One year ago today, I arrived back in London after an incredible 5 weeks in Australia. One year ago today, I was in a taxi heading out for dinner with my mum and dad, when I heard some news over the radio I couldn’t believe ….
Prince was dead.
Only a handful of days later, my sorrow over the death of this inspirational creator was the catalyst (a.k.a. Kick Up The Ass) I needed to finally release some of my own words into the wild. The result being this here blog and the blog post below.
Feeling nostalgic, I wanted to mark this anniversary by revisiting where it all started.
But then Prince Died ….
….. And there was nowhere left to hide. No more excuses. No more tomorrows.
He had left me on my own. He had “abandoned” me (this word, my counsellor’s suggestion. It hadn’t occurred to me, but the sobbing that followed its utterance confirmed he had hit home).
Prince would no longer tolerate me sitting on my own hands. He never did so himself. He used his multi-talented hands to create the music I have loved most of my life. He used those hands for …. well …. other things too (which any Prince fan would have to admit they have spent time thinking about at some point).
He used every waking minute to share with the world the music he was impelled to create. Sometimes staying awake for days in order to capture it all. It was a compulsion. It was not a choice thing. He either let it out or he would burst.
I have had a similar compulsion with words since before I was even introduced to Prince. I think since the age of 9 or so. Some of those words were recorded for posterity by my primary school. Many of them are now lost forever in whatever ash remains in my mother’s old Aga.
I was introduced to Prince by my older brother at the age of 13. This was also the year I was introduced to depression, although I didn’t know I was depressed at the time (the call to The Samaritans really should have been a clue I suppose, in hindsight).
Prince was the perfect escapism for me. He was pretty naughty (I was not), he seemed to have a lot of fun (I did not), he had no issues whatsoever expressing his passion about things that mattered to him. I had difficulty expressing myself in all ways. Having spent so much of my childhood moving about, and then endlessly having to try and fit in again, no wonder I was depressed. I had completely lost the essence of me. Prince had no such problem. He was unashamedly, unapologetically, unrestrainedly Prince. Oh for only one ounce of that honesty and self-assurance.
But I did have one thing that Prince had. I had a creative compulsion. Words would bubble up inside me and I had to let them out. I wrote poetry. A lot of poetry. Some really bad poetry. Possibly some good poetry. But I was really no judge. And it all got burned regardless.
I wrote stories, I created story boards, often including images of Prince (I really liked images of Prince), all surrounding my tiny scrawny bed. In the middle of a very remote village in the back of no-place, he really was an excellent companion, especially after my big brother left home.
But then Prince dies. Out of nowhere. In a taxi, over the radio, I hear the words I can hardly believe, and my heart cracks open and all this sorrow pours out. And I feel so ashamed. All of this time my childhood friend has been so busy creating. And what have I been doing? I’ve been hiding. I’ve been getting beaten up by the world, and writing about it, endlessly, and hiding it all. What on earth would he make of that? He’d slap me upside the head is what he’d do and I know it.
And since I got home it has been snowing. It is April. This neat little trick he is playing is not lost on me. And he has come to me during the night. I haven’t been sleeping so well. I have been dreaming about him, and last night he woke me up, and I realised he was the place to start. He wasn’t going to put up with my stalling any longer.
…… Take your perfectionism and your procrastination and your psychotic need for structure and clarity and a clear plan and just blinking get on with it!! Share something! Anything! It doesn’t matter if anyone reads it. It doesn’t matter if people do and they don’t like it. It doesn’t matter if you do it for ages and nothing ever comes of it. For heaven’s sake woman, you write almost every day anyway! Just nobody ever gets to see it. And you know what? Some of it might be useful to somebody else? Somebody might like it? Somebody might be inspired by it and decide it is time to get off their own hands? Somebody might take something useful from all that you have learned? You might be a friend to someone in a lonely place who needs some escapism, a friend who isn’t afraid to say it out loud, a friend who is unashamedly, unapologetically honest? Because, Prince may not be for them, but you might be?
If you were to die, and all of this writing is still stuck in your computer never to see the light of day, well that would just be a crime against the words you have been gifted with.
So I have to say a little thank you to Prince. Don’t get me wrong Prince. I really am incredibly cross with you for abandoning me. That really is not cool. But your untimely death does appear to have given me a much needed kick up the backside, and it would be churlish not to thank you for that. You’ll have to stop with the snow tomorrow in any case. It will be May Xxx
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