It’s been one hell of a week, to say the absolute least. Last Sunday night I can vividly recall receiving a message from a good friend of mine simply saying “David Bowie is dead.” My first inclination was to scold him for falling for such a stupid hoax, but I simply asked “what?” and he directed me to Bowie’s Facebook, where the message, now indelibly imprinted on so many of our minds, were written, almost as if they were carved in some kind of stone so white that it’s not even there, and you can stare into it for eternity and still see only space between the words.
Even after reading it, my first thought was “hoax!” and I began frantically googling and typing in URLs in desperate hope that some vile person was playing a cruel joke on Bowie and the rest of us. Not soon after that it was apparent that it was no hoax, and that David Bowie was gone. I can easily recall the feelings I felt then, because I still feel traces of them now; the confused, frantic racing of thoughts; the not being able to know what to think; the weird bodily sensations in the throat and chest; the deep wells of sadness erupting forth from within, their partially formed tears that I was fighting back blurring my eyes.
I also felt great joy, not only because I spent hours that night listening to some of the greatest music ever made, but because I saw an entire worldwide community of people seemingly unite behind not only their appreciation for this man’s art, but also their appreciation for him as a human being, whether they ever stood in the same room with the guy or not. It was genuinely beautiful and I don’t really recall seeing anything like it in my lifetime. I’m not sure that I ever will again.
Why do we create art? I think art is something that some of us do to fill the giant, incomprehensible void between ourselves and that which exists beyond ourselves. In that sense, art serves a two-fold purpose for us, in that it not only allows us the catharsis of self-expression, but also gives us a vehicle to express our meaning to others. Most of us are a little better at one or the other of these two things than we are the other. David Bowie was a master of both, and in my estimation he is almost unrivaled in that regard.
Life is art. David Bowie is one of the greatest masterpieces of art that our world has ever seen, given to us by the master artist, David Robert Jones, who lived and created his great works in the second half of the 20th and early 21st centuries. I consider myself extremely fortunate to have lived in a time when he was giving his art to the world.
Planet Earth has been blue this week, very blue, at least the planet I’ve been riding on. But it wasn’t a pale blue; it was a bright, shimmering blue. While I remain sad about David Bowie, and will continue to be appreciative of his art for the remainder of my life, I am also deeply thankful to him for continuing to inspire me to live my life as a work of art, and for giving me so many amazing works to be inspired by.
I know I can and will do better in that regard. I know that especially well now for some reason, like David Bowie was trying to tell me that all along, had I only stopped to listen.
It’s time to get to work.