Rest In Peace, David Bowie (a tribute)

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

“David Bowie” by Derren Brown

8 January 1947 β€“ 10 January 2016

My Poem “Scary Movies”

As a child, I – like so many children do –
grew up watching so called
“scary movies”, “horror films”,
that truly scared me,
and I also watched thrilling
and occasionally comedic depictions
of fictional, supernatural and paranormal
events and characters
that made me jump, entertained me,
made my heart beat fast, made me smile,
and put me in a good mood…
films like ‘It’, ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’,
‘Jaws’, and ‘Alien’ initially effected me
on an emotional level –
however now I can appreciate
the “fright tactics” of the film-makers,
because what feeling they were
attempting to illicit in people
is what they succeeded in making
me feel quite profoundly…
I also watched such paranormal comedies,
like: ‘Ghostbusters’, ‘The Addams Family’,
‘The Munsters’, ‘Beetlejuice’ –
which were fun to watch,
enjoyable, and they did not
take their subject matter too seriously.

Even to this day, I still occasionally
watch scary movies –
and I would have to highlight
the films that take place in the
“Conjuring Universe”, that feature
fictional depictions of real-life
paranormal investigators
Ed and Lorraine Warren,
based upon documented
supernatural experiences
that occurred around the world,
as being some of the scariest,
the most thrilling, the most heart-racing,
and the most believable of any
and all of the scary movies
that I have seen recently
and the experiences that I had
of seeing them in a cinema
will forever stay with me.

If could pick just one
so called “scary movie”,
or a particular supernatural thriller,
that I believe is my favourite
of all that have been made,
I would have to choose
‘The Shining’, directed by Stanley Kubrick,
based upon the book of the same name
by the one and only “master of horror”,
Stephen King – because to me
‘The Shining’ is a masterpiece
of both storytelling and film-making
that entances you from the first
camera shot and from the first
note of music of the film’s soundtrack –
just as the original ‘Jaws’ does;
and, in my opinion, the ability
of movie-makers to be able to
take a viewer on a roller-coaster
ride of emotions, thoughts,
and feelings, while watching
something “otherworldly”,
by using all the magic of
movie-making at their disposal,
in a truly collaborative effort,
is what contributes to what makes
the most thrilling and the most scary
of thrilling and scary movies.

Happy Halloween! πŸŽƒ

My Poem “The Viking Way”

There are times when I look
at the face of someone
and for some reason I am
reminded of how the Vikings
have always been depicted to have looked
when they lived centuries ago –
when they were building their
impressive longboats
and when they were traversing
the oceans of the world –
at the same time they were raiding,
pillaging, as well as influencing
the early cultures of the European continent.

It was at the time that the Vikings
were worshiping the gods
of their Norse mythology –
such as Odin, Thor, and Loki –
that they were steaking their claim
to places which they discovered,
while also practicing a way of life
that stretched from telling stories,
to drinking mead, to perfecting
the art of the particular type of principles
that still define how their culture
is perceived and who they will continue
to be thought of to be.

I am sure that if some of the Vikings
who feature in so many of the
Scandinavian legends that have been
told and retold, over and over again,
were to learn that clear echoes
of their lineage live on
after a time that they might consider
resembled the prophecised “Ragnorok”,
or the “end of days” of their belief system,
then they would be happy –
because showing your attributes
and expressing your deeds so that
they are not forgotten is an example
of how some people used to live
a long time ago: when a certain
type of people used to live
the Viking way.

Happy National Read A Book Day 2020!

Happy National Read A Book Day! πŸ“šπŸ“– I know that not that many people seem to read books these days, like they used to; however, in times like now – when reality seems like a fantasy that we wish would come to an end and revert back to how things used to be – everybody needs some kind of escapism in order to remove themselves for a small amount of time each day so that they may feel hope, joy, and wonder once again. Books and stories are one of the greatest forms of entertainment and escapism, because to fully immerse yourself within a story, you, the reader, have to become a part of the story as the imagineer, the architect, and the artist who paints the picture of what somethimg or someone looks like with the power of your imagination by using the words on a page as a blueprint. As someone who is the author of ten books of both poetry and fiction I am most likely biased when I say that books hold a power within, especially when we hold a book in our hands, that is unparalleled to anything else. Being a writer is an incredibly empowering experience; and as a writer, knowing that people actually read what you write and like what you have written is phenomenonal and humbling and that feeling of creating a connection with someone is absolutely inspiring. πŸ™‚

My Poem “Impressionable”

Since I was a child
I have always been impressionable…
since I was a boy
I have been profoundly impacted
by many sources of entertainment
that subconsciously
left their mark upon me…
since I first started to be drawn
to the images of screens, the words of books,
and the ultrasonic magnificence of music
I have been changed little by little…
since I first began going on journeys
with fictional characters who
inhabited many different worlds
and who lived many different lives
I have been led to believe and to imagine
that what I was shown or gifted
the vision of was a real and true
possibility in some distant
and distinctive alternate reality.

In retrospect, I believe that my childhood
was and still is a treasure trove
and a goldmine of inspiring stories,
visuals, music, and feelings
that over time I saved within my memory
until the day when I would need
a boost of inspirational energy
to help fuel the poetry and the stories
that I would ultimately come to tell…
I truly believe that had I not grown up
how, when, where, and with whom
I grew up with my life would
have turned out very differently
and I would not have been able
to get through some of the things
in my life that led to me to learning from
all the lessons that I now know so well.

There were books that I read,
there were songs that I listened to,
there were TV shows and movies
that I watched over and over again as a child
that I loved and I thought I knew
everything about and every moment of
that when I rewatch and when I replay
them now I realise they were full
of many subtle, but amazing,
details and messages that have
a different, but still just as incredible,
effect upon me that reminds me
why it is sometimes important to return
to something or to somewhere that you
think you know like the back of your hand –
because everyone and everywhere
has more layers and levels of meaning
to reveal about themselves,
especially to those of us who have this
insatiable curiosity about so many things,
who are at their heart someone
who is and who always has been
unashamedly impressionable.