Starman

12 01 2016

Bowie

It is a gift when you can provide meaning to so many.

I, like millions of others, was surprised and upset to learn that David Bowie passed away yesterday. I, also like millions of others, never knew him and felt a sort of relative sadness that I hadn’t felt for other celebrities with recent passings.

Maybe it’s my perception, but it seems that the conversation on social media around David Bowie has been beyond what I would have expected with so many people sharing their thoughts – even more so, than say when Robin Williams passed away. Maybe it’s because Bowie kept his illness to himself and closest confidants and in this age of “news as it’s happening”, we had a real shocked reaction to something tragic after it was too late, rather than as it was occurring.

I listened to a few interviews from the past couple of decades and it is clear that David Bowie was a true artist and non-conformist in many ways, but it is also clear that he was simply a man with love for art and work. Who really knows what he meant to his wife, children and closest family and friends? What is clear, however, is that Bowie, his music, his art or a combination therein did mean something to millions over long periods of time.

And here is where I think the collective sympathy lies on hearing of the news of Bowie’s death – the meaning. Much like recalling where we may have been during historic events both good and bad (Nixon’s resignation, Diana’s wedding and death, 9-11, or learning that a loved one was about to become a parent), David Bowie seems to be attached to great meaning – and in a very positive way – to so many people’s lives.

For me, it was just remembering listening to “old” Bowie in my first apartment after college, alone, realizing that there was so much more than his 1983 “Let’s Dance” album. I must have replayed “Hero’s” dozens of times. For others it is around a concert, a relationship, and the list goes on and on. And throughout all of this, he was David Bowie. Truthfully, little is known about Bowie beyond the artist unlike the incessant reality-driven world of today’s celebrities. That’s the way it should be because we then get to place meaning to the artist, to the music and to the time in a way that reflects and embodies what we need it to when we need it to. I can’t imagine that one will be able to say the same of the Beebs.

Until next time,

Marc





Daylight Savings, Raking Leaves & Beginning with the End

1 11 2015

It's a fine line between death and birth

It’s a fine line between death and birth

I’m not a huge fan of the period between Thanksgiving and the onset of Spring. I can tolerate the cold, though I tend to wish for warmer weather. It’s the darkness that I have a hard time with.

I don’t know whether or not I have SAD (Seasonal Affect Disorder) or not. It doesn’t matter if I do and I want to be careful to not self diagnose when there are people who really do suffer either seasonally or otherwise. All I do know is that when the sun starts to set early, I can’t stop yawning – a lot. The urge to nap, slow down and eat carbohydrates is pretty intense – or at least more intense than normal as those are all three things I enjoy doing, anyway. I take Vitamin D and I try to keep up with exercise, regardless, but as the days shorten, so does my motivation. (Daily intake of left over Halloween candy doesn’t exactly help, either.)

It’s not a coincidence, then, that on this first day of Daylight Savings Time when, yes, we gain an hour, but we also start to transition to much shorter days, I made myself sign up for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). This is, essentially, a 30 day challenge to write a a 50,000 word novel – approximately 1,700 words a day. I am not sure if I am going to succeed or not, nor if I do, if what I end up with will be worth anything. But I do know that without some sort of goal, the potential for getting to November 30th with little more than another month’s worth of “to do” lists is pretty good.

After grabbing a late breakfast with my son at a diner this morning, we raked leaves for a little under two hours in the front yard. He is an endless source of comedy material but more than that, an endless source of pride. Truthfully, the way this kid is maturing is an experience to behold – his approach to school, his aptitude for helping friends, his hilarious sense of humor and more importantly, his resilience. I am part father and part witness to an emerging adult.

We raked in silence, side by side, with the occasional verbal interruption. He could not tell the feelings of longing and loss that were welling up within me – both grateful for the opportunity to be there in the moment and, at the same time, dealing with a profound sense of sadness, melancholy and frustration at my current situation. If we were laying poolside in 85 degree weather at a resort, I may have the same experience but it would come and go. Something about the fall shadows cast on the lawn as we raked in an autumn chill, the smells of decaying leaves and the distant rustle of wind, leaves and branches set a scene for things coming to an end. It’s all too easy for me to internalize my surroundings. This, in some form or fashion, has been my achilles heal my entire life.

I really struggled with a sense of hopelessness. I am not sure exactly why. Intellectually, I knew that it was both not as dire as it felt nor chronic in nature. Still, the feelings were profound. When I get this way, I try to get to the root and ask “what is going on and what am I afraid of?” I concluded that it’s all about endings. This year is going to come to an end and one way or another, I will have to forge through a new beginning of sorts. Anyone who knows me understands that I am trying to get there – divorce, house, job – there are a lot of endings on the horizons and new beginnings to be had.

Though a story of fiction, I am hoping that the novel I am writing, “On the Side”, will help me get there. I need to get things out of my head and onto paper in one way or another – either through prose, song or comedy. I don’t have much of a choice at this point. Maybe NaNoWriMo is good for me. Maybe it isn’t. I do know that it is better to have something to shoot for than not. I need to apply this to all facets of my life, in reality.

I have no delusions of grandeur. There is no Pulitzer prize, Grammy or Comedy Central special awaiting me. I would be happy to get some extra comedy bookings and record a song or two, if that, not to mention, some sort of job security (let’s not forget about that).

I also know that I cannot simply “walk with my feelings” alone. It helps to acknowledge them. It helps to understand that they are with me, regardless of wish, desire or circumstance. That’s not enough for me, though. I need to have them materialize somehow for no one other than me the same way that a maple tree must shed it’s leaves in November. There simply is no choice. 

A setting sun, a browning landscape and an emerging winter must still be expressed, regardless of whether it is welcome or not.

Until next time,

Marc








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