“Years ago, there were tribes that ran to Earth, and every tribe had a magical person,” writes the late Carrie Fisher in her memoir Desirable drink published in 2008. “Well, now, as you know, all the tribes are scattered, but every so often you meet a magical person, and every so often you meet someone from your tribe. That’s how I felt when I met Paul Simon.
Anyone who has read Dem Kurt Vonnegut Mastery Kazen Cradle will identify that feeling as Fisher recognizes that Simon was a member of her ‘Karass’. For those who have not read it, then allow Vonnegut’s prose to explain: “If you have been hiding your life with someone else’s life for no very logical reason, that person may be a member of your karas.”
Simon and Fisher’s lives were about as confusing and logical as a solvable fishing net. Her off-and-on romance was one that should definitely live in a sitcom, but it did not, and the human comedy she underlines is far less ridiculous as a result. Over the course of her 12-year relationship, her stormy romance of dating went on to break up, then to commit, to break up again, missed a step and eventually ruled out marriage vows, divorced, then dating again, until she finally accepted have a fate that looks tragically predetermined.
Like Peter Ames Carlin, the author of Homeward Bound: The Life of Paul Simon, writes: “Once they saw each other, no one else cared about them. Carrie added speed [Paul’s] Life, a kind of wild energy that he often set on fire and sometimes yelled at him. So we come back once again to our noble sage, the late great Mr. Vonnegut, who contributes to his humorous karass musings: “We Bokononists believe that humanity is organized into teams, teams that do God’s will without ever discovering what make … Karass ignores national, institutional, professional, family and class boundaries.It’s as free as an amoeba.
In short, there is no logical link behind the scattered members of your tribe, and the fact that Fisher and Simon were like two parts of a jigsaw puzzle that belong together but were never quite well enough tamed for the bound train of life to resist oneself is a witness to it. By all accounts, their relationship was always lovely, but it was shot by tragic circumstances and various punctual potholes on the road to remembrance.
This relationship was beautifully defined in Paul Simon’s masterful ode to Fisher with ‘Hearts and Bones’, an anthem he describes as “a better song” as ‘The Sound of Silence’. With wedding vows on his head, he wrote: “Two people were married, the act was scandalous, the bride was contagious.” He later reflected in an interview with Paul Zollo, “That was one of my best songs. It took a long time to write it and it was very true. It was about things that happened. The characters are very close. the autobiographical.It’s probably the only track I really like on that album.
He later added that this personal change would take over in more autobiographical texts his Songwriting Zenith. “In the Hearts and bones the language is starting to get more interesting. The pictures started to get a little interesting, “he says.” And that’s what I was trying to learn, was to be able to write census, and then emphasize with enriched language, and then go back to the Folk language they go. So the thing would go smoothly, then an image would come out that was interesting, then it would go back to this very smooth, conversational thing. So that was a technique I learned … I do not know where it comes from.
In the end, what we are left with is a stretch of the honored Belle, who apparently very clearly predicts the bittersweet bow of her love affair. So, despite the prickly willow that stands inside, it is a spot of beauty that remains untouched by pain. As Fisher noted in an interview in 2016, shortly before she died, “I love the songs he wrote about our relationship. Even though he insults me, I love it very much.
Very few feelings could be as appropriate for their relationship as that, and no song in Simon’s catalog describes it as clearly as ‘Hearts and Bones’. It is an account of her love that runs through the fictional filter of soft nostalgia. The song adheres to what Vonnegut writes: “Live from the harmless untruths that make you good and kind and healthy and happy.”