About eight years ago, in the promotion of a book (I think it was one of the Tennyson Hardwick novels) our publisher sponsored a huge party at Prince’s house, and as you might imagine, Tananarive and I happily went to the Hollywood HIlls. The house was huge, but there was an even larger more impressive house up on the hill above. I found out that THAT was his “real” house. This was his “party” house, where he entertained the public. Huge swimming pool, vast crowd, everything perfect. He was nowhere to be seen, but we heard that he was going to perform at about 11pm, and couldn’t wait.
About 10:45 I noticed a small shadow lurking over in what looked like a cabana or pool house. Yes, it was Prince, shyly observing us. A few minutes later his band set up on a slightly raised stage near a cleared area, and tested their equipment. Then our host emerged, and told us this wasn’t a concert–this was dancing. To concentrate on the music rather than staring at him. And as we danced, he played.
Lord God, Billy Bob. There I was, only about ten feet away from Prince as he played “Let’s Go Crazy” and “1999.” Tananarive and I were tearing it up, floating on a wave of pure sound (the band was friggin’ PERFECT).
And I watched him out of the corner of my eye as he submerged himself in a blissful flow state and jammed and sang out his soul. Now, I’m going to say the following honestly, but without any particular need for you to consider the following is objective truth. It is probably a mixture of objective, subjective and what I call “Complex Equivalence.” It has to do with aura perception, which I’ve studied formally, but cannot tell you if it is anything outside my own mind. I can see them if I focus on it (not as well as I used to, or could as a child) but I can.
One of the things that I do with the “Ancient Child” exercise is sensitize people to the “inner child”, which can be seen as a mental/emotional construct, your contact with your own creativity. There are multiple ways to interpret what you find. That’s a topic for another time.
But when I am dealing with a creative person, I’ve at times “seen” their “essence” as a young child, as if they are pregnant with themselves. In this case, the “younger” the avatar, the greater connection to their creativity. For instance Harlan Ellison has a seven year old kid inside that body, and a very sweet, creative little buddy he is. The crusty personality is nothing but a protective “parent” self. Most creative people hover around there, frankly, somewhere between five and ten years old.
I wondered what I’d see in Prince. And when I did my little perceptual trick to open that part of my head, I was shocked.
There was no five year old. Or four. Or three. Or two. Or one. To my disbelief and deep surprise, what I saw in him was a fetus. An unborn child-thing. Never in my life had I seen or felt anything of the kind. And I felt honored to be in his presence, because my feeling, which has never changed, was that I was in the presence of something very special.
I think this kind of connection is what I’d have found in a Mozart. Yeah, I said it. Possibly a Shakespeare. Not that there is a direct correlation between the “age” of the avatar and the depths of the skill–after all, I cannot remove my own thoughts and feelings and have to admit that it might be ALL my own stuff. I can report what I experience, but will not pretend to objectivity.
But my conclusion is this: there is some connection between this inner self and our outer skills. Some connection between the health of the “child self” and the genius and excellence we express in the world.
And I think that in future generations, we will learn how to teach this to our children. To help them REMAIN children while simultaneously growing into conscious adult responsibilities. We’ve not done this in the past rather obviously because it is much harder than simply growing up to hunt and gather and breed. If you have to choose between “simple” adulthood and creating creative genius in a few at great cost, you choose adulthood–the children are only safe if there are adults to protect them. Survival FIRST.
But…we may well be moving beyond this. And human beings like Prince might be showing us what we can be, and the path we must follow, if we are to evolve as a species.
It is hard for me to mourn a man who so fully expressed himself in life. I prefer to celebrate his work, and feel profound gratitude that I get to share the planet with human beings like Prince. The man was insane, in the very very best way. Clearly, playing a different game than most of us. But I think its a game we can learn to play, if we only have the heart and courage to embrace our child selves, and become sufficiently adult to create a protective world for that precious infant…or embryo.
RIP my butt. Rock on, my brother. Rock on.