This hasn’t been much of a year for me. It’s been an unbelievably bad year in terms of politics and celebrity deaths. I’ve been sad for pretty significant portions of the year. I’m hoping for something else in 2017. And I think old Ludwig had the right idea on this one.
I wish for nothing but joy for everyone this year. I’m not holding my breath for it, because that would be childish and silly. But I wish it nonetheless. Joy and peace and happiness and love. Absolutely.
I don’t really have any words for this. Losing Carrie Fisher was hard on her fans, but I knew it was a million times harder for her family. And a little part of me knew that losing her would kill Debbie. I really fucking hate being right. They were so devoted to each other. When Eddie Fisher left her, Debbie Reynolds really made her life about Carrie and Todd. Yeah, she got married a couple more times (to real asshats), and she spent a great deal of their childhoods working away from them. But they were a complete little universe those three. I’m just so sad and sorry right now. I can’t imagine the grief Todd Fisher must be feeling, or Billie Lourd. (Gary the dog will be living with his human sister now, so I think he’ll be okay. After a while. Animals mourn, too, after all.)
So here’s a little bit of Debbie and Carrie singing and loving. The next plane of existence is a far more witty and sparkling place today.
I shouldn’t be posting this after so much wine, but goddammit, I’m just so tired.
George Michael has passed at 53, presumably from heart failure. Carrie Fisher had a massive heart attack at 60 just a couple days ago, although she is still hanging on (and will hopefully recover).
No one should die at Christmas. I know that there is a statistical increase in deaths this time of year, but my heart tells me that no one should die during a time of celebration. Logically, that would mean no one would ever die anywhere because there is always a celebration of something happening somewhere on the globe, but the heart wants what the heart wants. In this case, the heart wants no one to suffer or feel pain during a time of joy in my world. Self-centered maybe, but there it is.
I was never a Wham! fan, and had little patience for most of Michael’s solo work. I did like “Faith,” though. It was one of those perfect little Pop songs that burrowed into your consciousness and never let go. It is a relentlessly catchy song, with an irresistible hook. And Michael delivers it with the ease and charisma of a true Pop star (in spite of the fact that he used a butt double at the beginning of the video). I always thought his pussyfooting around his sexuality was kind of wimpy. (It took him a very long time to confirm the fact that he was homosexual, something everyone already knew–and no one is ever going to convince me that Wham! didn’t break up because he and Andrew Ridgely ended their affair. Facts be damned!) But he had style and popularity, and he could sing with the best of them.
It’s just been so bad that it’s hard to follow the dictum of George Michael’s song and have faith. There have been some small victories and minor miracles on the personal front in recent days. I have hope that there are better times, a light at the end of this really long dark tunnel, etc, etc. I do still have faith in the Universe. I try to be accepting of the pain that seems to be unending these days, because I know in my head that you cannot have yin without yang, dark without light, enlightenment without suffering. But my heart still says that all of this is wrong, that the balance of good and bad is desperately out of whack. Like the song says, I need a little time to pick my heart up off the floor.
I seem to only check in these days to commemorate the passing of a celebrity or other luminary. 2016’s been a really hard year. Beyond the cataclysmic political changes, my personal life has kind of gone to hell in a handbasket. With Mom’s illness (illnesses, if you count the last couple of weeks), I’ve just been barely keeping my head above water. A hard rain is indeed falling on me. It’s falling on a lot of people, but I’m having a tough time getting out of my own way enough to care.
Patti Smith’s performance of Dylan’s “A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall” is something of an antidote to my personal storm, in spite of this song’s melancholy and ominous sense of doom. She is so breathtakingly human, so perfectly imperfect. Smith is that rare artist who means what she says. She is not putting on characters in the sense that she is masking herself from her audience; the personas she adopts for her music and poetry are all authentic reflections of the person she is. When she bothers to adopt a persona that is. Mostly, when Patti Smith says “I” she means herself. That kind of honesty and bravery is really beautiful and terrifying. And her fumbling of these lyrics–from a song she probably knew inside and out long before heading to Stockholm, a song by one of her greatest influences–is beautiful in its own way. She admits to her own fear and nervousness, something most artists would never do on any stage. But Smith remains as open about that as she is about pretty much everything. I don’t think most people know how to deal with that.
It’s one of the reasons I tend to retreat when I have problems of my own. I have a tendency to not want to bother people (something I know I got from my mother; the last couple of months have shown me that many of the qualities I find most upsetting in myself seem to have been inherited from her, either through nurture or nature). But my retreat is more than that. It’s also more than my feeling that my problems don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world (quick. . . name that movie!). I know, deep down, that people really don’t know what to do with honest emotion and I am crap at hiding my emotions. I know I don’t know what to do with other people’s feelings. I always want to do something to help, to make them feel better, but I also know how fucking annoying I find it when people do the same thing to me. I don’t always want comfort; sometimes, I just want to feel. It’s hard to do that around other people without making them really uncomfortable.
So I’m gonna try to come out of my self-imposed exile. Music helps heal me, and I’ve been neglecting even listening to it lately. I don’t need advice or comfort, although I won’t stop anyone from offering it. Distraction is nice; waving shiny objects in front of me almost always helps me feel better, but it’s not obligatory. I just want to break out of my own tangled web of emotions. I’m still gonna feel them, I’m just gonna try not to hide it so much. I might melt down on y’all. I know I’m gonna say stupid stuff. And like Patti, I’m gonna fumble the lyrics occasionally. But I’m gonna own that, just like she did. If Patti Smith can be that open and generous and honest, then I can try it too.
Crap. I think I just made a New Year’s resolution.
Losing Greg Lake was a blow for the music world (now two-thirds of Emerson, Lake & Palmer live on another plane). But losing John Glenn was a blow for the entire world. I can’t speak of him any better than anyone else. He was just great. So I’ll let Elton John do the talking for me. So long, Rocket Man.