And my aunt Sooky
Most people think that only driven artists who don’t work in the public area are truly doing what they want to do. Not so, my aunt Sooky would say. She was a biologist. Yet more (possibly) improbably, at moments in a spiraled upward life, research biology. Yes, in a lab. Dylan’s words reminded me of Sooks, and I’ve not thought of her in years.
When I was very quite young she used to come to our house and stay some weeks in the summer. I loved seeing her, though I never quite understood what it was all about. In retrospect, I do believe she came to recharge, unwind, balance herself. This she did primarily in our back yard on a beach blanket. Whilst holding a Carling Black Label beer in one hand and a cigarette in another. She was tan and wore a boob tube. Her hair was fairly short and curly. Dark, like she was. Of course I adored her. And brought her the beers from the kitchen when she needed one. Periodically she would jump up and run for her travel bag, retrieve a large leather notebook and write something in it. Sometimes that would put an end to the sunbathing and she would spend the rest of the morning or day in the kitchen at the table, writing and sketching. More than once Mother would set the table in the dining room and we would have our supper there, leaving Sooky undisturbed at the table. This, to me, though without the words for it at the time, was the consummate work passion. It invigorated her. It left her smiling. Sometimes she danced around the table at some answered puzzle or insight she had gleaned.
I don’t know how much relaxing she did, or how restored she was when she left, but she always left smiling. And she said wonderful things that sounded wise, and made me want to be her, to live her life. Sooky said things like the Dylan quote. And, if you’re doing what you want to do, enjoy doing, it’s not work at all. Sometimes they pay you for having fun. Think of it! What joy.