David Bowie died on Sunday. That’s just not meant to happen. It makes him human and somehow, well, he was just always supposed to stay around. He accompanied me during my final school years, Bowie and his songs there to take care of me/soothe me/wild me while I was coping with the craziness of growing up. He made it ok for me to be and feel whatever aspect of who I didn’t understand I was at the time. I wasn’t what you might call a hardcore fan I just loved his music and everything it stood for.
Of course I didn’t really understand exactly how he had influenced me until well, these past few days, when, as an adult, I look back at Bowie’s work and re-listen to all my favourite songs and read all that’s been in the media about him. It has made me sad and a little confused. It makes me think what a strange world we live in where we grow up with these larger than life idols that mystify life when we’re young, sort of like Santa Claus for kids really and then we get bogged down by work and children and life and then, suddenly these larger than life people die. It’s like when Santa becomes Tom, the neighbour with a stuck-on beard..
It goes without saying that the real life tragedy of his illness and far too early death doesn’t bear thinking of. Yet now that it has happened I feel strings have been snapped from my youth and strangely this has given me space to let go of yet another tie with my teenage-hood. Dare I say it, this cut brings with it a sense of excitement at the prospect of something new – an excitement I don’t feel shows disrespect to Bowie’s passing because it heralds his legacy. Ch- ch- changes (yeah I know, but his songs are resounding in my head big time) however sad are always a possibility which is, for me anyway, a big part of what Bowie stood for and it feels hopeful to combine my past with new more experienced eyes for the future.
As quoted from his tributes, “His death was no different from his life – a work of art.” How beautifully rounded off that sounds and how desirable. I’d like to think I can make something out of these thoughts and inspired by that approach I’d like to strive for my rounding things off, possibly not yet in my life, but in a place where I feel it is important within my own world.
I feel inspired to breathe this thought into my writing. I’ve been coming to points in my story writing again and again where I get stuck and I turn back to look for answers. Holding on to what I thought the story was about or the set path a character seems to have taken in my story I realise now won’t get me to the fully rounded ending. I think it is important to let go of what you think you know in order to let the story or the character develop in the way it needs to or, in David Bowie’s words:
“Turn and face the strange,”
However sad the circumstances.