Friday Firesmith – In The Afterlife With Ziggy Stardust

Suppose in the afterlife, you meet everyone whose art you’ve enjoyed, and they’re as grateful to you as you were for them. Imagine Davie Bowie tracking you down and just really being jumping-up-and-down excited about the time you sang “Young Americans” while it was playing on an eight track tape, and you sang loud enough for the neighbors to hear, but no one cared because you were so into it.

Imagine Bowie telling you about how that track was made, and who sang backup, and he was really thrilled about the whole thing, and he remembers, yes, he shares the memory of you sitting in a bar, listening to Ziggy Stardust while talking to a woman you’d wind up in love with, like he was right there all the time.

Please. This sounds ridiculous to you and you believe half the stuff modern religion tell you? Come on, this isn’t half as far out there and at some level you know it. And this is a lot cooler.

Then you see some young woman running towards you and Mary Shelley arrives, out of breath, thrilled to death that you finished her book after putting it down for nearly a year, and in any other universe there would be an awkward silence, but you’re loved and revered by this woman, and she understands. Would you have let the bride live, she asks, because that’s a question a lot of people ask, and she wondered herself at times.

There’s Captain Kangaroo talking to the Professor, and three of you have a lot to talk about, and time to talk about it, too. Television was cool back then, relaxed and spontaneous, and a lot more fun.

There are others, of course, but they tell you he’s looking for you, and has been. He’s been waiting because you’re one of his favorites, and they tell you they’ll catch up with you about that concert, or about that song, or about that movie, and there are a couple of young people from the college play you went to see three nights in a row because it was breathing and incredible, but he’s been looking for you since you died.

You expect him to be old, and gray, but he’s not, and you aren’t either anymore, and you know who he is, and of course, everyone knows you, because here in the afterlife, you’re as famous to your favorite artists as they were when you lived. You hug like old friends, and he’s crying now, because people like you made him what he was, and he can hardly speak. You have some many questions to ask, how did you start that damn thing? Did you know it would be that long? My Dog, how did you keep up with some many characters? And, oh really, you have your notes and charts and everything?

Tolkien leads you through the early years of writing “The Lord Of The Rings” all the changes, all the doubts, all the fears, all the dead ends and editing. It’s worse than you ever thought, better than you ever dreamed, and the whole book is laid out before you, as you always wanted to see it, written in longhand, in perfect handwriting. Others stand at the door, nodding, with patience, for they know of all the works of art, this was the one that most changed your life.

The Hobbit, and the Lord Of The Rings. Two books that rocked my world as a teen. Nothing else has ever impacted me like that, as far as art goes.

JRR Tolkien in the afterlife would find me. Who is looking for you?

Take Care,

Mike

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.

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20 thoughts on “Friday Firesmith – In The Afterlife With Ziggy Stardust”

  1. This concept is scary, in my youth I spent so much time out of earshot of humans I’m sure I offended the livestock with my singing. So there would be a long line of artists looking for me.
    Mowing a very large lawn with an 18″ rotary mower that was so loud I could barely hear myself singing. But 55 years later my mother told me she could hear me. Then I remembered some of the dirty lyrics I substituted. I hope the artists don’t remember that.

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  2. The afterlife would be filled with God’s people. If the others you have mentioned believed in God and Jesus Christ, of course they would be there. That is not rediculous at all. I will be there. I hope you will be there oneday as well.

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  3. For a serious answer, I would love to meet up with John Steinbeck. My love of his writing started in the eighth grade with “The Red Pony”
    For a not so serious answer, I’d like to meet John Holmes, aka Long Dong Silver. Not sure why, but why not…

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    • Richard, John Steinbeck was one hell of a writer. He’d be on my top ten list in a minute. He once had a dog eat a manuscript and realized it was the best thing that ever happened to the book once he rewrote it.

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  4. Of course I want to meet Freddie Mercury, Phil Hartman, Heath Ledger, Robin Williams, George Carlin, just to name a few.
    But I’m curious to meet Heironymus Bosch. Was he taking or smoking something when he painted The Garden of Earthly Delights? Did that really come from a straight/sober person’s imagination? Is there really a portrait of himself in there? What the Hell?

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    • Chick, great list and great questions, well worth a second glance. Was Bosch stoned? If he’s like that totally straight up, damn, that’s going to be one strange conversation. But if he was stoned, I wonder if he would have a couple of joints on him. Can you imagine getting high with that guy?

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  5. Of course I want to meet Freddie Mercury, Phil Hartman, and Heath Ledger.
    But I’m curious to meet Heironymus Bosch. Was he taking or smoking something when he painted The Garden of Earthly Delights? Did that really come from a straight/sober person’s imagination? Is there really a portrait of himself in there? What the Hell?

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  6. Enid Blighton and the Faraway Tree. But maybe with an elevator so I can just slide down the inside on the cushions all day without having to climb back up. Not sure if I actually want to visit the lands at the top because something always went wrong… Norman Lindsay and The Magic Pudding. A brilliant story from my childhood along with May Gibbs and “Snugglepot and Cuddlepie”. I hope children have access to these stories in the US – the drawings, the imagination – just incredible.

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