It has been over three weeks since last I posted on this blog and before I get into the reason I'm back, I will explain why I've been MIA. The easy explanation is that I've been busy and not online as frequently as is my usual state of being. That's the easy answer. The not so easy answer harks back to early childhood, continuing right up to today, as per my therapy sessions with Diane would suggest. This is to say that when the child is in a position where he or she (generally this would be she) feels compelled to "mother" the parent, because the parent never got the "mothering" she needed, then the child grows up seeking the nurturing, that which is the birthright of every child, and getting from her parents the message that she is good enough, pretty enough, smart enough, that she is seen and heard and appreciated for who she is, nothing more, nothing less. So, the child, having never gotten her birthright, seeks this, but never feels she gets it. She is always looking for it in the eyes of those around her and she depends on their assessment of her. What she doesn't realize, until she finds someone like Diane to bring it to her attention and integrate it into her belief system, is that she will never find it until she herself learns to see and undertstand what she needed as a child and didn't get, then perhaps becomes angry, but ultimately forgives those who did not/could not give it to her. Only then can she learn to become the nurturing, loving, compassionate, rewarding, non-judgmental Mother to her own child, who still, at the rarefied age of (gulp!!!) 54, lives within her. Then, and only then, will she feel good enough and no longer need to seek seeing herself though the eyes of others.
So, what does all this have to do with why I am back and with Jim Dawson (and if you're reading this, you may be asking WHO IS Jim Dawson, but you know I will get there eventually)? I went to see Jim in concert tonight (more on this later) and the reminiscence of the evening, as well as what he expressed in his verbal ramblings between songs and the lyrics to the songs themselves, old and new, brought me to the following self-query and realization. Why do I feel that I have to write this blog for others to read and then when there is no one or very few someones, reading it, become disheartened and even insulted, questioning why other bloggers have readers and I don't, and concluding that my blog and what I have to say and the way I express it, is of little value and not appreciated. The realization that I don't occured to me. If I enjoy writing it and I like looking back on it as a journal of sorts and I get reinforced by my effort and I love looking at the pictures, as well as the words, all of which I do, then having readers would be like the icing on the cake, but readers or not, the substance of the cake is still there. Thus, I am here. I'm back!
So, who is Jim Dawson and why should you care? In 1975, I had just graduated with my Masters Degree in Speech Pathology from Wichita State University, in, obviously, Wichita, Kansas, the near exact center of these United States. New York City, it was not, but then having gone to Syracuse University undergraduate, I was ready, willing and enthusiastic to get away from all that was New York Metropolitan. This I found in Wichita. I found people who had never in their lives met a Jewish person and I loved it. I was the special guest at my own party (my favorite thing to be!) People were interested in me because of my differences and my background and this made me noticed and needless to say, I enjoyed that. I also appreciated the friendliness and hospitality and like they say, "down-homeness" of the Mid-West. Having said all that, after a year and a half of being the one and only person in the movie theater, watching The Way WE Were, catching the inuendos and identifiying with Barbara,rather than Robert, I realized I may be ready to return to the East Coast, which was a good thing, since my first job turned out to be in Providence, RI.
Of course I brought with me to RI, the angst of being an "adult" (24 years old to be exact)who still felt like a child and a "Professional" who not only still felt like a student, but wanted nothing more than to remain a student for the rest of her days. I'd been successful as a student and I was sure that I would never be that in the professional world (in fact, it was many, many years until I did feel that success, but that's another story for another time.) So, I trudged through that first year of my first professional job, pretending to be the "expert" and feeling like a fraud, living in a city that I really liked, Providence, near another city that I liked even more, Boston, but where the friends I'd managed to make at work, mostly all quit within that year. So, loneliness and insecurity, and well, knowing that I was not good enough, pervaded much of my time in RI. Music has always played a major role in my life and songs, as much as any scent, can bring me right back to another place and time. I can not remember how I came across him, but probably I heard Jim Dawson on the wonderful Boston radio station which played new singer/songwriters, even way back then. I went right out and purchased his LP called, Jim Dawson. Many of his lyrics "spoke to me", but none more than those in the song, "Until I Find Someone" (which he was good enough to play tonight, upon my request, even though he probably hadn't played it in ages and the lyrics were not all that familiar at this point and though it didn't hit the heights of the LP, it was very much appreciated by a "fan".) Perhaps at a later date, I will fetch my record and copy the lyrics off the back cover or the inside liner notes (remember how great it was to get albums with covers that were like pieces of art and were filled with information like lyrics and every instrument on every song and who played them and was large enough to hold like a book and as easy to read? Those were the days, my friend!) I had every intention to go to Boston to see Jim live, but like they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Still, that album made me a life long fan. Unfortunately, however, after I left Rhode Island in the Spring of 1977 to pursue my next adventure (Israel, where I studied and lived and worked for the next two years, and got engaged... but again, I digress), I lost touch with where Jim Dawson was or what he was doing and so it was for the next three decades.
Which brings us to Saturday, June 3, 2006 (though it is now well into Sunday, brevity not being my better suit.) About a year ago, thinking about my collection of LP albums, my mind meandered to Jim Dawson and I wondered what ever became of him. Being as internet savy as I am (achem!), I knew that the answer to my ponderings could be at my fingertips. So, I yahooed his name (yes, I am a Yahooer, not a Googler) and, voila!, I came upon the Jim Dawson Website. And, the rest, as they say, is history. Well, it's my own personal history anyway. I read the site and looked for an appearance and decided upon one that was to be at a place called, Miss Ellie's in the Village. I had every intention of going, but it was on a weeknight and in The City and the weather forecast was rain and I couldn't find anyone to go with me, so I sent an email to Jim telling him of my dilemma (well, first I filled him in on my connection with him) and lo and behold he wrote me back and told me to come anyway, that I'd be comfortable and I wouldn't be sorry (I'm not sure he really said it like that, but you get the idea.) So, I intended to go, but again did not. But I did keep getting emails from his site informing me of upcoming gigs, which is how I found out about this one at the Hillsborough Presbyterian Church on Rt. 206 in Hillsborough, NJ. This time it was on a Sat. night and since hub had gone to play his all night poker game on Fri. night, I knew he'd be agreeable (more or less) to attend this with me. I also knew that it was the kind of music and event that would appeal more to my sensibilities than his, but I wanted a partner for the event and took advantage of the situation. And, am I ever glad that I did.
Jim Dawson's voice has, like a good wine, improved with age and over time. He is preparing to celebrate his 60th birthday this month. He has a strength in his voice that lends itself to the melodies and lyrics and yet he can purr the words when it calls for that. Only a handful of the songs he sang were familiar to me (afterall, I had only that one album), but I liked most of them as well as I did the ones on my album. I am not sure if he writes all of his songs. I know that he has covered songs by other artists in the past, so perhaps that is still the case. But many of the songs he sings are testaments to his life story, so those are obviously written by him. I assume he also writes the music. I enjoyed him most when he sang accompanied by one of his two guitars. On a few of the songs, he accompanied himself on the piano. He did one song, that I think is called, On and On, which was his contribution as an artist to the aftermath of 9/11. He explained before the song, how it had come to be written, how the horrors of being an abused child at the hands of his father got entangled with the horrors around the fall of the Twin Towers and how in therapy he became able to deal with it and finally to write a song about it. Like with so much of what Jim Dawson writes and sings, this resonated emphatically with me and I just let the tears flow.
So, in closure to this my Return Blog, I would like to recommend that if you are reading this, you take a look for yourself at who Jim Dawson is and where he will be playing and should the opportunity arise to see him in person, seize it. Jim also has CD's for sale on his website (I purchased two at the concert) and as he said, not one, but many times throughout the evening, he has a new CD that will be coming out, hopefully sometime soon.