I wasn't intending to write a post about the recent death of Robin Williams...much has already been said about the man, his life, his work and his recent death...but I find myself unable to rid my mind of such thoughts. And as so often in my life, I find that writing is a cathartic process which perhaps does not heal a wound but at least lets the pus drain away.
I cannot claim to have known or even ever to have met the man but I do know of his work. I remember him best as the madcap Mork from Mork and Mindy, the fast and furious speech, the wide grin and the endearing behaviour. But most of all I remember sitting watching it, perched on the end of my parents' bed with my dad laughing uproariously and occasionally explaining the finer points to me - I guess I was about seven then.
I remember too, watching Mrs Doubtfire with my own children, my heart wrenched at his character's obvious love for his family despite his flaws.
Robin Williams was the very essence of a comic genius who could wring sentiment from even the coldest of hearts. I have no idea how this affected him in his personal life or whether he was afflicted with the neuroses that seem too often to accompany genius...all I know is that he left a family who loved him and a world that [to echo his daughter] will be a little darker with his passing.
For me personally this news comes at a strange time, for I am undergoing a small grieving process of my own. I seem to have come to a crossroads in life, I can see the many roads of the past which led me to where I now stand. Some of those roads are now careworn and covered with a thin veil of dust - the passage of time and the losses it wreaks on our souls serve to decay and rot the surface of such trails but other roads are yet fresh and beckon towards me with a strange eerie call. To go down those roads previously well trodden would be dangerous but the appeal is there nonetheless.
The future is less clear. And I guess that is true for all of us. We can only ever see to the very edge of where the light shines forth, beyond that is a darkness as thick and impenetrable as Sleeping Beauty's forest.
I don't know where the future leads, where its path will be smooth and where I might stumble upon the way...but I am nevertheless driven forward. Sometimes I wish I were not 'blessed' with the dark disposition that occasionally comes upon me but then again, it is this darkness that fuels my novels I am sure.
So to the family of Robin Williams, I would say this : venture down that path ahead as far as you feel you can and when the darkness gets too much, cast your eye back to the blazing trail your father left behind him. What that may have cost him I would not like to speculate but I hope that the knowledge that he made one little Glaswegian and her dad very happy, may light the darkness, even just a tiny bit.
Rest In Peace Mr Williams. x