Wednesday, January 23, 2008
R.I.P. Heath Ledger
In the very few hours I've had to myself since the news broke (usually between intensive lectures, lengthy classroom observations and broken units of sleep), I've been pouring over every write-up and tribute on display. A post I keep reading is Nathaniel's first words on Ledger's passing; I had returned to Nate's blog Tuesday afternoon to chat some more about the Oscar nominations announced earlier that day. When I saw that photo and those years in closed brackets, my heart sank into my gut instantly. Although I fully knew what this meant, I didn't want it to compute. I followed the accompanying links, additionally tapping away the addresses of every familiar online news source (entertainment-related or not) in order to verify this claim. And then I went back to that original post and sat there for about ten minutes with my mouth ludicrously agape. Eventually, I had to pull myself together and attend a linguistics lecture. I was able to make light conversation with my classmates and pay attention to the professor's points, but I had that same pit in my stomach throughout.
It still hasn't gone away. The more newspaper articles, emotional reactions and pictures I seem to consume, the less I'm able to understand it. I feel so distanced from the whole thing now, and in a strange way, I feel compelled to read Nathaniel's words again and again to really come to terms with it. The sense of loss is even more acutely felt when taking into account the sudden passing of Brad Renfro just a few days earlier (I've been a fan since The Client, and yes, even Tom & Huck.)
It seems so off, so improperly timed. After Brokeback Mountain, Candy and I'm Not There, it felt like he was just getting started. And his film career aside, I had grown used to his adorably dumpy fashion sense, that goofy smile and his distinctive nervous-but-generous chortle.
I don't have much to offer here, but the blog seems like the obvious place to jot down some thoughts.