As the World Turns

by Pasadena Adjacent



I don’t necessarily believe in reincarnation. Just seems like another thing to worry about on this cosmic path – but I do think about it. Never saw myself as the reincarnation of Ishtar, nor any other member of the pantheon of perfection. Leave those aspirations to the vain and popular. My ‘other’ would come from a different mother.

In 1982 I was introduced to an artist by another artist. One dead, the other living. Me and the dead one clicked. A solid reference point for conjecture. She came from a long line of flamboyant women who jumped out windows. She had a thing for older ‘alpha’ men. Her particular guy made a name for himself creating operas based on the screams of dying men succumbing to mustard gas. Baby artist as acolyte, not the first – not the last. Another long line ‘we’ fell into.

The walls were closing in. She was in a hurry. With pen and gauche in hand, she put her life down on paper. Over a 1000 pages. Leben oder Theater? There wasn’t time to edit. Paintings evoked words and words became colored pigment. Then they came and took her; put her in a line. One that led to Auschwitz. One that led to the L.A. Central Library. One that led to me. I took to safeguarding her. Returning time and time again to take her out of circulation. Regretfully, along with that rare album of Irish Tinker music (our little threesome) I made the mistake of returning her home early from our date. The day before April 29, 1986.

I wouldn’t see her again for nearly 15 years. She remained a phantom tease that went missing from local inner library data bases. Until a visit to a friend who was moving from the Downtown Arts Brewery. I spotted Charlotte sitting on the top of a pile. He gave her back to me. Eventually, like Frieda, she became popular herself. From acolyte to leading lady. Leben oder Theater?

More on Dean Cornell’s 1933 mural “The Light of Learning” here