It seems appropriate that today is the day I finally sit down to write this post, a few days overdue. My word for the year came to me several days ago but, as usual, I waited to see how it sat, to see if it was the right word after all. Now I’m sure of it.
David Bowie died last night after fighting cancer for a year and a half. He spent the last year of his life creating two incredible farewell letters to us, in the form of an off-Broadway show (Lazarus) and his album, Blackstar, released just two days ago on his 69th birthday.
While I, along with countless others, mourn the loss of our great weird hero, the long reach of his life is what stays with me. His absolute dedication to his work, his constant evolution and striving, his willingness to be absolutely himself (and to change that self), and the transformation even of his death into art.
A death like this reminds us all of our own mortality. I’ve never been someone frightened of aging. In fact, I’ve always looked forward to being wiser, more experienced, more evolved. That said, today it occurred to me that, at 33, I am just under half of Bowie’s age, and I haven’t gotten going on the Big Stuff that I feel is my greater mission in life…the stuff that will be my contribution when I go. This realization was what solidified my word for 2016.
- I want to build up my creative community, through new work and new partnerships. I want to expand beyond the safe, small world I have worked within.
- I want to make more things with my hands, tangible creations to make me feel accomplished and rooted.
- I want to build lasting personal relationships in my new home in North Carolina and beyond.
- I want to work toward my Big Damn Dream of running an artist retreat to foster and feed those who feed us with their work.
- There may even be some literal building in my future as I move to a new state and a new home! I love the idea of a homestead, of a more lasting sense of place.
“I suppose for me as an artist it wasn’t always just about expressing my work; I really wanted, more than anything else, to contribute in some way to the culture I was living in.” – David Bowie
Up to this point in my life, I have felt like I was waiting… for what I’m not sure. Perhaps waiting for a feeling of “readiness”, completion, for the risk to seem smaller, for someone else to take the lead? There is no more time to waste or wait. Let’s get to work.