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Goodbye Norma Jean …

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Candle in the Wind.

Candle

One song … of two mysterious but tragically unfortunate women, struck down at the age of 36, in the beautiful prime of their lives.

Long after Marilyn’s lifeless, drugged body was found in her bed on August 5, 1962 …

Long before any of us knew who shy young Diana Spencer was …

Long before Princes William and Harry were born …

… Elton John (music) and Bernie Taupin (lyrics) penned a song called Candle in the Wind… an ode originally written to the memory and significance and tragedy that was Norma Jeane Mortenson. You probably know her more familiarly as Marilyn Monroe.

…………………

And it seems to me you lived your life, like a candle in the wind 

Never knowing who to cling to, when the rain set in.

…………………

The song was on Elton’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road album that came out in 1973 when I was a young lad at Glendale High School in Hamilton, Ontario.

It was the most influential set of songs I had heard to that point in my life with pop classics like Bennie and the Jets, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting, Funeral For A Friend, and of course … Candle in the Wind.

“Candle” was probably my favourite song (along with Danny Bailey and Sweet Painted Lady) on the entire 2 record album.

I’ve always loved ballads, and Candle in the Wind with its simple chords and melody and poignant lyrics, captured the struggles of untold fame on the lives of simple people.

Songs we love are so important to us because we find meaningful significance in them that the writer may have never intended.

We internalize a message that is unique to our own experience.

For me, Candle in the Wind was an ode to my Mother’s untimely death – I’m certain thousands of others felt the same deep emotional connection within their own lives, whether relating to the death of a significant other or perhaps the loss of a relationship that had once been strong and filled with love, hope, and longing.

When I was a teenager, I would sit in the apartment I shared with my sister, playing my guitar, dreaming of becoming a music writer and rock star like Elton John …

elton john

I wanted the weird, multi-coloured eyeglasses.

I wanted the fame.

I wanted the adulation.

I wanted the ceaseless waterfalls of cash flowing into my bank accounts.

What I didn’t want was to serve up the work ethic and sacrifice that would make it possible.

Like my studies in high school where I did OK, but rarely ever pushed myself, I was a lazy musician and songwriter.

I hadn’t mastered the arithmetic of putting 2 + 2 together yet and wouldn’t for a couple of decades to come. I closed my eyes to the blatantly obvious that the really good things happen when you put in the hours and focus to make it happen.

The hard work happens before the rewards flow. It harkens back to that old 10,000 hours rule of “practice makes mastery” that Paul and John knew, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs knew, JK Rowling and Sheryl Sandberg knew.

Good luck shines on those who pour themselves wholeheartedly into their dreams. Wishing just doesn’t make it so.

I’ve changed now. Both in understanding what it takes to excel … and what I’m willing to bring to that lionized table.

I’ve changed, but not enough to become a rock star, or an esteemed author, or a renowned gardener, or even a celebrated Porta-Potty cleaner.

I’ll never be a famous or acclaimed singer/songwriter because, even though I’m willing to put more effort and time into the things that are important to me, I’m still not willing to make the all-out sacrifice of time, focus and energy that it takes.

I won’t pour myself into making music or anything else for 8 or 10 or 12 hours a day every day. That’s not who I am. Even my vacant macho dreams of becoming a male prostitute to Desperate Housewives peters out as I realize my Peter’s not up to the hard and salacious demands of Urban Princesses.

I’ll always be a Hobbiest, never a Master.

I’ve made my choices and I’ll never be Elton John.

Some candles burn brighter than others, but really, we all cast a flicker of light that provides warmth and illumination to those around us.

Marilyn and Diana were those dazzling, brilliant candles that lived their lives on the treacherous edge of hurricane alley where the storms were always a threat to their light.

Often, those that burn brightest sadly seem to be the ones at the greatest risk of being snuffed out when the winds begin to swirl and howl.

And I would have liked to have known you
But I was just a kid
Your candle burned out long before
Your legend ever did …

Marilyn and diana

 

 

 

It’s Possible I’m (In)Famous

3 Comments

YK Handcuffed  2

“Arrested” by RCMP years ago in Yellowknife for not showing up at a CAN CAN dance rehearsal…

One day, years ago, I pulled out a knife/gun/credit card and committed a cold-blooded, evil felony.

Certainly the border guards at U.S. Customs think so. Every time I try to cross into or through the States, I get yanked out of line for a half hour or so in order for them to gawk and ask probing questions of me, the infamous rapist/axe murderer/corporate scam artist who thinks he can just waltz into their country sans hassle.

My name is pretty common which means there are tens if not hundreds of Larry Green’s out there committing God-knows-what-foul-deeds and leaving my moniker fingerprints behind. What this means is that for a half hour once or twice a year, I get to have my proverbial 15 (er…30) minutes of fame…er infamy!

I’ll take it where I can get it.

When I was a teenager, I had dreams of becoming the next Elton John…musically, not sexually or personality-wise. I wanted to be a songwriter/singing star. I hoped to triumphantly stand on world stages and bask in waves of acclaim and celebrity. Dreams…wants…hopes…

elton-john

I fell asleep at night dreaming of my face pasted on top of Elton’s!

It obviously wasn’t a burning desire because I didn’t throw myself into the scheme wholeheartedly. I didn’t drip rivers of sweat until the wee hours of the morning honing my craft. It was what you might rightly call a pipe-dream. A plan without a process. Kinda nice to have so long as I didn’t have to dedicate the now familiar 10,000 hours to mastering the basics.

I sat in the apartment my sister Betty and I shared and tried penning a few songs in the style of my musical heroes of the time eg. James Taylor, Bruce Cockburn, Elton John, Carole King. But I didn’t have the skill set, life experience, or confidence to push forward. My limited attempts could be summed up as C.R.A.P.

I was basically lazy…I wanted fame and fortune, I just didn’t want to pay the price of working for it. Sounds like a normal teenager, right?

I would be a total liar if I said that when I write this blog, I didn’t have this little phantom voice saying, “Someday, millions of people will miraculously discover your writing and fall in love with your remarkable style and insight. Money will flow like fresh springwater into your hands and bank account.” It’s narcissistic and ego-driven. It doesn’t fill me with pride. It’s not very sophisticated or adult-like thinking, but this is what my mind does when untended.

Fortunately, I get plenty of satisfaction from writing words down and trying to discover my inner thoughts on various topics. Some think I just do it so I can write about boobs. Maybe they’re right. Anyway, I can feel pretty content in just pursuing the process. I think better in writing than I do in verbalizing. I find ideas and opinions become MORE solidified for me through tapping my fingertips on a keyboard than through exercising my tongue.

blogging deathbed

…and now this is where I’m headed…

I’m willing to bet that a large segment of our population – maybe even you? –  would feel gratified by some measure of fame, and hopefully accompanying fortune. Our society is mesmerized by the fame of others…we even make some famous who have absolutely no basis for accolades. Do the Kardashians or Paris Hilton come to mind?

There is a dream held by many of us that if we make a multi-million dollar discovery, or score 50 goals, or if we become idolized by a billion of our peers in whatever field we choose, we will rise miraculously to the peak of Maslow’s hierarchy, becoming self-actualized and instantly happy for the rest of our days.

There are a rare few who actually reach skyward to that mountainous peak and feel entirely fulfilled. After winning a huge lottery prize, or entering the dirty world of politics, they find a way to hold onto the person that they began life as, and enjoy the positive fruits without letting the sweetness of the transformation turn sour. I tip my hat to those stalwart souls. Their’s is a strength of character that most can only aspire to.

Fame brings enormous pressure to bend and transfigure. Coal can be made into diamonds, but some diamonds don’t make the grade. Justin Bieber is just one recent case file of caving under the weight of his own (supposed) greatness.

The honest truth? I think if I became famous, I’d quickly turn into a monster.

I’d yell at nice people who didn’t deserve to be abused and eat tons of greasy junk food and buy fancy cars. I’d kick small animals. I’d slurp Dom Perignon champagne straight from the bottle at breakfast. I’d have a magisterial throne built for me in my living room. I’d hire staff to polish my guitars and keep them tuned 24/7. There would be sexy, sultry ladies seductively placing peeled grapes into my maw.

Seriously, it wouldn’t be pretty. It just wouldn’t be pretty…

I can’t trust myself with too much money or too much fame.

KNOW THYSELF, I say.

Anyway, as I age, I’m re-dedicating myself to my musical craft… returning in a bigger way to my music. I feel the inner innocent teenager stirrings once again. Maybe I’ll become a senior-citizen folk-music star. The headlines would read;

“SONGWRITERS BOB DYLAN AND LARRY GREEN MAKE MAGIC ON STAGE TOGETHER” Just two old fogies making great harmony. Oops, I’m getting carried away again!

Ah hell, who am I kidding, I don’t want to be famous.

It’s enough to be fawned over by Border Guards for this Fame-Whore!

famewhore

This is where it all begins…