Saturday, September 8, 2007

Friends I never knew

The following journal entry was written in response to the death of Johnny Cash, but the sentiment applies equally to the other friends I have lost. I have mourned the loss of these artists whose work has, in ways I cannot explain, inspired me to pursue my own creative dreams. Their music, their voices, their stories, all reach deep into a place within me that unleashes sentiments and will that were previously unfamiliar to me. I miss them dearly.

Harry Chapin, John Lennon, John Denver, Johnny Cash, Jerry Orbach, and now,
Luciano Pavarotti.


Amy called me at 7:30 in the morning to tell me Johnny Cash died, and sadness and melancholy quietly settled in and accompanied me for the rest of the day. The man whose music has been so much a part of my life for over 25 years is gone, and I feel like I have lost a friend. I saw him perform twice in my life, but never met him, yet he was there, looming larger than life as someone who represented what I admired in a man...strong, independent, loving and sensitive, fragile and vulnerable, and creative, taking life on his own terms. In my mind, the man in black felt the worlds pain, and responded to it with love, for only love could allow someone to create such an abundant body of work, spanning generations and cultural divides, as his has done.

Whether or not Johnny Cash really contained these attributes is immaterial, what matters is that through his music and his life, as I chose to see it, they were available to me, to admire, and try to embrace in my own life.

His music encompasses such wide range of emotional experience, both individually and as a body of work, but the common denominator is the evocation of all that is human and personal. There is nothing abstract in his songs, only the presence of the personal, and I admired and respected him for that. His music makes me feel what I want to feel.

Johnny Cash was a man who successfully pursued a creative life, doing what he wanted to do, on his own terms. For that he was my hero.

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