Life, Writing

Infinite.

The world falls away. The stars and the moon expand to fill the space that was once taken up by the space of our being. We float. We float and see the galaxies as they shift and meld with the colorfulness of blues and purples against the inky blackness.

They are infinite.

They are infinite and oblivious to our thought and ideas of how it came to be. We have existed; we have passed away to a more ethereal being, yet the universe doesn’t care to wonder in return. Time has no meaning; it passes in a second. An age is only a minute to those who live forever.

We can’t quite grasp it, the finality and infinite and yet we still go on as if it can be succeeded by the mere mortal minds.

We are only one.

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Life

Farewell, Troy Gentry.

Country music lost another star yesterday afternoon.

Troy Gentry was part of the the duo Montgomery Gentry. If you’re into country music, you might know hit singles such as “My Town,” “Speed,” and “Something to be Proud Of.” They were like the rock and roll of country. They were kind of like an offbeat 2000’s version of Garth Brooks. Whatever you want to call it, they were pretty big when I was growing up.

Yesterday afternoon, Gentry was taking a helicopter to a concert that he was going to perform. I don’t know went wrong, but the helicopter crashed at 1 p.m. yesterday afternoon. Gentry was on that helicopter and died shortly after. He was fifty years old.

It really made me sad because this duo was one of my favorites growing up. Their gravely, rough voices made their music sound like the country that it was supposed to be. They were the kind of music that you wanted to dance to. They were country music.

It’s hard to define loss when you don’t know the person personally. I can’t imagine what friends and family members are going through. I can’t imagine what his music partner, Eddie Montgomery is going through. Only they can feel the true impact of what Gentry’s death is in their daily lives. After all, he was a husband, father, and music partner. Montgomery might not even make music after this and if he does, he’d probably sing solo (it’d be too weird to see him with someone else, right?) The others won’t have a husband and father.

As for me, I lost part of a group that I grew up with. Sure, I can listen to their old music and reminisce about the good times, but never again will they get together and create new music or perform the old stuff in front of an audience ever again. There were never be a farewell, reunion, future tour of the two of them together. Any hopes of me being able to see them in concert one day is now gone. How sad is that?

It’s a horrible way to die, but I hope he died without pain. No one wants to see someone suffer in their last moments. I hope they know how much their music was enjoyed.

Farewell, T-Roy. You made music to be proud of.

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Writing

Memento Mori, Favorite Movies in Remembrance.

Last night when I got home from work, I heard the unfortunate news that Gene Wilder passed away due to complications from Alzheimer’s disease at the age of 83. Apparently he’s been suffering from the disease for three years but didn’t want people to know about it. This seems oddly reminiscent of David Bowie, with whom suffered from cancer for a little over a year before passing away. Nobody knew until after it happened. I guess when you’re a famous person, every aspect of your life is scrutinized and you get to the point where you just want to keep certain things to yourself, which is rightfully theirs to maintain in their privacy.

I know that Gene Wilder is an actor with a long resume, and with such a long list of movies under his belt, there’s no doubt that people have different favorites of his. But to me, Wilder will always be Willy Wonka. I don’t think I ever watched or will ever watch another movie with him in it because he is so ingrained in my visions of him as the eccentric chocolate maker from my favorite childhood book. To watch any other movie by him would break that vision that I have of him. It’s rare that I love an actor so much for one roll, but Gene Wilder was one of those rare actors. He made up my childhood. He helped me cultivate the world of pure imagination.

Here are some movies that have defied explanation from the past to today, at least in my books.

  1. A Christmas Story
  2. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
  3. Jurassic Park
  4. Titanic
  5. Cold Mountain
  6. Me Before You
  7. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
  8. The Ring
  9. The Prince and Me
  10. The Lion King
  11. The Fox and the Hound
  12. The Green Mile
  13. Forrest Gump
  14. The Dark Knight
  15. The Fellowship of the Ring

There’s a couple that I didn’t watch until recently (The Green Mile comes to mind), others I didn’t watch until a few years after it showed in theaters and most I watched ever since I was little, even if it’s been decades since its release. What are some classic movies that you enjoy watching over and over again?

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Writing

The Art of Moving Foreword

It’s been a week since David Bowie’s death due to cancer. Since then, many more tragedies in the art world has occurred. Death is a terrible thing to witness; it makes you realize that even those we see as gods are mere mortals. How do we move on without forgetting their legacy? We can’t dwell on their deaths, as it will only make us ill and depressed. Instead, we embrace their immortality with what they had contributed and maybe even use their influences to create art in our own lives. We’ll never exactly mimic the art that has gone before, but maybe we can see a little bit of them in the work that we do for ourselves and future generations.
This is why we make art, is it not? We see what has gone before; we admire the steps these giants have taken so that we have it easier to have our own art accepted and then we take their lessons and push it even further. To be content with the status quo of art would probably disappoint David Bowie. To never realize our passions, to be afraid of them and never, ever chase them would depress Alan Rickman.
 I’ve always been timid of my own art. I’ve never pushed it foreword because I never thought I could make it happen. I don’t want to be like millions of others who never give my art a chance just because I fear rejection. I’m sure people like David Bowie had their own fears, but they had to courage to set it aside, move foreword, and move well beyond our expectations.
I hope this year I will find myself in my art again and never lose it among the thorns of doubt. I hope you won’t either.

 

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Writing

Fame Isn’t Everything, Is It?

Alan RickmanI’ll always remember Alan Rickman as Professor Snape. With a book as grand as the Harry Potter series, one can expect that not everything is going to go as completely as you imagined it, but I had no qualms about Alan Rickman. Throughout the series, Rickman made Snape to exactly how I imagined him to be. The voice, the hair, the looks, the everything. He truly brought such a complex character into something solid and real. I also loved him in Sweeney Todd. A dark musical with complex characters, he really knew how to be despicable.

He was a unique man, interesting. I think his voice was his signature. How many have a deep, gravely voice such as his. When I saw him in another movie, I knew it was him instantly because of his voice.

Alan Rickman, when I’m 80 years old, I’ll still be watching you perform and I’ll still be amazed at how perfect you portrayed the characters of my imagination and my grandchildren will ask me “After all this time?” and I will say “Always.” Thank you for bringing such memorable characters to life. I hope you’ll be making stardust with Bowie tonight.

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Writing

David Bowie, Where Do We Go From Here?

david bowie rolling stone

Photo Credit: Rolling Stone

It’s hard to imagine that an artist as great as David Bowie has died and will no longer contribute new material to the art he loved. Even though I only discovered him about five years ago, I found his work to be brilliant and edgy singer. Who other than Bowie himself have the ability to entertain, shock and push us far to the edge of the artistic universe? He did it because he could, he did it because no one else would. Even if I can connect to only a few of his songs, I appreciate how he changed the face of music through his voice and image.

I’ve been struggling to find the words to describe how I feel about his death all day today. Even though I felt extremely sad when Robin Williams died, Bowie’s death seems even more close to home. He died after a struggle with cancer. I, too, have family member who went through two different cancer treatments (thankfully she’s still alive, but I know how debilitating a cancer diagnosis is). I also had a parent pass away not too long ago at the age of 64 and I feel so much for his wife and children. It doesn’t matter how old the kids are or how famous the loved one is, losing a parent is a horrible thing.

young bowie

Photo Credit: Rolling Stone

What I like the most about Bowie is that he seemed so down to earth. From the interviews I’ve seen of him, especially in his later years, he had a good sense of humor and truly wanted to connect to those who talked to him and spent time with him. My respect for celebrities who act like real people and treat their fans respectfully goes sky high. I also loved that he followed his passion and lived life on the edge without regard to how others thought of him. I want to be able to do that with my own art and passions.

Bowie

“I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring.”

My only regret is that I didn’t discover him sooner. I wish I could have seen him in a concert. I wish I could have met him and talked to him about art and music. I know millions of people are mourning for him and the artist that he was, but my heart and thoughts go to his wife Iman, his young daughter and older son and any other family member who lost a great man in their lives.

I couldn’t fall asleep last night. It was a struggle to get myself to get any kind of sleep. Even though I didn’t know he was passing away from this world at the time, maybe I somehow knew that another star was passing into the sky. And from what I know, others had a hard time sleeping as well, either because they heard the news overnight or not. Who can ever know.

I’ll end this post with my personal favorite song by David Bowie, Modern Love because it so adequately expresses my feelings about love (strangely enough):

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Writing

Of Convictions and Death Penalties.

Jodi Arias, convicted of murdering her one time lover Travis Alexander, has been given life in prison by default because the jurors couldn’t make a unanimous decision for the death penalty. This is the second jury that has been unable to make that unanimous decision (the trial had been held in Arizona where law dictates that if all 12 jurors can’t agree on the penalty, then it will go to mistrial). In case you don’t know the whole story, here is what’s been going on for the last couple of years:

In June 2008, Travis Alexander was murdered by his one time lover, Jodi Arias. His throat was slashed to the point of near decapitation, a bullet to the head, and multiple stab wounds. His body was left in the bathtub where friends found it five days later. It’s been stated that she was very manipulative and stalker-ish in nature and sought revenge when Alexander made it clear that he didn’t want to have anything to do with her. In 2013, Jodi Arias went on trial for his murder and mutilation. She was found guilty of the murder, but jurors were unable to come to a unanimous agreement about her sentence (death penalty versus life imprisonment).

Prosecutor Jaun Martinez again pursued the death penalty for Arias in 2015. Yet again, the jury was unable to come to a decision and the judge was forced to sentence Arias to life in prison by default. It’s now being decided whether or not she’ll get chance of parole after 25 years. Jurors came out and stated that the decision was 11-1 for the death penalty but were unable to persuade the last juror to deliberate and change her decision and suspect an ulterior motive from the woman. Obviously, the Alexander family is very upset as they were pushing for the death penalty for the woman who so brutally murdered their brother and son.

Seeing a trial where death penalty is on the table is very conflicting for me. On one hand, I don’t like the death penalty because I don’t believe it’s anybody’s right to play God in whether or not a person should live or die based on their actions, no matter how heinous. Killing a murderer on death row does not bring the dead back. However, when you see certain crimes that have been committed, you start to feel sympathy for the family of the victim and want them to have a peace of mind. If you seen the evidence of Alexander’s crime (it’s brutal, I looked at the crime photos), you start to see why they want the death penalty and begin to emphasize with it.

It’s a hard decision to make and I’m glad I never have to make it. Those who have to be on death trials have a huge task in front of them and it’s a wonder how some have been able to make that decision. My logic and beliefs (no to the death penalty) versus my emotions (wanting the person to get what they deserve), would render me helpless. So while I generally don’t believe in the death penalty, I empathize with all the families who have to watch their family members’ killer be put on trial and seeking justice for them.

What are your thoughts about the death penalty? I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter! (But please, no arguments or name calling)

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