“You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star.” ~Friedrich Nietzsche
Left: Paul Delaroche, Two Heads, Camaldolese Monks (1844).
Sweeping up the Heart
Every singer, every actor, every dancer considers themselves artists. The world of expression and those who give form to our emotions through lyrics and movement, is poorer in these fresh days of a New Year, a result of the loss of several talented performers in recent weeks. While my head was still spinning with each new, sad announcement, I received an email from cherished, long-time friend and contributing editor to ARTES, Ed Rubin. Eddy is a New Yorker, through-and-through, and as a result, has ‘theater’ coursing through his veins. The performing arts come alive for those, like Ed, who can casually encounter a star or a cultural icon on the streets of the City, at a restaurant or party. You quickly learn that celebrities are just people, as their vulnerability and untimely deaths so often painfully demonstrate.
Ed can give voice to the grief we must all be feeling, much more effectively than I can. So, I am including here, his comments and a video clip or two, in celebration of the talent, skill and dedication that those we have recently lost. I, myself, can find solace in the words of others who have gone before. The title phrase for this memorial essay is taken from Emily Dickenson’s poem, The Bustle in a House. She wrote:
The Morning after Death
Is solemnest of industries
Enacted upon Earth –
The Sweeping up the Heart
And putting Love away
We shall not want to use again
Until Eternity —
“I thought I could describe a state; make a map of sorrow. Sorrow, however, turns out to be not a state but a process.” ~C.S. Lewis
“Death lies on her like an untimely frost
Upon the sweetest flower of all the field.”
~William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet (Act IV, Scene V)
Dear Reader: I am still reeling from the recent deaths of Zsa Zsa Gabor, George Michael, Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, all of which hit me too much too soon. To say nothing of Prince, David Bowie, and so many others.
It used to be that deaths came in threes. It seems as the universe and I are coming in for a landing deaths are now coming in fours; more than likely soon to be seen in fives, and more.
As I write this a thinly analogous and seemingly non sequitur thought about voting comes to mind.
It used to be during elections – the presidential election being the most recognizable – the saying went May the Best Man Win.
At one point the process changed to: Let’s hope for the Lesser of Two Evils.
Perhaps it was always this way and I was just too busy climbing in and out of bed to think of the ramifications. In those years values seemed to matter more.
Back to dying: As is my want—when singers die—I always go to YouTube to review their lives, those that I shared, and those that I missed. Sometimes I even buy a CD to fill in my collection, this to both save and maintain my personal history.
This phenomenon is most prominently seen in the spiking of CD, DVD, and album sales, especially when well known singers such as Bowie and Amy Winehouse died.
I did do a little George Michael viewing.
So far my favorite Michael solo – posted below – is One More Time: ”If I was to sing this song love and lust would flood my mind and I too would be wishing for One More Time with you.”
Edward Rubin, Contributing Editor
Debbie Reynolds, “Good Mornin'”:https://youtu.be/GB2yiIoEtXw
Prince, “Baby,Baby,Baby” (rehearsal): https://youtu.be/5kCeAvJQUJU
George Michael, “One More Time”: https://youtu.be/bG5N3GC-m20