Thursday, April 09, 2009

What Frances taught me...

I keep thinking about Frances. Frances Bean.

Her Dad, Kurt Cobain, committed suicide 15 years ago (April 5th to be exact). While I was not a huge or even semi-huge Nirvana fan, I remember the waves of grief that shot across the media in the wake of his death. When I first heard the news, I immediately thought of the rowdy Young Life kid who use to sing his songs during Club with an unmistakable admiration. Cobain touched lives and captured imaginations like few others.

It was that cultlike following that really drew me to look more closely at Cobain. Here was a man at the peak of his international success, the founder and frontman of a group with nothing but potential. At 27 years old, he takes a shotgun and kills himself in a room above the garage of his Seattle home. Many believe, paradoxically, that he was unable to reconcile his inner demons and fear of "compromise" with Nirvana's massive success. He played music, people responded oh-so-favorably, yet it drove him to depression, drugs, and ultimately, suicide.

He left behind a larger-than-life train-wreck-waiting-to-happen wife, Courtney Love. I don't mean for my description to sound disrespectful - I meant it in the nicest way. In fact, I am truly intrigued by Cobain's widow who herself was thrown into the unbelievable glare of Cobain's success and resulting grief. Would she ever have achieved such notoriety without him? Probably not, except for her role in producing the only living embodiment of Kurt.

Frances Bean. Frances Bean Cobain.

How does a kid grow up successfully in the wake of Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love?

Frances Bean told the world last year, "I'm Not My Parents."

Then 15, she was absolutely beautiful and headlining as the star of Evita, Grease and Beauty and the Beast – all for a fashion spread in the March issue of Harper's Bazaar.

Proud mom was quoted as saying it wasn't unusual that the only offspring of an anti-establishment-grunge-guru would be doing musicals. "She's a gay man trapped in a woman's body, like me," Love said.

And that explains so much ABOUT Love... I suspect very little about Frances Bean.

Frances Bean said while she understands people's fascination with her, it's "creepy ... I haven't done anything ... People need to wait until I've done something valid with my life."

Her old-soul reasonableness likely comes from her paternal grandmother, who lives in Olympia, Washington. Frances Bean called her "the most constant thing I've ever had. I'm really lucky because I've been able to go places and meet people you can only dream of, but she's probably the person I respect most out of anybody in the world."

Ultimately, Frances Bean inspires me, reminds me that something truly beautiful can survive chaos. She reminds me that today as I begin my own journey, without my own father, in an economy that jolts my reality on a daily basis, life can turn out good with the support of "constant" family and friends. Perhaps it's one of the greatest Easter stories of all time.

"And I forget
Just what it takes
And yet I guess it makes me smile
I found it hard
Its hard to find
Oh well, whatever, nevermind"


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Love it! Well said!! I would say more, but, nevermind.--slm

Anonymous said...

Well done. Peace, love and empathy.

Red Keller said...

Great article but why state it was a suicide when that is an unfounded statement? That seems to be copying other uniformed media instead of gathering the facts for yourself. He did not kill himself