Hats Off to David Bowie

Captain’s Log   6,124

David Bowie.  Wow.  Another master of reinvention has crossed over.  As a Facebook friend said this morning, how lucky we were to have shared the planet at the same time as David Bowie.  She was absolutely right.

With his amazing skills and willingness to be wrong or right.  His willingness to just be.

I was talking to a friend last night about this very thing.  Why do some people jump in and try stuff and other people only attempt what they know will be a success?  It’s an interesting thing to ponder.  I am a total risk taker.  I am the person who woke up one day and went out to buy a mandolin because I didn’t have a mandolin.  I didn’t know how to play a mandolin.  I spent an entire summer learning.  Trial and error.  Frustrating.  Rewarding.  But I learned to play.

I took the ridiculous job of teaching history on a tall ship.  I knew nothing about it.  But I learned and struggled and became a very good teacher.

I rarely choose the obvious.  How did an English major who became a folk singer and  a youth minister and a composer/theater director…… how did that person become the director of a museum?  I don’t know.   All I know is every opportunity that has come my way has been a huge experiment.

And what about failure?  I have failed far more than I have succeeded.   But in each “failure” was a chance to build something new.  From my failed arts organization in the Twin Cities to my disastrous careers as a research analyst and corporate event planner, I learned what NOT to do.  I learned what NOT to expect from people.  The failures were stepping stones to freedom.

Have I worked for the money?  Ever?  No.  I worked for the promise of money more than once, but it never materialized.  Lesson learned.  It took me 60 years to land a job that pays an adequate salary, but not having a lot of money taught me how to save and budget.  Even when I was the poorest person in the room, I was usually carrying more in my wallet than anyone there.  I was also extremely happy because I was doing what I wanted.

I am not trying to compare myself to the genius of David Bowie.  Never.  I am merely relating what I know about being someone who thinks differently – someone who tries the angle that other people might not see.   Somebody willing to fail or be ridiculed for being stupid.

So long, David Bowie.  You with your quirky sense of artistry.  And your odd eyes that bored into the core of everyone you met.  You will be missed.



Filed under Captain Poolie's observations

12 responses to “Hats Off to David Bowie

  1. Your Mandolin experience reminds me of my half-sister Nancy. She wanted to learn how to play the Zither (sp?) but didn’t have one, so she attended a class and learned how to make her own and then she learned how to play it! She was never one to take a back seat to life. Amateur archeologist, teacher of music for handicapped kids, mother of a multiply-disabled child. She was incredible.

  2. goatbarnwitch

    Bowie was one of my two personal idols… he spoke for the misfits, misunderstood and lost ones. He reminded us that being unique is good and art is life. I haven’t cried because he did everything with Art and Soul. I am having trouble seeing a world deprived of his Art.
    I too jump in and go for things that often seem to make no sense…. the Journey is made better by the lessons found this way

  3. Patty O'

    It isn’t failure that kills; it teaches. It is NOT TRYING that will kill one’s spirit, and we must never allow that to happen!

  4. “Leap, and the net will appear.” I saw that quote in a golf magazine a few years ago. It was the advice one pro’s father gave him when he was trying to decide if he should take the very great risk of attempting to turn pro. Sounds like you live your life like that too, whether you know the quote or not.

    I loved Bowie’s music in my youth, especially his brilliant but not quite mainstream efforts that tended to populate the underground music scene at the time. From having to cover his death this morning (he lived in Lower Manhattan for much of each year) I keep reading numerous quotes from all who knew him there about what a genuinely nice man he was, on top of everything else. I’m really sorry to see him go.

  5. Beautifully said. I’m not much of a risk taker. I used to be too scared to fail. If I didn’t think I could do it, I wouldn’t even try. I’ve changed over the years, thankfully. Now I am more willing to venture out but at my age, I am still worried about the consequences.

  6. Penny Tushingham

    You had no failures. You had learning experiences!

    Pen Pen

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