As a tribute to my late friend Caroll Spinney — the man behind Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch — I am telling the backstory of my Grouch-inspired character Gothic Diana Ross.
Oscar the Grouch is not a bad person, despite what millions of kids big and small may think. Oscar just wants to be left alone. Like Oscar, Gothic Diana Ross just wants her solitude. Just like Maria knocking on Oscar’s can just to ask him nosey questions, Diana’s neighbor Bernadette keeps knocking on the door of the slate Victorian house which she and The Midnight Supremes share.
Can you blame them for getting mad?
A lifelong Diana Ross fan, I appreciate the diva singers most. Back in 2017, a few months after I left a toxic marriage with a communal narcissist, I met another diva online. Because my post-traumatic stress disorder was so raw, I would lash out at people whom triggered me so easily. I had felt like everyone was a narcissist after leaving one. Sadly, I had gotten very upset at a certain gothic diva and I feel bad about it.
Combining my love for music, all things gothic and my friend Caroll Spinney, I created Gothic Diana Ross and The Midnight Supremes as a nod to some of my favourite performers.
Eventually I got to apologize to the gothic singer and felt a lot better.
Writing the conflict scenes between Gothic Diana Ross and her annoying neighbours Peppi and Bernadette “Bern” Moran Cacca feels very cathartic for me. Sonia Manzano (“Maria”) is quoted as having said Caroll playing Oscar “saved a lot on therapy” in the book “Jim Henson: The Works.”
Hopefully my stories will help bring the world a little joy, and I get to leave the world a little better someday far from now when I am gone.
Rest in peace, dearest Caroll Spinney. I miss you.
PS: watch the film “I AM BIG BIRD” to learn more about my dearly departed friend.