A Daughter Gives Birth to Her Father

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Uploaded 28 Apr 2008 — 30 favorites
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© seanie blue
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Photo Info
UploadedApril 29, 2008
TakenMarch 29, 2008
MakeNikon Corporation
ModelNIKON D300
Exposure1/500 sec at f/11
FlashNo Flash
Focal Length18 mm
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Photo license: © All rights reserved

As we eat ice cream together, the Sandinista and I, we agree we are full of unspooled dreams, surfing our futures with a tune or a ruse, hoping for a break before we get broken, except we are very different: He has a daughter, and I am a zombie.

We dressed our schemes as dreams for two days, and marveled at how we still wait for that break, looming, fortune crouching in the shadows of one more song. But who needs fortune when you have a weapon as potent as your daughter, the piano player?

Why not give her what he’s got?

“You are hostage to the musician in you, Luis, the rebel playing a flame nobody hears. And you don’t want to end up like Mozart.”

Because Mozart died in hell, in a fever, crying disconsolately, lamenting that all his music was written for cash, heartbroken that nobody would hear the music he’d kept inside, just for himself, while he performed like a trained monkey for nobles and royalty, biding his time until he got his break, and the first commission he got without strings attached came with the fever that killed him, and he died terrified, broken-hearted, in tears, and that’s Mozart!

Hold on to it too tight for too long and you will kill the music. So you might as well give it to her. Give her you, everything you’ve got. Surrender, and teach her. Look what keeping yourself to yourself has got you, walking around on a Saturday night with ice cream in your hand. He laughs, of course, but then I say: If I had a daughter, I wouldn’t keep being me.

I film them together, playing together for the first time, the next morning. He’s on guitar, repeating a phrase from a song about revolt, and she’s on piano, trying to mimic his melody. We do this for 37 minutes, the same four-line verse over and over and over, and I tell Luis to change each line’s emphasis, try to trip her up, but Sari follows, hanging in there, until I tell her she’s got to close her eyes and play the song for the band she and I discussed the night before, where a seven-foot Miskito shaman’s daughter out of the jungle dances on the lip of the stage, and a short albino punk from Holland is on the bass with his back to the crowd, and a surfer from Thailand plays the drums standing up as he bounces like a pogo stick up and down: it's time to give them something to chase.

This last bit is whispered in Sari's ear as she follows her father, and I back away but keep the video close on her face: When her eyes open she’s pounding a derivative over the keys, jamming a slightly different tune which her father now effortlessly follows, a surprised smile smeared on his face, and they jam like this for an hour, surrendering to each other and following the music.

This picture we make an hour later, before I go, and I tell Sari she will have to take the music from her father without waiting for him to give it to her by himself, and the expression on his face is a labor pang, as he gives birth to something he thought was his.

In the story My Secret Nicaragua.

18 responses

  • Audrey Kanekoa-Madrid

    Audrey Kanekoa-Madrid (Deleted) gave props (28 Apr 2008):

    Love it!

  • Jeff Clark

    Jeff Clark gave props (28 Apr 2008):

    Wonderful caption and vision.

  • Brad Flora

    Brad Flora gave props (28 Apr 2008):

    (I like it because, it is) A well written story that compliments the initial feeling of puzzlement at seeing this photo...

  • Chris Whitney

    Chris Whitney said (28 Apr 2008):

    He has given her the love of the music. She will learn to use the gift in her own way. Forces will test her will, but ultimately, if she loves her art, she will do it for mere pleasure.
    Ah, it is always refreshing to open your pics, and read the story inside.

  • Frederic Frognier

    Frederic Frognier (Deleted) gave props (28 Apr 2008):

    That's cool, nice capture!

  • Rachel Mckinnie

    Rachel Mckinnie gave props (29 Apr 2008):

    What Chris said...100%

  • ! Mario Scattoloni ¡

    ! Mario Scattoloni ¡ gave props (29 Apr 2008):

    Excellent twist 2 the theme...great 1

  • Respect Nature

    Respect Nature gave props (30 Apr 2008):

    Wow blue! amazing as always - Chatwin and Beard got nothing on you bro!

  • Jean Pierre Vacherot

    Jean Pierre Vacherot (Deleted) gave props (30 Apr 2008):

    Original, my vote

  • Laura Boston-Thek

    Laura Boston-Thek gave props (3 May 2008):

    Damn...how do you do it!! Magic with word and image...

  • Karen Zimmerman

    Karen Zimmerman gave props (3 May 2008):

    I am shivering and am moved to tears. You are one of only a very few who's poetry greatly enhances your complete and beautiful images.

  • John Linton

    John Linton gave props (10 May 2008):

    Yeah! It rocks!

  • judy fouse

    judy fouse gave props (11 May 2008):

    Music will out itself. My Mom sang 'Embrace me, my sweet embraceable you' when she was 16 and won the beauty contest 'Miss Tidewater', She won it again the next year. She sang us lullabies and sang tenor in the church choir. My father called her 'A slick chick.'. Me and my three sisters all sang/sing. My niece majored in music as I did, but she played the piano, and now teaches music in high school. And so it goes on. Judy

  • Steve Wilson

    Steve Wilson (Deleted) said (14 May 2008):

    I love the contrast. This is perfect!

  • Farras Abdelnour

    Farras Abdelnour gave props (16 May 2008):

    fabulous and creative photo!

  • Rogerio de Freitas

    Rogerio de Freitas said (24 May 2008):

    I agree with Laura...magic with word and image. Voted.

  • John Linton

    John Linton gave props (11 Dec 2008):

    The story's cooler than the pic...if that's possible...Fantastically fabulous friggin' fiddle photo fo' sure.

  • John Linton

    John Linton gave props (2 Feb 2011):

    Oh YEAH! Rad!

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