I was going to write a post today about my new chapbook but I frankly don’t care much about that today or this week or for a little bit at least because of the news I got this morning.
Today we lost Prince, and as most of y’all know, Prince is important to me as a writer and as a human. There’s a certain love there, even though he’s not a person I have ever met, and so there’s a grief here. And it’s a grief that can’t be filled with gifs or jokes or words.
So there are no words. Even though I’m making words right now.
I want to say thank you to everyone who has reached out to me and who continues to reach out. Those close to me know that this has been a trying time for me personally and that Prince saved my life before I got sick with the kidney things and that he has continued to be a place I turn to in my moments of despair. Right now I can’t listen to his music. I hope I can again soon. But I am glad to have people I love and who love me who will talk to me about Prince. Everyone from my BFFs to my grandmother to my readers to the barista at my Starbucks has expressed love today and it means a lot and I hope that we can all always be so loving to each other, in times of grief or otherwise.
I also want to say that the best way to honor Prince, or to honor any artist who has affected you the way Prince has affected me, is to make art. And to help others make art. Prince has always been especially concerned with helping women and other marginalized voices be heard. He’s been a pioneer in artists’ and musicians’ rights (there’s a reason his videos aren’t on YouTube), and he has always worked to better his community.
So work to better your community. Make art. Make sure that your neighborhood schools have funding for the arts. BUY that album by that new singer instead of just putting the YouTube clip on repeat or torrenting. Go to a poetry reading or a gallery opening and put a dollar in a tip jar. Say thank you. Say that you liked the work. Say something. Write a letter.
Last week, on one of my darkest nights of the soul, a poet friend told me I should write to Prince because even if he never read it it would mean something to me. I’m wishing I had. She also said maybe he’d need it on a dark night of his soul. I’d like to think Prince would never need a letter from a little poet in Texas to feel loved. But I wish I’d written that letter a thousand times over. For me probably way more than for him. But I wish.
Write the letters, you guys. Make the art and write the fucking letters.