My favorite professor talks a lot about lineage, and how you can see/read in one writer’s or artist’s work all the influences that have come before, and how it’s not a stealing copyright thing like it usually is today (“He’s So Fine”=“My Sweet Lord”…really?!) but something free and generous in spirit, maybe like that traveling pants story but with words.
in the mail for centuries
And then maybe you come along and stumble on something itcanevenbetotallynew that has mad-love for its echo, and there’s that at first disjointy then oceanic fuzzing when you connect with something so deeply you find yourself there:
You read it and then the words have a new home in your head.
You listen to it and the words have a new home in your ears.
It’s even more exciting if you’re a woman and you want to make art and the art you’re inspired by was made by a woman artist.
Wuthering Heights the novel was published—to mixed reviews, for it was wild and full of abuse and cursing—when Emily Bronte was 29; she died less than a year later.
Kate Bush was only 18 when she wrote "Wuthering Heights" the song, and she wrote it in just a few hours, late one night, after watching the 1967 BBC mini-series. But I’ve also read it was after watching the classic Sir Laurence Olivier film. Either way, it was when she read the book that she discovered she and Emily were born on the same day, 140 years apart. July 30.
(The lasso! The cartwheel! I love her so bad.)
and here’s the thing with K & E: people were confused at first because they both were doing something different and fierce and stuff that probably women weren’t supposed to do but they did it anyway.
And if I am just the tiniest drop of Kate and Emily, a drop that’s at least 200 years old today, the tiniest drop seen by the people on the bus one day who looked and said too loud she could be the ugliest woman in the world or the most beautiful. And I get what they mean, and it’s not about how one looks physically but how one presents in the world, as one would record a physical symptom while being examined by a doctor, because people we all of us examine each other with our eyes and only some parts of our brain like that.
And it is beyond race and gender and color and whatever else we see first and loud, but something in the DNA that aligns and organizes us into tribes like band camp is such an obvious but true example, or word-mad girls whose hearts attach too full and soon, and can you see Kate and Emily in the same tribe of dark-haired ladies at the window?
Dark-haired artist ladies at the window
P.S. I do know about dangling participles and split infinitives and verb-tense agreement and—so lacking here—periods. But not tonight, Grammar & Punctuation. Not tonight.
P.S.S. My favorite comment on Kate’s video:
“I just don't understand how a reserved girl was able to create this persona and be brave enough to show it to an audience when she had no clue how people would react.”