Minneapolis! The sixth leg of this book tour. I spent the late morning tooling around Paisley Park, the sometime home and fulltime recording studio of Prince Rogers Nelson. An exciting adventure quickly evolved into a very emotional experience. Everything is as it was when Prince was alive. It was easy to imagine him working and being in his favorite spaces, which were, apparently, often full of people. He invited his community into his home, performing for them often, free of charge. We saw the basketball studio Charlie Murphy told a famous story about, in which Prince and his fellow musicians challenged Murphy and his friends to a basketball game. Prince et al. handily handed Murphy and his team their asses—and then Prince served the confused and defeated men pancakes. I love this story for what it reveals about the maternal, the feminine, that was deeply and inextricably intertwined with the captivating and daring way Prince rewrote the meaning of masculinity. I love Prince for what he unleashed in me when I was a girl, which was the experience of desiring a man whose sexuality in no way mimicked the predictable heterosexual masculinity that stifled and bored me as I was growing up. “Where are her children?” was the first thing Prince said to Van Jones upon hearing of Lauryn Hill’s troubles. It is a question only a mother would ask. I think it hits me hard right now as I am a mother on the road, aching for my children at the same time as I am thrilled to “come out” as the writer that I’ve always wanted to be. “It’s weird, isn’t it? But moms can have dreams, too,” I told Giulia before I left. I bought her a sweatshirt from Paisley Park with the symbol Prince used to represent his embodiment of the masculine and feminine. One day she’ll understand it all. I hope.
Thank you, sweet Prince.