You Know You’re Right


It wasn’t what I was expecting. The feeling of hurt wasn’t as strong as past years. You’re missed every time my television or iPod or God forbid, the car radio, plays. I stopped using your song, inside my phone, to wake me a couple of years ago. I depend on the phone’s brain to compensate for my failing one. It’s been eighteen years. Today, your ghost is old enough to vote or serve in a war. You’ve shown me much. I divorced my mismatched significant other choice and found another someone who’s a ray of incandescent light in this dark world. I’m raising three beautiful kids. I don’t stay out all or night or intentionally spend every dime I have, living your dreams.  I don’t have to suffer for my art like you. I’m finishing something, I mean it’s only a book, but it’s mine and it’s honest. I think you’d appreciate that.Be true, be real, be fearless and never apologize. I think what you taught me more than anything is don’t quit because it’s hard. You quit and look what happened. Music went to hell, well a lot of it did. You quit and your daughter had to be raised by someone lacking the skills to do so. At least I left mine and found someone better. You know what else I wasn’t expecting? Happiness exists and not just in small doses, but extended periods of fulfillment. I have people who love me in spite of my illness. You taught me to stop believing in people like you and look inside. That’s your legacy, and it’s a damn good one. I write every day and I think about you each time a sentence is punctuated. I wonder if you’d understand a word of this or if you’d laugh if I told you that you’re the top search for this blog. You know you’re right when you can make sense of the crazy.

Rest In Peace, Kurt Cobain. You should be here.

***blogger’s note****

Eighteen years ago today, Kurt Cobain killed himself in his Seattle home. His body was found three days later. It was a watershed moment in my life. I’ve written elsewhere about him. Today, I decided to do so incorporating 2 prompts – Trifecta writing’s “Brain” and StudioThirtyplus’ “It wasn’t what I was expecting.” 

One of my favorite songs is Nirvana’s You Know You’re Right. These are some of 333 most honest words I’ve ever written. I know I’m right to share them. Play this loud.



71 thoughts on “You Know You’re Right

  1. I loved him too. I remember being at a different high school (mine had asbestos removal that month) when I heard the tragic news. he made such an impact on so many people. great for you for continuing to honor him

  2. debseeman

    Lance, I was never a Nirvana fan. In fact when my boys played their music as young teens it would set my teeth on edge. But what I can say Cobain had in spades was lyrical, poetic genius. He was a tortured soul and I witnessed the impact he had on the young people in my life. My oldest remembers Kurt the same way you do. Mourns him often. Quotes him frequently.

    This post is honest, raw and real. I feel your pain through your words.

    Thanks for writing this and for sharing it with us.

    • thanks Deb. He was my John Lennon or Elvis or Buddy Holly. Plus. there are some lifestyle parallels that didn’t work themselves out until recently in my life. Thanks you

  3. mama

    Hey Lance. I am the mother-ship of Abby. Just wanted to leave you a quick comment about BASEBALL starting for real . Then I read this post and ended up crying. So, WOW. Very very moving. Anyway, all i have to say is, Put Me In Coach, I’m ready to play…Today. Good luck to the Braves this year and better luck to our TIGERS!!! Love your blog (secretly). kathy

  4. Gina

    Not where I expected this was heading when I started or, frankly, in the middle. Did not know this was the anniversary but in hindsight, it all ties up in a nice package.

  5. Ohhhh. I was looking for a parent of YOURS until ‘daughter’. And then when you said Cobain, I got it. I understand what you mean about being inspired by someone whose ultimate decisions were hurtful to a lot of people. But I’m with Cameron on failing to understand the Nirvana Hype. They never turned me on.

  6. Very raw. Very real and honest. Nice.

    I managed to somehow be neither a Cobain lover nor a hater. And it’s rare for anyone to be lukewarm when it comes to individuals like him, Morrison, Lennon or Jackson – to name only a few. But I definitely have my great inspirations. And I respect that you shared yours here, even though it wasn’t always pretty.

  7. I love that song, too. And I get this piece. I didn’t quite understand this line: “At least I left mine and found someone better.” At least, not in the place where you put it. But that doesn’t matter so much.

    I remember how I felt left behind somehow when he did what he did. And like I didn’t have the right to feel that way, but I did at the same time. It’s hard to explain, but I think you get it. I can tell by by what you’ve written here.

    I wanted to hear a lot more of Kurt’s writing.

  8. ” I don’t have to suffer for my art like you.” This is a really intense line. This whole thing is well written. What I like most about it is the tone of it. It fits Kurt. So much to say in such a short time, like him, and you did it perfectly.

    Like you said to me over the weekend, I will say that this is one of my favorite pieces of yours. Nice work.

  9. You taught me to stop believing in people like you and look inside. <<~ this line says it all.
    I liked how you wove adulation into admonishment , drawing upon your own life — true reflection isn't easy.
    He was troubled, and though there’s nothing cowardly about suicide, there’s nothing brave either. When you reach that point, it’s just the end.

    Happy you're here,

  10. TheKirCorner

    I don’t even like Nirvana or Kurt Cobain, but what you wrote here, what you shared and spilled was amazing and raw, beautiful in the space of being broken. THANK You for that.

  11. Well said Lance. I actually have a half written letter to Kurt that’s been sitting in my notebook for months. It was inspired by my ipod shuffling to All Apologies for the first time in years. It made my cry. For the man he was, the man he could have been, but more for the man he chose to be in the end. I no longer need to edit that letter for posting, because you said my thoughts better, and I thank you for that.

    “You know you’re right when you can make sense of the crazy.” is a powerful and truthful line. Don’t ever stop writing, especially when it’s hard. Don’t ever go away, because you think it’s too much. Don’t ever stop, because you don’t know how it ends.

  12. Man, I remember exactly where I was and who I was with when the news broke. And being surprised by how much I was stunned and sad and angry.

    I was just thinking about Frances Bean the other day… wondering how she dealt with Courtney Love as a mom.

    I try not to be judgmental about it, but it’s really hard not to. I’d like to think that no matter how depressed I got, now that I have G I would NEVER commit suicide or hurt myself in such a way that he would have to be without me. Even though M is a wonderful parent, and would do a wonderful job on his own if he had to… still.

    I still listen to Nirvana. I still love the music. But every listen is a reminder of why I manage my depression, and what I have to live for.

    I’m so glad that you managed to find your own way through his tragedy. You so beautifully expressed what I think many of us have felt.

  13. I still remember hearing the news that day — truly, a watershed moment in my life.

    It’s one of those moments where I want to know more – I want to know why, I want to know every detail about the seconds/minutes/hours/days that lead to his decision. but, I won’t even allow myself to ponder on everything for more than a heartbeat.

  14. mrsoneday

    He was the voice of the ’90’s. He spoke the words so many of us couldn’t or wouldn’t utter. It’s so hard to believe that it’s been so long since he gave up on life. Like you, I think of him often when I write and I wonder what could have been.

    Great job. Good luck on the challenge.

  15. Good stuff. I was 18 then. Damn. I don’t know if I understood why he did it, a second half of watching how the culture works has made it steadily clearer. Someone’s gotta break that cycle.

    • agreed, my point is, even with my illness = anxiety disorder, and my other problems, I’ve found some peace and not gone the otehr way. Thank you for reading and commenting

  16. I was 25 and a second-year teacher at an upper-middle-class high school…

    The news spread like wildfire across the campus even though his death predated the days when cell phones were de rigueur for everyone over the age of 12.

    You can imagine, I’m sure, the devastation, the tears; I was in a place where thousands of angst-ridden teenagers gathered; hell, half of the faculty was angst-ridden.

    I was wearing blue jeans and a flannel, thanks to the Seattle grunge influence on my style back then…

    Yes. I remember what I was wearing. Weird, right?
    But it was that kind of day.

    I don’t know why, but I always think of “All Apologies” on April 5.
    Well, maybe I do know why.

    Great post, Lance.

    • I played all apologies when I woke up this morning, then posted it everywhere. I was 23, living in back in Georgia after college. I took a break from my job, heard the news on the car radio and just started crying.

      Thanks Julie. I loved your post on “being a large”.

  17. I remember the husband and I sitting there going, “What? WHY?” when we found out. It was a weird moment, like, “Now what? Now who’s going to be Nirvana [with all that entails]?”

    I’m glad you’re able to get to a feeling of finding happiness in large doses.

    I do love that our daughter loves Nirvana, without all the baggage. That’s a good feeling.

  18. trifectawriting

    Thanks for linking up to Trifecta this week. If you haven’t already done it, you might be interested in clicking on the “Meet Your Fellow Trifectans” tab on our site and introducing yourself there. Hope to see you back on Monday for the new prompt.

    18 years??? Wow.

  19. Wow! You’re comments kind of exploded. I think you’re “internet famous!!”

    Jake and I were discussing this yesterday. Sitting on the couch. Talking about Dave Grohl’s clean-cut hair and James Hetfield sitting in on his daugher’s ballet class. We imagined Kurt doing an interview on some TV show. A short haircut, maybe a T-shirt with no holes or even a button-up collared shirt with the top 3 buttons undone. He was talking about himself, the typical disenfranchised attitude of the early 90s, laughing with the interviewer while reminiscing about some of his antics, perhaps Francis sitting next to him beaming at her Dad. Jake likened her being Kurt’s daughter to having been given the best Christmas present ever but it’s permanently stuck untouchable on the highest shelf. I was in the lunchroom at my high school when it happened. A tiny little nowhere school in nowhere Alabama. So many kids walked out that day that they wound up sending everyone home and closing the school.

    • It depends on whether he got away from Courtney. I’ve always imagined Kurt quitting music and writing poetry, essays, maybe political stuff for a living. Krist Novoselic said Kurt hated everything about the music business.

      I’m surprised an Alabama school closed down for a rockstar. That’s awesome.

  20. I think we all forget how powerful music is in the life of the mind, and I know your piece didn’t really go there, but that’s what came to MY mind after I read it. Music can be as powerful as a smell or a picture to conjure a memory or hold one in place. This was such a lovely tribute to Kurt. Erin

  21. Lance, I’m 55, so it wasn’t that I was much into grunge, but when I heard Kurt Cobain on MTV’s ‘Unplugged,’ I had a connection. Then I read up, found out about the pain in his gut that led to use of opiates and led to more pain in the gut that led to… I’ve known and lost too many people to drugs. I truly believe he did not kill himself… practically impossible to do it with a shotgun and do it ‘right,’ which is to actually die. I think his wife killed him in an argument, and she’s a horrible excuse for a parent.

    If I had had to make the choice between my former music career and raising my girl Riley, she would have come first. And I love how you know and SAY people love you, because they obviously do. I’ve found a connection with you through your work, a strong one. Keep writing, and bless you for being a good father. Peace, Amy

  22. PS My husband, Lex, thinks your site name is “amazing” and loves the Fight Club pic. He kept saying, “My blog can beat up your blog” all night like he has Tourette’s, truly. And this is a pastor we’re talking about! Thought you’d want to know! (wink) Amy

    • Thanks Amy and Lex!

      On Kurt- This is third time I’m written about him. I’m surprised at how I’ve grown from rock star groupie to perspectived grown up. Knowing who and what you are is a gift from God or whatever you believe in. It;s taken a lot of pills, therapy, and growing up to get here.

      Thanks for the blog love you and and the pastor. I love your writing too. don’t stop.

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