I’ve been dwelling on the death of Mark Linkous a lot this week. It really has affected me far more than I thought it would or could. He had much more of an influence on my life and music than I realised and I’ve spent a lot fo time thinking about issues of depression as well. Anyways, not meaning to bring anyone down. So…I was just mucking about on the internet and I read these words by Robin Hilton. I think he explains how I am feeling better than I ever could:
Life rarely makes much sense. It unfolds mysteriously, evolves and often erupts in wildly unpredictable ways that rattle our nerves. In its ugliest moments — and, sure, in its beautiful ones, too — we turn to artists to help us sort through our wriggling tangle of emotions, because they possess that special voice needed to articulate and illuminate what’s otherwise a baffling maze of conflicting thoughts. For many people, myself included, Mark Linkous was one of those voices. His music and poetry was like life itself: It was sad and beautiful. For some, it was simply good craft, offering a brilliantly rendered view of both human suffering and our capacity for love. For others all too familiar with the music’s most sorrowful moments, it offered intimate companionship; a voice that said, “You are not alone.”
The death of Mark Linkous comes just two months after singer-songwriter Vic Chesnutt committed suicide, leaving puzzled fans of both artists to wonder how such tragedies could happen, or how they could have been prevented. It’s hard to comprehend how someone you rely on to make sense of the world could do something so senseless. In some ways, it feels like betrayal. But both were clearly in the grip of something they couldn’t control. For many, depression is a terminal illness like any other.
Neither Vic Chesnutt nor Mark Linkous were terribly successful commercially. They never drew legions of screaming fans, won a Grammy or had a gold record. But both could reach into the hearts and minds of those fortunate enough to hear their music and leave them with the belief that they were common friends. I’ll selfishly miss the prospect of new Vic Chesnutt and Sparklehorse records in the coming years, though there are likely to be posthumous releases. But more than anything, I’ll miss the comfort of knowing they’re out there, soldiering on and making their way in the world. They were our flawed heroes. They were survivors. And the world is a little lonelier without them.