This isn’t about Chris Cornell. It’s about me.
A few days ago while staring at a blank screen and listening to alternative 90s rock on Pandora something weird happened. The Freshmen by The Verve Pipe played and a few songs later Bittersweet Symphony by The Verve poured through my headphones.
Using any excuse to avoid writing, I pondered the odds of two bands with the same word in their name showing up on a radio station so close together. Then I wondered if I knew the meaning of the word verve, considering both of these amazing songs are so depressing.
Here’s the definition from dictionary.com. For the record, I did know what it meant and I’m certain the example sentence used is a personal attack on me.
enthusiasm or vigor, as in literary or artistic work; spirit:
Her latest novel lacks verve.
Once again, to avoid writing a short story in a genre outside my comfort zone, I pondered my lack of verve most days. While becoming my own (and dictionary.com’s) self-fulfilling prophecy, Pandora played another song.
This one had sharp teeth that mangled my heart, but I welcomed the pain. This perfect auditory example of verve reminded me of how much I owe Chris Cornell.
Years ago I listened multiple times to his album Scream while walking along a path in the woods. That album unlocked enough talent in me to be able to finish co-writing a novel with a much better writer. I loved the isolation of these walks with Cornell’s scratchy, soulful voice coaxing me to write like it matters.
During the last few minutes of my walk I always played Watch Out. Not much makes me happy, but that song did. I watched the following video for the first time today. At approximately the 3:18 mark Chris turns to the audience and flashes the most beautiful grin. I immediately began bawling because it’s incomprehensible to me that this man who exemplified verve is gone.
This isn’t about Chris Cornell. It’s about me and what an asshole I am for never thanking him. I doubt he would have seen my thanks, but I should have done it anyway. Carpe diem, people. And while you’re doing that, do it with verve.