That Ultimate Thing…

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The weird thing about famous people passing away is how shocked I am when it happens. As if Prince was a good friend, just lounging around in my living room the other day sipping iced tea, one leg crossed over the other, chit-chatting about traffic on the freeway or how surprised he was that he didn’t miss eating meat at all.

But he wasn’t sitting in my living room and I didn’t know him and he had no idea that I existed. Somehow, though, memories of Prince, like other famous people, got woven throughout the memories of my life.

The first time I saw Purple Rain, for example. I was adopted when I was a year and a month old. Why that happened so late is another story for another post. But shoot forward years later. I had been living with my aunt in San Francisco and had just met my biological mother for the first time. “You’ve never seen Purple Rain?” she asked. I recall her looking at me as if I had just piloted a UFO from deep space and landed in her backyard. I also may be exaggerating a little. But just slightly. Still, Prince got wrapped up in those memories of my biological mother and he remains there, to this day, locked in a repeating loop of  x-rated onstage undulations mixed in with secret thoughts boomeranging around inside my head concerning the alienness and awkwardness of the entire situation. I mean, it’s pretty weird finally meeting the person who gave you up so many years before. Surreal, to say the least.

It’s the youth and relative youth, too, of sudden deaths. It’s a tragic waste, isn’t it, when people who are so blatantly talented catch a ride to the other side prematurely. Don’t we expect more from them? Aren’t they going to give us more? But once this happens—the ultimate thing that happens to us all—we can’t hope for or wish for or wait for or expect or receive anything new from them ever again. I don’t know about you, but I often wonder why Dick Cheney’s still alive. Didn’t he get a major organ transplant recently? Maybe from some orphan in the Ukraine? Why did Prince have to go but Dick Cheney keeps thriving? Look at Salieri to Mozart. Mozart kicked the bucket super-young while Salieri lived to the ripe old age of 75! Not saying that Salieri didn’t deserve to live till old age, but…Mozart was thinking out of the box a little more, wasn’t he?

East Indians would put it all on karma. And who knows. Maybe it’s true. But the last thing on my agenda is to try to unravel the mysterious intricacies of karma. I have no idea who gets to stay in the lifeboat and who has to go over the side and why. But it happens. At least we got something from Prince before he had to go. He did the thing we all would like to do: Create something. Make something. Do something. Invent something. Improvise. Hand it out. Leave it behind.

So I’d like to say good-bye to Prince, along with many other great and potentially great talents, in my opinion, some of my favorites, who all hitched a ride out too early to take part in that ultimate thing that happens to us all. There are, of course, so many more, and I wish I could name them all:

Michael Jackson, Marvin Gaye, Brandon Lee,  Jim Croce, Whitney Houston, River Phoenix,  Freddie Prinze, Bob Marley, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, Gregory Hines, Amy Winehouse, Freddie Mercury, Bernie Mac, Heath Ledger.

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It’s Time…

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It can sneak up on you out of the dark, and you may never see it coming. You start like a thief caught in the act, whirl around and stare it in the face.

“Oh, it’s you…” you may say. “What are you doing here?”

Or more likely, more to yourself, “Am I ready for this?”

Worse, it can blindside you, a train roaring out of nowhere, and you’re standing in the middle of the tracks.

“Get off the tracks!” the audience yells, but by the time you turn to look at them and then turn back, the train is upon you, over you, in you, through you….

It’s also something you may seek, peering into all the corners, under the tables, even plumbing the depths of the past. And a lot of us find it there, surprisingly, nestled against the bosom of time.

What the hell is it? An idea?

Yes.

A wild animal?

Yes.

A philosophy?

Yes.

A monster?

Yes.

It’s love.

It’s all of the above, and then some. Love and romance. And even better…time-travel romance.

There’s nobody here but you in case you don’t want to admit it out loud, that you’re into romance, in case your scientist friends will deem you a fool because it’s been incontestably proven that ‘love’ is an abstract concept derived from chemical interactions, or the other lion tamers will snort in disgust since any notions of ‘love’ will have the big cats clawing your back open because they can smell ‘weakness’ in the air.

But I see no shame in the well-crafted romantic time travel story, or in romance in general.

Romance, for me, is a nice escape now and then from reality. And that’s not to say that reality is a barren desert devoid of emotions and/or wild chemistry between another person. But you have to admit that unchecked emotions and those first crazy roller coaster rides with that person you just met only lasts for so long. And thank God. Because isn’t too much of anything, even a good thing, always too much in the end?

Imagine new love as you lying in a hammock during gale-force winds, being punched up and down, twisted around, terrified and electrified simultaneously, unable to eat, sleep, almost unable to breathe.

How long would that be fun, exactly?

When the wind stops and the hammock settles…gently swaying… nothing really happening…isn’t that nice too?

In time travel romances, there’s a variety of ways that the heroines, generally by accident, trigger their leap back in time. Two books which transcended, in my opinion, not only the mechanism by which they time traveled but the usual story, too, are “Beautiful Wreck” by Larissa Brown: larissabrown and “Transcendence” by Shay Savage: shay savage.

Dive into “Beautiful Wreck” for its beautiful writing and get swept away by the stark imagery of an ancient Viking civilization. A plus for this tale is the kind of unrequited longing and attraction between the two main characters that stretches out tantalizingly, far beyond the usual point of no return.

“Transcendence” also bypasses the usual touching of a mysterious gem/locket/necklace/ring, car driving off a cliff, into fog, into a bog, partial concussion or other bodily damage by scientific means on one end which, of course, translates to magic on the other, and believably so.

But the amazing thing about “Transcendence” is its point of view, which comes entirely from the male protagonist, who is pre-lingual, and therefore verbal communication between he and his potential mate is nil, resulting in only universal sign language. The male’s internal monologue is repetitive and hilarious, casting the entire story in a light, comical air, and is more than worth reading, in my opinion.

I love to love love, just like you do. And no, that’s not a typo.

I love love. Love to love it. Especially in the unexpected and unusual circumstances that altered reality presents.

Go out back, right now, jump in the time machine where you have it hidden behind the shed, and set your coordinates for these two stories.

I’m personally so happy I found them, because it makes me love love even more.

The monster, the philosophy, the animal, expected, unexpected, past, present, future: I love them all.

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