“Whatever happened to . . . ?” That’s a question we sometimes ask about an artist who seemingly disappears. Of course, if they haven’t actually left this earth, they haven’t really disappeared at all. They’ve just chosen another path, another way to spend the remainder of their days on this planet we call home. They’ve just decided that, despite their early success in this or that artistic field, they didn’t like who they were back then, or the sacrifices they had to make, or the people in that world. They likely found other things that bring them joy, without all the baggage attached. Those of us who heard their work, or read them, or saw their masterpieces and miss them now, can’t help but wonder: Why? How could someone with so much talent “throw it all away” like that?
Our judgements, of course, come from a place of necessary ignorance, but that’s not a fault, so to speak. There is no other place for us to be, relative to public figures we do not know. It’s not saying anything new to note the omnipresence of media that blur the lines between public and private, and give us, at least momentarily, a false sense of “knowing” these figures. We don’t. We only know a projection of a certain part of them . . . which is, ironically, the case for people who do have daily contact with one another as well.
There are degrees, of course. Degrees of getting closer to the core, the seeds, the roots, the heart. But to pierce those things is all but impossible, due to our biologies. The arts can get us closer than anything else (aside from selfless love), but we never can truly reach another’s core.
The Irish singer/songwriter Sinéad Lohan gets as close as she can to the heart of Dylan’s song from 1964, which means she gets as close to the projection of Dylan’s core as is possible through the ears and eyes of his music. It may well be the definitive cover of this classic.
“To Ramona,” by Bob Dylan (1964). Cover by Sinéad Lohan (1996)
Sinéad Lohan made two wonderful albums in the 1990s, Who Do You Think I Am, and No Mermaid. Since that time . . . silence. At least for those outside her circle of friends and family. I wish that were otherwise, that we could follow her ongoing journey through her music and hear her wonderful voice once more. But that appears not to be what she wants. So I truly wish her a wonderful life, on her own terms, and she does what she thinks she should do, away from the pangs of sadness.