About My Blog

(I’m reposting this as it’s own page because I think it helps to make sense of the blog title….)

I fell in love with this song because of Jimi Hendrix. And I fell in love with Jimi’s guitar because of this song.

I couldn’t tell you what it meant or why it had meaning to me for a long while. It was just words cluttering the guitar that I was listening to.

I wrote about this song twice in college. Once I looked at the meaning of the words. Somewhere I found the origins that I don’t remember anymore. It has biblical meaning, I remember that much. But, that exercise helped me to interpret the meaning of this song for myself.

There must be some kind of way out of here
Said the joker to the thief
There’s too much confusion
I can’t get no relief
Businessman they drink my wine
Plow men dig my earth
None will level on the line
Nobody of it is worth

No reason to get excited
The thief he kindly spoke
There are many here among us
Who feel that life is but a joke but uh
But you and I we’ve been through that
And this is not our fate
So let us not talk falsely now
The hour’s getting late

From the get-go, the fact that the dialogue is opened by a joker and a thief is absolutely entrancing. In some ways, I like to think that we are divided into those two groups—jokers and thieves. I don’t mean that in a negative way at all. Jokers who look at life with joy and laugh at all of its intricate meaning. Thieves who make their way through life by “stealing” its meaning from what we are told makes a life worthwhile. We all do it. We all do both.

The way out of here? Simply the human desire to move beyond our humanity into something somewhat more divine. It’s the confusion of humanity that plagues us, not because it must but because we allow it.

And the second verse, I feel is the answer. You and I. We understand this. There’s no reason to fear, no reason to stress, no reason to worry. We know what this life is…

The second assignment I did on this song was two years after the first. It was a simple assignment. Jack Langguth was a phenomenal writing teacher, and his instructions were: Tear a sheet of paper out of the notebook that you are copiously taking notes in. And describe to me a song. You cannot describe the artist, the words, or the meaning. Describe the music. If I get it correct, you get an A. If not, you fail.

I described the guitar as best I could. In large handwritten print, trying to fill the sheet. And put my preassigned number at the top. He shuffled the stack and began to read them aloud. Looking back, I suppose it was somewhat unfair to choose that song. He was a product of the 60’s and Vietnam. But, I took great pride in the fact that he knew the song from my description of the guitar. It was more a description of its meaning to me, but I suppose emotion poured into an instrument evokes the same human emotion in anyone who has a tie to a particular song.

And thus I have named my blog. All Along the Watchtower…It reminds me of the better parts of myself. It’s the escape, not from a dire state of life. No, not at all. It’s an escape from the things the tie us to the mundane. It’s an escape from the things that imprison us and enslave us. We know what it is doing, and we rise above it.

Addendum: The subhead of this blog comes from Bob Dylan’s original written version of the song—not Jimi’s sung version. -) For those who care about those things!

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4 Comments

  1. I stumbled across your blog by mistake today while I was looking for a link on Google and took on to read te whole entry, since “All Along The Watchtower” is….wow,you know.I could say it is my song.Mine,mine,mine. Haha, I don’t say that in a negative way, but it’s the only decent way I can make someone understand how special this song is for me.
    I just wanted to reply to your entry to tell you this is one of the few,if not the only, meaning to the song I ever found worthy up until this day. Yes,I am aware of the many biblical connotations the song has, but not one I met so far took this song to see what it means to him/her, because in the end,the way of an artist is to bring out of us and himself,through his art,the innermost feelings and convictions and hell, how “All Along The Watchtower” manages to do that !
    So yeah…I have no clue who you are but I feel you on that particular meaning you found for the song and the way it spoke to you, and I salute you.

  2. @B. Because this song has such personal meaning to me, I struggled with whether or not I should try to explain its significance to me.

    I totally understand the feeling of “mine, mine, mine!” And I think that is the even greater beauty of this song. As much as it is yours and exists only for you, it does the same for me.

    Thank you.

  3. For thus the Lord said to me: “Go, station a watchman, let him tell what he sees. When he sees riders, horsemen in pairs…let him listen diligently, very diligently.” Then the watchman cried, “On the watchtower, O my Lord, I stand constantly by day; And I stay at my post through all the watches of the night. Look, there they come, riders, horsemen in pairs!”

    – Isaiah 21: 6-9

    We in this country, in this generation, are–by destiny rather than choice–the watchmen on the walls of freedom. We ask, therefore, that we may be worthy of our power and responsibility, that we may exercise our strength with wisdom and restaint, and that we may achieve in our time and for all time the ancient vision of “peace on earth, good will toward men.” That must always be our goal, and the righteousness of our cause must always underlie our strength. For as was written long ago: “except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.”

    – John F. Kennedy, remarks prepared for delivery at the Trade Mart, Dallas, Texas, November, 22,

  4. Pingback: Blogging 2010 in Review « All Along the Watchtower

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