Musician Nick Cave's Poignant Thoughts on Grief

My latest listen for my 1001 Albums Project was Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds' album The Boatman's Call. I liked it very much. The lyrics are poignant and his voice is engaging in a mournful, poetic way. But more meaningful -- at least to me -- was it reminded me to go back and read a quote by Nick Cave that I saw a few weeks back.

Nick's 15 year old son died from an accident recently. A fan wrote to him asking if he felt his son communicating with him now in some way as this fan believed several of her departed loved ones were appearing to her in dreams. His response was beautiful.

Dear Cynthia,

This is a very beautiful question and I am grateful that you have asked it. It seems to me, that if we love, we grieve. That’s the deal. That’s the pact. Grief and love are forever intertwined. Grief is the terrible reminder of the depths of our love and, like love, grief is non-negotiable. There is a vastness to grief that overwhelms our minuscule selves. We are tiny, trembling clusters of atoms subsumed within grief’s awesome presence. It occupies the core of our being and extends through our fingers to the limits of the universe. Within that whirling gyre all manner of madnesses exist; ghosts and spirits and dream visitations, and everything else that we, in our anguish, will into existence. These are precious gifts that are as valid and as real as we need them to be. They are the spirit guides that lead us out of the darkness.

I feel the presence of my son, all around, but he may not be there. I hear him talk to me, parent me, guide me, though he may not be there. He visits Susie in her sleep regularly, speaks to her, comforts her, but he may not be there. Dread grief trails bright phantoms in its wake. These spirits are ideas, essentially. They are our stunned imaginations reawakening after the calamity. Like ideas, these spirits speak of possibility. Follow your ideas, because on the other side of the idea is change and growth and redemption. Create your spirits. Call to them. Will them alive. Speak to them. It is their impossible and ghostly hands that draw us back to the world from which we were jettisoned; better now and unimaginably changed.

With love, Nick.
— Nick Cave as shared on "The Red Hand Files" website

My mom, who passed away a couple of years ago, is often a character in my dreams. Not speaking to me, but reminding me of her influence in making me who I am today. And reminding me of who I am is something that always needs reinforcing. Thank you, Mom.

One of my photos was used in a music video and they even asked permission!

"La Posada Gift"

"La Posada Gift"

It comes at around 54 seconds in Lisa Wilson's song "Christmas Dreams". Thank you, Lisa, for reaching out to all the photographers and asking permission before using our work. It's the right way to do things. Give it a listen to show you support independently published music and the respect for intellectual property.

Jon Stewart: why I quit The Daily Show

Interesting article from the Guardian, but my favorite part was his response on if he would ever watch Fox News again after leaving the show:

Umm… All right, let’s say that it’s a nuclear winter, and I have been wandering, and there appears to be a flickering light through what appears to be a radioactive cloud and I think that light might be a food source that could help my family. I might glance at it for a moment until I realise, that’s Fox News, and then I shut it off. That’s the circumstance.
— Jon Stewart to Hadley Freeman, The Guardian

Why Oklahoma Lawmakers Want to Ban AP US History -- NYMag

This is just downright scary.

Representative Dan Fisher, who introduced the bill, lamented during Monday's hearing that the new AP U.S. History framework emphasizes "what is bad about America" and doesn't teach "American exceptionalism." 

I'm proud of my country and believe we've done more good than harm over our short history, but that doesn't mean we're always above reproach. It certainly doesn't mean we can't have our kids casting a critical eye on our past, not to mention present and future.

Krieger complained that the [AP] framework portrays the Founding Fathers as "bigots" and suggests that Manifest Destiny was "built on a belief in white racial superiority and a sense of American cultural superiority," rather than "the belief that America had a mission to spread democracy and new technology across the continent," as he put it.

Nope, Mr. Kreiger, the AP framework is closer to being right.

Let's allow our kids to learn from the past (even the bad stuff) so they don't repeat our mistakes.

The holiday season 70 years ago

On the lookout for German snipers, a squad of Third Army Infantrymen move cautiously through the streets of Moircy, Belgium. 12/31/44. Co. C, 1st Bn., 345 Reg’t., 87th Inf. Div.

On the lookout for German snipers, a squad of Third Army Infantrymen move cautiously through the streets of Moircy, Belgium. 12/31/44. Co. C, 1st Bn., 345 Reg’t., 87th Inf. Div.

Seventy years ago, the Nazis made one last ditch effort, a surprise attack that drove a wedge between Allied forces and caused heavy losses in men and territory. German fuel shortages and the return of clear weather -- allowing Allied air-superiority -- eventually turned the tide back to the Allied cause.

The Germans called it "Operation Watch on the Rhine," while the French called it the "Battle of the Ardennes." The Allied Command called it the "Ardennes Counteroffensive."

History knows it as the "Battle of the Bulge."

My father-in-law, Bob Match, was there.

Read an article from the US National Archives.