Tag Archives: suicide

The Promise

18 May

I’ve often wondered…do artistic people who dwell on a whole different astral plane have an unconscious awareness of when it’s time to  move on?  And is it even a choice?  Jimi Hendrix seemed to know his fate when he wrote and recorded, “The Ballad of Jimi”.  Lines like “Many things he would try / For he knew soon he’d die,” “Now Jimi’s gone, he’s not alone / His memory still lives on” and “Five years, this he said / He’s not gone, he’s just dead” weirdly predict the legend’s death and legacy five years later.

Last night Chris performed with Soundgarden in Detroit, Michigan.  Before taking his final walk off stage, Soundgarden worked in a little bit of Led Zeppelin’s 1975 epic, “In My Time of Dying” while performing the closing notes of Badmotorfinger’s “Slaves & Bulldozers”.  The video below shows this final footage.

Chris Cornell – Final Footage

 

I could sit here and write down all of the memories I have that are linked to every single Soundgarden and Audioslave song.  But I won’t.

I will simply salute a man who personally held the hand and ushered in an era of music that made an ethereal footprint in our music’s landscape.  Thank you, Chris….for leaving us with “The Promise”.

Robin Williams: Laughter Fading

12 Aug

robin

I didn’t have a TV when I was a kid.  So when I’d visit cousins or friends who owned a television, I’d binge-watch like a crack-head.  One of my earliest TV memories was ‘Mork & Mindy’.  There was a kid named Clark in my 4th grade class who would wear rainbow suspenders and throw what appeared to be a gang sign whilst muttering “Nanu Nanu” under his breath.  Initially I made fun of him.

“Yeah well you’re stupid because you don’t even have a TV to know who Mork is.”, he said.

So I asked around and found out about ‘Mork & Mindy’.  One episode in particular stands out: The episode, which aired on February 19, 1981, was called “Mork Meets Robin Williams.”  Mork meets Robin Williams and learns about the nature of fame on Earth and the toll it takes on those who get swept up in it. In the final scene, Mork reports back to Orson to tell him what he just learned about the culture of Earth. He explains to Orson that “being a star is a 24-hour job and you can’t leave your face at the office… some of them can’t take it.” Then he lists the names of those Earthlings who were destroyed by the pressures of fame: Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon. The episode aired just two months after Lennon was shot and killed by a deranged fan. If it was written today, there would be a quite a few more famous names to add to it.

I think Robin’s death hit a particularly raw nerve with me because of the bipolar struggle that he and I share.  It’s taken years for me to find the right combination of meds and cognitive therapy that also allow my high level of creativity to remain intact.  But the depression still comes.  The higher the peak the lower the fall.

Robin’s suicide is an unfortunate result of his mental illness.  No different than death as a result of cancer or heart disease.  The fact that a soul like Robin’s could succumb to to the effects of bipolar speaks to the power of psychiatric illness.  Robin was a genius at using his manic highs and depressing lows to produce comedic genius on and off screen.  Perhaps it’s true that those who make us laugh the hardest battle the darkest demons.

  • We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, “O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?” Answer: that you are here; that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?  ~Dead Poets Society

 

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