For those of you who’ve seen “The Shakespeare Code” episode of Doctor Who, you know exactly what the phrase ‘never meet your heroes’ means. People can treasure their heroes from afar, but up close, they become human, flawed. If you never meet them, they become stories, myths of your mind. I lost two of my heroes from afar in the midst of a personally difficult month. It’s left me pondering much bigger questions.
I never initially sought out Bowie, but somehow his music found me. Perks of working at coffee shop I suppose. Alone for closing shifts or during especially busy days, if I caught ear of “China Girl” or “Ashes to Ashes” it made my day or night and gave me an extra boost to make it through. From then on, I became a fan.
Though late to the fold, I made a point to listen to his songs and learn them by heart with the thoroughness of one seeking enlightenment. Eventually the lessons paid off when “Golden Years” and “Under Pressure” would eventually inspire novel ideas for me. I am grateful and in the debt of a man I have never known for unlocking my own imagination with his own.
I suppose I am not alone in this sentiment. So many felt touched by his spark of inspiration which allowed them to grow art of their own. The most important lesson I learned from becoming a Bowie fan is that one work, one piece of a person’s life could be left behind and found decades later and impact me.
Maybe one day my work will impact others years, decades, maybe centuries from now, as Bowie’s work did for me. It’s only forever. Not long at all. If I have even a millionth of the impact on people as he did, I would consider myself blessed. Rest in peace, Bowie, if you choose, or rock the crowds in the afterlife. I’m sure they would appreciate an epic concert in the stardust.
After hearing the passing of Rickman, I sort of threw in the towel for the month and decided it would be a perfect day to throw a little wake with a Harry Potter marathon.
What I love about Rickman is what I think a lot of people love about him. I spent too many years involved with the Harry Potter fandom to not be affected by the loss of the actor who portrayed our most hotly debated character. Though he embodied Snape perfectly, that was not exactly the role where his performance first hooked me as a viewer. The first time I think he broke my mind just with a perfectly delivered line was in Dogma.
“…this is something I’ve never told anyone before. If I had the power, I would have.”
In that one line Rickman made me believe that a near all powerful entity that had existed for thousands of years as a messenger could care about the suffering of one little boy, how in that one line, I saw not the man who died and was deified, but that scared child. I no longer felt detached from this thing that happened thousands of years before I was born. I felt the humanity of the situation because of how Rickman conveyed Metatron’s sense of humanity. How one actor perfectly delivered that one speech changed how I viewed all of what I’d been taught in years of Catholic schooling.
In reading about who Rickman was as an individual in the articles that crept up in the days after his departure, I feel like a lot of his own personal kindness may have colored those words. It reminds me that I too should share as much kindness as I can, wherever I can, whenever I can. I think more than his roles, his life should be what is really remembered. How he lived and treated people makes him role model of who we should all aspire to be as people.
I think the entertainment world lost someone great, but moreover I think the world of humans as a whole lost a piece of kindness. As a person, I will never be able to fill that void, but I want to live my life trying. Thank you, Rickman, for leaving me with that sort of motivation.
I will never get to meet Bowie or Rickman. I get keep this “pure” image of them in my mind. I’m sure there are millions who hold this “pure” vision of them in their minds. I think, looking at their passing, this might be how myths are born.
Here before me are the memories of two great people that in some way impacted who I am as a person by helping me define my own character and values and imagination. I stand in a sea of others who feel as I feel, who believe as I believe about them. From the day of their passing, we began to tell stories of their greatness. I think fifty years from now about telling children stories of Bowie and Rickman. To them, listening to the stories of the people I grew up with and inspired me would be just like listening to fairy tales and myths.
One day we will all pass from the world of the living. Only the way we live our lives will determine if our story is told so we may pass into the world of legend.
Love and Lightning,
–M. L. Trumbull