Wednesday Vignette – blue


Is it silly to feel weighed down by the death of a person you’ve never even met? Silly or not – that feeling has been the most prominent feature this week, so far. David Bowie has been with me in one form or other since elementary school. I remember trading these little cards with friends in the school yard at recess, with photos depicting the celebrities of the day. I had a Ziggy Stardust card. I wasn’t yet familiar with his music, but I remember the striking appearance on the card. The music came later, and – as music goes – many of his albums bring very specific memories of certain passages in my life. Hunky Dory makes me think of skiing, Young Americans make me think of one group of friends, and Scary Monsters of yet another. And so on…

To hear the shocking news about his death on Monday morning brought on many feelings. For one thing, I was selfishly bummed that now I definitely will never get a chance to see him in concert. Upon learning about the release of Blackstar two days before his death – I admit that the cynic snark in me reared its ugly head, and for a split second, I thought what a brilliant marketing move that was. But that thought left as quickly as it came, when I saw the generous beauty in it. It made me reflect on if I had been in his shoes – how would I have broken such terrible news to adoring fans? (What business is it of ours anyway?) He could have just withdrawn and disappeared, (most probably would have) but instead he had both the courtesy and the courage to say goodbye. (Which is how it will likely be interpreted, even if the impetus of its creation was probably more his own, personal way of dealing with the inevitable, than a gesture.) I haven’t heard the album yet – oddly, I’m both dreading and looking forward to it – at the same time. When I thought of the whirlwind of emotions that must have streamed through his mind and body when he learned he was dying, and how he managed to channel that into the creative expression of yet another album, I was in wide-eyed, jaw-dropping awe.

Isn’t it weird that when someone famous dies, somehow their lives suddenly become really interesting? I’ve enjoyed and benefitted from David Bowie’s work for about 4/5 of my life, and all this time, I essentially just took him for granted. I didn’t really know much about the man himself. Well, I guess I still don’t, but over the past few days, I have read and listened to quite a lot about him. My favorite so far, was Terri Gross’ interview with him on NPR’s Fresh Air. His grounded sense of humor made me laugh, and then – instantly – I felt so sad for his family for their immense loss. Death is always worse for the people left living. Like just about everyone else, I suppose, I saw his son’s tweet – saying that he’ll be offline for a while. And Iman’s beautiful quote, saying something about not valuing the moment until it becomes a memory. I can’t even imagine what it would feel like to see the death of your loved one as “trending” on Facebook! And, I’m as guilty as anyone in elevating the tragedy to that position. In my anonymous, stranger capacity, I’m sending them love and healing thoughts – even if it really is none of my business. In reality they are engulfed in hurt, and probably just want the white noise of all of our faceless sympathies to go away.

In the greenhouse, we’ve played a lot of Bowie in the past few weeks. Probably just because it’s great music, but maybe it was a premonition of sorts. Can’t help but wonder – the timing was certainly oddly spooky. And I marvel at the amount of control we humans can have over our last days. He finished his new album – then he was ready to leave. I’m glad I got to be his contemporary, and I’m sorry we won’t continue to grow old together. As old rockers go, he was certainly going about it gracefully. I grieve that his life and his prodigious creativity was cut way too short – he was, and remains, an inspiration. Rest in Peace, Mr. Jones, and thank you for the gift. I will continue to enjoy it until it’s my turn.

About annamadeit

I was born and raised in Sweden, By now, I have lived almost as long in the United States. The path I’ve taken has been long and varied, and has given me a philosophical approach to life. I may joke that I’m a sybarite, but the truth is, I find joy and luxury in life’s simple things as well. My outlook on life has roots in a culture rich in history and tradition, and I care a great deal about environmental stewardship. Aesthetically, while drawn to the visually clean, functional practicality and sustainable solutions that are the hallmarks of modern Scandinavia, I also have a deep appreciation for the raw, the weathered, and the worn - materials that tell a story. To me, contrast, counterpoint, and diversity are what makes life interesting and engaging. Color has always informed everything I do. I’m a functional tetrachromat, and a hopeless plantoholic. I was originally trained as an architect working mostly on interiors, but soon ventured outside - into garden design. It’s that contrast thing again… An interior adrift from its exterior, is like a yin without a yang. My firm conviction that everything is connected gets me in trouble time and time again. The world is a big place, and full of marvelous distractions, and offers plentiful opportunities for inquiry and exploration. I started writing to quell my constant queries, explore my discoveries, and nurture my curiosity. The Creative Flux was started in 2010, and became a catch-all for all kinds of intersecting interests. The start of Flutter & Hum at the end of 2013 marks my descent into plant nerd revelry. I occasionally contribute to other blogs, but those two are my main ones. For sure, topics are all over the map, but then again - so am I! Welcome to my blogs!
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24 Responses to Wednesday Vignette – blue

  1. Mark and Gaz says:

    A lovely tribute to a legend Anna

  2. Alan @ it's not work, it's gardening! says:

    Wonderfully put Anna, although I find it difficult to be overly saddened by the passing of somebody who has accomplished so much in so many different areas.

  3. Peter/Outlaw says:

    A fitting tribute to someone whose music has meant so much to you. Beautiful picture from your recent ice storm!

  4. Emily says:

    I wasn’t a fan, so it surprised me that I feel so sad about his death. It’s sadness about the early loss and supposed suffering of a brilliant and creative person, I suspect. I feel that way about Freddie Mercury, too. And Henry Mitchell. And Richard Feynman. A weird list, but for each, I feel like the world is a little bit lesser without them in it.

  5. What a beautiful photo, Anna, to express how so many of us feel about losing the great spirit of our times, David Bowie. He has expressed so much for many of us over the years… much of it feelings of not fitting, or being somehow different and ‘alien’. He did it with such grace and style that we loved him for it. I have warm memories of sharing ‘Labyrinth’ with my young daughter. He had such depths of compassion and understanding, and yes- this final album is a gift to us all. Especially, a gift to our now aging generation, grappling with the transitions which inevitably happen over a long and rich lifetime. Thank you for this piece today, Anna. Here is my set of ‘Wild’ vignettes for this week: Cheers! WG

    • annamadeit says:

      I think we’re all in shock. This should teach us to never take life (ours or any other’s ) for granted, I suppose. Yet, I know it will happen again…

  6. You summed up much of what I was feeling quite well. Several times on Monday I had to ask myself why was I so upset? I settled on the notion that he had (for me and my life) just “always been there”…so many memories and important times in my life have a David Bowie song in the soundtrack. Hearing the song now brings it all back…and I’ve heard a lot of them these past few days!

    My vignette has nothing to do with Mr Bowie’s death, although the title certainly sounds like it:

  7. Kris P says:

    “Anonymous stranger” or not, your post is an eloquent eulogy, Anna. David Bowie had tremendous influence on other artists and the public at large and, despite his passing, that influence will continue to live large far into the future. I’m not sure whether the new album was intended as a goodbye gesture or whether it was simply an expression of a creative man’s unquenchable spark. He was also involved as a writer and composer in an off-Broadway musical (‘Lazarus’), currently playing in New York.

    Here’s my Wednesday Vignette:

    • annamadeit says:

      I guess we’ll never really know. Maybe a little bit of both? I like the idea of it being his way of dealing with the inevitable, but I guess that is the drama queen in me. Looking forward to listening to it – soon.

  8. Your shot was the perfect choice for your lovely tribute. Take care, my friend. Here’s my post:

  9. Evan says:

    A lovely tribute, Anna. I enjoyed what little of his music I happened to hear, but it was never really a big part of my life. I don’t feel his loss as you do, but I understand. I felt similarly when Terry Pratchett passed away. He was one of my favorite authors, and I couldn’t believe someone with so much creativity and humor was gone, though I had never met him and really didn’t know anything about him save those words he had woven into stories. It is always a tragedy when incredible forces of creativity and art leave this world.

    My post:

  10. annamadeit says:

    It’s a cruel world where the creatives have such short but intense trajectory, and the rest of us sheep are left to linger in their wake, aimlessly looking for another bright soul, to take our minds off our mundane routines.

  11. Elvis says:

    Thank you for this thoughtful and well-written tribute, Anna. I was never a huge fan, but as many people have said, Bowie was always there in the soundtrack of my life. What a creative life he led! I didn’t get to your post yesterday, so here’s my Wednesday Vignette to you on Thursday:

  12. hoov says:

    Put on your red shoes and dance the blues…

    Sweet tribute. It was a melancholy week.

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