Prince has died. Long live Prince.

I wanted to be a musician so bad. We'd gather at my friend Randy's house, all of us fifteen or so. We'd order pizza in, and we'd watch Purple Rain on VHS. Maybe a dozen times, we played it. We talked about our band and how cool it was going to be. We talked about Prince, and how great a guitar player and musician he was. He made us feel superhuman.

We have a policy here, on the Seattle Review of Books, when big news breaks. We review our posts for the day. Should we halt them, out of respect? Are any of them inappropriate for the tone of the day?

But on the day that Prince dies, what is appropriate? There are no maps for this. Like Bowie, gender was Prince's playground. But although Bowie's death was a surprise to us, it was not to him, he played us off. Prince feels wrong. We've been robbed. He was robbed. Maybe some sites will try to find a literary angle to cover here. Maybe they'll point to his greatest biography or something. But sometimes, all you have to do is acknowledge.

Watching Purple Rain was transformative. It taught me about making things, because Prince made things. Prince made music. He made movies. He was a gearhead, and a music nerd. He was a scientist and a musical prodigy. He made people dance, and fall in love. He expressed the truest human emotions in the most poignant ways. He was — not by blood or fiat but by earning every bit of it — true American royalty. He never stopped. He never gave up. He always was creating. He worked, and worked, and worked.

Thank you for everything, Prince. Anil Dash should have the last word here (and it's worth clicking through to read his whole thread of thoughts on Prince's death):