day, I love to spend quality time on my
balcony overlooking ELVIS PRESLEY Blvd. Since moving to Memphis from Los
Angeles in October of 1998, I have seen some amazing moments out here and
have met many wonderful fans. At around dusk, I make it a habit to sit on
my balcony and watch the sun set in the western sky behind the Heartbreak
Hotel; the same view ELVIS had of the western sky for some 20 years. Since
writing keeps me up till odd hours, I enjoy a visit to my balcony in the
quiet hours just before dawn. There is something in the air in Memphis,
a powerful current swirls about and you get a charge. Epic storms erupt
in moments without warning; setting the skies ablaze with an explosive thunder
and lightning display. I remember one day, in December of 1998, I stood
on my balcony watching fans running for their lives to find shelter. At
around noon it was a humid 70 degree winter day, but by sundown the temperature
dropped a record 42 degrees in less than 4 hours. The people that started
the pleasant afternoon in T-shirts and shorts, found themselves in below
freezing weather and were in danger of being overexposed to the elements
. . . The most torrential downpour I've ever witnessed was fittingly on
August 15/16 2002, on the night of the Candlelight Vigil commemorating the
25th anniversary of ELVIS' death. I stood on my porch in shorts getting
drenched and loved it. It was as if ELVIS himselvis had ordered up this
stormy night. No matter how hard the rain poured and the winds blew or the
thunder and lightning roared, no one turned back or fled the ceremony .
. . still another testament to the most beloved entertainer in the history
of the world from the greatest fans in the world . .
One of the other pleasures I have is to walk a couple of hundred yards over to the gate and chat with the staff. I go to the south end of the wall where it is at its lowest and I will stand there thinking or singing; especially when I was writing the novel AROUND ELVIS. A couple of times a week, I take the walk up that long winding driveway to be as close to ELVIS as is possible. I'm not religious, but I will always drop to my knees at the foot of his grave in humble adoration of this King among men. Sometimes I recite one of my poems about him and, if it doesn't disturb anyone else, I've even sung my song TCB With A Lightning Bolt. It is a touching moment that I've shared with many fans over the years and I'm honored to have become a part of the memories they'll keep with them of their cherished visit here.
As I prepare to turn 41 this August, I'm struck by how young and tragically ELVIS lost his life and my tears are cold and bitter. I can't help but think of what might have been for this extraordinary man, as he became middle-aged and then elderly. I think of the years he lost watching his precious daughter grow into adolescence, teenage, and adulthood; of how overjoyed he would've been to have become a grandpa at 53 years-old and of how content he would be spending his golden sunset years looking back on his accomplishments and his joys, while looking ahead to the next phase of his life as he closed in on 70 years-old . . . For all that he had, he missed out on so much; though his life was full, it was incomplete . . . there was so much before him that he missed out on and that is a tragedy that can never be assuaged.
He rests in peace now on the land that he loved so dearly in life, with his family by his side and his multitude of worldwide fans all around. He will never be forgotten because love never dies. Others will discover him through our love and be astonished at his beauty and talent and they will spread the word by playing the music and watching his movies and the specials about him, and reading the books. They will find that the more they learn about this fascinating man the more they'll want to know. They'll turn to his music as a means to get through the hard times, they'll include his music in the tender moments of their life and feel the intimate bond that ELVIS shared with the audience that he loved like his extended family. That's the key to ELVIS right there. We couldn't love him unless he loved us as much, because true love is never one sided or it withers on the vine . . . our love for him springs eternal and is always in full bloom, because he is always there for us when we need him; a wise friend, who is deep and emotional, tender of heart and filled with compassion for humanity. No matter what you're feeling, there's a song or an album that he recorded just for you, so that he could reach out to you; you can lean on him, dance with him, cry on his shoulder, or take a moment and put it all in perspective while you listen with reticence. This shows you just how incredibly sensitive this man was, because the love that was in his heart is as great as that of the billion people who love him . . .