Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Dark & Twisty - Catharsis

Maybe it's cliche to speak of cold November rains. But it is easier than trying to say all that's been happening in my life, my head, the past few days. Some sort of funk, brought on by practical matters, but with which I often am struck by anyway -- some sort of deficit in my personality, I suppose.

That is all the preamble you get.


Words from a dead woman move me.

The woman is not Plath, tho suicide is involved. The words were not found in her diary or papers in her desk after her death & published by some cold entity trying to cash in. No, this is more personal. A modern tale of a woman who scheduled her digital diary entry, a blog post, for a date in October (the 29th, 2007).

I discovered the woman blog hopping, following a post -- I wouldn't tell you all the details even if I remembered them, but I honestly don't recall them. Time stopped. And such details & stories only serve to dilute the story. Wispy as it is anyway.

So I stumbled into this image:

A photo of Margot, Anne Frank's sister, taken by father Otto Frank. The image of a nude child, surrounded by objects -- of an old vintage, yet familiar -- telling of some sort of normalcy. Typicality prior to nightmarish horrors. Little average days, fights with siblings, parents disciplining... Photos which speak of things which likely wouldn't be the sort of memories one recalls at Thanksgiving dinners but tucks away as part of life. "My life." So shocking to see & to think about mundane days before evil would strip life of even those things. A somber enough photo. Perhaps it would spark some vibrant chord which would make me pick up my own life essence again...

Then I thought about how personal photos of our naked children have such a different context today. Especially on the Internet. ...Should I even post it? What responsibility do I have to shield tender naked innocence from lurking potential perversions?

I decide I shall post it with hopes folks support the cause & buy the goods. Maybe even lecture & defend the rights of parents to take intimate photos of our children in moments of daily life; not to let the asshats steal the sweetness. (And I would too, were it not for all the other emotions choking at me. So take the fragments and inferences here and make your own lecture, please.)

But, as I usually do, I poked a bit more at the blog where I found the original post.

I find the "in memory of Theresa Duncan" link and discover Theresa Duncan is dead.

Wait a minute... Isn't this blog URL TheresaLDuncan? Huh. Maybe this whole blog began after this woman died? Nope. Investigation is required.

Theresa Duncan died on July 10, 2007; she committed suicide.

Bright, lovely, in love, and apparently somehow tortured by a form of insanity -- and I do not say that callously. But suicide requires a certain madness, and reading all the accounts of her life and death (and ditto that for her longtime lover & artistic partner, Jeremy Blake) it seems a fair, if sad, summation.

How is it then, that I sit at the blog's homepage and see the last post dated October 29, 2007? That's three months after her death.

At the bottom of that post it reads:
Editor's Note: Theresa had left this post to appear automatically on this date (another will appear on New Year's Eve).
Now I have no idea who the editor is. I only imagine a friend. Someone with access to her blog &/or computer to get the passwords. (Something I always wonder about... If/when I pass, who will even think of such things -- or, perhaps worse, who will read the digital scribblings I've saved here?) But that's not the main issue...

What suicidal woman schedules posthumous posts?

A day before the suicide, there's a memeonic post (What Tarot Card Are You?), which would seem fair -- a person going through the motions, trying even if only half-heartedly.

But how can you feel so done, feel you have nothing left to do, yet feel you must speak on (as far as we know) two more occasions in the future -- a future you have no desire to see?

No desire to see & be there... Yet you must yet speak...


This woman, Theresa, she knew the power of speaking, of stories. The post on the day of her death -- the one which should be her last post -- was on the very subject:
"A need to tell and hear stories is essential to the species Homo sapiens--second in necessity apparently after nourishment and before love and shelter. Millions survive without love or home, almost none in silence; the opposite of silence leads quickly to narrative, and the sound of story is the dominant sound of our lives, from the small accounts of our day's events to the vast incommunicable constructs of psychopaths."

--Reynolds Price
Absolutely sobering.

The opposite of chills now; a complete slacking of skin -- likely to match my jaw.

But the chills would return anew when I read the last post: Basil Rathbone's Ghosts.

So spooky, I can hardly stand it.

It's like her post is a "a calling of urgency" of it's own.

I know what I'll be reading on New Year's Eve.

For more on Theresa, read the NY Mag and Raymond Doherty's piece.

I've placed this, among other labels -- and perhaps oddly, under "affections". I don't pretend to know Theresa; but I think I would have liked to.


Sheen V said...

Interesting. She was born 2 days after me. I always find it interesting to see what people that were born around my birthdate have done/do with their lives. Suicide is a terrible thing, completely unneccessary IMO.

Greg said...

Great post! And I understand the interest. Truth is, in today's low-commitment, world, where we can buy any experience we want, for a transient time, death remains the only true mystery. We can't casually try it on to see if we like it, like changing clothes or homes or spouses or sexes. That's why it continues to have such a fascination.