Chris Cornell died yesterday and it’s had me all kinds of thinking. It’s rare that I am ambivalent about an artists death. Especially an artist like Chris Cornell, who helped define a whole generation of music. I think about all the creative work he had yet to do, and what his music meant to me.
It hurts me to my core that he was walking around in such pain. I really can’t even imagine it. I’ve walked down dark, dangerous paths before, but I’ve never stayed there for long. I found may way back.
I wish he had found his way, too.
It makes me feel a little guilty, actually. From his places of pain came so much damn great music. Maybe I appreciate it a little more if I know the artist had suffered to create it. I read an interview with him not long ago where he talked about his deep introversion and his fears of performing. I could totally relate to that. It made me appreciate him even more, that despite these things, he created anyways.
It seems that the same spark that ignites a creative life can also burn the artist. We are the “feelers” in the world. We feel deeply, struggle, create, share, and try to connect with others. It is both a gift, and a burden at times, no?
His death also spotlights what I already know: We are getting old, my generation. Generation X. Children of the 60’s and 70’s – we are getting our first AARP cards and dealing with all the realities of middle age: raising small children, teenagers, grandchildren, helping our aging parents, dealing with our health issues, our career demands. I think our creativity has suffered.
We think we are still young and that we’ll have the energy someday. But crazy hormones and creaky joints and gallbladder issues are upon us right now. Heck, I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 44. It made me even more determined to tell my story and write this book.
Generation X. We are the last generation born into an analog world. We had the last good childhoods, I believe. We were free-range and rebellious and we had experiences we need to talk about. We are adults now. We can handle the painful truths. It’s OK to share these things.
We haven’t much time, my friends. The years are accelerating, and we are dying out. We are a small generation to begin with, sandwiched between the Boomers and the Millennials.
I implore you: Start writing, start that art project, start the band, start talking and sharing. Start your dreams RIGHT NOW. It is imperative that we leave our legacy, our culture, our stories for the future.
There is no someday. There are no guarantees of tomorrow. If you have a burning desire to create, you must start right now.
There is no more time.