River,

I’m starting to worry that I will never be able to shake you. I’m trying to look at you popping up everywhere and me being so sensitive about your death as a positive but… it feels more like a warning. I think it’s not actually you but my subconscious fear that I am making the biggest mistake of my life, one so big that it will come both gradually and all at once. I’m afraid that far into the future I’ll look back on this moment and laugh not because of humor but because of painful irony. At the same time I am equally afraid that I am finally on my life path. I’ve become a train on a track, zooming towards a blurry ever-changing destination. If I jump off now … I don’t have another chance. I have run out of stops and detours and everything and it finally feels right. I feel like I am becoming the quote “who I am supposed to be.” Except for this nagging darkness in the back of my mind. This tightness in my chest when I see your face, hear your name, think too much, feel too much. I’m scared that I’ll become okay with your death and the events surrounding it or that I’ll forget about you completely. I feel I need you there to ground me, to remind me that people come first and that I, myself am a person.

Hollywood scares me. I am intrigued by it. It disgusts me. I yearn to go there. These feelings co-exist and I don’t think we can have it any other way. You know what I mean. I want to learn from you. I like relating to you but I don’t want to be anything like you. I want to honor you and punch you. Something needs to change. I know you haven’t been around for a long time but the industry the same. If anything it’s gotten worse, sneakier, less exclusive. It’s like that friend who you invites you in, smiles and then roofies you into oblivion, robbing you blind. Hollywood isn’t a place, it’s a way of life. I just read this quote from you where you said it’s like being absorbed into a big blob of glitter and that you can’t hang there but you did hang there. So will I and I too will feel like I don’t belong, that I’m different, better even then “them” but I’m not and I won’t be.

I’m just a girl from nowhere. I don’t have a voice. I can’t change anything but I promise, I promise no matter what I do with my life, my career, I will not treat a person like a product and I will not go into anything with the party line of “it’s just how it is.” I wish you had been stronger. It makes me mad you gave in. I know that’s unfair and if you were alive and read this you would laugh in my face or give me hug and a restraining order but you died and gave up your right to an opinion. I care about you. I can’t help it. I can’t stop it and I don’t know that I want to. You’ve given me perspective, something to mark my horizon line. I won’t try to stay true to myself. I will. That doesn’t mean staying exactly the same forever. Everybody changes but I will never forget how I felt reading your story for the first time. Every artist wants to be remembered for their work. You were a storyteller and the most powerful one you left us with is your own. I’m sorry if that pisses you off but maybe you should’ve thought of that.

In the same article I got your quote from…you sound just like me. The part that terrifies me is I truly feel that at first you believed what you were saying and then at some point… you stopped. I hope I’m wrong. I hope you were always acting because… I don’t want to change like that, like you did. You brought your little brother and sister into that world with you. That’s when you turned. That’s when you should’ve known you were out of control but that the thing when you’re out of control you don’t care about anyone but yourself. You just forget.

I don’t glorify you or the life you lead. I look to you not because you’re special but because you’re not. You remind me that every situation is different when it’s you and that all it takes is one wheel to jump the tracks and the whole train derails.

I am going headlong into the film industry soon and I have no idea what’s ahead of me. I feel like I’m a natural at it and I love that, it’s easy but I’m also afraid of what that says about me as a person. I can’t dwell on the negative sides because then I’d become part of the problem and I don’t want to do that. I am still young and naïve enough to believe I can make a difference even if it’s small. I know you thought that too way and you did, make a difference. Your life, your work and your death, although represented minimally to me from the complexities that were you, have all influenced me with great positivity. On the darkest of nights the stars still shine bright even if eclipsed behind fog. You’d smile at that line.  I know because so would I. We’re hippies at heart.

I’m sorry I keep writing to you. I don’t know what it means, what it says about me. I just have to do it right now and I hope that’s okay. I feel like you would understand. I believe you were a good person with good intentions and I believe in you. I’m known for very rarely being wrong about people. I guess I have to put myself on that list of people too and I believe there is another way and that I can show people a path that… I feel that I am meant to do this. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

I may never write to you again. I may write to you forever.

- Caitlin

dad
5/18/2012 00:42:03

Letter to river-Caitlin is ready to fly! Recognizing risks,etc but going forward-armed and ready! locked and loaded! You rock Caitlin!
Maude- I think you talk with Maude a lot and she seems to be a good partner.

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