Poetry, song and autobiography have been interlinked for millennia. In my travelling-pioneering life, beginning in 1962, the music and words of The Beatles and Bob Dylan, the culture of the sixties and my own autobiography come together in an interesting cross-fertilization. Bob Mason's unpublished PhD Thesis on 'The Dialogue Between the Beatles and Bob Dylan'1 illumined, for me, this triangle of relationships. To take but one of many possible examples, the very month I decided to pioneer to Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic among the Eskimo, October 1965, The Beatles' hit "Nowhere Man" was released, as Mason informs us.
Most of the Beatles' songs were about their coming to terms with autobiographical issues, about changing society, about drugs and after 1965, about a dialogue between these megastars. Paul McArtney said, in a song he wrote in the 1990s, that the members of his group, The Beatles, always came back to the songs they had been singing because these songs told them, and everyone else who was interested, where they were at. This is quintessentially true of my own poetry.-Ron Price with thanks to 1"Arts Today," ABC Radio National, 10:05-11:00 am, 16 January 2002.
I was finally knowing
where I was going to
and feeling as if I could
finally see some light
at the end of the tunnel,
thinking for myself:
none of this bourgeoisie
normality for me,
going where noone
had gone before----1
at least from my corner,
doing what noone expected,
nothing to do with drugs,
helping to change the world
in a way none else could see,2
on my own, breaking the umbilical chord,
no more of the family Christmas and Easter
and endless birthday scenes for me,
no more of the 'daddy,' 'mommy'
and all the old friends for me:
this was my own response to existence.
This was a starting new
and working out my way of being
my take on the world and its load.
I was not a 'Nowhere Man.'
I was 'doing what I wanted to do,'
thinking what I wanted to think,3
or so I thought.
1 Going to live among the Eskimo, away from family and friends, had an absurdity to it in 1965 in the conservative climate I grew up in in southern Ontario.
2 Outside the small circle of Baha'is I knew then. 3See the George Harrison song: Do What You Want To Do. Ron Price....16 Jan. 2002
I write little in my autobiography about the music of my generation and my relation to it, inspite of the masses of written material, of videos, sound tracks of films, LPs, CDs, a cornucopia of sounds and sights generated since the 1950s. I did have an intense interest in the world of rock, folk and classical music from about 1957 to 1977 but, with the arrival of my son, a dwindling bank balance, with three kids to raise, with a burgeoning of groups, of sounds, of styles and tastes, it seemed that by my early thirties many other things in life came to occupy the stage that music once had once played more prominently. I could write a separate essay on this musical experience and its development, but I am disinclined because, in retrospect, music seems to have occupied a more peripheral role in my life when viewed in its totality.
When one goes about writing the story of one's life all of history becomes available when one tries to get a handle on one's experience.