Stuart McLean has died.
His name won’t likely be known to so many folks outside of Canada, but for people like me, this is like losing Bowie, Prince, or Cohen. Every week on Canada’s public national radio he told us stories. Every week I could do nothing else as I laughed and sobbed through his sweet stories of normal life of regular folks.
Given that I’m not much into celebrities, and certainly don’t see them as different from not-celebrities, I understand why not everyone “gets” it…gets it that some of us would be devastated when another goes.
For me, it’s not about them being better than the rest of us, or more important than the rest of us. It’s about them being a person whose voice, work, words, or lifestyle had a profound impact on us—as individuals, as distinct beings—every day or every week for years and years and years. Who freed us. Who made it safer for us to speak in our own, smaller worlds. Or to raise our mouth to a microphone. Or to blog our best ideas for connecting.
Without them, I think: Who then?!?!? Who will pave the way for each of us to wear what we want, to say our true words, to love who we love, to bend our gender expression to one that honestly matches our insides? To push the boundaries, ensuring more space for every person’s authenticity?
I’m pretty sure it’s us. I’m pretty sure it’s every single one of us that is to spread this message now.
The torch is being passed.