Jim Carroll’s Death

I opened my e-mail to read this piece of sad news from Jim Carroll‘s assistant, Cassie Carter:

Dear Friends,

I am very sad to let you know that Jim Carroll died on September 11, 2009.

He was at his desk working when he passed away.

Plans for memorial services, etc., are still in progress.

I will keep you posted as I learn more.

I am so sorry to share this news. We will all miss Jim terribly.

Sincerely,

Cassie Carter

Like many others, I first came across Jim’s work through the movie that depicted his life, “The Basketball Diaries,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio (this was prior to Leo exploding into the mega super star that he became and when not too many people knew about him).  I remember as a teenager sneaking into the movie theater to watch it (it was rated R).  Afterwards, I went out and bought the copy of the book and read it in like less than a week.  When the movie came out, I bought the VHS (which I still have) and showed it to all my friends.  It was a film about economic struggles, vices, redemption, growing up, and poetry.  I clearly remember how I wanted to be like him: the rebel boy that would find redemption in art.  His works inspired me in many ways to write poetry and to explore literature.  His artistic image shaped a lot of the personality that I now possess as an adult.  He made writing cool for me because he came from the tough slums, from the working class; not from some elitist stuffy sheltered world.  He was a symbol to me, a symbol of resilience, fighting spirit, and triumph, amid a life filled with pitfalls, demons, and tragedy. 

I always fantasized about meeting Jim Carroll in person.  I always hoped that he would come out to Los Angeles so I could meet him, because as a teenager and later on as a young adult I could never dream of having the money to travel to New York.  Back then, I was barely making it through, trying to earn some money so I could finish college.  I waited and waited but his tour trip to L.A. never came (and if it did come, I never heard about it).  In fact, I got so frustrated by that, that I stopped following his appearances as closely as I had in the past.  I just gave up and thought “what’s the point, he’s never going to come to L.A.!”  I eventually did make it out to New York (last year, actually), but the thought of trying to catch him on some appearance never crossed my mind because my trip was just too short (basically a weekend).  Just shaking his hand would have been gigantic for me … but hey, who knows? Maybe I’ll get to meet him in some other dimension should I be so lucky.

To find out more about Jim’s amazing work, click on his pic below to go to his official website:

Visit Jim Carroll's website at www.catholicboy.com

Visit Jim Carroll's website at http://www.catholicboy.com

Rest in peace Jim Carroll.  May the angels be with you.  You changed people’s lives; you certainly changed mine…

4 Comments

Filed under RIP

4 responses to “Jim Carroll’s Death

  1. Jeremy Foster

    This is tragic for those who followed his life and work. I was really looking forward to his novel.

  2. Heather

    Wait, you were on the discussion list too? I was on it from the beginning till about a year and a half ago. Small e-world. Anyway, I got the same email from Cassie. My heart sank. Any time I go into a book or record store I always look for JC’s work first. When I finally found a copy of Book of Nods in Berekley over the summer I was ecstatic, like I had to buy it right then and there before it slipped from view.
    I had heard of him not long before the movie came out, references, things like that, but nothing was really in print. My mom took me to see it, trying to use it as an opportunity to talk about addiction. What it did do was speak to me about all the beauty in the world, about how reality is as interesting as what you say about it. I love the themes of redemption, purity, I love his sense of humor and use of historic imagery.
    I always wanted to see him in LA, too. I remember I was at this shitty coffeehouse on Ventura around 2000 and I picked up an LA Weekly. I saw an announcement that he was performing at McCabe’s….two days ago. Nooooo! I guess it was my only chance…
    Jim Carroll was a tremendous influence on so many people. He will be missed. I hope the novel is finally released. I can’t wait to read it.

  3. Yeah I was on the discussion list … I replied to Cassie one time & I remember asking when Jim was going to be in L.A. next and she replied right back, saying that she wasn’t sure and that if I heard anything to let her know … LOL. I was like “wait, but your his assistant” … I feel like a piece of me went up to the other side with Jim.

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