The Husband headed out at three o’clock this morning for Nashville, the guys have been planning this trip for quite sometime with a lot of excitement at the potential it could bring. I also took today off of work to get some things done around the house, because the excitement was all too much. That, and I have been putting in crazy overtime lately, have been getting behind on all my chores and the thought of having the house to myself all day was way too appealing. This morning I thought I would wake up, roll out of bed, and cheerfully do some much needed house work. Instead, I rolled over to my phone, checked my Facebook like we used to check the newspaper, and was hit with some heavy news. Front man Chris Cornell had passed late last night, in Detroit, no less (Michigan girl here). So, once I got the kids off to school, I sat with my coffee processing it all, I shouted from my dining room table “Hey, Google, play me some Chris Cornell” She answered like the steadfast computer she is and played me an all-day playlist, from his multiple bands, live, recorded, unplugged all of it. While I cleaned, and brooded, I heard the hauntingly beautiful crooning that was born in the grunge era and pulled us through the past two decades. I don’t usually mourn celebrity deaths, and it might have been with all the excitement of the husband going on the road, or too much coffee and cleaning by myself this morning, but it hit me pretty hard. This man’s voice was incredible, and the worlds music will be a little less, now.
Later in the day, I read an article that they are speculating it was suicide and it reminded me of a conversation the husband and I had a while ago. We were talking about how it seems like all great musicians are depressed. This is the stereotype, right? So many musicians we have met along the way suffer, not all, but many. My personal knowledge of artists, most (remember, I use MOST very strongly, we are not all built the same) that I have met, they seem to think more deeply, or maybe it’s that they put all their deepness in public form, rather than keeping it inside. Who knows? I see these deep tortured souls and I wonder what came first, the chicken or the egg? Is it that, through these deep tortured souls, comes the beauty through their artform; or is it that the art challenges them to become deeper, to think deeper, to process more. Who knows?
I hear terribly unhappy childhood stories, drug use, abuse, how writers drink too much and painters are always depressed. I wonder if there is a majestic part of our brain that holds a creativity that surpasses us novices. Pandora’s box, if you will, that can only be opened when something so tragic happens it breaks open, overwhelming us with the raw emotion that can only be expressed with pictures and words, music, comedy, or theater. I have seen so many people take their pain and anguish and turn it into the most beautiful works of arts, paintings, or music. Being a word girl, I have heard and read sentences of words strung together that have bought me to my knees, and honestly made me envy the gift they have. Are all these people feeling alone, lost, or scared? Maybe not, but maybe so. That Pandora art box at one point in their past was forced open and possessed them to let it flow out of their hands, through their paint brush, or maybe out of their mouths, through the pen or on a set of strings. I understand that your own thoughts haunt you, that you can wish and wish them away but you are still a prisoner in your own head. It seems endless and inconsolable. It can be a blessing, though, your outlet is another’s strength. Your words, and music, and images can be someone else’s journey into something more, something better, something that can take us to places we could never see with our naked eyes. To all the artists with the tortured souls, please remember that on your darkest of days you are always making the world more beautiful and tolerable for us who cannot find expression. When you find yourselves in despair, sing, write, play, paint, draw, laugh, dance, and act. Let your noise be your medicine and our saving grace. From all of us and the world itself: Thank you for you. You are needed, you are wanted, you are requested to take our black and white worlds beyond the shades of grey and bring us color that our own imaginations cannot create.