Dear David Bowie,
I tried to write you a letter in the summer of 2015. I wrote it half a dozen times, but soon I gave up, at a self-conscious loss. I should have gone for it. Thank goodness for one more chance, such as it is, to say what is in my heart.
When I was fourteen years old, my dad let me have the run of his music collection. That was the summer in which your music, above all others and with undeniable totality, captured me. I'll never forget how I felt hearing the first jangling strains of "John, I'm Only Dancing" from ChangesOne.
My dad had only been a casual listener in his youth, but my powerful craving for the Bowie sound and vision led him to take me to your show in February 2004. I stood with my hands clasped hard under my chin, prayerlike- just a piece of teenage wildlife- and tried to memorize every moment. Dad said afterward he'd rarely seen a better concert.
You carried me- or I have carried you, like a disciple of that leper-messiah? In screen names and passwords, and on t-shirts and mix tapes- in all the years since. My mom flew me halfway across the country to see the David Bowie Is exhibit, where I again stood in reverent tears, trying to commit every detail to memory. Like those white platform boots that Ziggy wore- the scuffs spoke to me of weariness, hard work, and of missing home. You gave us so much, friend, and we were so blessed!
I am just one fan, regrettably born too late to have knowingly occupied this planet with you for very long. More than sharing my story, I wanted to wish you happiness, with all the might of my tiny voice and sincerity of my heart. May your final mortal days with your family have been full of love. May those who David Jones left behind be comforted and protected in his absence. And for the rest of us, too, may the song go on forever.
A young American