The Story Behind the Photos
Part 6: Time Moves On
I corresponded with Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup as well as Howlin’ Wolf. I’m beyond grateful for this because something was passed along to me by having known them, especially Wolf....a truly super-human force from a very good place in the Universe. Today, after a few years interruption when I suffered mercury poisoning from my years of eating tuna, swordfish, shark and mackerel routinely, I am continuing to write more songs, which is both literally a “joyful (or mournful) noise” artistic growth and a healing process all at once, because like Wolf’s, my childhood was a very difficult one to survive. Yet somehow the creative forces and needs to express them were never destroyed, and perhaps even enhanced by having survived and lived to tell the tale. (that story will be on a different website, itself inspired by Wolf’s lyric out of “Killing Floor,” myfirstmind.com – when I can get it together, hopefully before 2011)
I realize now that’s one reason Wolf and I connected instantaneously.
I’ve noticed in my diverse and rich experience in many cultures that I developed an affinity to connect or draw people to me that either need to heal from childhood trauma or were in the process already.
Having gained much insight and skills, and moreso in touch with my intuition now (as well as getting a couple degrees in psychology, but most good stuff was learned outside of school) I may counsel them, which is itself very validating and enriching. I realizef as I wrote this 2004, and add more in 2010 that, without a doubt, Wolf’s role-modeling of strength and approachability, his clearly-felt soul, added to all of this.
Being open to what this was and is for me, I cannot here fully measure what a tremendous validation of my art and my personhood and healing process resulted from knowing Chester Burnett, continuing to this day. I consider him a “adopted stepfather” and mentor - by his example as well as by the loving, centered purity of spirit he conveyed, even without my knowing of such things then. He was an inspiration to me, and even though we didn’t spend all that many days together, he instantaneously offered me, and I believe to all, a force that drew, as Sam Phillips so poignantly put it, from “where the Soul of Man never dies”...Wolf shared it and gave of it, freely. He had aspects of both a rock and river... all at once.
In 1976, I heard (but well afterwards) that Wolf had died. It was hard to accept, because I’d been out of touch with him for a while, which had greatly gnawed at me in subtle ways - bad enough - but also because he’d seemed too young and vital for that - to die. And, I don’t know if I have faced the loss completely even yet.
But maybe, though, this is because in some ways I believe and strongly feel that Wolf is still with me, as well as because so much of his great work lives on. I have felt this way for a long time, and I know I’m not the only one. Wolf, wherever you are, I love you. And I am also sure that somehow you know this, too.
© 2004 Sandy Guy Schoenfeld