SWANSONG: THE LAST PALADIN

 

DANIEL "SUGARFALL"

JULY 12, 1967 - FEB 12, 2020

 

Death does not always come suddenly.

In the case of Daniel (my husband) it came gradually.

We were all of us blessed enough to have had not only clear and

emphatic forewarning, but also many more days than were

predicted. It gave us all more than gracious time to

emotionally-prepare ourselves for what loomed.

We had time to travel when his health permitted, time to discuss

every detail of the moment itself and whatever came thereafter. 

I am grateful for this. So very grateful.

I am now a widow, something one does not assume

they will be at such a young age.

The poly life leaves me without the most

extraordinary man that ever lived but with two wives,

two girlfriends and a circle of support from

people who knew him and loved him.

Though I know most have no interest in my marriage

or even knowing that I had a husband I, of course,

have much to say and would like to share it nevertheless.

It would mean so much to me if even a few people

set themselves aside to share in this site-celebration of

probably the most amazing man to ever set foot on this planet.

 

For those who were not already aware, Daniel died

Wednesday Feb 12th at 11:14 pm surrounded by those who loved him

of an astrocytoma (after 2 years beyond his predicted expiry date)

which was simultaneously responsible for his genius.

Like Travolta's character in the movie "PHENOMENON", the

tumor gradually thrived and its fingers networked through his

brain, bringing together a dozen areas that meant

a miraculous ability to do what the rest of us cannot even

imagine being capable of, but -- in the red of the ledger -- also

meant a capricious cruelty to his mind and body,

a sometimes-random breakdown in anything and everything

from his sight, to his ability to stand or walk.

One day he was rock-climbing, the next, paralyzed.

One day he was drinking in the beauty of the blue sky, the next blind.

He could forget more in a day than most of us learn in a lifetime.

Then know things he'd never learned.

There is no way for knowing if his autism was the result of the tumor

or just an insane coincidence but he was born with the

ability to write symphonies, play 22 instruments.

 

There's also no way of knowing for sure how much of his personality

was dictated or influenced by the autism or cancer.

But even into his late 40's he had a child-like view of the world, life,

love, hope, faith, people that was often seen by detractors as

foolish, naive, ridiculous and worthy of derision and exploitation.

In everything he did, thought, said, there was an excitement,

a stamina, an irrepressible need to excel, laugh, cry, embrace

and without any interest whatsoever in money or fame or power

he forged an invisible life of achievement, avoiding notoriety,

applause or profit, seeking only the deepest of intimacy from those

fortunate enough to be in his private circle.

He was the sort to take a bullet or flurry of bullets for everyone he loved.

Those who knew him -- including myself -- watched him lay down

his life in awe-striking ways none of us would ever genuinely consider

doing, let alone as unflinchingly as he did it.

I met Daniel when I was 19, a pre-med student.

I attended a lecture, unaware of the life he had led until then or his

connection to such people as Britney.

Like 99% of the population I was living without any knowledge of

the world he was about to open up to me.

Without boring or mystifying you with the bizarre details of how it came to be,

I was soon being ushered to the other side of the world where I found

myself in China & Taiwan where his extraordinary world and life were

reshaping me from a petty, small bitch into...

well...let's avoid anything that would seem boastful.

Conceit is so ugly.

Years later now, though I am nowhere near the person I'd love to be

certainly I shed that child (I hope) and became someone I know

earnestly glimpses what he did and desperately wants to attempt to be

a fraction of what he was and believed I could become.

 

Daniel did not subscribe to terrestrial civilization.

He encouraged my adventure, my exploration, my search for

meaning beyond civilization such as it is without the pettiness

of envies, jealousies, rivalry.

He did this for everyone.

People like Britney and others were drawn to him like

lost souls to a light, the cold to a fire, the starving to food, the thirsty to water.

He was an oasis, a well in a wasteland.

It sometimes seemed there was no limit to what he was capable

of giving, no bottom to the well.

He seemed infinite, though clearly he was not.

In these last months it broke my heart to see such a GIANT shrink.

He could some days not stand or remember simple things.

He was fragile, frail, a dozen ice-packs frostbiting his skin everywhere to

relieve horrifying agony that he refused to honestly represent.

He was suffering 1000 times more than he ever dared let on.

He was still making the rest of us laugh even as savage suffering was

devouring him, madness shredding his once-tender mind.

He was desperate to use every lucid, able moment to guide,

teach, comfort the rest of us even though he was the one withering and dying.

He spent a lifetime becoming zero, eluding things like

bank accounts, credit cards, possessions long before he was ill.

He saw his life as an opportunity to become the best version of beauty.

He talked only of kindness, sweetness, sacrifice and tenderness.

He despised and rejected everything selfish, cruel or harsh.

He was soft and wanted the world to be even softer.

He wanted to embrace everyone on the street and tell them

they were beautiful and that everything...was going to be just fine.

Daniel was himself (and believed in) the human Swan potential.

More than anything he saw everyone as being capable of

more than they ever believed themselves and

toiled to inspire everyone to reach beyond any brink of the

human imagining...and he himself did just that.

His parents despised him for it since birth.

They were already ugly when he was born.

The abuse he suffered is...beyond digestion.

To even begin to capsulize the rapes, the broken bones, the blood,

the torment and tragedy is simply impossible.

Homeless by 15, on foot across Canada to Vancouver-PEI,

he ventured into the wild and into the cities with thousands of

breathtaking, mesmerizing experiences to share for those who

were hungry to partake.

His insane life led to a nervous breakdown, learning to walk again,

chew, swallow, speak, rebuild himself.

His second life thereafter, just as awe-inspiring, just as horrible too.

But it did not break him.

It did not kill or even quiet the faith, hope and spirit that all of us lose

long before we are in college, let alone 52.

He seemed eternally-child-like and -- at the same time -- wise beyond

words or digestion.

To this very moment I don't know why he took notice of me at all.

He already had so many burdens and commitments to so many.

I wasn't special or even a good prospect.

I was average, if that.

There were so many other people worldwide who could have thrived

with the influence of someone like Daniel, far beyond me.

Selfishly, I devoured every opportunity I had to spend time with him

and take anything he gave me, even though I knew it was

just that -- selfish. Greedy.

Everything beautiful that I may be, he gave me.

As he did with everyone.

He made me a better writer, singer, painter.

He taught me how to ride a scooter, swim, fetch a taxi and what a

BIG MAC was.

He helped me find, see and caress the beauty in all of you.

He replaced my mediocrity with meaning.

He taught me the greatest gift you can give someone isn't

love you give them but the love you help them

find in themselves for others.

Daniel saw the world from the surface of the Sun or Jupiter.

In fact, the very word astrocytoma was coined for his cancer because

one of the side-effects of it are dreams and nightmares

(and sometimes hallucinations) that you are free-floating in space

with all the planets around you, free of gravity.

It was terrifying for him.

But he watched his species in a larger web of history or future

craving maskless intimacy with everyone and at the same time

regarding it from afar with concern and approval.

In the years I knew him dozens of times I witnessed

birds and butterflies land and remain on him, geese gather

to him while shunning everyone else, homeless strangers

approach and speak to him freakish mysteries

and messages 'from the ether' as though receiving information

from the heavens.

It was bizarre and inexplicable!

It was impossible to spend any substantial time with Daniel

without muttering "what the hell was that about?". Often.

He was shockingly skilled at hundreds of little things from catching

coins off his elbow to shooting pool, from cooking 11 things

at once so that everything synchronized to a perfect finish to

building card-houses as tall as me.

He was eerily endowed and more genuine than anyone I'll ever know.

He did not know how to lie or even why others did.

It made it difficult for many people to be near him.

Daniel achieved so much.

He wrote dozens of books, traveled the world, explored every major

religion, was an ordained minister, theologian, D. Div.,

philosopher, adventurer. He was always adding to himself new skills

and knowledge, always breaking what was to rebuild anew.

From the Tibetan mountains to the Australian outback, across oceans

into the red rock canyons, he searched for everything in awe.

He was able to climb 1/3 of Mt Everest and couch-potato with a pizza.

He could revel in the grand and microscopic.

He could talk in reverence about bacteria and the grandeur of

the galaxy with equal passion.

 

And he was HILARIOUS!

The funniest person I ever knew. Everyone left Daniel...giddy.

And we also left him...more than we were hours before.

Gold/plat records he hid, awards he stored and stashed punctuate his

private countryside.

Somehow he chose me. No clue why.

Britney...I could understand...but me? No clue! No clue!

He didn't see anything the way I do or you do.

So he had no idea what I'm now saying.

What made him the most amazing man to have ever walked the earth

wasn't his genius, accomplishments or character but that he ought to

have seen it and been proud but did not.

Pride was a mystery to him.

He was humble beyond explanation.

Someone who had so earned the right to be and feel amazing

saw himself as small and unimpressive.

He did not wield what he was like a totem or trophy.

Instead, he was distracted by what lay ahead, what he had failed

yet to find, learn, become, do.

Life for Daniel was not for planning, discussing.

It was for doing.

There were simply never enough minutes in a day.

Time was a prison, a cage. Sleep was an obstacle.

A lifetime was horrifyingly short.

There was still so much left to do, so many more adventures,

so much more music to compose, books to write, so many more

orgasms to both have and give, so much more laughter,

so many more tears to cry, bridges to cross.

He wept openly, without embarassment at commercials

yet was swashbuckling and heroic when everyone else

panicked and came apart.

In peril he was Jason Bourne and Batman.

In calm he was savoring the cosmos and fragile.

 

There was still so much more to learn, become.

 

I did not become half the ME I wanted to before he was gone.

Everyone else feels the same.

I know in my heart he would shake his head at me for openly

celebrating his life like this because he so adamantly resisted such things.

He wanted to be invisible and to honor that I will not go beyond this.

We will all quietly celebrate in our hearts and memories and everyday

living, what may be the last Paladin.

 

I will, of course, still grieve even though I had years to

prepare for this and have done so.

But I also need to embrace life and faith, hope...love.

I dare not dishonor his miraculous life and time he gave me

by wallowing in the darkness for my loss.

Yes, the loss is immense.

But there is still so much I can, will and want to do.

For the moment I am going to give this sexy sliver of my life

another year while I continue to do other things, achieve, grow.

I will leave whatever music of his is left in music stores for that year.

I will add to this memorium and I hope you will share it with me!

 

Daniel's real legacy cannot be downloaded.

It cannot be tapped into except through those he gave himself to.

I want to see so much more of the human beauty.

I want to laugh, live, linger in the afterglow.

Those of you who met him hopefully glimpsed a bit of what I mean.

Those of you who did not, missed a magical man.

He made sure to make me promise I would have the

best-possible life I could.

I plan to do nothing other.

 

It's my hope to become a human Swan.

Thank you for sharing this moment with me.

On this journey, every moment is a mile.

Let's traverse ourselves and the universe!

SPIN1.gif
00:00 / 04:17

"Half A Mile To Heaven" - SugarFall

01 GravitySUGARFALL
00:00 / 05:34
10 The ReachSUGARFALL
00:00 / 02:46
THE MAGICSUGARFALL
00:00 / 04:41
01 Mother Nature's SonSUGARFALL
00:00 / 05:56
01 A Moment Is a MileSUGARFALL
00:00 / 03:57
01 SolsticeSUGARFALL
00:00 / 02:40

For those who would like to share in this critical moment of my life

I'm asking everyone to watch "LUCY" -- a movie Daniel cherished and watched

every 6 months. Scarlett was a dear friend of his and openly shared in

Daniel's ideas about monogamy and the

significance of the value of time and life itself. Enjoy the movie and consider it's

message for you as well.

Shot 083.jpg

Daniel spent 20 of his 52 years socializing, working with and eventually

much much much more with numerous celebrities who gravitated to

him for his genius, sweetness and because -- unlike everyone else --

he truly appreciated their accomplishments while also having no interest

in their money, influence. Their trust in him went far beyond

implicit/explicit/total. Many of them expressed being in love with him

over the years even if that love was momentary or never acted upon.

The butterfly you frequently see on their clothing, jewelry, tattoos, references,

on walls on sets and in their homes was a passive acknowledgement

referring to the 13 "Butterfly Books" he authored in his twenties that

many were moved by and helped inspire their own personal

reconstruction (as with the ugly duckling/swan metaphor/symbolism)

Here are a few songs about Daniel you may or may not know...

Unusual YouBRITNEY SPEARS
00:00 / 04:21
E.T. (feat. Kanye West)KATY PERRY
00:00 / 05:01
UndercoverSELENA GOMEZ
00:00 / 03:53
12 Nobody Does It Like You (Bonus TrSELENA GOMEZ
00:00 / 03:56
04 Man On The MoonBRITNEY SPEARS
00:00 / 03:47

Because of his relationship with Britney, Daniel wrote numerous songs for her

in various genres, including rock/pop...as well as other songs for others.

He was responsible for helping numerous artists improve their music

and was almost entirely responsible for the acclaim for BLACKOUT

(Britney's most touted album).

He and Britney released albums simultaneously on 3 occasions on the same day

with the help of ITUNES/Spotify etc, including song titles of the same name.

It became an adorable trend!

("IMMORTAL BELOVED" below was recorded one afternoon live

in the Planet Hollywood theater where Brit performed at the time!)

Here are some songs he wrote for Britney and others...

07 The MoreSUGARFALL
00:00 / 06:01
04 PoppySmackSUGARFALL
00:00 / 03:36
01 Saint SelenaSUGARFALL
00:00 / 04:00
12 Immortal Beloved (Live)SUGARFALL
00:00 / 01:50

DANIEL was probably the biggest DUE SOUTH

fan of all time

Though it wasn't something he would have ever said

aloud or maybe even

consciously acknowledged to himself, it was

obvious to us all that he

identified with Paul Gross's character as being a

1-in-1-billion gentle, kind

person in an otherwise harsh world.

For those who don't know the TV SERIES,

 

Daniel watched it constantly and easily

binged it several dozen times over the years.

He was inspired by it -- especially it's embracing of things like loyalty, perseverence

friendship, kindness and truth.

I often saw him curled up in a blanket on the couch

crying like a baby at many of the most touching moments.

He was never ashamed of his emotions and it was one of many things that

made so many love him the way they did, including me.

He loved the show and it's inspirations so much he actually wrote and released

an homage to it, mimicking the song-writing style.

01 Due SouthSUGARFALL
00:00 / 03:13

As many of you know Daniel began composing at age 9, concertos

and components of what would later become symphonies.

He has thousands of pages of music and lyrics that are both

symphonic and simple songs/pop/rock/blues/jazz etc.

But he believed that a "song" (unlike  a "piece") was something

social and universal; and it was important to him in the last 10 years

of his life to create and allow access to as many "songs" as he could.

To this end, in his lifetime, Daniel organized what became 81 albums

most of which were available over the years on ITUNES/SPOTIFY etc.

These last few years he withdrew a lot of his music and this last year

he insisted that only his last few albums remain.

SWANSONG was his final album and consisted of 25 songs that

he allowed only friends and family to access.

It was his farewell music and it meant a great deal to him.

"The Magic" above is one of those songs and the only song he allowed

anyone to have other than friends and family.

The album will not become available and chances are the music

still floating around will be removed by me by this time next year

based on his insistence that I do so.

For obvious reasons, SWANSONG was intended to capture

the anxieties of his impending death and the magic

of life itself, memory, endearment and those he loved dearly.

I was given permission to share lyrics and even

(if I felt it appropriate) the music itself even if not both together in their

final format. So here are some of my favorite lyrics from one of my

3 favorite songs from SWANSONG...

ETHEREALMOST

Heaven help me I’m a shattered fool
Eyes of ocean and a love so bruised and cruel
Heaven heal me as I draw my final breath
Spent it all and there’s just no mercy left

 

You can make the stars align me

Turn a stone so the gods can find me
I was born with my future broken
Still my tongue so I’m never spoken

 

Heaven help me while the winds begin to churn
Blinded mind and a heart that used to burn

Heaven help me when the past comes like a storm
Biting deep when I sleep no hue or form

 

You can make the stars align me
Turn a stone so the gods can find me
I was born with my future broken
Still my tongue so I’m never spoken

Heaven help me cause I can’t be understood
Barely learned the bad from rarely good
Wanderlusted far and wide and fell
When I trusted devils danced in hell

 

You can make the stars align me

Turn a stone so the gods can find me
I was born with my future broken
Still my tongue so I’m never spoken

Heaven help me I’m a shattered fool
Eyes of ocean and a love so bruised and cruel
Heaven heal me as I draw my final breath
Spent it all and there’s just no mercy left

 

You can make the stars align me
Turn a stone so the gods can find me
I was born with my future broken

Below you can find a sample of the music itself without

the vocals which are tres cool and upon which I do a tiny bit of singing

I'll decide in time based on people's response if I'll share some of

the song in it's full format.

The cover art you see below on this title and titles above is

the cover art for THE HUMAN RACE which he conceived 8 years ago

and consists of 250 of his best songs released in 5 anthologies each

with the same cover but different colors. Each collection has

a "HUMAN RACE" title track and if you visit his music

you'll notice numerous lyrics within songs that reference the words

"the human race..."

Tres cool!

ETHEREALMOST (MUSIC ONLY SAMPLE)SUGARFALL
00:00 / 00:38

Daniel was a huge FLEETWOOD MAC fan and loved their

cover art and was inspired by the simplicity of their iconic

GREATEST HITS cover art when he elected to make

both his THE HUMAN RACE and SWANSONG cover art

a simple image without any text including his own name.

Like his books and so many other things, Daniel hated the

attention and used pseudonyms to give everything he did

without assuming any credit. This included giving to charity

which 90% of his profits went to. Everything he did for others'

music etc, he insisted he receive no open credit for and hid

his awards etc in chests and boxes.

He considered it vain and tacky to do otherwise.

The few gold/plat records on my walls so many of you

have seen, he allowed me to hang, but insisted I remove

when he was home.

One of Daniel's numerous life adventures was learning how to surf -- something

Canadian-born people rarely learn how to do, let alone well.

Daniel went back to Hawaii for 7 months and went from Haole to Maole

sleeping in the sand and eating poi and spam, eventually earning the respect

of the Ali-i and a rhino-chaser made of genuine koa wood that very few

people ever possess, let alone as a gift.

D. was a water-child, slept every night to beach sounds whether at the coast

or just using whatever technology allowed to have access to it.

On his boats, he was as happy as a man could be, in the water he

could swim and free-dive forever, snorkeled on the reefs, SCUBA'd with sharks

and beach-combed for hours after twilight.

He taught me how to sit at the waters edge for hours, being still, watching the

waters from Australia to North Shore, Lake Ontario to HengChun.

When the tree came down in the FRENCHMAN'S BAY beach, it was like

a dark omen. Daniel died soon after.

No one takes it as a coincidence.

Here are two of his most beautiful songs he composed and recorded

during one of his many bouts of INSOMNIA caused by his astrocytoma.

"Angeline" captures the magic of his childhood living on the

beach in Kingsville Ont where we visited annually and I've posted

photos and video of in the past (in MDV ARCHIVES) and

"Agnosia", life in Florida where he lived as a child also in APOPKA

on a farm buried in the orchards but with two mirror-shaped

lakes on either side called TWIN LAKES FARM

(a locale he used for his setting in his novel, "BLUEBERRY").

If you'd like to watch maybe the best movie ever made, Daniel's

favorite movie (tied with LUCY) and capture a bit more what Daniel

could be like, watch THE BIG BLUE (the american version if you can find it.)

which is also the name of one of the 81 albums he created.

I'll have to hunt down the coverart...it's been years...but the movie

coverart is below!

Enjoy!

 

For those wondering...sawdust evokes joyfulness, straightforwardness and altruism.

06 AgnosiaSUGARFALL
00:00 / 03:29
01 AngelineSUGARFALL
00:00 / 03:53

Like many autistics, Daniel rocked. That is, he would sit in a chair or lay in bed

rocking forward and back for hours at a time. Much of the time he could

seem not only normal but even more gregarious and social than most.

But he required a lot of hours to be in what he often referred to as his

'chrysalis' which he described as a kind of bubble in which his genius could

recharge and run free, without the boundaries of what you and I see as

LIFE.  Inside this chrysalis, he would 'drift' and...well...

the possibilities are endless.

But one of the key ways time passed there was music.

Born brilliant in this arena, he would compose entire symphonies in his

head -- every note, every instrument. When complete he would get up

with it fully-rendered in his mind and get it to paper and then incarnated.

He likened his relationship with music to a mistress and a tornado of

components fluttering and swirling around him.

He could see the music like fragments and layers of what would normally

vortex around someone in the eye of a cyclone.

He would simply and gently pull it down in strands and make it manifest.

He insisted he was nothing more than a stenographer and the music

was not his whatsoever and could take no credit for it and never did.

His insistence that he also make 'songs' left thousands of finished and unfinished

tracks and compositions, some of which were insanely beautiful but

often nothing more than DEMOs. For those of you who don't know

what a demo is, it's a roughly-recorded version of something that's

intended to experiment and give a general idea of what the finished

product will be once properly and thoroughly rendered.

Many of these are some of my fav songs.

Even though they are demos I still find myself listening to them.

Here are a few of my favs of those favs.

PAPER LOVE (DEMO)SUGARFALL
00:00 / 03:23

Some of the best vocals he ever did, Daniel never fully-reproduced this song

about a girl he met and knew in Hawaii who broke his heart. She simply could not

bring herself to leave the cult she was tangled up in and he simply had to

move on with life without her. Tragic story!

ANY ROSE BY ANOTHER NAME (DEMO)SUGARFALL
00:00 / 04:42

SUCH A BEAUTIFUL SONG! I would have given anything to have heard this

properly mastered.!

LOWLANDS (DEMO)SUGARFALL
00:00 / 03:22
DRIVE ME HOME (DEMO)SUGARFALL
00:00 / 04:43

Britney and Daniel shared numerous passions that kept them together for

so many years, especially music; and they composed and recorded

together, released their albums on the same dates and have

quite a bit of unreleased musical fun, wrote songs for and about one

another, some of which are my favs.

So here's a treat -- a song you've probably never heard of or heard

whose sentiments captured Britney's intent to help Daniel during

what turned out to be some of the most exhausting years anyone

has had to endure. Some days he could simply not even stir out of bed

other days he was full of life and trying to get as much done as he

could while he was. Many days and nights he would still drag his

broken withered bones to the board to record, mix, compose.

She was herself dealing with her own mental illness (bi-polar) but was

an astounding rock for him more often than not.

I do love this song....

ENERGYBritney Spears/SugarFall
00:00 / 03:11

Here's one of the many songs I love that Daniel and Britney co-wrote and recorded

about music...

SUGARFALL - SHELTERSugarFall/Britney Spears
00:00 / 04:47

MORE TO COME...