I can’t speak for all writers, but for me, my writing is something that comes bubbling out of me. I usually don’t even know what I am going to write, rather just start writing and then read what I wrote with pleasant surprise. The last couple of weeks, there is nothing good bubbling out…and the bad stuff, well, it doesn’t bubble as much as it sits and festers. So, I apologize, but I haven’t been able to force myself to write before today. I will tell you in part why, in reverse chronological order.
We lost our Prince.
April 21st, to the shock of millions, we learned that our beloved pop, rock, funk, and R&B icon Prince Rogers Nelson had passed away in his home at Paisley Park in Chanhassen, Minnesota. Fans from around the globe converged on Paisley Park, and on 1st Avenue in downtown Minneapolis to mourn and to celebrate the life of the iconic musician. The photos of the all-night dance party in the streets of Minneapolis rivals those of Times Square on New Year’s Eve. The 35W and Lowry bridges were aglow with purple and the Minnesota Twins lit up Target field in purple as well in honor of our home town super star.
Many of us shed real tears. Not because we knew him, but because he and his music had shaped our lives in some small way. Because he was our pop icon.
Without disclosing my age, I feel it is important to emphasize that I am of the appropriate age to have lived the bulk of my life as a Prince fan. I recall watching Purple Rain on a rented VHS (and rented video player). When you paid $20 for a machine and $5 each for movies, you watched them repeatedly over the course of the two to three day rental. I likely watched Purple Rain 5-6 times that first weekend. Probably another twenty since then. (I am currently carrying my VHS copy in my laptop bag…not sure why, maybe hoping that I will encounter a VCR and can get a fix). I still have my Purple Rain cassette tape, and the Love Symbol album was one of the first CD’s I purchased. I had a poster, folders and various other memorabilia that I would kill to be able to lay my hands on now.
He was Ours
Prince had fans around the globe. I am not saying that our loss here in Minneapolis is more profound than anyone else’s. But yet, I kind of am. People in California and New York and various other parts of the country can claim a myriad of stars from Nashville to the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Prince was ours. Yes, we have Bob Dylan, and Josh Hartnett and that guy that was married to that Kardashian chic for a minute…but mostly, we had Prince. And despite the fact that he could have lived anywhere in the world, he returned to Minnesota in 1988 and never left us. Minneapolis Mayor, Betsy Hodges echos the feelings of many of his in her tribute printed in Entertainment Weekly: Minneapolis Mayor Pays Tribute to Prince. Almost anyone you talk to here in Minneapolis has a story of themselves or someone they know running into him at the grocery store, the state capital, at First Avenue, or at one of the many parties he threw at his Paisley Park home and recording studio. Anyone seeing a show at First Ave. always wondered if there would be a sighting. He loved the Minneapolis music scene, and was a frequent attendee at concerts and dance parties. He was part of our community.
For one of my former colleagues, home-town music legend, St. Paul Peterson, Prince was instrumental in jump-starting his music career at the crazy-early age 18—a career that is going strong 40 years later. Prince did this for many local musicians. Those who knew him say that he had a gift for putting bands together, for seeing what someone could do before they knew they could do it, and for creating music that no one else could even imagine. His loss is felt deeply by many, and it will be for a very long time here in his home town. Fans are still visiting Paisley Park daily by the dozens, almost two weeks after his death, with no end in sight.
When baggage comes back to bite you.
I feel like a dork even bringing it up, especially since it pales in comparison to the loss of our Prince. My ex-husband got engaged. It happened on what would have been our 22nd wedding anniversary. Now before you get all up in arms over the timing, it is also her birthday. So, it makes sense that while tipsy at her birthday party he popped the question. They have been together for 7-8 years, depending on what story you decide to buy (we have been apart for 7 years). I wish them nothing but happiness. Seriously! I do. They seem very happy with each other. More power to them.
So why does it upset me? You know, I don’t know for sure. I don’t want him back, so it isn’t anything like that…but I am jealous. I kind of thought that I would be the first one, ya know? I thought that by the time she got divorced (yep) and they got engaged, that I would be happily homemaking with some wonderful man who kept a constant supply of fresh flowers on our dining room table for me. Well, not really…at least not exactly…but I think you know what I mean. I was supposed to be further along by now. I was supposed to be happier, more together… The struggle was supposed to be less real. Don’t get me wrong, I have a good life and am surrounded by wonderful people and I am grateful for all that I have…but I came out of the gate faster and happier and that momentum was supposed to carry me further than him. Too competitive?
Well, I guess that’s why I am here. I have my own shit to work on. And we’ll do more of that soon. See you then!