I can barely begin to imagine a world without David Bowie in it, and I don’t intend to start. Even as I write this, I’m in the midst of an ensuing Bowie marathon that began yesterday. The calming wisdom that I have gathered from the past 24 hours is that I don’t have to imagine a world without David Bowie, his work falls in that realm of genius where it is not only guaranteed immortality, but reinvention and re-appropriation in the times to come.
It almost appeared that he wasn’t one of us, that he never was and that his death is merely a passage to the superior realm that he inhabited in captivity here on earth. Nevertheless, all of us found something in him that resonated with our experiences, whether we were looking at Bowie the musician, the popstar, the fashionista or the artist. He taught us that we didn’t have to fit in, that we could make our own code. He taught us to reinvent ourselves when our waters ran dry. He taught us to be influenced by the art around us, and project it onto our work. And he gave us music, songs that would help us get through just about anything.
It was probably towards the last days of his life that Bowie taught us the most important lesson of all- to know our purpose in this world and be devoted to it. It’s easy for an artist with the legacy that Bowie commands to rest on their laurels, but he didn’t. With the focus of Zen monk, he went ahead and put out the most definitive artistic statement of the last stage of his musical career, knowing fully well that he wouldn’t be around for long. It is for these reasons that I admire this grand skinny duke and will miss him so.