Wednesday, January 13
David Bowie ~ January 8, 1947 - January 10, 2016
I wasn't a "Fan". At least, not in the sense I think of the word: someone who follows the career closely, gathering what creative works by the artist that they can, has much knowledge of trivia and career and personal life facts, one who gets that special, glowing look in their eye when they talk about their favorite artist.
No, I wasn't a Fan, though I could suppose I could be considered a "fan", in the smallest sense of the word. Of course, I knew that his original name was "Jones", I liked just about any music of his I heard on the radio, in film, wherever. I quite enjoyed his look (and character interpretation) as Jareth, the Goblin King. I never collected his music, though I do have an album - the soundtrack of Labyrinth, being one of my favorite movies (though due almost entirely to the story line - not much because it was Bowie). I knew very little (before the 11th) about the numerous variations of Bowie... Pretty much Ziggy Stardust and David Bowie (unless you count Jareth) were all I knew. I'd heard him referred to as "The Thin White Duke", but before Monday, I had no idea it was a persona of his; I just assumed it was his stature and fairness of complexion with his quiet, demi-royal dignity that the name had come from. No clue about any of the rest: Aladdin Sane, The Thin White Duke, Halloween Jack, et. al.
None of his songs (that I recall) were instant cause for me to raise the volume and cry, "This is my *favorite*!". I never desired to see him in concert. I didn't watch interviews with him or read stories about him, though I did see him perform a handful of times on television. I vaguely admired his uniqueness and the quiet way he stood firm in his manifestations and beliefs over the years. Though some of his personas were loud and colorful in their uniqueness, I was never aware of Bowie hauling them to the forefront as an example or trumpeting their stance... ...I could be quite wrong in my interpretation... as I said, I never Fangirled over Bowie... and his career began before I did much of my own delving into individual artists that suited me... The point being, he was not ever a big part of my life, not much of a blip in my awareness. Just another bit of background music in my life - so vague as to not even identify an era or decade.
Why, then, has his death hit me *SO* incredibly hard? Why do I feel it so deeply - to my bones? Why, 3 days later, is my soul still heavy, my heart aching, songs stuck - ear-worm style, but *deeper* - in my brain and gut? ~ * ~ I needed a break from the grief, several hours after finding out on January 11th about his death the day before, and went to take a nap. I was a little disturbed to wake, finding I'd tossed and turned with Bowie songs of all sorts (I hadn't listened to any - that's how deep my grief was) running through my restless sleep, images of his face looking at me in that deep, melancholy way he had, slowly fading in to each other in front of my eyes... I've never had anything like that happen before - even with people I'd known... Even with people I knew well and loved dearly... ~*~ I find it a small bit frightening and quite a lot baffling that his death, for one: has effected me so strongly, for two: that it is still effecting me so deeply this long after having heard.
I keep posing possibilities to myself: Was it his reinvention, making him seem like a "new" guy each time? Was it the shock factor - his unknown cancer struggle and seemingly-sudden death? I ruled out the massive flood of outpouring, because I'd found out in the wee hours of the morning, before most were awake and talking about it and sharing grief - otherwise, I'd likely have attributed it to that. Was it his ability to seem magical? Was it his aura of immortality, weighing heavily (for me) on Jareth? I recalled, as I struggled to define it, recently finding out about his marriage to Iman (I *really* was not a "Fan" - I had no clue he was even married.) and delving into some Google-searches and Wiki reading; I'd though, "Wow! He's almost 70... that must be why he's looking a little thin and drawn, but he's still rocking. Cool" - none of my usual back thoughts of only having a limited time left to enjoy his work as I often do with aging entertainers and artists. It didn't even cross my mind, oddly enough. None of my possibilities really struck a chord with me.
I'd been a sort of Fan of Robin Williams, who also had an untimely, shocking death... I'd followed his career much more closely and actively sought out interviews and watched anything I could where I could enjoy any of his work. And as saddened as I was by his death, it was not nearly so deep or so encompassing of my "self". (Hence my concern.)
Maybe it was a combination of all those things and some not yet discovered or named. Maybe Bowie, in his quiet way, just managed to weave himself into the fabric of our lives more deeply and more indelibly than we knew - until he died.
I'm a little relived to keep reading, days later, of others who are baffled by the depth of their grief for this man. People - who normally don't do so - bursting into bawling fits at work because of a shared tribute... People who are curling up and nesting on couches with kleenex and a library of Bowie tunes.... People who are turning to social media to find pictures and tributes and shared favorite songs of others to mourn with. People who, like me, are baffled by the depth of their grief.
What is this strange, haunting magic Bowie has woven through our souls - not just in his home town or country of birth, but around the world? Before January 10th, the term "beloved" would never have come to my mind in describing Bowie... I'm not sure it would now... And yet...
Though I've listened to 2 of his songs from the new album (Lazarus and Blackstar), and yesterday, a couple of songs I hadn't heard before, I am not listening to my Bowie favorites - *especially* not Labyrinth music. I fear it will be my undoing. I've had tears streaming down my face for the better part of 3 days - I am pretty sure listening to any of "those" songs will be my undoing, and I will end up bawling. Maybe some day.
I find my kids (16 and 11) are completely unaffected, even though they are fans of Labyrinth, too... And know a little of Bowie's music from the radio and playing it repeatedly with their parents on Rock Band. Is it a generational thing? I don't know... I *do* know I feel like a little magic is gone from the world. As someone stated yesterday, that there is less color in the world, now - that it has returned to black and white with Bowie's passing.
Though my desire to know *why* eases with each new comment I read with someone else wondering why his passing has hit them so hard, I think I will always wonder (never to have my curiosity satisfied) why David Bowie's death has effected me (and others) so deeply and strongly.
The more tired I become, the less cohesive my thoughts are, so I will quit pondering for the night. Maybe I will ponder more at a later date, but for now I'll leave you with a link to my post on Facebook where I collected some of the things that moved me over the last few days and...
at 1/13/2016 06:39:00 AM