In my novel What’s Left, she has every reason to proclaim:
Nobody breathes a word about hippie. We’re simply ever so hip.
She and her brothers and cousins had their own style and direction, apart from whatever their parents had done. And the quip didn’t survive into the final version of the text.
Still, though, if you look to the time of the pivotal Woodstock music festival , you might ask if we were trying to be neo-mountain men or newly converted Amerindians or spaced-out yogis or cool Victorians (without the inhibitions) or liberated urbanites or … ? Well, a huge stream of historic inspiration fed into the movement, and we were willing to play with just about any wild expressive fashion.
What’s easily overlooked is how huge the role of the Gypsy – or, more correctly, Roma – was.
The very term Boho or Bohemian – as in Puccini’s opera, La Boheme, dealing with starving underground artists in Paris – has far more to do with the Roma than with any geographic region of eastern Europe. Even Brahms’ famous Hungarian Rhapsodies are code words for Gypsy violin music. As for Spanish flamenco? Ditto. Play your guitar, if you will, or dance wildly.
So underground artists are …? You got it.
And here, drafting and revising my novel I found myself forced to ask:
Why are they so widely romanticized?
And why are they so widely reviled?
As Cassia investigates her father’s reasons for moving into the extended family where she’s grown up, she digs far beyond his counterculture inclinations.
Well, for a hint, here’s something else I cut from the final version:
The scandals, according to Nita? I’m not going there. Not that any of it was bad, on the contrary. There’s just too much to delve into now. And then, despite herself, she does.
Like Cassia’s father, I did live in a rundown farm where we all split the rent. And like him, I later lived in a monastic setting, where ours was based on yoga and its Hindu writings rather than Buddhism.
Not all hippies veered off in those directions.
Have you ever wanted to live in a Gypsy wagon? How about a tree house?