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Wednesday, June 7, 2017



Since 1976 I have been practicing what I call " Creative Schizophrenia," a medicinal performance/theatrical character creating device that allows me to get out of my own skin safely and without the added burden of being institutionalized for public displays of difference that might offend the common good. It all started  seven score years ago and was so noteworthy/bothersome that my father named me Sarah Burnhardt, commenting no doubt on my ability to feel and dramatize the atmosphere of our home, a gift I used later on as my performance modus operandi.

The seven fairy-tale-like female personas that came OUT of me in the late 1970's were from different countries and were totally fabulous: a French poet, a British neurosurgeon, a Karate Black Belt, a Jazz singer, a nun . You can see them for free on You Tube: Learning To Talk. At that time, for over a year I sat in front of a video camera and talked as them, interviewed myself as them, became them and escaped from being me which is admittedly a great Theological device but at the time was an indication of an untreated DSM's listing of  medical conditions with verifiable labels like: PTSD/Depression/Untreated Grief/Tragic Trauma/Dissociation/Suicidal Ideation. If I had been a seriously practicing and loyal Hindu Vedantist at that time I would have been content and silent, not touched a video camera and meditated on their salient, holy statement which warns: "I am not this body and mind," a mantra I could have murmured over and over,"I am not this body and mind, I am not this body and mind, I am not this body and mind." My Guru from India would have applauded and approved of my using his teachings to heal myself, but no, artist that I am, I resorted to video and MY WAY, creating a therapy that fits my rebellious nature. 

CATHOLICISM And having grown up strict Roman Catholic and even going as far as entering a convent for 2 years so I could become a saint-in-training, I could have gone quietly into the depressed night, not made videos of myself as these successful, fabulous and professionally alluring women and instead, could have practiced a Christian mystical/Biblical version of inner persona morphing and also could have prayed mantra-like day and night: "It is not I that lives but Christ who lives in me. It is not I that lives but Christ who lives in me. It is not I that lives but Christ who lives in me." Again, art won out, I didn't do that but continued taking care of my mental business via video/performance/writing books and teaching my art-life methods all over the world and created my own " Linda's church of art." In this church, I made the rules and I was the live-in priest.

Some thirty years later, the recipe of being fantasy people so I could learn how to like being me changed from my wanting to be fairy-tale people and I began wanting to become and act like REAL people. For example; Hillary Clinton, Jill Johnston, Paul McMahon, Mother Teresa and Bob Dylan were the one's I dopplegangered in the hopes of getting close to me, not to them. See Masks, you tube.The thought is, I love being Mother Teresa and all of these sundry wonderful people, can I love being me as much as I love being them? Little did I know that being them and loving them was a lube/prompt to liking me and that I was next in line. Sometime soon I would become a maskless ME!

Just last night, May 27, 2017, Woodstock NY celebrated Bob Dylan's 76th birthday at the Bearsville Theatre. The organizer, Luann Bielawa, offered me a comp ticket because I had already performed a 7 hour Bob Dylan lip-synch event on a lift for 7 hours a few years ago and she knew of this performance and my belief that I looked like him and wanted everyone else to believe that as well. See Tobe Carey's  you tube, Linda As Bob. Actually my two brothers really do look like him and when I self-apply a thin moustache on my upper lip and wear the right hat, jacket, cowboyish pants and sunglasses, I pass for him a little. So last night I applied the moustache at home, drove to the theatre, drank my semi-cold Genesee beer in the car when I arrived there and then began my walk to the venue into invisibility because only twice that entire night did I "get" the reaction, get the applause, get the nod, get the "Oh look, it's really Bob," reaction that I expected. In fact, what I got was an interesting non-nod of "let's not notice this person because IT MIGHT BE BOB and we are Woodstockians and we are so cool and so used to illuminati and famous personages being in our town, in our midst, in our bars, in our restaurants, that it is actually RUDE to acknowledge them and spoil their need for privacy, anonymity and real time presence." So they didn't paparazzi me, didn't ask for an autograph, didn't smile, except for that one woman who flirted with/wanted me and the other woman friend who got that it was me/Bob but never came over to let me know that she knew.

Thank God that a man scrambling to his seat in the theatre, rubbed past my legs and gave me at least an, "Excuse me sir," and that made my day but after two hours of listening to incredibly phenomenal Bob Dylan music played superbly by Woodstock musician artists, I was blown into such happiness and let-me-touch-your-feet appreciation of people who don't look like Bob but sound his words, his feelings, his poetry and his brilliance sans a faux moustache, Dylan hat or sunglasses that I realized, I'm closer to letting them honor Bob and letting me just be ME!
DSM begone. My mask is almost off.

Linda Mary Montano

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