There’s truth in the saying Getting old sucks. I’m viewing it from a certain standpoint, though. I don’t mind getting older, though I’d feel better if I could read a menu without reaching for reading glasses. Every time I open a news feed, though, another piece of my childhood and/or youth is stripped away. 2015 did us no favors with the various rotten happenings, which I won’t name because you were there – you saw it, too. Then it ended by taking Lemmy.
You’d think in 2016 we’d have a reprieve from depressing news, and then we lose David Bowie. It’s a gut punch, yes. People talk of last influences in the creative arts – The Beatles, Dylan, all legends… and Bowie belongs there. Nobody like him existed, and nobody will come close. Bowie was a chameleon in stunning color, and even if you didn’t follow his career closely I’m sure there’s at least one song of his you associate with some defining moment in your life.
Losing Bowie hurts especially because he wasn’t just a performer. His songs told stories. We grow up with bands that want to rock and roll all night, and that’s fine. Songs like that are like a snack – you down a candy bar and get on with the rest of your day. It might not stay with you. Bowie’s music worked differently – you hear “Ziggy Stardust” and find there’s more to the subject preening like “some cat from Japan.” In his last days, he never stopped telling stories. Recently I tried to listen to “Lazarus,” and I admit it was difficult. You hear the first words “I’m in heaven…” and you know he knew this was it.
I only got to see Bowie live one time, more than 20 years ago for the Sound + Vision tour. My boyfriend at the time was an avid Bowie fan – owned all the CDs, posters in his room. He was in the Marine Reserves and awaiting notice of a two-week training assignment when the show was announced. He told me he was going even if the Marines chose that time frame for his trip. He said he didn’t care if he got arrested, he wasn’t missing Bowie.
Luckily that didn’t happen, and I saw one of the best live performances in my concert going history.
As a writer I incorporate writing into my schedule. I use songs to inspire and uplift, to keep me moving when I hit a wall. I do keep some Bowie in rotation but I think I’ll add some more. He’s left an amazing legacy and we’d be remiss in neglecting it.
Kathryn Lively – www.KathrynLively.com