What a shock! Not to hear that David Bowie died, but to realize that millions, perhaps billions, of people mourn him and adored him. Strangely enough, I always felt that he was an acquired taste. Despite his fame, I felt his work was somehow private. As an adolescent, he spoke to something within me that said “fuck you” to conventionality, but never quite so crudely as that. Never. Perhaps I would not be in Ecuador today if I had not tried—oh, so very hard! —to listen to the unlistenable “I’m Afraid of Americans.” (I’m afraid of the world.) And, even before MTV, he dazzled me most when film or video reinforced the musical statement.
I watched him fall to Earth and look for water, and it spoke to the dryness within me, the thirst which can never be slaked, which seeks an oasis time after time and finds instead a clear liquid which turns out to be poison. His heroism in the battle against the spiders from Mars let me agree when he suggested, “Let’s Dance” through the alien nation of the 80s. As a young mother, I watched him hypnotize my daughter as the Goblin King in “Labyrinth.” It was one of my first personal encounters with the pop-culture metamorphosis of the bizarre into the everyday. The lupine presence within us which runs through the streets howling and gnashing its fangs becomes the wolf in “Little Red Riding Hood.” Our children slip into the world we thought was ours alone and we must accept that they are on their own just as we were.
And finally in the end, the wolf is at our door under a Black Star shining hidden in the night. The latch will not hold. The monster is under the bed and the monster has been with us all along. There is a moment we will be singing our song, and then we won’t.