The Most Important Thing Right Now!
Sometimes It Snows In April
I was gonna write an elaborate thing about appearing at Cal State University's Eagle-Con. I'm appearing on a gang of panels and consulting, which meant bringing in some wonderful people to the school.
I thought about going into the details of the Aspen Universe Sourcebook, part of the big crossover from Aspen Comics.
Why am I not doing that? I'm too worked up. I feel like a member of my family died -- a member of my family that I actually liked. I've been getting worked up over turns of phrases that I've sang, confidently, for decades.
Prince Rogers Nelson died at age 57.
My sister Nailah Porter noted that our elders don't get to become elders, because we don't get to see them reach age sixty. In his moving Los Angeles Times tribute, Marc Bernardin said, "What David Bowie was to white kids who didn't fit in, Prince was to black kids. He gave young African Americans growing up in Harlem or St. Louis or Watts the license to be who they wanted to be, not what society thought they should be."
I don't remember what movie I was supposed to see with Benjy and Tracy, the two kids my great aunt took care for before and after school. I do know we ditched it and snuck into Purple Rain about two minutes after it started and everything changed.
An awkward, strangely dressed, outstandingly talented weirdo from an idiosyncratic, small town could get the hottest, most interesting girl anyone had seen up to that point and achieve at an enormously high level artistically, creating some of the most amazing stuff any of us had ever seen.
I was stuck in Memphis, bored out of my gourd and dreaming up songs and video games and novels and comic books and anything to keep my brain from plotting an escape through my ear in the middle of the night. I studied Greek and Norse myths, I read about World War 2 inside and out (I still know how to set up an enfilade). Then I saw Prince Rogers mickey fickey Nelson and the same way I did when I saw Luke Skywalker, I said to myself, "I can do better. I can get out of here."
Then I did.
Prince helped me see that. He did it with "Under the Cherry Moon," a much more complicated film. He did it with "Housequake" and "Thieves In The Temple" and "Tears In Your Eyes" and "7" and "Raspberry Beret" and so many other fragments of the sountrack of my life. More than Luke Skywalker, because 1) he was Black and 2) he could get laid, which was superbly important to my hormone-driven young self.
He was fourteen years older than I am. Now he's gone, and I am enormously thankful.