Mourning David Bowie


David Bowie was a man of class, grace and exceptional talent. The last few months of his public life were focused on the release of his final album Blackstar, and the opening of the off-Broadway show Lazarus, rather than the cancer he fought privately.

He lived his separate lives, as ever-changing performer David Bowie, and in private as David Jones. I mourn the man who was shared with us, the artist. The beautiful thing about Bowie is that his music will remain. We have fifty years of music to savor and enjoy. Above all, we must remember that we are not his loved ones. A light has gone out in our world, but in theirs it is one that burned more brightly.

Bowie’s legacy shows a true artist, a chameleon who worked and created until the very end. Blackstar is a remarkable album, combining Bowie’s love of jazz and his unique vocals with a profound meditation on mortality. It’s a harsh yet elegant end to his brilliant career.

David Jones may have passed from this world. David Bowie has ascended to the stars, to live on as a legend.

“Oh, I’ll be free, just like that bluebird”

  • David Bowie, “Lazarus”

Excuses, Excuses

The Twirl and Swirl of Letters

I apologize for my absence from the blogosphere. I didn’t mean to vanish. It sort of just happened.

But I’m back now.

Well, sort of.

I’ve left Italy for the sunnier weather of the UK (yes, there was very little rain, only last Sunday when I tramped across London with my friend C). I went adventuring up to Scotland, where I’m hoping to attend graduate school.

I do love adventuring, and places like Edinburgh. There’s an underlying current to the city that inspires me. The wheels in my head start turning, creating scenarios and situations. Boston is like that. So is Florence.

My favorite Scottish adventure was our hike up (and down) Arthur’s Seat, the mountain (or hill) near Holyrood Palace at the base of the Royal Mile. Legend has it that King Arthur hung around up there. It’s the result of a volcano.

We sat and enjoyed a pleasant lunch on another peak, watching the world below us. We were so elevated that the birds flew below eye level. A truly unique experience.

I see myself returning there, notebook in hand, plopping down on the grass and writing a short story. Years ago I wrote one that was partially set on Arthur’s Seat; it’s funny how painfully off I was about the environment.

Here’s to new experiences and silly mistakes in previous works!

Pick me up and take me away…

The Twirl and Swirl of Letters

I started work on a new short story. It’s…different from what I usually write. For one, I don’t know how its going to end (usually when I write, I have an idea of where its going to end up). I started with an image that popped into my mind, and from there let the twists and turns develop. But now, about twelve pages in, I finally have a view of what the main character’s goal might be. But it could change.

As always, I’m concerned about my influences being a mite too obvious. This piece is feeling a bit Prisoner-esque, hopefully minus the epic mental trip of the finale (and I don’t mean imply that this little story is even close to the same level as The Prisoner). Oh well.

I enjoy writing this story. The main character strikes me as a bit of an idiot, but his antagonists(?) are wonderfully enigmatic. I like peeling away the layers of the characters and discovering the world. I doubt it will be a very polished piece, but I feel like there’s potential in it.

And it takes place in Italy. Finally. I’ve been here two months–you would think that by now I would have set all of my short stories here!

Inspiration…a Driving Force

The Twirl and Swirl of Letters

I was drawing in the Academmia the other day, when I overheard a girl say to her friend, “Oh Sarah! You want to study art, you should do it here!”

Of course, they were standing right behind me.

It’s so interesting, to imagine how I (or another art student) could inspire another to do something. Years from now, when that girl is old enough to go to college, will she remember seeing art students bent over their sketchpads, cursing Michelangelo for creating something so perfect?

Which brings me to my writing thoughts.

What inspires our characters to act? Is it a chance encounter, as mine with young Sarah may prove to be? Or are their actions planned for them by others?

Our characters don’t exist in vacuums (something I need to work on). They have motivations and things pique their interest, too. Their own little eccentricities, which may or may not ever see the light of day.

On the inspiration front, take my characters Griffin and Pryce. Both are doctors, both trained at the same university. But what brought them to this school?

For Griffin, it was carrying on the family trade. Both his father and grandfather were physicians, and both trained at the University of Edinburgh. As Griffin is both a native of the city, and continuing the tradition, it was a no-brainer.

Pryce, on the other hand, always enjoyed science and falls into the “I want to help people!” branch. He longs to escape his hometown, and ends  up in Edinburgh.

So, there we go. Two different means to reaching the same end.


The Twirl and Swirl of Letters

I don’t call it writer’s block. It isn’t. I can write a story, but…ugh. There’s no soul. No clicking.

I’m participating in a Short Story Secret Santa. I need to write a short story for someone based on her prompt. I’ve been working on it, but really, nothing is coming. I’m writing and writing. As usual, I’m having more fun coming up with the symptoms of various fake illnesses than how these illnesses play into the story. And researching Victorian medicine (I went to the Warren Anatomical Museum a couple of weeks ago. Utterly fascinating).

I’m sitting and staring blankly at the page, aimlessly with no direction. After picking up a vague direction (stemming from John Snow’s discovery of how cholera is transmitted), I put it down again. It wasn’t working. I picked up a different direction, with one of the same MCs, but this time in a supporting role. No avail. I’m thinking that I need a different MC and some semblance of a plot not tied at all to Snow, cholera, or other infectious diseases.

I worry librarians.

The Twirl and Swirl of Letters

I dashed to the library today, minutes before they announced that they were closing for the evening. But that’s okay. I was on a mission, questing for research  and a David Ogilvy bio. Alas, I didn’t find the latter.

I can tell the moment I step into a library. The librarians look up from their stocking the shelves, either to say hello (as at my favorite library), or figure out an escape route. Because without a doubt, within an hour I’ll be up at the check out desk with a stack of random books, or at least books on a subject that shouldn’t interest college-aged girls.

Band of Brothers, I could see today’s librarian thinking. Not Twilight? What is wrong with this girl? Oh good, she got a beading magazine and a U2 CD. Maybe these books are for her dad.


Libraries are to me as Wikipedia is to XKCD. The random books on the shelves prompt me to grab, open, skim, and either return or continue reading. Thankfully, I’ve stayed away from the foreign language section for the time being.