Friday, December 1, 2023

Jeremiah Clarke

Jeremiah Clarke was an English baroque composer and organist, most familiar for Trumpet Voluntary, a popular piece often played at wedding ceremonies.

Clarke is said to have fallen in love with a woman who was above his social class. Distraught over the impossibility of the romance, Clarke died by suicide in December of 1707. Jeremiah Clarke was thirty three years old when he died.

Jeremiah Clarke (1674 – December 1, 1707)

Friday, February 24, 2023

Bernard Loiseau

Bernard Loiseau (13 January 1951 – 24 February 2003) was a French chef. He decided to become a chef as a teenager, apprenticing at the famous La Maison Troisgros run by the brothers Jean and Pierre Troisgros in Roanne between 1968 and 1971.

Loiseau was hailed as a prodigy by the Gault Millau guide. Loiseau bought La Côte d'Or from Verger in 1982, and the well known Michelin Guide bestowed the coveted 3-star rating on his establishment in 1991. 

Loiseau had made a life's ambition of becoming a 3-star chef, a goal which had required 17 years of hard work at La Côte d'Or to achieve. Toward the end of his life, tastes in popular food styles were changing and Loiseau was afraid of losing his three star rating.

On February 24, 2003, Loiseau died by suicide. It was reported
 that Loiseau was despondent over his debt issues and decreasing patronage and popularity at his restaurant, He was fifty years old when he died.

Bernard Loiseau
January 13, 1951 – February 24, 2003

Monday, December 5, 2022

Nicholas Vachel Lindsay

Nicholas Vachel Lindsay was an American poet. He is considered a founder of modern singing poetry, as he referred to it, in which verses are meant to be sung or chanted.

He study at the Art Institute of Chicago from 1900 to 1903. In 1904 he left to attend the New York School of Art (now The New School) to study pen and ink. Lindsay remained interested in art for the rest of his life, drawing illustrations for some of his poetry. In 1905, Lindsay's primary focus became his poetry. 

Lindsay received a fair amount of acclaim and success, however, his writing accomplishments were overshadowed by his themes around African Americans, in which he represented both his respect for their musical culture, but also contributed to the stereotypes of the 'savage' African.

Lindsay's personal life was rife with financial struggles, especially in his late forties when he married a much younger wife and had two children. He exhausted himself travelling to do poetry readings, with little financial success.

On December 5, 1931, Nicholas Lindsay died by suicide. He was fifty two years old.

Nicholas Vachel Lindsay 
November 10, 1879 – December 5, 1931

Sunday, November 13, 2022

Bryan Johnson

Bryan Stanley Johnson was an English experimental novelist, poet and literary critic. He also produced television programs and films.
While not well known, Johnson still has a cult following. A critically acclaimed film adaptation of the last of the novels published while he was alive, Christie Malry's Own Double-Entry (1973), was released in 2000.
In April 2013, the British Film Institute released You're Human Like the Rest of Them, a collection of Johnson's films, as part of the BFI Flipside DVD series.
There is a large collection of literary papers and correspondence of B. S. Johnson in the British Library.
Most of his acclaim occurred posthumously. In the latter years of his life, Johnson was increasingly depressed by his lack of commercial success. On November 13, 1973, Bryan Johnson lost his life to suicide. He was forty years old at the time of his death.

Bryan Johnson
February 5, 1933 – November 13, 1973 

Friday, November 4, 2022

Squarely in My Heart

My life is in flux. I am making a slow move from one place to another. The concept of home is expanding. It involves new people and new places and new things. All of it is worthwhile and all of it feels right, almost all the time. 

I am shifting from one place where my heart was squarely planted, to another place entirely. Right or not, it isn’t always the easiest transition. There are some days when I feel like one foot is planted in one home and another foot is planted elsewhere. Neither foot provides me with stable ground.

A few nights ago I was particularly overwhelmed. I had trouble sleeping. It was the middle of the night and for all intents and purposes, I felt alone. Knowing that something good is on its way only provides so much comfort when it is not quite there yet.

I was tired and frustrated and trying to arrange details in my head, which is a somewhat futile effort at 3 a.m. Eventually, I sat on the floor and put my head into my hands. I cried a little. Under my breath I said the truest words that I knew in that moment. I want my mom. 

Eventually the feelings of frustration and overwhelm subsided. I was able to focus on everything good once again. 

But I was left with this contemplation: I wonder if my mother knew when she died that for all my life she would be inextricably woven into my concept of home. Perhaps I fell asleep a few nights ago because I beckoned her, and her spirit encouraged me to lay down. 

Perhaps there was a gentle breeze in the house as the memory of my mother passed through. Maybe she patted my back and kissed the top of my head, as mothers do.

So often, in this blog in particular, I talk about the pain my mother left behind when she died. Still, a few nights ago when the memory of her comforted me, I was so glad for the good memories of her from when she was alive.

She would have been 75 years old today. If she were here, I would tell her happy birthday. She is not here though, so instead I will whisper those words inside myself, knowing that she still comes when I need her, because now she resides squarely in my heart, which is exactly where she belongs. 

Friday, May 20, 2022

Lucy Gordon

Lucy Gordon was an English actress and model. She became a face of CoverGirl in 1997 before starting an acting career. Her first film was Perfume in 2001 before going on to have small roles in Spider-Man 3Serendipity and The Four Feathers. Gordon had played the actress and singer Jane Birkin in the film Gainsbourg, a biopic of singer-songwriter Serge Gainsbourg.

Despite her success, Gordon suffered from frequent bouts of depression. On May 20, 2009, two days before her twenty ninth birthday, Lucy Gordon died by suicide.

Lucy Gordon
May 22, 1980 – May 20, 2009

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Andrew Martinez

Luis Andrew Martinez (Andrew Martinez) was an activist who was known at the University of California, Berkeley as the Naked Guy.

In September 1992, his second year in college, he began appearing naked in public to protest what he believed was the social repression of clothing. He was arrested by campus police for indecent exposure when he jogged naked near some dormitories. The county prosecutor refused to prosecute, concluding that nudity without lewd behavior was not illegal. Martinez began strolling around campus naked, citing philosophical reasons. The university then banned nudity on campus.

After college, Martinez began to manifest symptoms of mental illness and he spent much of the next ten years in halfway houses, psychiatric institutions, homeless, and jail. Martinez showed signs of schizophrenia and was prescribed medication, but with little improvement.

On May 18, 2006, Andrew Martinez lost his life to suicide, while in jail.

Andrew Martinez 
November 15, 1972 – May 18, 2006

Saturday, April 30, 2022

Vice-Admiral Robert FitzRoy RN

Vice-Admiral Robert FitzRoy RN was an English officer of the Royal Navy and a scientist. He achieved lasting fame as the captain of HMS Beagle during Charles Darwin's famous voyage, FitzRoy's second expedition to Tierra del Fuego and the Southern Cone.
FitzRoy was a pioneering meteorologist who made accurate daily weather predictions, which he called by a new name of his own invention: "forecasts". In 1854 he established what would later be called the Met Office, and created systems to get weather information to sailors and fishermen for their safety. He was an able surveyor and hydrographer. As Governor of New Zealand, serving from 1843 to 1845, he tried to protect the Maori from illegal land sales claimed by British settlers.
He continued to be esteemed and became the Governor of New Zealand. After his return to Britain, in September 1848, he was made superintendent of the Royal Naval Dockyards at Woolwich. In March 1849 he was given his final sea command, the screw frigate HMS Arrogant.
In 1850, FitzRoy retired from active service, partly due to ill health. The following year, in 1851, he was elected to the Royal Society with the support of 13 fellows, including Charles Darwin. 
FitzRoy funded most of his research and was not able to secure reimbursement from the government.
Dealing with frequest episodes of depression and expecting to soon be destitute, FitzRoy died by suicide on April 30, 1865. He was fifty nine years old.

Vice-Admiral Robert FitzRoy RN 
July 5, 1805 – April 30, 1865

Monday, April 18, 2022

Yu-ri Kim

Yu-ri Kim was a South Korean fashion model, who was active from late 2000s to early 2010s. During that time, she was considered one of the most promising models in the runway scene in South Korea.

Yu-ri Kim died by suicide on August 29, 1989. Kim was said to have complained about the extreme pressure to be thin in the modeling industry. It has also been suggested that she was suffering from profound grief. Two years prior to her death, her mother died of a heart attack, and a few months prior to her death, her father died of cancer. Yu-ri Kim was twenty one years old at the time of her death.

Yu-ri Kim 
August 29, 1989 – April 18, 2011