Trouble (sadisticseraph) wrote,

We Could Be Heroes

I started reading Molly Crabapple's autobiography last night. It's fabulous and she's had an amazing life. But it's hard to read without comparing myself unfavorably to her. She's a year younger than me, grew up in a somewhat similar environment/social class, we moved to New York around the same time, we know a lot of the same people. But she's a pretty famous artist, she started an even that has been franchised all over the world, she's published books and articles and I'm just me. I know all the things you're supposed to know about comparing yourself to other people. It's unhealthy, it's unproductive, it's unfair. But there's a difference between knowing something intellectually and knowing something viscerally, and I haven't made it there yet.

And then David Bowie died.

When anyone I care about dies, I always feel frustrated because there's nothing I can *do.* I can't properly tribute them, I feel like I'm not mourning them correctly, and nothing I can do will actually help anybody else. And this is no different. How do you properly tribute someone that you've never known but always admired, someone you've been taught to revere for literally your whole life?
I've spent most of the day questioning myself, my life, my work. I should be doing *more.* I should be making more art. It should be bigger, brighter, weirder, more fearless, more creative (whatever THAT means.) I should be more like Molly Crabapple, I should be more like David Bowie, I should be, I should be, I should be...

But David Bowie wasn't about shoulds. And imitating anyone is the least Bowie thing you can do. The best Bowie tribute you can do is to just be yourself as hard as you can. That is what he always did. You don't make a 1984 rock musical because it's trendy. And when he did sound like other people *cough cough trent reznor cough* it was because he was actually working with those people. And even then, it was still always pretty damn Bowie. Looking at the posts people have made about him today, the most touching aren't about his work, exactly. They're about how he made people feel. That his personas and his art and his weirdness reached out to people who felt lonely in their weirdness. It let them know that they weren't alone. That their weirdness could be beautiful. That's something we can all do, my beautiful weirdos, show the people around us that weirdness is wonderful.

What I do want to imitate is his work ethic. 26 albums, 20 something film appearances, touring, performing on broadway, god knows how many personas. Dude was prolific as fuck. (So is Molly, to bring it full circle.) I don't do work that can really be quantified in the same ways, though trust me, I'm trying to figure out a way to collect it into something *like* an album. The best thing I can do is keep pushing forward and making work that's the most *me* I can make it.

So it's time to put on my bowie playlist and get back to work.

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