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Note to a fan : River Phoenix

wise kid

Note to a fan - River through his work - in his own words

It's pretty difficult to introduce him to people who have never heard of him, but maybe even more to those who have.

It's just painful. Now he's "the actor who died". Among the things I learned from River, there's this idea that whatever you do in your life can be erased in the eye of people by a single mistake. That it's easier to sum up your death than who you were. What's worse is to realize that I tend to choose this easy path too, as I remember my reaction when I heard the news years ago.

tired model

I've never liked news, or more exactly, I've never liked the way journalists talk about events and people. How they overuse stereotypes, distort reality, even when they're real journalists and not only vultures making money on the back of people. It's impossible to give credit to them. I've been confirmed that more than once but analyzing it in details about River's case has been very beneficial to me. The way they present things makes you unable to consider it as real somehow.

I can't even tell you why I first tried to know more of River. I don't think it's anything you might expect. But surprise was a big part of it. Fascination because I felt that the few I could see hid a lot more. At first I had the purpose to make him get the attention - the sort of attention - that he deserved. Something like... explanations maybe. As far as mine might be more reliable than any other, since I've never met him. Because everything that was told looked so over-simple and often false.

But before I get this web account to express myself, I changed my mind. First because I'm too aware that I don't have more right to speak about his life than all the medias I'm criticizing. Second because people who are now friends of mine have done one of the things I wished to do, better that I might do it and before I could do it (gathering info on River's work, life and influence in a website : the River Phoenix Pages).


However I did try here to show him here through some of his different faces, through his work and his own words, because one thing that keeps fascinating me is how multi-faceted he was, and how aware of that he was, too.

But most of all, I changed my mind because I've thought of it twice. There's been a point in my "quest" about River when I stopped to see him as an actor, an idol - I've never really considered him so in fact, because I'm not looking for models, only for souls and ways to learn -, or an image like the fiction characters I create. A moment when I came to the realization that he'd been a real person, with his own wishes. His life has to remain his own as far as it can still be so.

Sometimes it seems that some fans regret the performances he's not had the time to offer us. Isn't that a bit selfish? Shouldn't we regret for him the dreams he made that he's not had the occasion to fulfill? Don't get me wrong, I don't mean to blame fans. After all, I'm here writing this and I know how it feels... And I would really like to hear more of his songs...

absorbed musician

(Give him a guitar and maybe he won't scowl at the camera...)

But love doesn't give any right. It only gives duties.

First of all is respect. But I'm too pessimistic to expect respect for River from everyone. Not when the only thing people make the effort to remember is how he died. It would be too long to even mention how unfair and reducing the medias can be. So if there are persons who I wish may understand what I try to explain here, it's the ones who still remember River and love him.

Why have I made this page? Not only because I felt the need to talk about him and notify what I owe him. More because I wished to do something for his memory. That's my tribute, as pretentious as it may appear. Trying to convince people that he was a person, and that everyone, including people who have a public life, deserves respect and privacy.

wild cat

That's why I don't say anything about his life on this page, or more about what I've understood from him. Because if you're fans, you already know a lot about it -including a lot of half-lies and plain lies. I hope you take it all with a grain of salt, because it took me about three years to build a somehow coherent portrait of him... And I'm still unsure of whether I'm right or not. And it's not to what has been written about River that I gave the more importance to make this.

"A reason to believe and forgive". That's one of the true things that have been told about him. It took me more than a year to agree with that saying and read it without cynicism. It's the time that I've needed to turn what happened into a positive change, a change that's his last gift, and my tribute.

Enough said, it's time to let his work speak for him :

Links and Resources

Links checked / revised in December 2002

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