This week, Drunk in a Midnight Choir celebrates our One Year Anniversary! Since we launched on February 6, 2014, we’ve had the great privilege of publishing a whole lot of amazing work, from a wide array of talented contributors. All week, we’ll be catching you up on some highlights from the last year. Here we present to you the top ten most-read posts of the year, counting down from ten.
The circumstances of this post were a bit of a blur for me, but I’ll try to recount them as best as I can. See, I was in the hospital recovering from a semi-serious abdominal surgery. Between the pain medication and general grogginess, I was pretty out of it. Standing up for more than thirty seconds was pretty difficult. People came to see me and I can barely remember the visit, much less what we talked about. I had pre-scheduled a few posts, but I had anticipated a light week on the site. I was wrong.
On Thursday, Henry Rollins wrote his piece for LA Weekly, in reaction to Robin Williams’ death, claiming it was cowardly and selfish it is to commit suicide. William James wrote him the following letter, and soon after received a response from Rollins himself. He wrote to me saying he wanted to publish both the letter and the response on the site. I was still doing all of the posting then, and wasn’t sure I had the energy for even the minor effort of getting it up. I told him I would get it up as soon as I could manage and then fell into bed, exhausted, my head spinning, convinced I couldn’t get to it until the next day. But the words in the letter kept roiling in my brain. I knew it couldn’t wait. I knew it was too important. I swooned deliriously in front of my computer, cutting and pasting, and got it posted. I hoped that I hadn’t missed any typos, but I figured I could check again tomorrow. After all, it was a Friday afternoon in the middle of August. Classic dead air for any kind of serious reading. I figured there wouldn’t be many readers until Saturday morning, and no real serious traffic until Monday .
I’m pretty sure it wasn’t more than an hour later when I got emails from both Eirean and William, saying “Are you seeing this? This is big. This is really big.” I checked the numbers. Nope. Not big. Whopping. Humongous. Massive. The amount of readers was almost a thousand already, and steadily climbing. It climbed all weekend, into to the thousands, and it’s been steady ever since. It is far and away the most-read post on DMC. I’m proud that we’ve been able to feature it, and it speaks to everything I hoped this site would and could be– heartfelt, courageous, noble, irreverent, intelligent, beautiful, heartbreaking, true… Perhaps even life-changing. For when you feel alone– alone inside your own shame and pain and confusion– what is more powerful and necessary than a voice that tells you “No, you’re not alone. You’re not crazy. You’re not shitty. You’re not hopeless. You matter. I know. I know it because I’ve been there. Exactly there and I know just how it feels. And let me tell you, take it from me– you can get better. There is help. Don’t let this fucker, this supposed hero, don’t let him shame you. Don’t let him put you in that box because he doesn’t know. He doesn’t know a damn thing. Listen to me. I know.”
Really, what voice matters more than that?
[On Thursday, LA Weekly published an article, titled “Fuck Suicide,” by Henry Rollins, as part of his weekly column. William James wrote the following letter to Rollins and then received the response that appears afterward.]
If I may, I’d like to first say that I’ve considered myself a fan for many years. When I was 25, I happened upon an audio copy of Black Coffee Blues, which – I say without much exaggeration – changed my life. I started writing because I read your journals, and then proceeded to fill SO GODDAMNED MANY Moleskine notebooks of my own. I used to tell myself “if Henry Rollins can find time to write every day, then so can you.” And yes, I admit that if you were to scan through those archives, they would be the epitome of what the kids these days are calling “first world problems” but the point is I started writing. I kept at it, even when I didn’t feel like it, because you were so fucking prolific, and I had to try to live up to that standard. Continue reading