4.22.2016

See you backstage


So, apparently, Prince has been more of an obvious influence in my life than I would have suspected I'd made you aware of. Yes, I know you'll have to read that sentence several times to understand my meaning. Most of the time, I have to hear *my own thoughts* several times to understand my meaning.

I mean. Yesterday I got phone calls, emails, texts, all wondering if I was okay. I said to Ruggy: I don't understand. It's absolutely terrible that the world lost Prince, but why are people wondering if I'M okay? I wasn't actually connected to him. 

Ruggy looked at me as if I had two heads. UM...because people know what he meant to you. You've talked about how you painted stars on your face and wore lace pants, and dressed like him, and your Mom took you to his concerts, and you watched Under the Cherry Moon until you were able to quote even the ad libs, and you've made like seven outfits inspired by Prince, and you made a Raspberry Beret, and you made your family sit for listening sessions of his new albums, and you'd sit alone and listen to his songs on repeat, following the horn line then the piano line then the guitar line until you knew every note by heart--

The list of evidence continued, but at that point I was glazing over, thinking about my favorite Prince songs, and how I would have directed the video for Raspberry Beret (which, indeed, I'd just described to Ruggy a week ago. It involved Prince as a well meaning, slightly lazy teen, wearing a jaunty cap, being interrogated at the local small town police station. Lots of sunshiny dusty haze and pointed fingers. Of course it all worked out in the end. I would have kept the blue-sky-suit concert for cutaways).

You feel you know the people whose music and art you adore. They are singularly special to each fan, because the best artists create something that speaks in a different language to each person. The best and worst moments in our personal lives can be remembered and marked through music. So, in a sense, the creators of those soundtracks to your life, they're yours. They're family. When I got the first mysterious Prince text, my initial reaction was Oh no, what did Prince do NOW, in the tone of voice you reserve for an Uncle whose minor insanities you forgive, because of his incredible genius.

I guess in light of the fact that, without even trying to, I've made my fandom for Prince very clear, it would be weird not to say something. He shaped a good, crazy, fearless chunk of what I am. As a fan, he's mine in some way. But he truly belongs to the family that has lost him. So I don't have the slightest clue what's appropriate to say.

I will, however, be following the horn line, then the piano line, then the guitar line, for what will hopefully be a very long time to come.

21 comments:

  1. When doves cry....Nothing more to say.

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  2. I can understand why people grieve for artists because we do know them and love them in a way. I grieved hard when Robin Williams died because I felt I knew and loved him as so many others did. Especially because it was suicide. When I learned about the illnesses he was facing I understood it better. We will always have Prince's music and movies and we will always have Robin's work too.

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    1. learning about robin williams' illness changed my view, too (i was mad at first). i feel like right now, even though there are some small slimier internet hits on prince, for the most part it's a celebration. i hope that doesn't change in the coming weeks.

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  3. It's difficult to know what's appropriate, you're right. I think I used to wonder how people could mourn celebrities, but more recently I've felt really affected by the passing of certain people (no prizes for guessing who in particular). I had to teach an early morning seminar after hearing about Prince and I surprised myself by crying when one of my students asked if the class had heard the news. Having lost my father recently, I can assuredly say that this is not the same kind of mourning, but it is quite real. I'd read this tweet that said: "Thinking about how we mourn artists we've never met. We don't cry because we knew them, we cry because they helped us know ourselves". So instead of discussing this week's topic in narrative theory with my class (who were kind of initially perplexed by my display of emotion), we watched Spike Lee's video for Money Don't Matter 2 Night and talked about how art helps us to constitute, understand, articulate who we are. Xx

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    1. Beautifully well put. Thank you for putting it into words.

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    2. I agree. and i love how you brought it into your class. and maybe his passing affected you more because of your father-- there's so much emotion connected to music-- i don't know where i'm going with this, but i can see why you surprised yourself with your reaction.

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  4. Marcy, you know the clothes you make look as if Prince could wear them.

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    1. connie you're right! i'd need to go grander, but i've had Prince blaring in my head for more sewing sessions than I can count.

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  5. Another thing we have in common! My phone was blowin up yesterday while I was in the middle of Macy's snoop shopping for the same reason! My friends and daughters checking to make sure I was okay. Still can't believe he's gone....

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  6. Even though I was not a huge fan of Prince (could appreciate his talent tho') I totally understand how artists mean so much to us when they leave us.

    I had to explain to my husband this as he couldn't. We can pinpoint parts of our lives to their music; our first slow dance, our first kiss etc. We all have our own soundtrack.

    Keep on listening..

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  7. That was a lovely way to end this.
    I've been rather wondering about you, too. And wondering how I would feel upon the death of some of my favourite artists. Mark Knopfler's music was to me during my teenage years what Prince was to you, it seems; something that was and became part of me. And those words of yours are great words to end on, because I too follow the lines; just probably unable to reproduce them, and always starting with the guitar in Knopfler's case.

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    1. :). i always ended with the guitar because i was saving the best for last!

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  8. My heart broke on Thursday. What a huge, awful, gaping loss.

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  9. Prince taught me so much throughout my life, starting with my first encounter with him at 11 years old when I bought Controversy. I could go on and on about his importance to me and to the world, by freeing the mind of gender stereotypes, and speaking about sex in a public and healthy manner, and yet maintaining staunch privacy and personal restraint, all the while being an underrated and brilliant a musician, and on and on and on... I am both surprised and not surprised at how much his death is effecting me, though much like you, it doesn't surprise those around me to know I'm feeling this loss. It's not helped by the fact that it's a bit of a trigger for me with the loss of my own love, having countless two-person dance parties to our Prince records over the years and getting to see him in real life together. But I am comforted by the massive outpouring that the planet is showing this truly one-of-a-kind human. Mad love to you lady <3

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    1. what a trigger-- there's music i can't hear because songs hit me with memory in full force. i hope it's bringing back all of the good memories for you, lovey lady.

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  10. Amen!! I wish I could have said this as eloquently as you have.

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    1. thank you heather, i'm glad i made some sort of sense!

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i thankya truly for taking the time to comment, i love a good conversation-- and hope you know my thanks are always implied, if not always written!