The deaths of Wayne Dyer and Wes Craven over the weekend provide a pop culture contrast of light and dark. My Facebook feed has lots of references paying tribute to Wayne Dyer, not so many for Wes Craven. Guess I’m more on the light side than the dark – I avoid horror movies.
Wayne Dyer, best-selling author and lecturer, was one of the world’s preeminent proponents of the power of positive thinking. In 2009, he was diagnosed with a rare disease, chronic lymphocytic leukemia. In spite of the diagnosis, Dyer was upbeat. In an interview with ABC TV news he said, “First of all, I’m not ill at all. Life itself is a sexually transmitted terminal disease. So, you know, I don’t think of it as, as any punishment at all. I’m thrilled with it.”
Before the broadcast news media had word of his passing, this blog post I did in 2009 had more than 4,500 hits yesterday. Now celebrities from around the world are mourning his passing. At Wayne Dyer’s website, it still looks like life goes on. They may have to cancel all the upcoming events listed for him, unless they have a way to channel him from the afterlife.
His quote for the day on the site: “You have the power to create the naturally stress-free and tranquil life you desire: You can either activate thoughts that produce stress within you, or activate thoughts that make stress impossible. It’s your choice.”
Thank you, Wayne Dyer, for all the light you brought into this world during your 75 years here.
Then over to the dark side, film maker and writer Wes Craven died on Sunday at age 76 of brain cancer. He created landmark horror films, including “A Nightmare on Elm Street” (and all six sequels featuring the dreaded Freddy Krueger – named after a childhood bully, revenge is sweet), “The Last House on the Left” (a rape-revenge story), and “Scream” (a horror film with a sense of humor and multiple sequels that poked fun at the genre).
The Chicago-area native attended Wheaton College, a Christian university nearby. He edited the literary magazine known as Kodon (I edited our high school literary magazine, Satori – where do we get these names?). In a daring move, he published two stories in 1962, one about an unwed mother, the other about an interracial couple. The administration said he was derelict in his duties as editor and shut the publication down for a year.
Ironically, Craven got his start in movies directing porn films.
Michael Phillips wrote in this appreciation in the Chicago Tribune, “Craven’s delightfully contradictory resume, and his finest hours on film, revealed both a wit and a subterranean seriousness of purpose. He believed in the people driving his screen nightmares, and one gets the feeling, from the expressions of sorrow and devotion following his death, that he was a good man with a gift for bad dreams roughly 90 to 120 minutes in length.”