On January 10, 2016, I wrote a poem called “Always the Starman” dedicated to the late great David Bowie who died on that very day in 2016 – and I can still remember where I was and what I was doing when I heard of his untimely passing, and I can still remember being immediately inspired to mark the memory of one of the most famous and celebrated music artists of the 20th Century – and two days later I published the poem that I wrote on my blog for all the world to read so that they may get a sense of just how inspirational David Bowie was and still is.
Not long after David Bowie’s death, I remember that I was writing a new short story called “The Man In Black” about this mysterious character – who I didn’t truly know the identity of, nor why they were so mysterious… all I knew at that point was that whoever they were they dressed all in black, they had mysterious and powerful gifts that enabled them to appear one minute and disappear the next, they could bring animals and perhaps people back to life, and they may or may not be some kind of angel or some other supernatural being. And something else that I knew immediately was that whoever this mysterious “man in black” was he also bore an uncanny resemblance to the late great David Bowie, as some sort of tribute to him. But that was it. I originally intended to include my short story “The Man in Black” in my 2016 short story collection “Too Close To The Sun”, however for some reason I held it back… and to this day I still do not know why, what, or who stopped me from doing so – but I am so glad that they did, because from that first story there followed others that featured the same “Man in Black” who at times was known to white also depending upon when you met him. And slowly but surely I wrote more and more, until I finally found myself with seven short stories that explored who the “Man in Black/Man in White” was and why he did what he did. And to this day the stories of my short story collection “Playing God” still remain close to my heart, because within them are characters who I know and who I recognise: characters in need of being saved by a hero, a friend, a rebel, an angel, a god dressed all in black, and sometimes dressed all in white – someone who we would all wish would pay us a visit and heal the world of the present from what we are currently being plagued by.
I wrote my original poem “Always the Starman” and “The Man in Black”, the first story of my book “Playing God”, as a personal tribute to David Bowie – but the more stories that I wrote about this mysterious man who looked and sounded just like David Bowie, I also found myself uncovering many different sources of inspiration – from ancient Greek mythology to the daily torments that some people have to deal with – and I also found myself learning more about why I love writing so much: that thrill of exploration and discovery that I find every time I embark upon a writing challenge that I know will take me to places that I never imagined I would ever venture to. And that is what it is so enthralling and exciting about being a writer and an author of fiction: you never know where it is going to take you.
I will always be eternally grateful to the late great David Bowie for his music, for his creativity, and for the gift of inspiration that he gave to me – which coalesced over time into becoming a book of stories written in tribute to him, but also a tribute to hope, optimism and the gift of life that we are all blessed with which we all sometimes take for granted.
Rest in peace, David Bowie
8 January 1947 – 10 January 2016
Get your copy of my book ‘Playing God’ – featuring the Christmas story “The Man In Red” – online in paperback and as an ebook from Amazon: https://amzn.to/383gsII
Merry Christmas! 😎🎅🎄
It has been exactly two years since my book “Playing God” was published – and over that time, since writing the stories within, I have been thinking a lot about The Man in Black/The Man in White who is the protagonist of the book and the stories that I wrote.
I will admit that when I first began writing the character of “The Man in Black” in the first story of the collection I did not entirely know who he was, what he was, nor where he came from – however, the more stories that I wrote the more I discovered who he was, what he was, and where he came from, and when I was touched by the hand of inspiration and I found out who he was/what he was everything just fell into place and that realization echoed through and influenced every story that features him.
It’s weird, but I discover something new about the protagonist of the stories and the book I wrote every day – things that I must have included subconsciously while I was writing them – and when I think about who the “Man in Black” is and who he used to be before the stories that I told of him are set, I realize how much of his hidden identity/who he used to be continues to inspire everything that he does, the acts that he chooses to take, and the interactions that he has with the other characters of the stories… an identity that he is trying to run away from and be the antithesis of.
I have come to think of the seven stories of “Playing God” as three act plays, of a sort – something that was not initially intended, but something that delights me was the final outcome by accident… or was it? In any case, “Playing God” is and always will be a special book to me and one that includes so much of me within its pages and within the main protagonist. So, I just want to say a Happy 2nd Birthday to my book “Playing God”and happy birthday to “The Man In Black” who inspired me so much.
I drew this sketch back in February in anticipation for the two year anniversary of the publication of my book “Playing God” and it is essentially a brainstorm of things that the “Man in Black” might have had racing through his head at any given moment of every one of the seven stories within the collection that he features.
Writing all the stories of “Playing God”was a journey of discovery for me just as it was for the “Man in Black/Man in White” whom I wrote about, and I will always think of those stories and that character fondly, and perhaps one day I will find another tale to tell about the mercurious “Man in Black” who looks like David Bowie but who is not David Bowie.
“The Man In Black” from my book ‘Playing God’ just dropped me a line and wanted me to tell everybody what he always says to me and what he always reminds me: Stay safe! Stay positive! Stay hopeful! And, of course, always be like David Bowie and remember “We can be heroes”… and I really do hope and pray that with the help and the support of everyone – both medical professionals and everybody on Earth – we can all get through this crisis and all help to beat the Coronavirus by working together and by supporting one another. Take care, my friends! Be a hero in any way that you can! 😊🌠
It’s been 4 years since we lost David Bowie – on January 10th, 2016 – and today – January 8th, 2020 – would have been David Bowie’s 73rd birthday, and I wanted to write a post to wish one of the most interesting, inspirational, and influential artists the world has ever known a very Happy Birthday – who is hopefully looking down upon us all right now.
To celebrate David Bowie’s birthday today I wanted repost the poem that I wrote for him following his untimely death in 2016, called:
“Always the Starman”
Now it is you
who is the Starman in the sky;
now you know the answer
to the question “is there life of Mars?”;
now you can see just how much
you made us all smile
and how much you made us all dance;
now it will be the stardust of you
that will fall to Earth
and makes our minds sparkle
like the stars at night;
now and forever you will be a hero
for many and not just for one day;
now you can embark
on your own space-oddity;
now and forever through sound and vision
you will speak to us
and you will sing to us all from afar;
now that you have reached
the centre of life’s labyrinth,
and as you now look back
and touch Earth from heaven
with an outstretched hand –
from one poet to another,
this is my tribute to you,
the Starman of Magic in the sky,
who will always be the eternal
and the immortal artist of life David Bowie.
And I also wanted to repost my poem that I wrote last year which was inspired by a brand new piece of street art inspired by David Bowie, called:
“Bowie and Me”
Every day of the week
I head down to Dudley Street
to meet, to greet, and to speak
with the one and the only
and every time I see him
he talks to me and
he communicates so much to me
without even having to say a word
how lucky we all are to be alive
and walking the streets and the paths
of this world –
and every time I see him
I get this instant flash
like a bolt of lightning,
that I try to imbue
into the art that I create
which always follows
my divine-like encounter with “Bowie”
who waits tirelessly for me
against a wall of blue
on Dudley Street like a gate-keeper
and a guide to a world of
wonder, imagination, and self-discovery.
“Bowie” by Annatomix – Dudley Street, Birmingham, United Kingdom
And I also wanted to honour David Bowie once again by taking inspiration from his album Aladdin Sane and paying tribute to its iconic artwork by adorning the “Man in Black” who is the central character and who is on the cover of my book Playing God – which includes stories featuring a powerful hero who was also inspired by David Bowie and his timeless legacy of inspiring and motivating people to do unbelievably things… just as I was! Take a look at the Aladdin Sane-inspired cover of my book Playing God below:
And today is also the day when I have decided to start using my Collectors Edition David Bowie themed Moleskine notebook to begin writing who knows what? We shall see:
So, once again, I would like to wish the late great David Bowie a very happy birthday and I would like to thank him for all the inspiration that he has given me over the years!
Rest in peace, David!
If anyone reading this lives in the UK, near Birmingham City centre especially, if you are a fan of my work, and you would like a signed copy of either my book ‘The Dreamer and The Dream’ or ‘Playing God’ – then don’t hesitate to brave the rain and head to either Waterstones (where you will find a copy of ‘The Dreamer and The Dream’ near the Outdoor Pursuits section on the Ground Floor) or to the Library of Birmingham (where you may find a copy of my book ‘Playing God’ in the Metal & Metal Working Section, by a book about clocks). I’m not sure how long they will be where I left them – but perhaps, if you are lucky, you may be able to pick up a signed copy today on World Book Day! Happy finding! Happy reading! 😎 📖
And I Just made my own contribution to the Phone Box Library in Millisons Wood, near to where I live, by adding a signed copy of my books ‘Playing God’, ‘The Dreamer and The Dream’, and ‘The Eternal Boy’ for anybody who wishes to have a copy: