Congrats on completing 30 days of writing reflections! The feedback on #trust30 has been so great that Amber has volunteered to continue the prompts as a personal project. The hope is that these daily emails will guide you on your writing journey, and help you to look within and get to know yourself.
To kick off this new leg, here’s a prompt from Seth Godin:
Find something that happened on the day and date you were born. Write about it.
Direct from the pages of elvispresleypedia.com, which literally documents every single day of Elvis Presley's life, here is what "The King" was doing on the Sunday that I entered the world:
"Elvis flies from Houston, Texas to Las Vegas, Nevada.
Elvis performs at the Venus Room, New Frontier Hotel, Las Vegas at 8 p.m. and midnight. Elvis starts a two-week engagement in front of an older audience. Later Elvis recalled: 'After the first night I went outside and just walked around in the dark. It was awful. I wasn't getting across to the audience.' But nevertheless, Elvis fell in love with this city and he was thrilled to meet some many show business legends."
I want to clarify that I am not and have never been an Elvis Presley fan. I like some of his songs and I recognize his huge influence on much of the music that followed him including The Beatles. The reason that I am highlighting this is simple.
I found this website while I was searching for something to write about that happened on April 22, 1956. When I looked at this site documenting all of the frenetic activity that was the life of Elvis Presley, I was amazed. He literally did not stop moving at any time during this period. Concerts from coast to coast, usually two a day; recording sessions; travel; branching out to new audiences such as Las Vegas for the first time as documented above and much more.
During the two weeks he was debuting in Vegas, that wasn't all he was up to. He also signed a three picture deal with Paramount. Just before this, he received a gold record for his song, Heartbreak Hotel. And quoting from the same site, less than two months later, "Accompanied by his cousins Gene and Junior Smith, Elvis goes to Atlanta in his new Cadillac. Elvis Presley and Col. Tom Parker signed with the William Morris Agency and set into motion the series of events that caused the creation of Elvis Presley as an American icon."
At this moment, he is 21 years old.
His life is almost exactly half over. He is gone on August 16, 1977.
As a creation and a creator, he is a dynamo, a supernova. One incredibly brilliant flash that begins to wane in the same breath.
I remember how when I was very young, the older generation (that would be the parents of my parents) viewed this man as scandal, sexual corruption incarnate. When he appeared on the popular Sunday evening variety show hosted by Ed Sullivan, the TV cameras shot him only from the waist up. This was designed to save the morals of young American women everywhere as his pelvis rocked and shook in "obscene, frenzied gyrations."
A generation before him, a similar scene played out with Frank Sinatra.
You don't think any of this is new, do you?
In my 55 years, I have seen how change scares most people. The bigger the change, the more scared they are and the greater the chance that they can be manipulated by those who recognize the shift. It's all energy, period.
Elvis Presley in April of 1956 was the dynamic, hyperactive, sexual crooner of change and it scared the ever-living crap out of most of the country well before he became an "American icon."
I admire him for his passion and drive. It got him where he wanted to be but almost certainly cost him any chance for a long and happy life.
But man, did he burn brightly. And he serves as a great study on so many levels of choice and creation.
Let's close with this set of lyrics from a singer/songwriter who has managed to stick around for a very long time, Neil Young. I feel this is a perfect bookend to the snapshot of Elvis, April 22, 1956:
"My My, Hey Hey (Out Of The Blue)"
My my, hey hey
Rock and roll is here to stay
It's better to burn out
Than to fade away
My my, hey hey.
Out of the blue
and into the black
They give you this,
but you pay for that
And once you're gone,
you can never come back
When you're out of the blue
and into the black.
The king is gone
but he's not forgotten
This is the story
of a Johnny Rotten
It's better to burn out
than it is to rust
The king is gone
but he's not forgotten.
Hey hey, my my
Rock and roll can never die
There's more to the picture
Than meets the eye.
Hey hey, my my.