with dogs, Blue Eyes!!”
Mutts are wonderful canines, Mary Lou!!” said Bob Dylan with a twinkle in his blue eyes.
“I absolutely agree!!” I said, “I am a ‘mutt’, Blue Eyes!! I have Italian, Irish, and German/Russian in my blood!!”
“I think that we’re probably all ‘mutts’ Mary Lou!!” said Bob Dylan, with a smile written on his face and a sparkle in his blue eyes.
“I created this ‘book’ of poems sometime in the year 2010!!” I said, “Oh my gosh…. I was twenty-six, Blue Eyes!! My German Shepherd/Golden Retriever mix, Shadow Sunshine had been showing obvious signs of old age. Silver fur around her face…. Stiff joints…. Arthritis…. And, eventually, seizures which caused Shadow Sunshine to repeatedly collapse. That last health issue persisted—if memory serves me right—for four or five emotionally stressful months…. Until, sadly, we had her euthanized on June 15th, 2010….”
“Oh, Shadow Sunshine was beautiful!!” exclaimed Bob Dylan, as his blue eyes looked at pictures of my canine, “I understand what it feels like to lose a dog, Mary Lou. That’s never emotionally easy….”
“I had a good, long, deep from my grieving heart, deep from my bleeding soul, ‘ugly cry’ immediately after Shadow Sunshine died,” I said.
‘My heart is like a mansion; Where abundant love dwells in; It’s designed with rooms aplenty; For pets who have gone before me; Your special place is deep inside; When you die, that’s where you’ll abide; Next door to Yoda and Goldie; A place with lots of memories.’,” said Bob Dylan, as he read aloud, while his blue eyes looked impressed, “That’s very poetic, Mary Lou!!”
‘Mama loves your German Shepherd ears; Which are loyal and very sincere; Plus that beautiful ‘blond’ fur; From the Golden Retriever; Mama loves those German Shepherd eyes; A deep brown which never criticize; Plus that pink Golden Retriever nose; You were born special and duly so!!’,” said Bob Dylan, as he read aloud, while his blue eyes sparkled, “Aw…. It’s sort of a love letter to Shadow Sunshine in poetry, Mary Lou!!”
‘It’s been occurring; This thing called aging; And I think you look so wise; With white encroaching your eyes; This has happened oh, so suddenly; Within a year, you’ve seemed elderly; I know our time is almost here; Soon your presence will disappear; Oh, my heart is aching; Breaking, breaking, breaking….’,” said Bob Dylan, as he read aloud, while  his blue eyes looked serious, “Yeah…. The aging process happens way too fast with dogs, doesn’t it, Mary Lou?”
‘You are a creature wonderful; Your love toward me indelible; You’ve been the best dog in this world; My faithful friend, my flawless girl; Which nothing, not your last breath; Nor inevitable death; Can ever, ever, ever; Depreciate or sever!!’,” said Bob Dylan, as he read aloud, while his blue eyes looked pensive, “Your gifts, talents and abilities of writing poetry have improved over the years, Mary Lou!!”
‘During that dreadful, dreadful night when you fell; Nobody could predict death, no one could tell; But it was such a hard collapse; Did your hips quit on you, perhaps? Trying hard to get up, this proved a losing fight; So I stayed by your side nearly all through the night; For ten years you've been faithful toward me; This was my time to show loyalty!! Farewell, Shadow Sunshine, farewell…. You've left lots of stories to tell!! Wherever I go; You will be missed so.’,” said Bob Dylan, as he read aloud, while his blue eyes filled with tears, “I can feel your grief…. Wow…. There’s human blood in the soul and yours was definitely bleeding, Mary Lou….”
“I composed that last autobiographical poem literally two weeks after Shadow Sunshine died,” I said, “My early grief process was weird…. The first week, I just kept thinking…. I cannot believe that she is gone, I cannot believe that she is gone, I cannot believe that she is gone…. But the second week, I was flooded—in a good way—with memories of Shadow Sunshine!! Then, I composed that last poem!! I did experience nearly every single stage of grief after she died, though. I am glad you like my poems about Shadow Sunshine!! That means a lot to me, Blue Eyes!!”
“Because I’m Bob Dylan?” he said, with an intense sense of self-depreciation and humility in his blue eyes, “Is that why it means ‘a lot’ to you that I like these poems, Mary Lou?”
“No….” I simply said, “It means a lot to me because you are my friend…. Because you’re Blue Eyes!!”
“You ought to keep writing poetry!!” encouraged Bob Dylan, as his blue eyes were soft, “Don’t stop!! Because you’re good, Mary Lou!!”
“You may keep these poems, Blue Eyes!!” I said, “I printed off your own copies!!”
Thank-you, Mary Lou!!” said Bob Dylan, with gratitude in his blue eyes.
I sighed deeply.
“Well, I should go….” I said, as wet, hot tears filled my eyes, “I wish there was some way that we could be more than just bump-into-each-other kind of friends, Blue Eyes…. Well…. Here is a letter that I wrote you…. It’s tucked inside this card….”
To which Bob Dylan opened the envelope and speechlessly read my letter.
Blue Eyes—
‘A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do.’ You’re absolutely correct…. I am living out those words!! ‘Everybody has a calling, don’t they? Some have a high calling, some have a low calling. Everybody is called but few are chosen. There’s a lot of distraction for people, so you might not never find the real you. A lot of people don’t.’ You’re absolutely correct…. Being a writer, an artist who ‘paints pictures’ with words is my calling!! It’s the real me!! ‘Some people are called to be a good sailor. Some people have a calling to be a good tiller of the land. Some people are called to be a good friend.’ You’re absolutely correct….You have to be the best at whatever you are called at. 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.’ You’re absolutely correct…. This is going to sound terribly cliché, but you ‘changed my way of thinkin’…. So I made myself ‘a different set of rules’!!
Thanks…. For heeding to one of your many, many, many callings and being such a good friend!!
—Mary Lou