Remembrances in Writing

As we all know, 2016 has been off to a rough start, with the deaths of two people who have affected a lot of us more than we might be able to acknowledge. It certainly didn’t help that no one saw either one coming.

Alan Rickman and David Bowie both carved out places for themselves in their arts, and as I look back at the movies and music that helped to make me who I am, I see both of them. So when they passed, I knew I had to do something.

So I did.

I’m a little too old for Rickman’s Snape to have lodged himself in my psyche, but that one word – “Always” – as his past and his history were revealed to us carried so much power and meaning that I couldn’t leave it out. The line from GalaxyQuest is one of my favorites from the whole movie. Not just because of what is said, but because of what is not said – the struggle for this actor to not just collapse in a pile of self-loathing is visible with every muscle on Rickman’s face:

As for the line from Dogma, he was able to make Metatron go from flippant to deep within moments, and seemed to really enjoy the portrayal of someone so utterly human, despite being an angel.

The first one I did was the line from “Space Oddity,” and that was probably because – like many other people online – it was one of the first to pop into my mind. I used FineTec blue to write it, and that’s stuff that I’m still getting the hang of. I may do that line again at some point. In the same way, I think I may re-do the line from “Memory of a Free Festival” – the “The” is just kind of… there. It might look better if I include it with “Sun Machine”, which I think turned out really well. And that’s it, really – the rest of it makes me happy. Good colors, good scripts. I can make it work.

The line from “Let’s Dance” was done quickly, but it worked out. Quite a dark vibe that song has, I think.

Finally, the “Starman” refrain took a few days and several tries to get right. This is another that was being passed around the internet (and the Instagram calligraphy circles) pretty quickly after Bowie died, so I wanted to make sure it looked the way I wanted it to. And, in the end, it did. I tried to make the blue an Electric Blue, in honor of “Sound and Vision,” but I don’t know that the gouache available to me was going to make that possible. The Starman itself is a mix of yellow and gold gouaches, and looks very nice in person. As for the dots along the bottom, they’re for the “morse code” that comes before the chorus in the song. I knew I wanted to represent that, but it took some puzzling out to figure out how.

And that’s all I can really do. It’s hard to explain, sometimes, why the deaths of people you had never met and never really known can have an impact like this. All I can say is that they were, through no choice of their own, part of my life. Because of that, I feel like I can’t let their passing go unnoticed and their influence go unacknowledged. This is what I can do, and so it is done.

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