This is not an ode so much to Bourdain as it is to the life force he embodied. The same one coursing through all of us, ever seeking a channel.
But first, a confession: I was never a fangirl of Parts Unknown. I appreciated and respected it, but there are other shows I reached for more. And unlike many of my colleagues, I never met Bourdain. So it's strange then, that learning of his passing made me cry this morning, and intermittently all day.
Perhaps the news catalyzed grief for death in parts of my own life—decaying projects, stages of life. Perhaps it's all a very self-centered thing.
I guess what scares me is that someone could channel his life force into such prolificness—first in the kitchen, then with books, and then, still, on screen—only to take life itself. The life that the Creator breathed into us, as creations, so that we, in turn, would be creative ourselves, to paraphrase The Artist's Way. That creativity, that vitality: all one and the same.
If someone so alive as Bourdain could fall on the sword—his very own—what hope is there for the rest of us? I know this seems terribly sentimental, and an ode to the false idol of the disturbed artist. I know, I know, one does not have to be depressed to be creative. Or tortured. Or in pain. Or irresponsible.
But time and time again, these stereotypes surface in the world around us. What recourse do we have in the face of this tragedy?
Only one, it seems. To create. And keep creating. To sit down at the desk, to write. To cook, to paint, to teach, to live, to drive, to build, and yes, to love each other. And sometimes, that seems so very, very hard. That mean voice in our head is just too loud, telling us the most hurtful things we fear are true. That we're a fucking loser, that we are alone.
And yet, we have been tasked with a mission which is futile to evade. Just show up.
That's it. Just show up.
And it has been promised to us that God will meet us there, in that blank space, on that blank page, in every new day, and help us do the rest.
And this is what we're doing, every damn day. Congratulations to us for making it this far.
RIP Bourdain, you inspired us all. You may have lost the battle, but we will win the war for you.