The recent awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize for Literature to Bob Dylan raised a few eyebrows. How could a lyricist possibly be worthy of one of the most prestigious awards given in our society? Mark Reynolds discusses the passing of our musical legends and the impact their losses have on us and what they leave behind. Not only their melodies but their words.
LATE APRIL, 2016–
I’ve never really been much of a Prince fan, but his passing hit me unexpectedly hard, probably because of the immediate outpouring of support and grief that occurred on its heels. I have a few of his songs in my collection, but I wouldn’t–or better, deserve–to call myself a true fan of his, because I haven’t really followed his career.
That being said, this event was enough to inspire me to go home on Friday and write down an observation that occurred to me while on the drive home. Many of my thoughts have been selfish lately, but I’d like to think that this particular one isn’t. Thanks for reading it, if you make it all the way to the end, it’s rather lengthy. But when I’m inspired, I find that I have a lot to say.
LOVE THEM HARD, IDOLS AND FAMILY
I’m a pretty up guy. Those of you who I have friended here and have gotten to know me through my posts or my humble stabs at writing creativity I think can attest to this. However, something very down occurred to me on the way home tonight that I can’t get past. I”m not usually a doomsday monger, and ulitmately, this piece isn’t that, but it is something that I want and need to get off my chest.
The year 2016 has not obviously not been a good year to us when it comes to the artists we adore. The last 32 hours have been a testament to this. Generally, we’ve lost those that we love so deeply over a period of time–Freddie Mercury, John Lennon, George Harrison, Michael Jackson, to name a few. These passings seems to have been spread failry well away and apart from each other so that we have time to grieve and heal before the next one compels us to begin the process all over again. Time between can soften the hurting blows, although we always know and fear that it’s going to occur somewhere, some time again.
This year so far has been an imploded star, a black hole where nothing escapes, especially if you happen to be a physically or mentally-ailing aging musician. These passings have not been few and far between–they seem to have been many and often. I noticed this trend in the last couple of years, when first it was Gerry Rafferty, then Alvin Lee and Ray Manzarek in the same year. That was bad enough. At least, we had a lull. Now, in the span of just under four months–a shockingly quick period–we’ve lost Paul Kantner, Sir George Martin, David Bowie, Glenn Frey, Keith Emerson. And now, sadly, Prince. I’ve never seen such a huge period of global grieving for the world of art and creativity in my life.
While the toll this year seems to be many all at once, that’s truly not what I discovered is troubling me. Relatively speaking, it’s a very small number, considering the hundreds and thousands of artists out there now that we all cherish in our own private, personal way.
Many of them are common to us all; many are some we personally learned about that no one knows about–those are the ones that I’m speaking of. Most of these common loves we have are artists who have been born in the same era and are getting on in years. Fortunately for us, they continue to exist as flesh and bone. But soon for a few, and years to come for many more, they’ll all eventually become only sound and memory. Personally, I’m dreading the days that my own personal heroes will be taken from me–Joni Mitchell, Roy Harper, Gilmour and Waters, Jagger and Richards, Gabriel, Clapton, Paul Simon, Elton John, CSN, and even Y. I’ll have to prepare myself that on those days, my world will progressively become a lesser place. All of these artists that have passed recently are all pretty much from the same era of creative Rock discovery, give or take a few years. And now they’re all gone. Prince, the youngest of the grouping, was only 57. Only 57. These guys aren’t getting any younger, you know.
So I get to the cloud that’s now settled over me, folks, and it’s this–this is not the end of these losses.
It’s only the beginning.
In fact, they’re going to become more and more frequent. Eventually, death will come to your favorite sooner or later.
I think as a species, we’ll need to circle up, join hands, and support each other over and over and over through those times. And I think that’s an awesome occurrence.
So I say that before our precious idols that are still with us–our precious families both blood and spirit that are still with us–let’s dare to love them harder than we ever have before. Let’s appreciate that these artists can take us back to being children again, or to our nervous first kiss, or through the loss of a loved one for which we relied on them to get us through.
I’ve seen an appropriate meme in the last day for which I wish I could credit the writer, because he or she nailed it–“We don’t mourn artists we’ve never met because we knew them. We mourn them because they’ve helped us know ourselves.”
When they die, parts of us die. It’s really that simple.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to die. So if I have anything at all to do with it, they’ll live forever. Their words – and the words of all lyricists and writers I continue to follow – will inspire me, even in my last breath.
I refuse to let them die on me. They’ll die with me, I’ve decided.
Mark Reynolds is from a small town in Upstate NY and now lives his life very close to a big city, just outside of Philadelphia, with his wife Jennifer, dog Max, and green-cheek conures, Cleo and Ruby. He knew he wanted to be a writer when he was recognized for contributing an origin story of how the Big Dipper came to be as part of a 4th-grade science project. He hasn’t stopped reading, writing, or learning since.
His first novel, Chasing The Northern Light, is available as an e-book at Amazon, and in print from TheBookPatch.com. Mark is currently at work on a short story stand-alone piece for that work, a sequel to it, and hopeful to begin screenplay after the New Year.
He can be followed at “Mark My Words, Too – The Official Mark Reynolds author page”, on Facebook.