I have never minded flying solo... I have never minded going my own way rather than going with the flow... I have never minded thinking differently than those around me... I have never minded being independent because having the gift of independence is the key to being truly free. Even as a boy I knew that my path through life would be different from that of my friends... as a child, and still now, I was never afraid to take a leap into the unknown while those around me stand still and stare and as I choose to push down on the throttle and go to where others might not dare. I always enjoyed the thrill and the adrenaline rush of going against conformity... I always loved running and being fast on my feet... I always wanted to push the envelope and be catapulted to the outer reaches of time, possibility, and space... I always wanted to be and I always will be, whether inside or outside a cockpit, a test pilot, a rebel, a rocket man, a daredevil, and a maverick.
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
Seven stories… Seven perspectives… Seven experiences… One Man in Black, one Man in White… Seven morality tales of one immortal… Rebel, Hero, Friend, Fan, Father, Son. Playing God takes you on a journey that connects a hero of myth with a modern day hero of music.
You can get a copy of my new book, Playing God, below:
Inspiration is the lightning,
thunder is the art…
writers and creators are constantly playing god,
creating new worlds, creating new people,
and giving reason and meaning to people
looking for an answer at a time
when they are willing to do anything,
to leap into anything, to experience everything,
no matter the cost…
every artist should be a rebel…
every artist should not fear going
where they have never been before…
every artist should take any and every idea
that comes to them and run, shape,
and make something with that idea
that burns within them like a flame…
that first idea is but the start, the spark,
the initial flash of light in the dark,
and it takes the passion of the beating heart
of a true artist to not be afraid
to watch that idea grow and change,
find its own identity and its own voice…
knowing where to begin with anything is never easy –
but the most important thing to do
is to make a start of any kind
that is significant and sets up
what came before, what is to come,
and why you decided to create something in the first place…
rebels are artists, and artists should always be rebels.
Even when it is dark
and all that you see outside your window
is white, cold, and bleak,
never once close your eyes and ever admit defeat…
even when there appears to be nowhere
and no way to take one step forward or one step back
take it slow wherever you have to go,
because as long as you keep moving
the steps that you take and every move that you make
will not be your last…
to keep moving is to keep fighting…
to think of your heart within your chest as a fire
is one of the ways that we all need to stay alive…
every day is a test – however, some days
test us more than others…
every day those who suffer through pain
have to constantly motivate themselves
to step out from under their comfortable bedcovers…
it can be hard to get through things
when we feel that the odds are against us
and the situation that we face is grim –
but when we are faced with such a circumstance
we all need to look within and call upon our inner strength
to get us through the storm that we are confronted by…
whenever the weather is bad and our paths seem impassable,
we all need to be a rebel, we all need to keep calm,
we all need to keep going, and we all need to never say die.