That's me and Mike to the left, circa 1999. Mike was one of my first friends I ever had, very much raised as a brother to me. He lost his life to suicide nearly five years ago now, and while you learn to deal with loss as time goes on, it never really goes away — you're left with questions and loss and one big hole that will never ever get refilled. That's part of the reason that I'm so sensitive and vocal about mental health (aside from own struggles); because I know what that suffering is like on all sides, and I don't think anyone else should ever have to experience those things.
I had other friends who'd lost loved ones to suicide, but Mike's death was really the first time I was forced to deal with losing someone so directly close to me, and especially in such a way. Unfortunately, when it comes to dealing with loss, I've gotten my fair of share of practice in these last five years, and Mike's wasn't the only one of those that could have (maybe, possibly) been helped, or stopped.
I could go on and on about this, but since suicide has recently been in the public eye, I've decided to do something different. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention hosts walkathon fundraisers every year to raise money for research, education, and outreach programs about suicide. The Out of Darkness walk (as it's called) in my hometown is not just for Mike, but it is taking place right around the anniversary of his passing. I want to raise some money for the walk, in the hope that even though its too late to save my friends, it might make a difference in someone else's life, so that they don't have to suffer the same.
So here's the deal: I've put together a sweet little package of music and eBooks, all various things that I've created, and they can all be yours with a donation of any amount to the Hamden, CT Out of Darkness Walk for the American Foundation for Society Prevention (Go Team Mikey).
All you have to do is click here to make your donation, and the download should start right away! (It's a pretty hefty ZIP file, because all the music is uncompressed)
Thanks in advance for your support. It means more to people than you realize, and I hope you enjoy your little rewards. Here's what you'll get:
- Fixing a Hole, a one-act play about two friends and a hole at the end of the world. Mike lived for theatre, and shortly his death, I wrote this as a kind of elegy to him, and a reflection on our relationship.
- EndProgram.txt, a darkly comedic (or maybe just sad) short story about the death of a robot. Originally written and conceived in the 5th week of the Clarion Writer's Workshop under the guidance of Kelly Link and Karen Joy Fowler.
- If You Really Want To Hear About It, the unreleased EP from my college band the Roland High Life. Six tracks, plus two bonus b-sides. Track 2, "Your Last Fall" was written before Mike's passing...but listening to it now, it feels frighteningly prescient.
- Three new cover songs recorded especially for this occasion:
- "The 59 Sound" by the Gaslight Anthem, changed to "The 69 Sound" in honor of the recording of Mike's beloved "Let It Be";
- "I Was Meant For The Stage" by The Decemberists, one of Mike's favorite bands, this song could just have easily been written from his point of view, especially given how he had committed his life to theatre. At the reception following his funeral, some of Mike's friends played a haunting video of him singing this song at karaoke (my parents actually thought it was a song he had written). Recording this was the first time I've listened to this song since then;
- and "You Were Cool" by the Mountain Goats, an unreleased track, with a few lyrical changes, as John's protagonist lives in his version of the song (also Mike wasn't really known for wearing high heels back in high school, although I did think about changing it to something like "stalking down the concrete hallways / in your tight jeans / back in high school," but then I didn't). Still, the lyrics remind me a lot of Mike growing up, and what I wish I could say to him now.
If you have any trouble with your download, please let me know.
Legal stuff: all content made available in this offer is available free and will not used for personal profit or gain. All files, content, intellectual property, etc. is the legal property and copyright of Thom Dunn and is made available through a Creative Commons Attribution Sharealike4.0 International license, with the following exceptions:
- "The 59 Sound" is copyright 2008 Brian Fallon / The Gaslight Anthem
- "I Was Meant For The Stage" is copyright 2003 Colin Meloy / The Decemberists
- "You Were Cool" is copyright John Darnielle / Mountain Goats
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons
Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.