There’s a strange feeling that happens when you lose someone you never knew. When an artist who inspired you passes away whether they were a painter, actor, musician, fashion designer, architect, etc. you feel as though you’re losing a bit of yourself.
When I tend to fall in love with an artist’s work, that artist is typically dead by the time I discover them. I’m usually inspired by old literature where the author has been gone for sometime and so I never think much about how they aren’t around any longer to create. Still, they inspire me even through words that were written decades or centuries ago.
David Bowie was different to me. I discovered him when most people my age did which was through watching the Labyrinth. I first time I saw it was in high school and the one part that stood out from all the rest was the ballroom scene. It entranced me. The song was beautiful, the set was fantastical, the lyrics hit me, and I remember going home and trying to find the scene on Youtube because I couldn’t get enough. I wished the entire movie was just that one scene because it was so hauntingly beautiful to me.
It wasn’t until college that I started to really listen to his music and I was captivated by it. His lyrics were fascinating to me because they were different than anything I’d heard before. I was drawn in by the surrealism of them and how each told this almost mythical story. I was inspired without realizing it which I think is the best way to be inspired. It’s that moment when you become lost in your own ideas and the world stands still for a moment.
When I first started writing my novel about two years ago, I had a ballroom scene near the beginning and I always play music when I write to act as a score. I listened to “As the World Falls Down” over and over again as I wrote this scene out because it fit perfectly and captured the fantasy/surreal tone I was aiming for. Even though I’m currently on the second draft which has had some major changes, that scene is still there because it was one of the better ones I wrote.
Hearing that he’s gone, I feel like I’ve lost something. Knowing that someone you admired won’t be creating anymore or standing on the same earth as you is jarring. These people do become a part of your life and to know they’ve passed is a little painful. You feel speechless and hurt, but that means they made an impression on you and a good one at that.
I could say much more like how I got so excited seeing him in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me or how I love that Flight of the Concords sketch where one of the guys keeps returning as different versions of David Bowie. I could keep going, but I would just be rambling and fangirling a bit. So instead I’ll leave it like this:
“Look at that sky, life’s begun
Nights are warm and the days are young” – David Bowie (Golden Years)
RIP David Bowie.
Thank you for everything.