Friday, November 18

Friday Faves

I don't know 'bout you, but the only thing on my mind this sweet fall Friday is Johanna

inside the museums, infinity goes up on trial
voices echo, "this is what salvation must be like after a while"

but Mona Lisa 'musta had the highway blues
you can tell by the way she smiles

see the primitive wallflower freeze
when the jelly-faced women all sneeze

hear the one with the mustache say, "geez
I can't find my knees"

oh, jewels and binoculars hang from the head of the mule
but these visions of Johanna, they make it all seem so cruel

In the last days before my daughter was born, I was driving to art school every day, an hour each way. I tend to circle through albums obsessively, and during that intense time, it was Blonde on Blonde. Ottilie arrived the day after I graduated — and now she recognizes Dylan songs before he even starts singing. (Secret naming plan: if she'd been born on his birthday, May 24th, I would have used Johanna as a middle name.)

Johanna's a form of John, which means "god is gracious." It has a ton of sweet diminutives and variants — Polish Joasia, medieval French Johanne, Scottish Shona or Seonag, Welsh Siwan and Finnish Hannele are just a few.


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  2. Johanna is such a wonderful name (as is the song). I love the connection with Bob Dylan especially - makes the name that much cooler. And interesting that you would have used Johanna as a middle name had Ottilie been born on Dylan's birthday !

  3. Love this, Rowan! I tend to file away chunks of my life based on what I was listening to, too. So much so that I'm often conscious of it when re-discovering and old favorite; I don't want to rediscover it so much that it takes on a new time period for me.

    This is one fantastic bit of music, too! Such a sweet memory and such pretty words you share! Now I think I'm going to listen to the music of N's first week with us (outside the tummy.)


  4. I like this name with H's - One or two is beautiful (Johanna or Johnannah)!


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