DECADES

  
I collect stories. That's what I do. I seek out the elders and garner stories and songs and poems. Characterized critically as "oh, that's that 60s stuff." Like somebody doing old rock & roll will be doing "that '50s stuff." Or "this is the '90s." I have a good friend back in the East, a good singer and a good song collector, who comes and listens to my shows, and he says, "You sing a lot about the past, you can't live in the past." And I say to him, "I can go outside and pick up a rock that's older than the oldest song you know, and bring it back in here and drop it on your foot. Now, the past didn't go anywhere, did it?" I always thought that anybody who told me I couldn't live in the past was trying to get me to forget something that if I remembered it would get them in serious trouble. That '50s, '70s, '90s, that whole
idea of decade packages -- things don't happen that way. The Vietnam war heated up in 1965 and ended in 1975 -- what's that got to do with decades? No, that packaging of time is a journalistic convenience that they use to trivialize and to dismiss important events and important ideas. I defy that. 

- U. Utah Phillips