How Do You Sleep at Night?

What If No One Is

“If you feel strongly about something, you have an obligation to try and change my mind.”  Aaron Sorkin

I see a difference between civil rights and the raging sense of entitlement that barges into our lives and demands respect
for doing nothing.

A man has a right to vote but he doesn’t have the right to respect as an artist because the three hundred people on his ‘fave’ exchange have done their duty.

We earn respect through hard work, intellectual disscipline and practice.

When I think of an artist who worked his ass off to earn our respect I think of John Lennon.

I am the son of a fireman, a working class kid who wanted to be a writer.

I spent hours reading Ginsberg, and Kerouac.

I found hope and inspiration in the success of Genet,  Artaud, and Gregory Corso.

“Added to the moral solitude of the murderer comes the solitude of the artist, which can acknowledge no authority, save that of another artist.” Jean Genet, Querelle

I read the plays of Tennessee Williams and Edward Albee.

I studied film, art history and theater.

I didn’t believe that I had a shot at being an artist until I found John Lennon.

His use of language was familiar and strange.

Lennon was an artist who sounded like one of the guys in my housing project.

He took street slang and turned it into surrealist poetry.

No one I think is in my tree

I mean it must be high or low
That is you can’t, you know, tune in
But it’s all right
That is I think it’s not too bad

Strawberry Fields Forever
The Beatles

The lyric is more advanced but still reminiscent of the sensibility of A Spaniard in the Works:

Mary Atkins pruned herselves in the mirage, running her hand wantanly through her large blond hair. Her tight dress was cut low revealingly three or four blackheads, carefully scrubbed on her chess. She addled the final touches to her makeup and fixed her teeth firmly in her head. ‘He’s going to want me tonight’ she thought and pictured his hamsome black curly face and jaundice.

John Lennon: A Spaniard in the Works

I first read A Spaniard in the Works at 16.

Even then I knew that I was reading something that was not meant for publication.

It’s the writing of an experimental artist. An artist whose only goal is making art. A Spaniard in the Works is flawed and innovative.

It was this sense of innovation that drew him to Yoko Ono.

He had this to say when asked about Yoko and the making of the Two Virgins album:

She (Yoko) forced me to become avant-garde and take my clothes off, when all I wanted was to be Tom Jones.  John Lennon

As I understand it, Yoko Ono introduced him to his mind and it begins to show itself in force on the Imagine album.

John Lennon’s first solo album, Imagine, demonstrates his evolving emotional and intellectual range.

It opens with the Utopian Imagine and closes with a playful love song to Yoko.

Between Imagine and Oh Yoko Lennon declares himself an emotional cripple, gently regrets his jealous violence, affirms his commitment to the peace movement, demands that the political establishment take responsibility for itself, describes an intellectual and emotional awakening, and questions the confusion of having everything except himself.

The song that I have always found the most interesting is How Do You Sleep?

John Lennon was streetwise and what he does in this song is toss serious shade at Paul McCartney.

I don’t think anyone can know how it felt to be John Lennon and Paul McCartney in 1971.

My sense is that Lennon felt that McCartney had betrayed an artistic vision.

And he says as much in this song.

“The sound you make is Muzac to my ears, you must have learned something in all those years”

Popularity doesn’t make you an artist, but neither does unpopularity.

Lennon’s first love was writing and he brings a writer’s sensibility to his music.

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”  Ernest Hemingway

And Lennon bleeds; especially in the Plastic Ono Album.

This is what I got and still get from the music of John Lennon:

An art that never questions, does not risk failure, is technically perfect and dictated by the need to be seen but not felt is self-indulgent and meaningless.

A pretty picture is not always art. But neither is an ugly one.

John Lennon was part of the greatest show on Earth; he was a working class kid who became one of the great artists of his generation.

Rob Goldstein 2015



“You may believe in someone more than they believe in themselves and can’t convince them otherwise. Sometimes that someone is you…fight with everything you have to get out of your own way. Your life depends on it.” — Kaylaa T. Blackwell

This is an excellent reminder

Inspired Beacon

"You may believe in someone more than they believe in themselves and can't convince them otherwise. Sometimes that someone is you...fight with everything you have to get out of your own way. Your life depends on it." — Kaylaa T. Blackwell “You may believe in someone more than they believe in themselves and can’t convince them otherwise. Sometimes that someone is you…fight with everything you have to get out of your own way. Your life depends on it.” — Kaylaa T. Blackwell

Credits: Creative Commons image courtesy of Bernd Thaller


If you like what you read, please feel free to Like it with a thumbs up, share or comment…thanks for stopping by and sharing 🙂.


Kaylaa T. Blackwell is an IT Professional working @ Itron, Inc. and a student @ Southern New Hampshire University with a penchant for writing, researching and helping others resolve real world issues. She has a great interest in technology, business and psychology and how they impact each other. The views and opinions expressed in this article belongs to Kaylaa and do not represent the opinions of her employer. Learn more about her here

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Very Inspiring Blog Award


The Very Inspiring Blog Award comes to me from xaranahara, Xara Nahara O’Connor

The rules:

Display the award and thank your nominator.

Nominate 3-5 people.

Highlight your nominees and the person who nominated you.

After your post is complete, copy the link and add it to a post of theirs.

I’m going to do something different for this award as Xara has previously asked me to highlight five aspects of myself that
I consider positive. So this is for her:

I have a broad fund of knowledge which is another way of saying I know a bit about many things.

I am a loyal friend who does not take kindness for granted.

I learn quickly and give credit to those who teach me either directly or through their actions.

I have an abiding faith in the fundamental goodness of people. We collectively do terrible things when we are in fear or when we are deceived by corrupt leaders, but we always manage to return to the light.

I am a survivor. I have survived people and events that would normally destroy a man; but I am alive and full of life. This is not just because I am strong; it is because the divine force placed good people in my life when I needed them most.

My nominees:

survivor road: Marcus writes about life as a male trauma survivor. There aren’t many blogs that take up the problem of men who have survived assault and abuse.

authenticitee: I just love her, and I love the way her blog has evolved.

Laura P. Schulman, MD, MA: She writes bluntly about the struggles of life with bi-polar disorder and she does it with wit and humor. And yes, I know your blog is award free. 🙂

the dune mouse: Gorgeous art, gorgeous writing, and Second Life as a way to make and promote art. She’s an inspiration to me and she has softened the well-earned cynicism I developed about the people who use Second Life.

Commensensegal: Kaylaa Blackwell has a smart and diverse blog. Be sure to check out her Skylounge.

As usual, my nominees are under no obligation to accept the award. I nominate people as a sign of appreciation and respect.

Thank you again, Xara.