David Bowie: Holding On to Odd

David Bowie mugshot

David Bowie proved he could even rock a mugshot, shown here during his 1976 arrest for marijuana possession in Rochester, NY. Image: Internet Archive/New York Police Department, Public Domain.

Like so many people today I feel the need to talk about David Bowie…

I had another post planned but sometimes life intervenes in the form of death, ripping up our carefully recorded itineraries and when that happens you have no choice but to go where the shreds of paper take you. Like so many people today I feel the need to talk about David Bowie and what he meant to me. I didn’t learn about his death until this morning, but the first words I heard today was my boyfriend’s voice saying, “David Bowie died.” What? I was not about to believe this nonsense. “David Bowie died.” Indignant, I snort and shake my head and demand to know what happened. Does my boyfriend mumble something about cancer or do I read that later… I can’t recall.

Changes: Turn and Face the Strange

Then in the afternoon I was talking with a friend about it and my friend said that the first thought he had upon hearing the news was, “Oh my God, I can’t believe that we’re going to be in a world without David Bowie. There’s always been David Bowie.” And I realized that was my first thought that morning, only it wasn’t like words in my head but rather a wave of feeling striking me down. I was shocked. I was rattled, confused. And so very heartbroken. Everything felt strange and I didn’t want to face it. I hadn’t been up long and it seemed as if I were still dreaming. I stomped away from my boyfriend. I got the coffee going. I drew a bath. For a good twenty minutes or more I sat in that tub and wept.

Thank You, David Bowie

Dazed, I got out of the bath and sought out Facebook. I needed to see others process the news for it to become real. I also held the vain, fragile hope that I’d discover this news was just another tacky celeb death hoax. The first thing I saw on my newsfeed, however, was a link to comedian and author Sara Benincasa‘s blog post Thank You, David Bowie, From The Weird Kids –a moving testament to how Bowie has made generations of misfits feel that it’s okay not to jive with the status quo. Her post was validating to say the least. Benincasa articulated everything I was feeling this morning and her words were an echo to the angry weird kid inside me now howling over the loss of its king. I had the great pleasure of attending a panel discussion Benincasa participated in at the 2011 National Conference for Media Reform in Boston where she really stole the show imo, so when I saw the byline I knew her take on Bowie’s passing would be worth a read. So I demand everyone click on the above link and read Benincasa’s piece in full, but the part that speaks to  me the most is this:

He was the patron saint of all my favorite fellow travelers: the freaks, the fags, the dykes, the queers, the weirdos of all stripes, and that most dangerous creature of all: the artist. He was the crown prince(ss) of the unusual. He was so marvelously, spectacularly weird, and he gave so many oddballs, including this one, hope. (Sara Benincasa, 2016)

Thank you, David Bowie, for being there for all of us oddballs and thank you, Benincasa, for so poetically and candidly expressing our gratitude.

From Facing the Strange to Holding On to Odd

So what else do I have to say about David Bowie? What else do I want you to hear about? In a word, DELIVER. Don’t hold yourself back. Doesn’t his death scare you that you might be? I know I am. I’m afraid I am becoming too normal, too complacent, and too damned timid with my dreams and creative aspirations. I want to be encouraging to my fellow writers and writers-to-be who find my blog. I want people to find their path in their own time, and relish the baby steps and yet… NOT TODAY. TODAY I SAY FUCK THE BABY STEPS. SNEER AT NORMAL. THE ONLY TIME IS NOW. Get out there and hustle. Do something that terrifies you artistically: toss aside that tired journal and start your novel already, send out that manuscript that’s been gathering dust, heck, go to a spoken word night and shout your soul into the mic. Be loud and weird and paint your face if you want to, hold on to that weird kid you are inside, that space oddity darling. Bowie spent a lifetime facing the strange for us. The least we can do is meet him halfway.

oxox RIP, Mr. Jones xoxo

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