My mother told me recently, that she thought when I was much younger, that I wanted to hang out with outlaws, but that I never really wanted to be one.
You don’t just decide to be an outlaw. It’s a kind of process. Maybe people are cruel to you. Well, yes probably people are cruel to you, many people have to deal with that.
But more than that, you have to have a sense of fairness. You have to be awake enough to notice what is going on.
And, I saw that there was a lot of bad stuff going on. I remember very clearly, watching Richard Nixon giving some State of the Union address, with my mother. She countered him every time. I was ripped on acid and hallucinating to an unprecedented extent. But I sat there, listening to my mother.
It’s like that.
Another time, I was up in my mad attic hideout, listening to the radio. We had great radio there. Cambridge, Providence, Boston.
I was ripped on acid then too. I had a revelation. The sun shone in through the tiny window, the rockadelic posters I’d tacked on the beams of the attic roof were alight.
“Angel From Montgomerey” came on. And I saw it, I got it.
Mom told me once that anyone who never had any sort of religious experience wouldn’t likely wind up being worth much.
“To believe in this living is such a hard way to go.”
I still love that song, I love John Prine and Bonne Raitt singing it. Hearing that song, at that moment, changed my life.
And then, just then; my mother called me down out of my aerie.
She called up the steps to the attic, the steps that went up from the second floor of our house.
“I think you need to come down now,” she said.
And I did.
I came down, because she knew. She sensed something had happened. I’d been hanging around up in that attic for quite some weeks, months.
But right then, just immediately after my vision, my mother called up the stairs and told me she thought I should come down now.
And I did.
Other times, later, I would know when the telephone rang, that it was her.
That is my mother. We have a lot in common. I see this more, all the time, as I become old, and she becomes even older.
She is a marvel. She is a gift.