Beings in the stone
So… I've always loved rocks and stones. Now, I have an idea of why and what makes the difference between the two but I'm not certain why some are rocks and some are stones. There I go off on a tangent with my inner quibbling and I'm here to tell you something.
I have picked up and put in my pocket or sack, ever since I can remember, rocks or stones. It started as a fascination for those solid formations. Found out they had names; granite, quartz, limestone, sandstone.
River rocks, smooth ones, round ones, chunky ones - lined or pitted. When I first found there was a career associated with my passion (not truly a passion at 6 years old, 10 or even 13 - more of a preoccupation), I thought, I’d be a geologist!
One of the first driving questions I was asked by adults, 'what will you be when you grow up'?’
Not sure if it was an obsession with the parents of my generation, but that question seemed to come up a lot. Yet even at an early age I had knowingness that I would be me, only grown up!
Skip ahead ~ I am 16 and know full well I will not be a geologist or an archaeologist, anthropologist… Maybe a social worker or in the Peace Corps? Never once did I think celebrity, famous person.
Right about here I began to paint rocks.
My mother owned an artist supply store in the Monmouth mall. My father opened the store for her, as retailing was in his blood. He loved to open businesses. My mother was an artist and spent money on art supplies ~ 'why not own the store ', was perhaps his thinking? Not sure.
My mother gave it its name.
There was a TV series, really big at the time, it was called Peyton Place. It exposed the real and sordid goings-on in this little town, USA. So guess what her art store was called?... Give up?
“Paint 'N Place”!
Paint'N Place, the first arts and crafts store in the mall ~ It was one of the early malls~
Imagine, a time before shopping malls!
It was there that I was introduced to acrylic paint~
Never got into oil paint. Watercolor, a little, colored pencils, some. But I loved acrylic, how versatile - it dried fast. Could paint on anything, even rocks!
And I painted my first.
Right about now, I became a rock star. No, I mean really ~ Not the Peace Corps, not an archaeologist, not even a folksinger, although some called me a folksinger. The folk community didn't claim me, so for lack of an accurate category I was pop rock. I won jazz singer of the year at Montreux, go figure, and I painted stones. No, not Mick, I mean rocks. And in 60s fashion, called them moonstones.
That is the background and the history. I’ve painted them all through these years of Woodstock, Vietnam the 60s 70s 80s 90s and all through Y2K and the decline of our civilization, right up until now I don't call them moonstones anymore.
Each has its own name.
It’s like this ~ I'll find a pebble rock or stone and study it. I'll either see something in it or throw it back. Wherever I am. Some of my favorite rock places are Cornwall in England, Black Pebble Beach in Korea.
The white stone beach on the island off Michigan, Mackinac I believe, where we almost missed the last ferry to the mainland, me, Peter and Beau, loaded down with rocks.
Colorado and yes Indiana (the place with the geodes (not for painting just for the possibilities), Arizona.
Such a big world ~ so little time and… Space ;-)
Sometimes on a smooth perfect shaped stone with nothing but its smoothness or shape I cover it with my designs. But others have beings in them. They are in there. I do no more than get them to surface, sometimes that takes much more. I am not a fine artist, I just paint stones. I might have made a good one trick pony, textile designer but I never even heard of that until it was too late and I was the famous person. Nothing I could do about it, or was there?
Recently I thought for a minute about selling them as a way of sharing, letting people see what I do. Up until this time I've only given them as gifts. But now, that I have sent off a box of my little creations, I don't think I can do it! I think I'd prefer just putting them on display, letting people see them get the energy, the humor and commune with the being in those special ones, but…
Oh, okay, I'll do it ~ but I have to get pictures of them first.
Rock Star could become the most appropriate genre after all!
Mar 18 Harrisburg Midtown Arts Center - Harrisburg, PA
Mar 19 Sellersville Theater 1894 Sellersville, PA
Apr 08 Firehouse Center for the Arts Newburyport, MA
Apr 09 42 Maple Contemporary Art Center Bethlehem, NH
Apr 16 Beachland Ballroom and Tavern Cleveland, Ohio
May 20 Soundbites Sedona, AZ
May 21 Soundbites Sedona, AZ
Oct 15 The Green Hotel Kinross, Scotland
I remember my mother would tell my father, oh, now you've disappointed her (me )and I would go into agreement.
' Yeah I'm disappointed ', not totally getting the concept. I heard that more than once, growing up. My mother, coming from, I suppose, her own disappointment in most of the way her life was going, was building a strong case for me and my sister when she came along seven years later~ The jury of two. And of course there was the invisible all seeing judge of everything right and wrong. God, Santa Claus?
Ticking off the little lines drawn or not I never questioned my mother’s outrage, thoughts or opinions. I think, as it was obviously my father’s fault, whatever it was. And he always seemed to be the quieter 'loser’ in the battle.
I somehow grew up through disappointments and having what my mother appointed a 'terrible father'.
Somewhere in there I queried disappointment, the word itself. Feelings were associated with the drama, for the person watching and the person living it, both played by me.
All these years later I can well up that picture and feeling~ Drama and all of that 'disappointment'. Only now the watcher who has become a lot more visible, laughs and says: ' Melanie you are being your mother, ' and I agree much more easily than ever. This is part of what is called 'wisdom'~ The little perk you get in exchange for the 'youth'. And I am really enjoying that, laughing and 'seeing'. I guess it's right up there with: don't sweat the small stuff. Or: if you worry about it now, it is not yet a problem and if it becomes a problem, you worried twice!
So let's invite all those disappointments in, it's so much fun to laugh later.
Look for the key elements: did you rage and rail, cry and blame, want to die, even?
Believe me, let your watcher tell you: yes, it's real, it's bad and all of the above~ But you will breathe as you did before~
Just some deep breaths, change the channel and laugh, my dear ones ~laugh a lot!
Q & A with Melanie
Butch Zurbriggen: Melanie do you still have the guitar that you used at Woodstock?
Melanie: No that guitar got run over by a car!! My father was driving, and backed up over it. We sent it to some befuddled luthier. That is as far as it went. It was hopeless I'm afraid.
PS but I do have Keith Moon's drumstick;-)
Joanne Gale-Curtis: Do you play any other instruments, if not, would you like to?
Melanie: Sometimes after playing guitar for a while, I so wish I had become a harmonica player, a clarinet or oboe. But you can't sing with something stuck in your mouth. I started on a baritone ukulele, which for me as a child was like a pretend guitar. Guitar-cello might be nice.
Guitar, piano and drums they're the only instruments you can just pound on and they can sound pretty good.
Don't think I have the discipline to have been really good at anything else.
Tim Stroud: Melanie, would you ever consider marrying again? I understand that Peter will always be the #1 man in your heart, but if you were open to a new relationship, every single/available man in the world (and even some married ones-lol) would be standing in that line hoping to win you over. (I hope you don't mind this being such a personal question, if you'd rather not answer, I would totally understand.)
Melanie: My views on marriage might be surprising.
I don't believe in it !
It worked for me, and in lots of instances it's good. Peter was very old-fashioned. I would've been happy to make a promise, take a vow and keep it between ourselves. Maybe have a little party with candy covered almonds wrapped in small white organza squares tied up with silk ribbon and a heart charm. Never did that. But I am avoiding answering what you really asked, aren't I. I'm confusing that with accountability and truth.
In a very leaky system where people sign prenuptial agreements with governments. Lawyers seem to be the only people who profit from marriage. My view is make a deal and stick with it. Same deal we have with life itself.
Again I avoid your question I suppose because I don't know. Though...I don't think so.
Vince Burchett: Sad to say work has me in training 15-19 March just across the river from Harrisburg. So close yet so far! Can I get a stone online?
Melanie: This may become a possibility but so far I am not a retailer:-) I would like to have photos of the stones so people can see them. Right now the only possibility is to be there at the concert, so sorry.
Chuck Wolfe: Do you believe?
Melanie: Yes~ in everything, a little bit;-)
And fool that I am~ especially