When she finally retired, it wasn’t to a lot of fanfare or acclaim. As a matter of fact, I think its fair to say, not many of her fans really noticed. She’d been absent from the scene for so long. Although she never said anything to me about it directly, I knew. In spite of the long distance nature of our relationship right at that time, we were close and yes, I knew.
So did the stalker that killed her career and very nearly ruined her at the same time.
We knew that it went with the territory. People, artists in the public eye get this stuff all the time. I guess she was more accustomed to it, having been in the biz since she was in her teens but for me…? This was all new and it was scary. Especially as the years rolled on and it became easier and easier for every crackpot who wanted to play with the band, or deranged female who thought my Love’s songs were for them; to find her, us.
We or one of the management would notice the signs and try to stop it but with the advent of the internet… The psycho avalanche was unstoppable.
We tried to stem the damage but copyrights and artistic content, it seems can’t be kept safe from those who want to thieve them. For me, that was terrible. No one will ever know who I am and I don’t really care but I contributed in my own right to what she gave to the world. We co-wrote a lot of material, I play bass on several tracks and I sang backing vocals on every album.
Do you remember “Black and Blue”? She wrote that for me. “Black is the colour of my true love’s hair, emerald eyes and mermaid stare.” We were at the lake, sitting round a dying bonfire… the music just flowed.
I stumbled over some chick’s postings where she claimed that this song and several other of J’s work had been written for her, claimed to be my love’s muse. She had pictures of my love posted, with me cropped out. I thought I would die…
What kind of psycho thinks or does shit like that?
J was furious. She talked to her manager, publisher, even got in touch with our lawyers but it was too no avail. Everywhere she turned, there was someone trying to get to her. It was affecting her, me, the kids and… her work.
Slowly, she began withdrawing. Buying back the rights where she could, I didn’t find out about that for a while. Removing and having removed; as many traces as she could of what had once been her first and perhaps best love. And all I could do was watch as the person I loved lost a vital piece of themselves. It was like watching her never-ending murder with handcuffs and a gag on… They might just as well have been killing me too.
Eventually, the contracts stopped coming and our friends and legit fans stopped asking.
When anyone from the press calls, I field the questions with, “She’s on sabbatical right now.” But I know and so does she that she’s retired.
For a while, I thought and hoped that she could continue on for the sake of everyone who so loved her and her work. I know that her words touched so many, helped so many when they thought no one else could. I keep the fan letters in a black lacquer box that I bought somewhere on our last tour.
All it took was one, one deranged female who wouldn’t stop stalking her.
I wish I could ask that piece of garbage what was in her head. Why would she ever look at a complete stranger and think it was ok to impose her psychotic fantasies on them?
I would like to tell her that she killed the best and most beautiful part of a human being who meant the world to the world, to their family and… to me.
Once in a while, she sits out on the deck, notebook on her lap, chewing her pen. I know that the words still flow, still beautiful, still entrancing but the guitar beside her remains untouched. Once she’d hidden herself from the world, she decided to remain hidden.
The words are all gone now, The Muse only lives on vinyl and parchment…
28 February 2012
Originally published in A Grain Of Truth I by Karin Bole Tupper