Janis Ian: Stories and Women

Tenn by Phone
From New York to Baton Rouge
November, 1982

I still have my persistent troubles with narrative; with finding the fog from which arrives a woman; turning the page; hearing the words; following the woman.

Music helps.

I'm still in the dark a lot at night, trying to sleep, and I feel like I'm young again, with the radio pressed against me, waiting for a story, an escape, a reason to get back to the pale judgment. Now I have records dropping, pages turning, women getting so close to my door, not quite making it. I fall asleep with music in my ears, but the door is empty. There is no woman there.

I played an album a lot in one of those bad years--a couple of those bad years. In those years--I'm thinking of '75 and '76--there was the Bicentennial and my awkward attempts at relevance. The album was by Janis Ian [the album is Between the Lines] and it played and it played and I listened and I could hear the storyteller and the great singer, and I could sense pages turning and lives changing, and there was fog in the distance. She had fog in her stories--much had been created and much was being shared--but the fog didn't make it to my shores, although it made it to my heart.

It's a remarkable album--one of the many albums I destroyed from overuse. The album popped and crackled and skipped, but I kept it dropping and re-playing, and it was a marvel.

Play it. Play it a lot. There are stories and women in there.

Something is likely to pop up.


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