2016 just took yet another piece of our hearts when George Michael suddenly disappeared like a careless whisper which in the moment does nothing more than challenge, well, our faith. Nothing hurts more than the staggering loss of a mother or father figure.
I'm sure, if you are like me, every time a star suddenly extinguishes, you have taken an astonished, breathless step back while clutching your chest so many times this year, that at this point it feels like we have been performing a kind of global sized ritual farewell dance whose steps are becoming second nature to us...even though each time it doesn't hurt any less.
Death, which seems no less cuddly than Simon Cowell, seems to quickly judge and even dismiss some of our greatest sons and daughters with the casual wave of a casual hand.
A partial list of the musicians who have fallen is literally too much to bear. We have lost David Bowie, Prince, Paul Kantner, George Martin, Merle Haggard, Marni Nixon, Leonard Cohen and Glen Frey. We lost Muhammad Ali, Patty Duke, Alan Rickman, Gene Wilder, Garry Shandling, Doris Roberts, Alan Thicke, Morely Safter, Peter Shaffer, Gordon Howe, Elie Wiesel, Michael Cimino, Edward Albee, Arnold Palmer, Robert Vaughn, Florence Henderson, Fidel Castro, and John Glenn too. And Good now Carrie Fisher whom I idolized.
It's like God has taken to treating our best and brightest like the 2003 toppling of the statue of Saadam Huessein in Firdos Squard in Baghdad. It is most startling, I think, when the bigger than life suddenly have no life. It seems, in the moment, incomprehensible, no different than we lose our beloved bff dogs, closest friends or relatives.
The illusion of profound, bigger than you celebrity is the distorted belief that we think we KNOW the famous and infamous intimately. Film may be projected but we do just as much projecting as we transmit our deepest daydreams from the comfort of our silky dark room seats which allows us to imagine becoming whoever we most identify with. That is what we do, after all, in our real, everyday dreams. Everyone who populates the never ending casts of our fantasy worlds are the secret understudies for our most profound and usuall unmanageable feelings. Appearing in the role of anger, may be your mom your boss or even yourself. In the role of love can be your first, your last or the one you never knew.
Celebrities are vessels and not real people to us. We imagine their lives. Their thoughts, their needs, their desires. We fixate on them. Consider them. Wish that they were our best friends.
I meet a lot of famous people in my line of TV, film and play writing. I remember when I went to Barbra Streisand's house to pitch a film idea. When she entered the room like a blonde and blue eyed, sensual, cashmere wrapped whirlwind, the thing that struck and shocked me immediately was that she was a complete stranger (which I told her. And PS: I really liked the person I met).
We feel possessive of some famous people while others anger and offend us for reasons that have nothing whatsoever to do with them. We just HATE them. Whoever they are. My dad despised Claudette Colbert and I hear she was just swell in real life.
Over the last twenty years or so we have been instructed to live in the powerful state of now and personally I find the now so pliable and ever changing that I question what the now really is.
For me, the now is wherever my deep conscience guide (who most often sounds like a good imitation of my long ago lost dad or mom) tells me where I must commute to.
I think this is the soul's real intent and purpose: to help us cope with the here and now of the physical world.
The best example of this is how we, who know better, have been forced to take on the sudden emergence of Donald Trump.
Real people like Bernie or Hillary were doomed from the beginning.
Millions of lost souls, long invisible to the rest of us, chose the Christian eschatology of rapture as the solution to all that filled them with emptiness and despair.
Big feelings require a bigger than life, Jesus-like second coming and just like the actual Gods who twe privately recite our nightly prayers to (who I suspect may also be our evaporated parents who we long for) so I don't think that the actual person played any part whatsoever in this past election.
It did not matter what he said or how he endlessly contradicted himself. All that mattered was that he was the bullhorn of the bully pulpit in the Church of Now who found a simple language that could be easily devoured, like a Whitman's Sampler, by his mostly ignorant congregation who believed in the simple and wildly untrue lie that reality shows and the people who overppoulate them were real. I worked on one and trust me, none of it is real. That is why scenes are manipuated and even reshot when the producers don't get the reactions that they need. Reality is what TV manufacturers and simulates. Real life is what is outside your window and how much time do you spend watching that?
Reality is negotiable and Trump, who is now the Precidential (sp) Pied Piper of the Impoverished, figured that out totally by mistake. He has spent his entire life searching for a way to become omnipotent (while privately battling a life long recurrence of psychological impotence) and what better endgame part is there for him, than False God? The sad truth is, he'd really Almighty Mouse.
He was trained not at Wharton, but by living the life of an indugled,, spoiled brat trust fund baby, who "succeeeded" despite a stunning lack of talent by overcompensating for his ongoing and outsized failures. This is why he uses words like "bigly," "huge" and "fantastic." Because he believes to his core that those words are the magical prescription for everything. He is nothing more than clumsy, poorly trained magician at a children's balloon party. But while you can see right through him, most four years cannot.
Welcome to the United States of Daycare.
Here, we come full circle and return to paragraph one and the loss of our most beloved fantasy real life people.
Perhaps, God, in all his infinite wisdom, while not busy helping fabulously wealthy NFL/NBA/MLB stars win championships or recording artists win Grammies, he magically turns our most beloved and needed celebrities into exclamation points, which is like a final burst explosion of fireworks which will go off inside our hearts whenever we remember them, hear their music or lyrics or watch their celluloid enshrined performances.
Because memory is the one temple that can never be destroyed.
So my advice to you all, my beloved hope searching readers, is to embrace the now that you need for now.
Include every single moment of the past, with its lessons of love and loss while you fantasize about the future and encourage the voices who talk to you like wizened duet partners, during films and plays, impulsively on the first note of a cherished song.
The most powerful legacy of the most poweful is not always apparent in the now of now.
Sometimes you have to listen to doves cry.