Love Letter, Suicide and Ruby. Such is my day.

“Love Letter makes me think…Of things in the past…Ghosts…It makes me cry.
It is beautiful in a breath-taking way. The feeling reminds me of a time when I was just 10 years old and my family was crossing the country by car. I fell asleep one night in the foothills outside Calgary, Alberta it was dark so I couldn’t see anything off in the distance and I woke early the next morning to my father patting me on the shoulder and saying “Look, we’ve made it to the mountains” and I looked out the window and caught my breath. There they were. Majestic and beautiful. So far from any other experience I’d ever had and so awe inspiring. That is what the song Love Letter is for me.”
-From an e-mail I wrote this morning about Nick Cave and particularly the song “Love Letter”-
So my Nick Cave obsession goes on unabated. What can I say? Great art and loose cannons make for a wonderful obsession. If you haven’t heard him I suggest you track down the CD “Murder Ballads” and then listen to “O’Malley’ s Bar” it’s a 14 minute and 28 second tour de force. It’s a first person story of a psychopath who goes into a bar and insanely kills everyone in it. It sometimes leaves me feeling as though I was the protagonist in the song and by the end of it I am breathless and spent. If you make it through the song and you get what Nick is saying. Then go search out his love songs or his spiritual songs. They’re the bones that hold the meat to the body. Nick Cave is a perfect Yin and Yang. A balance of light and dark and he has such a unique voice. He speaks to the world like no one else does.
And another obsession I’ve developed as of late…
This picture.
It’s Ian Curtis the singer for the very important late 70’s, early 80’s British band Joy Division. See the picture is important because it is Curtis and his 1-year-old daughter. And it may be the reason I am sitting here typing this right now. Ian Curtis never lived to see his daughter turn 2. He committed suicide. And left her behind. It’s this picture I’ve sat and looked at when I have decided I have had enough. Enough sadness, enough loss, enough grief and enough heartbreak. And that I will end it all, step into the great void and just sleep. It’s not therapy that stops me, not faith, not medication and not any of the moral arguments against committing suicide. It’s this picture or at least what it represents to me. A little girl left behind. To wonder for a life time ‘What was he like? Did he really love me? If he left me here maybe he didn’t? And if his life was so bad that he couldn’t stay then maybe life itself isn’t worth anything.’ And just that thought stays my hand so to speak. Sometimes I think such a heavy, silent burden isn’t right to put on such tiny shoulders. But it’s all I got right now. It’s all I can hold and feel and see. And if she can hold me like that, in her little way. Then I must be strong enough to hold her too. There isn’t a fail option, not this time. Not with her.
And so I look at the picture of Ian Curtis and I ache for him. But I especially ache for his daughter. Because I know he made a hard choice. And now it is her that has to carry the weight of it. When I am in that dark place I completely understand why he did what he did. And I even envy him for having the guts to do it. And I cannot condemn him for it. But I look at that picture because I cannot bear to look at my own daughter when I am there, it is too hard. And Ian Curtis and his baby become myself and my child. Some strange allegory I guess.
Pictures of me smiling are rare and only seem to exist when she’s in them too. Ruby Mae is my everything.

13 responses

  1. Lisa Curran

    a beautiful reason. My reason came in 3 beautiful children also. keep moving forward. Do not let the past pull you down

    October 14, 2009 at 1:03 pm

    • I try not to. But it sure does like to show up and remind me it’s always there alot lately.

      October 14, 2009 at 1:07 pm

  2. deejaydon

    Yeah, i’ve seen the movie, control, family is very important…. Since I was a child, I admired Joy Division, I was only about the same age as Natalie Curtis, I was born 1978… Ian really had a hard decision…. That’s a meaningful picture of father and daughter… and you’ll know it will last…

    January 3, 2010 at 8:15 am

    • I am glad that my meaning was understood. I am not saying Ian made a choice that was right or wrong…Just very hard.

      January 3, 2010 at 8:26 am

  3. deejaydon

    Yeah, it was a very hard decision… by the way, that is a really great picture of you and your daughter… Life really has meaning…

    January 3, 2010 at 9:15 am

  4. Naomi

    Yeah, i watched control last night. Made me realise how out of control things get when i start snowballing into my depression. I suffer from depression. I take tablets, i look after myself.. but there is always at least one day when things just won’t go right. i’ve learnt to cope. And my daughter is the only thing that stops me from giving up. I gave her up for adoption many years ago and if i give up now, she will never know me.

    January 17, 2010 at 1:22 am

    • It’s good that you can see the bigger picture. Often when we get to the darkness we see so small. I am glad you’re here and alive today. Someday your daughter will know this gladness too.

      January 17, 2010 at 5:34 am

  5. Leslie

    I stumbled across your blog post as I was googling images of Ian Curtis. I too, am fascinated by this picture – not because I am contemplating suicide or even have a child. This picture intrigues me because it was taken on May 13, 1980 – just 5 short days before he took his life. This is actually Deborah Curtis’s last photo of him. I just can’t help but stare into his eyes and wonder. Was he contemplating suicide then (probably so)? Was he at least happy at that very moment with his daughter? I am intrigued by his somber lyrics and deep voice. He was such talent and by most accounts, a good, genuine soul. It is heartbreaking to think of the level of agony he must have been experiencing to end his life. I started to wonder about his baby girl and how she is today, especially since I am the same age as her. I was pleased to find that she herself is an artist. She has no memories of her father because she was so young, but she too became fascinated with photographs of him. She is now a very talented photographer. She has a portfolio and blog up online. Her name is Natalie Curtis. I just thought you might like to know more about her, if you don’t already!
    BTW, she looks JUST like him! I wish you well. Please take care. I hope you continue to let this photo inspire you, as it seems to have touched many…

    March 29, 2010 at 9:57 pm

    • I knew much of this. But not the exact date of the picture. That makes it even more poignant.

      It is a fascinating photograph.

      I hope maybe he was happy and he was at least content to know she was his and that it will always be that.

      Me I am better, I have bad days, but my life isn’t too bad right now.

      March 29, 2010 at 10:01 pm

  6. Cara

    Hi just finished watching Control – brilliant! I was an 80’s teenager and Joy Division worked for me then and still. does I am introducing my son 15 to it. However having seen the film he was a plonker! The rank dishonesty involved in adultery when your parter is looking after your baby stinks to high heaven! But perhaps he was so mentally ill that we should overlook it and be thankful for his amazingly powerful music. He certainly fits the artist sterotype!

    May 1, 2010 at 11:15 am

    • I was also an 80’s teenager…But I hated Joy Division then. I was more of a roustabout and it didn’t make sense to me then.

      But you are right, Curtis was not very cool and if what I have read is true he had a definitely inflated sense of entitlement. But he was also sensitive and fragile, darkly beautiful in his words.

      Yes a real artist by nature and action.

      May 1, 2010 at 11:24 am

  7. I was just googling images of Ian Curtis and came across this.



    June 28, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    • You’re welcome and thank you.

      Just saying my piece I guess.

      June 28, 2010 at 5:30 pm

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