My Personal Anthem: Why I Dream In Purple

by Caitlin Kelch



March 1987.  My first year in NYC at the School of Visual Arts. The big apple was rotting from the crack epidemic. I saw it first hand, felt it grab at my neck looking for gold chains and I smelled it at night on my corner. I was mugged five times at knifepoint. I worked as a coat check girl at the Marriot Marquis in Times Square, when it was an empty, dank place. I survived on tips and stealing toilet paper from my employer. It was all a sign of the times.

I had graduated from the emotional haze of Purple Rain, singing Let’s Go Crazy at my high school graduation, to the deep, dark tunnels of NYC, taking the A train at midnight from Times Square to my 11’ by 17’ room at the Sloan House YMCA on 34th and 11th.

Prince taught me the good, the bad and the ugly. He taught me how to dress and how to snarl. He taught me you can look like a girl boy or a boy girl, or both and then fall in love riding off on a motorcycle without a care.

He made it ok for me to walk in through the out door and shop at second hand stores. He elevated me from the white kid in the projects wearing Goodwill threads, to a movie star, a confident young thing who could rock an Edwardian collar like no one’s business.

His androgyny slayed me. His talent made me stand still. His lyrics made me feel butterflies.

And his style – his style humbled me.

No matter where I was, or how dark it got, Prince Rogers Nelson always whispered this in my ear:

Honey I know, I know, I know times are changing

It’s time we all reach out for something new

That means you too

– Prince, Purple Rain



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  • Sending you love from Mpls. We’ve collectively lost our minds over here, both mourning deeply and embracing the celebratory spirit of his art. Sigh.

    • Oh Claire! Thanks so much. I’m honored and touched. Long distance love is wonderful in cases like this :) And yes, the celebration continues! Sending gentle rain and smiles from West Virginia :)

      – Caitlin

  • Thank you for lovely words on a brilliant performer and artist. It is so sad that Prince is gone but he will live forever…

    • It poured out of me Erika – painful, but I loved every minute of the memories. Prince is my idea of perfection <3

  • Caitlin, what a kind and moving testament to an artist who moved, molded and helped you through life. I believe it is their main goal, to be of service to this world. You have given him this affirmation. Thanks for sharing. Rest in Peace/Purple.

    • Marilyn <3 Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with me. The internet, as Prince notes ;), can be a strange place, but YOU have given me the affirmation that good things are everywhere.

      I agree with you regarding the idea of artists' unbridled service. How brave and difficult it is to let it all out, be vulnerable and share passion, emotion and talent? They, in a sense, feel for us. All the things that we want to push away is right there in their world and they show us how to process the good, the bad and ugly.

      Take care and thanks again for taking the time to share your thoughts. In a rushed world, it's a gift that our team here appreciates beyond words.