The King. He would have been 77 today. I wonder what he’d look like. Would he still have hair? Would he be on medication? Would he be touring with The Rolling Stones? Staring in a Broadway revival of Bye Bye Birdie? Owner of a chain of fast food restaurants? Sleeping with Lady GaGa? Forever and ever leaving the building?
I had a dream about him once. We were walking down the street in my old neighborhood. He was talking to me in that voice like far-off thunder. He put his arm around me, pulled me close to him. My legs felt weak, my heart was racing. I felt beautiful and protected.
I find he crops up in my writing from time to time–some bartender looks like him, another character goes to a Halloween party in a plastic Elvis wig. He is, after all, an icon.
I like Elvis, but I’m far from a fanatical worshiper. Graceland is not on my Bucket List. I’ll eat a peanut butter and banana sandwich from time to time, but that’s more of my mother’s influence than his. My thank you, thank you very much imitation is mediocre at best.
But he was an artist, a genius of sorts, larger than life, struggling with mental illness and fame and self-loathing. Who doesn’t want to cozy up to a little of that from time to time?
I’ll take my inspiration from wherever I can get it. And Elvis, in all his grandeur and madness and talent and steamy sexuality fits the bill tonight.
Happy Birthday, Elvis. Thanks for putting yourself out there. For showing us, anything is possible. For dreaming big, living large, and failing on a grand scale too. To do that in my writing, that’s what I’m shooting for.