Been awhile. I’ve been thing about abandoning my post here at Oh hey, it’s me! but it was because of this bloggy stuff that I started writing again in the first place so I can’t abandon it just yet.
I also can’t let all my fan (yes fan, not fans. Ok maybe like 5 people or so have read every one of them. If you reference #1 you’ll realize that’s not really a big deal or the entire point of all these words anyway) down.
I’ve also been working on a couple projects that have kept me away. I say projects because one of them, however slight, has the chance to actually be a real thing, like a book with real pages and real words and actually published maybe by an actual publisher. It’s a collaboration (or will be) with a guy I knew in college and it is in its infancy and I’m not 100% convinced it’ll happen but it’s a cool idea and we’ll see where it goes.
This other “project” I’m working on concurrent to the first one is tangentially related to it and not a collaboration but is more of the stuff I usually write – a billion handwritten words (because I cannot seem to type and write at the same time. I have to write everything longhand first and then type it. It’s a monumental pain in the ass and everything I write takes twice as long as it should) taking up multiple notebooks. Really good stuff (somewhere along the way I’ve decided that some of the words I write down are not completely useless and that other people, besides my fan(s), would potentially like to read them and may actually like reading them. My words may not ever be good enough for me, but they may not be complete garbage either. Listen, that’s a big step for me) but most likely destined to the great pile of words I keep in my attic (see main picture to #14 – that pile continues to increase if not exponentially then close to it. Whatev.). There’s a lot of crap in that pile but some good stuff in that pile as well.
But digression and exposition are my nemeses – none of the words above are the subject of this post, as you can see from the title. The subject comes from this 2nd, other project, something I wrote this (April 23rd) morning. It’s not verbatim as some of it is not necessarily important to this particular post. Maybe you’ll get to read the whole thing sometime, if it were ever to make its way off the pile in the attic (yeah, I know, probably not but whatever, never say never I guess.).
Also, I really try to proofread and stuff but my laptop is busted and currently getting fixed and I’m typing this on my iPad and it’s really slow going so forgive me if there are more errors and typos then usual. Peck, peck, peck. So annoying!
Ok, I hear you fan, I know, it’s enough intro and setup already! Say what you’re trying to say! Sorry. So…
I wasn’t going to say or write or type anything about Prince The singer guy who died, right? I’m sure you’ve heard. I wasn’t going to like anything posted about him on the social media (I did, but just one. No, two?). Or comment (ok, one comment but that was it) or share any posts (true!). But I found myself writing about it this morning anyway. Not here on this blog – thing but in the notebook on this 2nd other project. It didn’t start out about Prince and it didn’t end with him either but he’s in it so here I am writing about it and him.
Yesterday (April 22nd) was my birthday. I’m 44 years old. I’m starting my 45th year. I think people forget that – they don’t “turn” the year they are on their birthday. It’s the year that they have just completed. I’ve revolved around the sun 44 times. I’ve taken that trip – one day at a time, 365 days at a time (plus a bunch of leap days) making 44 times. That’s a lot of days. That’s a lot of travel – miles and miles logged. Imagine how cool it would be if you could watch the trip, or at least check in on it. Maybe if you could, though, it might get old, as cool as it could be, watching the stars sail by, watching whatever there is to watch out there in the vast unknown of space. Because no matter how far the trip, you always end up back at the same place. The Earth revolves around the sun and you with it, but you don’t see it. I don’t feel the revolutions. I don’t feel then Earth as it spins. If it is spinning and revolving, then why do I feel like it’s – like I’m – stuck in the same place?
I don’t think the aging bothers me. I can’t really do anything about it. I know it’s a thing – age and aging and people upset by their aging. But of all the things I can and do worry about I don’t know if that’s one of them. It happens. It’s happening. Can’t stop it, these revolutions, so why worry about them?
I feel like there is a point, though, during these trips and back again around the sun that we – that I stop looking forward and start looking back. I’m sure it’s not the same age for everyone. I doubt it’s even a conscious thing. A child can’t wait to grow up, to be a grown up. They are forever looking forward to what’s next – the next milestone on their revolutions to adulthood or to their perceptions of what it is to be an adult. Whatever the age, though, the child grows up and the milestones slow down and stop. Is it 30? 50? 80? when the adult stars to look back? It’s futile to try and stop them. That revolution will continue, but you can’t go back , no matter how much you may want it to. I wonder – is there an age or a time, a perfect convergence, even for a moment, that we stop looking forward or back but exist in the present?
Prince died on Thursday. The posts and rememberences started almost immediately. People say they are sad. I’m not sad, or at least no more sad than I am when I hear about a random, senseless death of someone, some unknown person dying on the news. Prince – celebrities – they’re just people, just like you, just like me. We’re shocked and saddened when they die. Their revolutions end, though, just like everyone else’s, the same way yours will, and mine.
Purple Rain was one of the first recordings I owned. I had it on cassette of all things. I can’t believe we listened to music or anything else on cassette recordings. I haven’t heard anything played on one in som time. I can’t even imagine what they must sound like now, especially compared to all of the high quality ways we can listen to music now. But cassettes were mobile, and I can remember listening to Purple Rain on my Walkman as I walked to and from junior high school. Prince was awesome. At least, his music was, or at least the 12 year old me thought so.
I didn’t know Prince personally, of course. Seems like he was a good guy for a celebrity type person, at least that’s what all the reports tell me. But I mourn this Prince person as much as he would have mourned me, or you, which is to say not at all.
So maybe you already realize this but you’re probably not mourning Prince. If Prince died but no one told you, would you have thought about him or his music or anything else? He’d have been as irrelevant Friday as he was on Wednesday.
What are you sad about then? He’s music was, maybe still is good. Was it good enough to be sad about? The music is still there and will be there whether he’s alive or not. The Prince that you knew is still as alive to you today or yesterday as he was on Wednesday.
What then? Are you sad about the memories of his music and the reminder that his music invokes those memories in you? I suspect that’s it, or parts of it. I’m not sad about it. I am thoughtful, or wistful, about that 12 year old boy walking to junior high listening to “Lets Go Crazy” full blast on his Walkman until his ears were ringing. I’ll never be him again. I know he was looking forward. I’d like to talk to him and tell him a few things. Maybe I can’t talk to him, but maybe he still exists, from then to now, in our shared experience of that song.
That’s something, but maybe there’s something else. The great Negro League era baseball player Satchel Paige said, “Don’t look back. Something might be gaining on you.” I love this quote but I’m not sure I ever really thought about what it means. What’s gaining on you? Maybe you’re not sad that Prince died. Maybe you’re not sad about those memories you recall when you hear his music again. Maybe it’s not the end of Prince you are sad about or Prince’s story ending at all. It, something, time, is gaining on you. It’s catching up. It doesn’t really have to be Prince. It could be any celebrity, anything, really, that makes you feel a certain way. Anything that makes you look back to when you looked forward, when not everything was written, when everything was still possible, or a lot of things anyway. If you, if me, really, if I get caught looking back too long it does gain on me and sometimes it catches up. Maybe if the past catches you you stop looking forward. Maybe you miss the present altogether.
Perhaps Old Satchel wasn’t 100% correct. I think you can look back. You can be sad about the way a song or whatever – a Prince song, maybe, made you feel. But maybe you – maybe I shouldn’t look too hard. It’s gaining on you whether you like it or not. Prince’s story has ended and his revolutions have stopped. But your – my story is still being written. Perhaps he and his music were part of your story. Be sad if you want to, if you need to. You can look back. You can look ahead. But don’t forget where you are, at this moment, in the present. It doesn’t last very long. There’s always another revolution under way until there’s not.
Everyone’s quoting Prince lyrics. I swore I wouldn’t. He was right about one thing. In this life, you’re on your own. But if the elevator try’s to bring you down, you can always go crazy and punch the higher floor.