While I was lying on the floor of the Royal BC Museum in Victoria, BC, I realized I had a lot to learn from the 60’s, John Lennon, and a famous car.
And why was I lying on the floor, you ask? I was taking pictures of a car, of course.
Tourists stepped over and around me, and I could tell from their expressions reflected in the highly-polished chrome, they likely assumed I was some high-class photo-journalist.
How could they not? With my pink digital camera – it fits perfectly in my purse beside a pack of gum of the same size – and my body contorted to weird positions solely in the name of getting the most PERFECT artistic shot, I was definitely a ‘pro.’
Or maybe the chrome warped their reflected expressions and they were actually giving me weird looks.
But I didn’t care as I was doing my ‘thing;’ doing what I wanted. And I didn’t care what they thought.
I was practically nose to nose with a door handle that had been grasped by members of The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Moody Blues, Bob Dylan, and countless others beyond my social circle – if I had been born during that time, that is. They did what they wanted, wrote about what they wanted, and in turn, we are still singing their songs.
The museum is the proud keeper of one of John Lennon’s numerous cars, a Rolls Royce Phantom V. Purchased in 1965, Lennon eventually had the Valentine’s black paint job covered by the ornate yellow, blue and red floral design the car is now famous for. The European flair of the design is reflective of the artists who painted it; a Dutch team of gypsy artists who originally painted a wagon that sat in Lennon’s back yard were commissioned to do the artwork on the car. Lennon also had the car fitted with a sound system, TV, fridge, and phone, and the back seat was made to a convertible double bed. Pre-paint job, the car carried the Beatles to meet the Queen to receive their MBE medals – Members of the Order of the British Empire.
Needless to say, the car has ‘been around.’ After it lived the rock ‘n roll life, Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono donated the car to a museum for a tax credit - much needed to pay off a few debts. After sitting in storage for a few years, the car eventually made its way to Vancouver, BC when it was purchased by Mr. Jimmy Pattison, Vancouver business man, for $2,299,000. It was on display at Vancouver’s Expo ’86 – a mere 6 years after John Lennon’s death – and was then given as a gift by Mr. Pattison to the Transportation Museum of British Columbia in Cloverdale, BC. It lived at the museum in Cloverdale from 1987 to 1993, when it was then moved to the Royal BC Museum in Victoria, BC.
Which is where I was, lying on the floor, and having deep, psychedelic thoughts about how I can apply John Lennon, the 60’s, and the car, to writing.
The era, and the flamboyantly painted car, are truly symbolic of how we, as writers, should write; vibrantly, passionately, and without care. When Lennon was out cruising the streets one day, a British woman smacked the yellow car with her umbrella and screamed, “You swine, you swine! How dare you do this to a Rolls-Royce!” Did he let that bother him?
Forget about everyone else. Forget about what your mother, father, siblings, great aunt or the hamster will think. Ignore the internal editor in your head saying ‘I shouldn’t write THAT.’ If you don’t write truthfully, from your heart, it will show.
Inducing a 'purple haze' to foster creativity is not my thing, and I don't intend on burning my bra anytime soon (this is 2011, after all), but maybe applying the same ways of thinking of those times - not letting fear and censorship smother passion and conviction - will have folks reading my work for generations to come.
Imagine all the possibilities.