It seems to me that there are parts of John’s book that we are all going to relate to. I might not have grown up in Birmingham, England, but I, too, grew up. I, too, have had to figure out how to be an adult. I think we all can and will relate to those elements of John’s story. Can we really relate to being a rock star? I don’t think so. Then again, I have wondered the same about my own life lately. Are some experiences so intense, so unique that they not only change one’s life but also make it so that anyone not there, not present, not part of it, can never really understand. I suspect that must be what it is like for the band. I feel that way about my own life. If you have been reading the blog for any amount of time, you probably know that when I’m not on tour, writing the book, or talking Duran, I’m either teaching or I’m campaigning. I have never gone into detail about those here. Frankly, I haven’t gone into that much detail with my friends or family in real life, either. They might think that I do or have, but I don’t really. Why is that? Obviously, part of the reason is that politics can be extremely divisive. I don’t want to drive anyone away. Teaching shouldn’t be problematic but it is. Right now, I work in an urban middle school. Most of my students live in poverty and are also minorities. I feel like I always have to be cautious as people will draw conclusions about them or about teachers. Many of those conclusions I have seen drawn by the general public have been hurtful. Thus, I have kept these aspects of my life to myself.
That sounds like the perfect solution, doesn’t it? I keep aspects of my life away from others in order to avoid conflict or hurt feelings. I think I also keep these things away from others because, like I imagine John Taylor or Nick Rhodes to feel, I doubt that anyone can really understand. How can anyone understand how frustrating, how emotionally draining, how wonderful teaching can be? Campaigning is like that as well. It is intense, detailed work filled with what seems like silly tasks that turn out to be essential. Can people who have never done it really understand? Likewise, how can John really explain what it was like to be him in 1984? How can I explain what it is like to teach my students on a daily basis? I wonder how open and honest John will be with this time in his life. Will people make assumptions that he is making more to it than it was or will people think he is censoring himself? I can’t wait to find out how he is able to balance honesty and openness. Like many times in my life, I hope I can learn from John here.
Of course, beyond John’s general experience as a famous rock star, I wonder if he has had moments in his life that truly changed him. Did he have a specific moment that lead to his decision to finally get sober once and for all? Was there an experience that pushed him to decide to leave or rejoin the band? If so, will he share that with us? Will he be able to explain the emotional intensity of those experiences in such a way that we, the readers, really get it? In the past year, I had a moment during the Wisconsin protests that shook me to my core. It is an experience that will live on forever. Again, I don’t talk about it because I don’t want to alienate anyone but I also don’t talk about it because I don’t think people will really understand how haunting this experience was for me. This, of course, brings me back to teaching, to work. My students just recently finished the book, Maus. This is a young adult graphic novel that depicts one person’s story during the Holocaust. It begins before the concentration camps and goes all the way through until liberation at the end of World War II. The story is written by the survivor’s son. Throughout the book, the author openly wonders if he is giving the story justice. That’s what I’m wondering here. I’m wondering how to give my own story justice. I have no doubt that John Taylor will give his story justice. I have such confidence that he will be able to explain what life was like for him in a way that creates an emotional connection with all of us readers. Maybe then, I’ll be able to explain my life, my experiences to those closest to me.