Across The Way Thread #15871
"The Final Search" - an essay
Created ByArmand
Created DateMon, Apr 05, 2004
Created Time12:40PM GMT

UserDate
Armand4/5/2004 12:40:00 PM
maija4/5/2004 2:40:02 PM
Dani The Girl4/6/2004 12:30:01 AM
Brad!4/6/2004 1:30:00 AM
Brad!4/6/2004 1:40:01 AM
Emma4/8/2004 10:00:00 AM
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AuthorMessage #32548
ArmandSubject"The Final Search" - an essay
PostedMon, Apr 05, 2004 12:40PM GMTMethodWeb-Site
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This is the first version of an essay that will undergo revisions,
and expand in the future. I'm very happy to share it with you, and i
is part of the painting you will soon see . Thanks
______________________

THE FINAL SEARCH - a comparative essay

On this day 10 years ago, one of the great lights in the realm of
the arts was lost. 5 months after River Phoenix died, Kurt Cobain,
frontman of Nirvana who stunned and enlightened millions with his
music, his awe inspiring creativity with music and visual art itself
and his unique way of being so down to earth in the face of it all
died from a self inflicted gunshot wound, just after injecting
himself with a lethal dose of heroin. Kurt was River's contemporary
and in the wide world, I think Kurt is more famed for his work then
his death which unfortunatly River has not been, since River has not
had the same level of commerical exposure during his lifetime, only
after it. The parralel of River and Kurt's lives intrigues me
constantly, they both reached amazing milestones at the same time.

In 1987, River's "Running on Empty" coincided with the formation of
Nirvana in their first incarnation, and both throughout the eighties
stuck to what was relatively 'safe' to do at the time. Then, as the
last decade of the century arrived they sought greater things. The
musical revolution that occured with the release of "Nevermind" in
1991 happened as "My Own Private Idaho" catapulted River from just a
talented actor to a powerful artist (this is my personal opinion).
At this point in time, it seems both Kurt and River realised they
wanted to go undeneath what their genres offered. They didn't just
want to tackle it head on, they wanted to get inside and completely
absorb it and give us something we hadn't seen before... they were
willing to go to the dark recesses of the soul to do this. As
Virginia Woolf had done in the 1920s and 30s and Sylvia Plath from
the late 50s to early 60s, as well as others and the lives of these
artists were a catalyst for such amazing work it drove them to
suicide. Like Woolf and Plath before them, River and Cobain
completely enveloped themselves in their exploration into this
darkness... as River took on Talbot Roe and became one with the
isolation and the screams to the beyond ("If you could... give me a
sign so I know how to find you"), Kurt was writing for the album
that was to become In Utero, with much emphasis on spiritual and
disturbing imagery (like Plath's poems in the run up to her death) -
fetuses, ritualistic murder, the account of Frances Farmer being
lobotomised when she was in fact sane. Frances Farmer to Kurt is
much like Awbonnie as Talbot perceives her. Kurt taunts those who
gag Farmer - "Our favorite patient, a display of patience, Disease-
covered Puget Sound. She'll come back as fire, to burn all the liars
And leave a blanket of ash on the ground "... To me this sounds like
Awbonnie telling Talbot to blow his own face off, kill himself to
set her free, screaming "DO IT!". Awbonnie's taunts about the baby
that died with her, the baby she "never wanted" remind me of
Kurt's "Sit and drink Pennyroyal Tea Distill the life that's inside
of me Sit and drink Pennyroyal Tea I'm anemic royalty". Premature
death before life itself...
River's last roles and Kurt's In Utero collection bring a sense of
chronic and nauseous isolation ("All Apologies" - 'In the sun I feel
as one/Married/Buried' and the final dragging of Kurt's voice, a
haunting haunting sound - 'All alone is all we all are/All in all is
all we all are'). The original line for "Heart Shaped Box",
Nirvana's most celebrated artistic piece was "I've been locked
inside your Heart Shaped Coffin for weeks". Death was faced by them
head on through their work... River as Talbot had to face Sheila
Toussey's ghost, Awbonnie his dead wife, he had to face her to
understand, to find absolution Death had to be embraced and not
feared as Heart Shaped Box emphasises - "Throw down your umbilical
noose so I can climb right back. " A return to where we came from.
As James Wright, River gives us another portrait of the isolated
man, before Miranda comes into his life, even though James is
succesful at what he does, his moods and his temperment are all
brought on from the disturbing memory of waiting for his dad whilst
he visited his lover, the distinct memory being James listed to
radio in the car and the songs were all about cheating. Meanwhile
his mother is oblivious back home thinking her husband and son were
out on the town. This may not be as obvious a tormet as your losing
someone as Talbot did, but its still an extremely dark negativity
rooted in the character of James Wright that River had to get in
touch with. Miranda confronts him with the fact he is afraid of
being like his father --- she is like Awbonnie to Talbot, making him
FACE this demon. Similarly, as River took on James' boyhood memories
Kurt echos his own in "Serve the Servants" the rage for his father
for leaving - "As my bones grew they did hurt They hurt really bad.
I tried hard to have a father But instead I had a dad"
The pain is demonstrated physically as opposed to emotionally and
the power is SHATTERING.
Who knows what effect becoming these characters had on River, but he
obviously wanted to dig even deeper, taking on a character similar
to Talbot but a more extreme type ... Boy in Dark Blood, in 1993. At
the same time, In Utero was being made, with Kurt, Krist Novoselic
and Dave Grohl brushing aside what was expected on them after the
perfect package of Nevermind... In Utero was to be raw and
disturbing, and once released it was evident to Nirvana fans and the
entire music landscape they had created something extraordinary. But
who knows if Kurt, like Sylvia Plath could not escape the words he
had written, about his own life... both he and Plath haunted and
fixated on fetal imagery, raw pain. The cancer backdrop of Dark
Blood, the death of Boy's wife due to the chemical spillage of the
naked, barren area adds to the scratchings of Boy's soul and the
terrible price he wants the world to pay. Like Scentless
Apprentice "I lie in the soll and fertilize mushrooms Leaking out
gas fumes are made into perfume" and Heart Shaped Box, a song which
can be attributed to Boy, or Talbot - "I wish I could eat your
cancer when you turn black". Rape Me also emphasises the pathetic
mortality and the pain - "I'll kiss your open sores Appreciate your
concern You'll always stink and burn". With Kurt especially, this
took on an actual physical manifestation in himself- he suffered
from a mysterious stomach condition, a pinched nerve which was
obviously serving to fuel this incredible imagery. Kurt and River
had no idea that they were both exploring the same thing at the SAME
era in time, even if they weren't acknowledging it, subconciously
they certainly were I think. I'm not going to speculate if it was
this exploration, this journey to take elements of what we on earth
cannot fathom, to reach out into the black abyss - to physically and
emotionally jump into it... to BECOME it... made them drug addicts,
and caused the depression they both suffered in those last months of
their lives. I find it profound that, on a spirtual level, Kurt
dedictaed the song "Jesus dont want me for a sunbeam" to River on a
couple of his last gigs, lyrics of which aren't exactly comforting,
and are dark - "Don't expect me to cry For all the reasons you had
to Die" Maybe they found something., or ascended to a higher level
of their quest. They were unafraid to experiment in their search,
maybe they just didn't care what price they would pay, maybe they
wanted to see Death itself and then create art about it. Who knows,
maybe River subconciously sought out death, just as Kurt succesfully
did a few months later. In the end, River Phoenix and Kurt Cobain
were experiencing what a Hollywood star in 1962 could sense inside
her but couldn't express because of external opposition, and what a
female poet looking after her two children in a freezing London
flat, days before her death wrote down. This poet's eyes had opened,
she had undergone the most haunting and terrifying year where her
husband took on the form of her father, leaving her as he did, in
which demons inside of her crept out... eminating and evolving from
the death of her father when she a little girl. It made her genius.
Just like Kurt and River's muses did for them. This was that final
offering... THE EDGE... and I think it symbolises where all these
artists' internal searches ultimately took them - facing death
itself.

THE EDGE - Sylvia Plath

The woman is perfected.
Her dead

Body wears the smile of accomplishment,
The illusion of a Greek necessity

Flows in the scrolls of her toga,
Her bare

Feet seem to be saying:
We have come so far, it is over.

Each dead child coiled, a white serpent,
One at each little

Pitcher of milk, now empty.
She has folded

Them back into her body as petals
Of a rose close when the garden

Stiffens and odors bleed
From the sweet, deep throats of the night flower.

The moon has nothing to be sad about,
Staring from her hood of bone.

She is used to this sort of thing.
Her blacks crackle and drag.




AuthorMessage #32551
maijaSubjectRe: "The Final Search" - an essay
PostedMon, Apr 05, 2004 02:40PM GMTMethodWeb-Site
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OMG Adam! I am so amazed about your huge talent of writing!
I mean, I thought that your poems were the best thing anyone could
ever write and the best things I´d ever read but this essay tops it
all!
It´s great! Your ability to find and write the little things that
captures the reader from the first sentence and keeps us wanting to
read the whole thing, feeling like we get something out of every word
of the story. And after we´ve read it, we want more!
The way you connect things together, find "the leading thread" in what
you´re writing and then hang on to that thread throughout the whole
story is just stunning.
You truly have a gift and a talent and it´s great that you´ve realised
that yourself (´cause you have to know that, right?) and that you keep
on writing.
And other then that I think it´s wonderful that you use your talent to
express your feelings and thoughts about River

Thank you for letting us read this!! I absolutely love it! It´s the
most amazing thing I´ve ever read!

Lova ya
hugs, maija
AuthorMessage #32580
Dani The GirlSubjectRe: "The Final Search" - an essay
PostedTue, Apr 06, 2004 12:30AM GMTMethodWeb-Site
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i agree completely with what was said above!

you know how i told you i was sure it was going to be great?
it was a bagillion quadrillion septillion times better!!!
you are so smart and talented.. this essay was just beautiful. you
picked out some of my favorite lines from nirvana's songs as well.
i could just *kiss* you right now! take care sweetheart
love
daniela.
AuthorMessage #32583
Brad!SubjectRe: "The Final Search" - an essay
PostedTue, Apr 06, 2004 01:30AM GMTMethodWeb-Site
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> This is the first version of an essay that will undergo revisions,
> and expand in the future. I'm very happy to share it with you, and
i
> is part of the painting you will soon see . Thanks

She's right Ad. It's time. We need to help you to the next step of
getting stuff like this submitted and published. To keep it just
for us is

Now to the issues:

* Thanks > "...it seems both Kurt and River realised they
wanted to go undeneath what their genres offered. They didn't just
want to tackle it head on, they wanted to get inside and completely
absorb it and give us something we hadn't seen before..." < agree
about River who I know more about. I read Kurts Bio book but don't
know him as well as River - but agree about it and liked the way you
summarized it too.

* this really got to me too, I remember the line well and River's
delivery of it in Silent Tongue - it is truly... stellar. Its one
of the best momentst and best scenes I think on film. You are the
only person I've ever heard mention it > "If you could... give me a
sign so I know how to find you"),

* This is from Heart Shaped Box by Cobain Ad? > " "Throw down your
umbilical noose so I can climb right back."

We have someone who has been haunting the site for a long time who
is into Cobain. For as long as I can remember, among other things,
she's used his song titles and allusions in the fake ID"s she
creates on this and other sites she tries to disrupt. I guess I
never get past the idea that if we can just find the right concept,
we can communcate with these people and find some way to make for
peace and .... active communication and engagement. And that they
will stop trying to whack the site and our members. Be prepared
for me to talk with you about ways we might be able to get to this
woman's heart and open it - maybe being able to speak the language
of Cobain will allow us to ... convince her that we are worth
communicating with instead of just trying to whack us. Know that
you don't have to get involved too. Not even sure I'm up for it at
this point. Just feeling desparate I guess.

Brad
AuthorMessage #32584
Brad!SubjectRe: "The Final Search" - an essay
PostedTue, Apr 06, 2004 01:40AM GMTMethodWeb-Site
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it's gettin late here. Sorry Ad. I didn't finish that first
thought. It's time for stuff like this to get published because
it's sort of a crime that only we can get to see it on this site.
It's selfish of us. Having said that, I still want it and want to
encourage you to put it here whether or not you ever care to attempt
to publish it anywhere else.

Brad
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