the man in black
Sometimes I write a post and then muse on the title and sometimes the title comes first and I struggle to keep up with it (or live up to it). Today it is the latter. And I’m realizing that it could now reference two different people. One is the fictional character on LOST (don’t worry Beth and/or Isaac there are no spoilers here since you’re not caught up) and the other is Johnny Cash.
A minute about LOST. I think one of the reasons I dig it, with a voracious and almost feverish passion is that I’ve been following along on its journey since the beginning. Okay, that’s a bit of a lie because I watched the first season on Netflix but NEARLY the beginning. I am also a huge fan of travel (time or otherwise) and I dive into a good thriller or a mystery. I also love the depth and richness of the characters… for the most part… I ignore the diamond duo. This show has been a part of my life for a few years now. Longer than a lot of things actually. My kitten for example. I feel a connection to these characters (especially Desmond but who doesn’t LOVE him, I mean come on!) and a personal investment in their lives. Now that is powerful art- converting a viewer to a perceived participant. Bravo. I think that Six Feet Under might be my only other televised example. I would say my beloved Sports Night but I only discovered it years after its brief 2-season run ended.
But I’m really talking about Johnny Cash here. The original man in black. He’s probably on my mind because I’m seeing Million Dollar Quartet tonight (treated to a Broadway show, gotta love it). And when I think about him, I always seem to land on his “take no prisoners” attitude. (Oh, I just realized that he performed a famous concert in San Quentin and wrote a song called Folsom Prison Blues but I mean that as a life philosophy not a tangible item.) Maybe this isn’t the normal or typical perception but I think about his journey and see inspiration in that. He came from nothing, silenced the voices that told him “no,” shouldered heaping amounts of adoration, battled personal demons and came out the other side with a clarity so strong that it seemed to vibrate. A peace you cannot fake and a love that seems to transcend time.
Two great quotes:
“The Master of Life’s been good to me. He has given me strength to face past illnesses, and victory in the face of defeat. He has given me life and joy where other saw oblivion. He has given new purpose to live for, new services to render and old wounds to heal. Life and love go on, let the music play.”
“I’d like to wear a rainbow every day, and tell the world that everything is ok. But I’ll try to carry off a little darkness on my back. Until things are brighter, I’m the Man in Black.”
My favorite of his cover songs is U2’s One but it was never made into a video so here’s Hurt:
There’s something about him, that intangible pull of an artist who seems so fully in himself, so completely present. Unabashedly accepting of the good and bad in his life and never (well at least not seemingly) vengeful of what he cannot or did not change. What’s that expression… you can’t change the past but you can ruin the future by worrying about the present. I bet Johnny Cash (why do I feel compelled to always write out his full name, it feels wrong to simply put Johnny) didn’t dwell, I bet he wasn’t much for musing or regretting. He did say “You build on failure. You use it as a stepping stone. Close the door on the past. You don’t try to forget the mistakes, but you don’t dwell on it. You don’t let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space.”
Thanks Mr. Cash. I’m excited to watch someone bring you to life tonight (I’ve heard he’s amazing) and I thank you for giving me yet another experience singing in the car with my father. I will try to be less mopey and more mindful but if I do find myself in a sober state… I’ll be sure to wear some black.
THINGS I’M NOT DIGGING: Summer weather in April (not a fan)
DREAM ROLE: Something in Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck’s next film