7 02 2005

this is mostly a letter to aaric, but we’re all voyuers & exhibitionists to some extent, or else we wouldn’t be here.

the other day, i heard harry chapin’s “shooting star,” probably for the first time in years. confession: i got the mp3 from somewhere. so i must have downloaded it on purpose, but i can’t imagine what that purpose might have been, other than an excruciatingly hyperactive pack-rat gland, and i’m sure whenever i did that that i didn’t play the file, just filed it.  need a refresher?

he was the sun, burning bright and brittle and
she was the moon, shining back his light a little;
he was a shooting star
she was softer and more slowly
he could not make things possible, but
she could make them holy

and i thought: oh my god. it’s like a portrait, of what he wanted to be, or thought he had to be, or thought he was limited to, projected hero-istic and untouchable, and what he wanted of me, and what i couldn’t be, and what a fucked up thing to idealize & want someone to create/be for you in the first place! he disappears, of course, or dies, in the song; she gives him (that’s how it’s phrased) 2 kids & does everything she can, but they both know he’s doomed from the start.

the song–especially that chorus–has been in my head for days now.  every time it’s silent, i hear the singing. and part of me’s going jesus, christ, the arrogance, the trumped-up portraiture, the impossible demands on the other person the picture has to have–because it’s like all that half-face celestial art, it has to have both pieces.

and another part of me, instead, is thinking about how hurt & abandoned & tragic he has to have seen his part in the story–in all the stories open to him–and then, of course, i wonder if i’m too harsh, if i was always too harsh, if we all were.

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7 responses

7 02 2005
l_stboy

I’ve never heard the song, but it does start out
“He was crazy of course
From the first she must have known it”
Reading the lyrics at http://www.harrychapin.com/music/shootingstar.shtml, the song’s about her tragic sacrifice to someone she knew from the start wasn’t going to give anything back; except in the end when
“He reappeared beside her saying,
“You’re all I’ve ever had”
sigh… guess I better fire up limewire again 😉 Between this and Cat’s Cradle, it sounds like Harry Chapin is a right depressing bastard.

8 02 2005
tyra

trust me, the “he” i mean wasn’t hearing it as a song about her. but, still, you’re right, and then some. she bloody-well should have known it, even if she was ignoring as loudly as it’s possible for anyone other than a cat to ignore anything.

8 02 2005
aaric

sad-thoughtful
So… as always this *place* leaves me sad & unsure. I was retelling this story just this weekend actually… it’s been a long while… and now that I’ve typed a zillion different beginning sentences & deleted them… this is what I’m starting with:
Aren’t the lyrics classic romance, really? Sacrifice… much of it unnecessary even? In fact, isn’t teenage-angst-romance all about sacrifices that don’t really need to be made in adult-world + naive/foolish avoidance of the sacrifices that ARE ESSENTIAL in adult-world?
And besides, isn’t going away + death the perfect tragic tone for his life then? Wasn’t that what he thought loving relationships turned into?
Plus most of Chapin’s songs evoke two paradoxical things: the longing for an older, simple life (with a nuclear family & everyone in a fixed role)… and a recognition that the old pattern isn’t a full life. (Cat’s Cradle; Flowers are Red). And for me (us?) that story was cut short at a point when he longed for the old & before he relished the new…

8 02 2005
aaric

wry smile…
You may be the closest thing to a brother I may ever have.

8 02 2005
ranagar

Just to melt your brain a little…
You may or may not remember (or have ever known) that Harry was the most common music in my parents house and he was the ONLY concert my parents had ever been to (until Dad went to the Grateful Dead show with Dan a few years back).
Having said that, I’ve known the words, had the images and felt the emotions of these songs since kindergarden AT LEAST.
T- I find it interesting, but not surprising when I think about it, that you would react as you did to those lyrics. I’m sure it won’t surprise you to know at all that I have always identified with Harry’s shooting star… even as a child. That relationship somehow always instinctually made sense to me.

12 02 2005
tyra

Re: Just to melt your brain a little…
i’m re-reading this, & i shouldn’t be, & i’m thinking about your last line, & i shouldn’t be, & i’m refusing to sit still any longer with the moment, but…
this is more telling than you know, i imagine. at the very least, it says an awful lot to me. if you don’t think you get it already, though, i don’t think it’ll do any of us any good at all for me to try to explain.

12 02 2005
ranagar

Re: Just to melt your brain a little…
That self-identification is what has led all those who have made the observation/accusation that I am co-dependant. Of course, I still contend that is B.S. but thus is the nature of polarized opinions.

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