I was so excited to see the Elton John biopic, Rocketman. Months seemed like years. I wouldn’t say I’m a fanatic. I don’t even know all his songs, but the songs I do know and love move me. When I was a teenager, I confiscated my parents copy of Goodbye Yellow Brick Road and sat in my room listening to my favorite songs from the album over and over. I didn’t know about Bernie Taupin then. I just loved the songs and Elton John’s beautiful voice, and when I listened, I didn’t feel so alone.
There is a scene in the movie where Bernie is listening to Elton bring Your Song to life. I sat there and cried. It wasn’t Elton, it was the look on Bernie’s face when his creation became so much more that moved me to tears. His poetry was given life and he knew it would be shared with the world. As I writer, that is my dream. I want my writing to be part of the living. They knew they had created something amazing. It’s eternal. Every generation knows it.
There are days that writing is hard and I can’t find the right words to string together. I have come to appreciate the lyrics of Your Song – “I sat on the roof and kicked off the moss. Well a few of the verses, well they’ve got me quite cross.” There have been more days than I would like to admit that I’ve sat in front of my computer feeling quite cross. When the words I struggle to write fit together just right, I know the “sun’s been quite kind.”
I found myself crying a lot during the movie. It triggered me. Elton felt unloved by his parents and uncertain whether he would be loved at all. The ghost of that feeling lives inside of me and haunts me once in a while. It used to be alive and well in every cell of my being, crushing and breaking me and drilling a space in me that will always be empty. As a kid, I knew there were people who loved me, but feeling loved and being loved are not always the same thing.
And then I found someone who truly loved me and helped me build a bridge over that empty hole. I can peer down into the darkness, but I don’t fall in. There are danger signs all around it telling me to watch my step. Sometimes I dangle my foot over the railing just to tempt fate, but then I stand up and walk over the bridge into my happy life. As an adult, I know my parents did the best they could, but they were lost in their own black hole of brokenness. And I am far from a perfect parent. I have made plenty of mistakes, but I did the best I could do so my girls would never feel unloved.
Back to Rocketman. I loved it. It wasn’t perfect, but life isn’t either. Elton put his broken, brilliant life on the big screen for all to see. If we could all be as brave. Thank you, Elton and Bernie, for keeping me company.