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DECEMBER 8TH....

Posted by GShannon on Wednesday, December 8, 2010

I was in the ceramics studio at the college I was attenting down in my home town of Lindsborg, Kansas throwing pots that night. I had the place to myself, as I often did, and a bright directional floor lamp over my wheel. No other lights on in the room. Radio was on, playing something I probably wouldn't have gone out and tried to buy...just something to listen to. There was one of those soft snows falling with the big fluffy flakes and little to no wind. I remember it being about 25 or so degrees (above zero, not below zero like it is here in Minnesota so often..ah the good old days). Don't remember exactly what time it was, but it was dark. Down the hall, someone in the painting studio had King Crimson's Court of the Crimson King on - probably Wayne Conyers, since that was one of his signature atmospheric pleasures when he painted. He also listened a lot to It's a Beautiful Day, the Firesign Theater, and the Incredible String Band. We all had our little musical mood quirks we used to take us to our artistic happy place in that particular time period. All my art support music was at home on my albums, so hence the radio. No turntable for the potters, cause we were a very messy bunch what with the clay and water and glaze buckets and all that. I listened to everything from Cream to Traffic to the Jefferson Airplane to Poco, and on and on. We were a really fun tight knit group, and loved the juxtaposition of music and art. My particular current love was starting to turn away from the above listed bands and towards Southern rock and outlaw country (the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield was now in my DNA), both of which were impossible to find in those days on either the radio (except for the late night weekend underground stations from Barton County Community College or Little John's show out of Wichita) or the shelves of the music stores, which were at least 20 miles away anyway, which didn't much matter cause we had to pool our money to scrape up enough to go buy a $2.50 LP back then and that usually used up any gas money we needed to go to the store in Salina, which probably also didn't much matter, cause who the hell had a car anyway...? Starving artists and all that romantic stuff. Magnificant times in that art department. 

Then everything exploded. I was knocked almost off the seat on my wheel. All I had aspired to, all I believed in, my internal energy source, shattered to little sparks and slivers in one quick 5 seconds. I went outside and stood in the snow for probably 15 or 20 minutes and reflected. Don't remember feeling the cold. It was quiet enough to hear the noise in your ears, like it is so often when there's snow coming down. Cars went by like silent ghosts, their headlights illuminating about 5 to 10 feet in front of them in a bulb of yellow snow flurry, then back to dark up the street ahead of them. No road noise from the highway or the streets. Street lights were muffled and only a faint glow off in the black/white landscape looking like some sort of alien becon in the night. I recall a definate urge to cry, and a supreme effort to try not to, in case someone came into the ceramics room. To this day, I remember vividly, and have never really been the same since. I was NOT amused.  John Lennon had just been shot...



3 comments on “DECEMBER 8TH....”

BarbieSue Says:
Wednesday, December 8, 2010 @7:28:11 AM

Wow....

leataylor Says:
Wednesday, December 8, 2010 @3:26:38 PM

Everyone who reads this will come away with some of the same feelings as I have. You took us back and we relived how we felt when we heard about that event that sickened and shocked us all. We should always remember those feelings and never allow such things to happen again. Thank you Geoff for your beautiful story.

leataylor Says:
Monday, February 7, 2011 @2:47:51 PM

redacted

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