Ashes to ashes, dust to stardust.
David Bowie died. Everyone I know was talking about it yesterday. Most of them were sad. I chose to celebrate his life.
David Bowie lived a fiercely unique and artistic life. He managed to remain a relevant cultural icon for decades. Even if you weren’t familiar with his music, you knew his name and his face. He created iconic personas like Ziggy Stardust, Jareth the Goblin King, and just David freaking Bowie. His music is immortal. You probably know more David Bowie songs than you realize and many have withstood the test of time. His last work, the album Blackstar, was reportedly a purposely crafted finale because the man knew his time was limited. I’ve listened to it on a loop, digesting and contemplating it, and I find it to be a masterpiece of a curtain call. The first and final tracks are haunting.
I’m not saying “hooray!” because the man died of cancer. Cancer is awful and should be eradicated. Considering what the man accomplished, the impact he had on music and culture, and that he died amidst a blaze of artistic creation (possibly singing his own epitaph), that is the kind of ending most of us creative types dream about in the context of one’s life. The man left us as ashes, not dust. Hell, if I accomplish even a quarter of a fraction of what David Bowie achieved I will have surpassed my wildest dreams.
So I’m not sad that David Bowie died. I’m happy I got to exist at the same time as him. I’m happy that I got to hear his music and will watch Labyrinth with my son many times. I’m happy he died in an artistic blaze of glory. I’m going to listen to Blackstar front-to-back for some time because it may be a perfect album. I will be sad because cancer is a terrible, vicious disease, but in the context of this fiercely unique artist’s life I will celebrate, not mourn. We all die some day, but we are made immortal by what we leave behind and in the hearts of those who knew us.