10:44 PM, Monday, January 11th, 2016:
My step-father introduced my musical world to me at 9. Considering that my father was the musician, I've always found that peculiar... but I spent more time with my step-father since I lived with my mom growing up. My dad and I recorded our own music together, and enjoyed mostly the same music, but the early influences almost unanimously came from my step-dad. Weird even writing that.
From the American Grafitti soundtrack, to the Beatles - I was pretty obsessed. Working out Beatles songs on the piano is how I learned how to write and as I got older, my step-father always gave me interesting stuff, from Zappa to Bowie to everything in between. In fact, I knew more about the music of the 60s and 70s than the current time I was in and still do. Strange, I guess, but I was also a pretty strange kid. My idea of current music was Michael Jackson, Billy Joel and "Weird Al" Yankovic. Ad infinitum.
Bowie's greatest hits was never far from my current plays and I adored "Labyrinth" (though I will admit I was a bit more infatuated with Jennifer Connelly at the time) but as I got older, Bowie was always there. From Tin Machine to working in alternative radio in the late 90s, there was always a new Bowie song and I remember just watching his videos in awe: how does he seem so timeless? His looks never had an age to them. He was an alien. It was beautiful.
He was not my favorite artist, though. Rarely did I yearn to hear his new stuff unless it broke through the mainstream, basically because I'm a bit of a melody freak. I'm a sucker for pop melodies and can't avoid them. I would STUDY Bowie, not necessarily enjoy him. I just appreciated his inventiveness and ability to stay current. "I'm Afraid of Americans" is a brilliant song. I indeed believed he'd be around until he was 100 creeping everyone the fuck out. But, he surprised me. He also inspired me more than I could have possibly imagined...
I wouldn't say I obsess over death, but you can't do a project like "The Journey" without realizing, there will indeed be a final entry. It will be a number, it will be a date. I've even dreamt my death date at a young age as July 13th, 2057, so if I get past that date - they will probably be "Overtime" entries. I'm aware of it. I'm aware that I want each year to feel like a chapter and stand on its own and I do my damndest to keep producing material to make that happen. It's really hard. You have some throw away entries, for sure just to keep it going, but 100 entries a year is difficult and this is year 17. Whew.
Fantastically, Mr. Bowie just raised the bar for how to die. He completed the story before we knew it. He released his final piece on his 69th birthday, and died 2 days later. I have to believe it was some form of assisted suicide when he knew he was ready. May we all be able to do that. I looked at Talya yesterday and said:  "My death won't be normal, I hope you're ready for that." I will want to choose the way I go and pray I have the faculties to do that or am able to prepare that before I lose those faculties. I mean, this picture was taken on his birthday, days ago:
Fuck, man. He was at peace and knew exactly what he was doing. His final songs are all dealing with the eventuality that none of us knew, knowing we would hear it at the same time we'd hear about his death. It's a masterful amount of planning with undeniably creepy visuals in those videos that just, wow. It's just so goddamned Bowie, I guess I should be surprised I'm actually surprised. So I sat at BarKon tonight and sipped some Lagavulin and listened...
Contemplating what I will continue to create. Hoping I'm at the mid-way point and not near the end. I just look around at what I've physically built after a lifetime of living in a virtual world with songs and videos you can only experience, yet not hold... it's just shocking to me. A part of me is now within a whole lot of wood and screws. It's a represenation of me, my creativity, my problem-solving skills, and my ability to see something in my head and just do it. It routinely surprises me. I guess that's a lesson: the results don't always match how I feel or how I think it will go. I'm so focused on the particular problems I have to overcome, that when it's all done? It surprises me too. I can't believe I built it, somewhere in the back of my mind I think I didn't. Isn't that weird? Did I secretly hire someone to do this? Why isn't everything falling down? How did I know how to keep this all up? It's an out-of-body experience and I love the hell out of it. No matter my mood, I can go outside and sit for a few seconds and recharge. I couldn't always do that with the songs/videos because they were reminders of what I hadn't done as much as what I had. This doesn't feel like that at all. It's unlimited potential...
...and Bowie orchestrating an exit like that inspires me even MORE. To continue to create until my final breath. To never stop. To just push and push and share and share and if I'm lucky enough to know death is coming, to set something up even crazier. Even bigger. Not to be remembered, per se, because fuck, I'll be dead - what will I care? No, it's simply because I've been reading this story along with everyone else and I like a good ending. Even if it's tragic, make it good. Be accountable to what's happening and create from it.
Jesus, thank you David Bowie. I will never forget how you left us for as long as I live. You will always be connected to my own thoughts of mortality and what I can do to push the envelope further. Thank you, thank you, thank you.