Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Death Of Gil Scott Heron or Why I can't get out of bed this morning

I don't know why I can't shake this weird feeling in my stomach.

I am not sad really. Not suprised at all, but I'm just feeling altogether strange.  My teeth clenched for hours. Woke up with my whole face hurting.

When I was young Gil Scott Heron music was played in our apartment.  I remember my dad playing his music. He had his album. The one with him with the funky shades looking straight at you.  He used to tease my mom about the revolution not being televised, when she was particularly caught up in some tv program.  He said the same thing to us..."The revolution will NOT be televised, so turn that tv off!"

I remember thinking that I didn't particularly want to see the revolution anyway.

Any picture of my sister and I that my dad took were of us with our fists in the air. We had no idea why he made us pose that way.  But there we were two little girls, 6 and 8 with one fist in the air, saying cheese for their daddy.

Fast forward to middle and high school.  I had caught the writing bug and was writing all sorts of lame poetry. In high school I refused to stand for the pledge of allegiance.  I was sent out of the room one day when we were in a different homeroom and the teacher took offense to my own private revolution.  Told me if I didn't like America I should "move to Russia". I told my dad and he said that that was ridiculous, you can love your country but hate what its done to its people.  You can want it to be better, without having to move to Russia.

Now that I think about it, that same teacher was forced into retirement years later after calling someone a nigger.  (For my BHS folks, Remember Mr. Replane)

Anyway Gil Scott Heron and my father were part of my revolutionary development.  He is the reason why I scoff at some of these wanna be revolutionaries, who look for all the conspiracies, spit venom on the mic, railing against the machine.  These so called revolutionary artist who reject love and reject patriotism and reject God because thats the revolutionary thing to do.  Gil Scott Heron was a critic of this country, but he loved his country.  He wanted it to be better. He wanted us to be better.  He wrote from his heart.  It was straight with no chaser . . .
Gil Scott Heron was also a musician.  And it has always fascinated me, this concept of mixing aritistic media to create one piece of art. Its why I try so hard to be good at trying different kinds of things.  Its why I write and play violin and want to learn cello and act.  I guess its like that part in The Color Purple..."it just wants to be loved"

No one is shocked that Gil Scott is dead. As with many artists, their desparate expression of their art is often not enough to quiet the voices, heal their wounds, not enough to make people understand . . .Its the addiction, the addiction, its like a pool you dive in to feel free, a pit to wallow in, to say goodbye for a while only to resurface after being hidden long enough to fight the pain just a little longer.  Its how you gird yourself agains the tragedy that is this world.  It's hard to be brave, sometimes impossible when you brain and heart allows you to feel things so acutely.   The gift and the curse . . . it is also that trait that makes the artist create so honestly

Many of us have worked through our own demons.  But I have my own revolution to fight. And I know that raising my boys, loving my family, and making a difference is the revolution that I must fight and win.  I am writing and creating and acting as though my life depended on it.  And really it does . . .

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