Monday, January 11, 2016

David Bowie

I am heartbroken, shocked, and not quite sure how to respond on hearing of the death of David Bowie, just moments ago.

So I'll write.

This blog was/is a way to post stories of my childhood, growing up with a mother who was a David Bowie impersonator. She hand fed my brother and I his music from the time we were born. Hearing his songs is like coming home for us. We knew every word like most kids knew nursery rhymes.

Mum (Donn Shy) as the "Thin White Duke."

Having no idea of Bowie's state, I texted my brother the following at 5:27 p.m. PST this afternoon:

"Cleaning house, listening to The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust. Reminds me of being kids and doing the same. And then--HOLY SHIT--what an amazing album! My God! What lucky monkeys we were to be introduced to this music when we were. Beyond comprehension."

Mind you, I'd been listening to that album on a loop since yesterday. Driving to Ojai from Malibu, I cycled through Aladdin Sane, Hunky Dory, as well as TRAFoZS. When driving through Oxnard, the California town I grew up in, I sang Drive In Saturday loud--not a care in the world--reminiscing on the times we listened to the album on tape in Mum's Toyota Celica, then Suburu station wagon, driving that same road when we were all much younger.

Mum became Bowie night after night, performing at clubs and such. It was a bit annoying as kids because, hell, we were kids and just wanted our mum to be a mum. PTA meetings, award assemblies, sandwiches. But as adults, hell if we don't think she was a Badass with a capital "B".

The week mum died (January of 2012)--I couldn't believe it--David Bowie graced the cover of Rolling Stone. 

I bought it. 

I kept it.


After my best friend, Great Dane Audrey, passed away, not long after Mum left this earth, I decided I was getting a tattoo. In fact, I was going to design that mother. And I did. 

Mum's symbol in her illness became a butterfly. I had given her, just before she passed, a bracelet I had made with a butterfly on it and a print of a butterfly with the following quote:

"Just when the caterpiller thought the world was over,
it became a butterfly." - Anonymous
She cried. And that memory is forever burned in my mind and when I see a butterfly approach me or my windows, "It's her," I say.

And Bowie. And then there was Bowie. And I sketched. And a butterfly came about with Bowie as Ziggy Stardust as the pattern it the butterfly's wings. And Audrey on the other side, soaking up the sun in a henna-like pattern. And I found one of THE best tattoo artists, Louie Perez at Shamrock Social Club in Hollywood, to finish the design and ultimately create what is now on my left arm for life. I'm so grateful for that and that he was available and up to the task.

Yes, I'm rambling. I have no idea how to respond other than to say this one cuts deep, for so many reasons. And though I don't know what I believe anymore when it comes to the afterlife, I wonder if he is where she is and if she is finally able to ask him all the questions she wanted to ask.

I have a special keepsake of hers that I've been searching for for a week. It wasn't where I last put it, the special place where I have been keeping it. I pulled down every storage bin, looked through every file. No where. And was feeling quite devastated. How could I be so irresponsible to misplace it?

When the news broke tonight about Bowie's death, I decided to pull out my "Bowie is Inside" book to have a look, hoping to find a photo I could post to Instagram with my sentiments. 

Out fell the keepsake. 

I don't recall putting it in there, but must have. 

Or must I have?

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