Jim Carroll


So the legendary Jim Carroll passed a few weeks ago.

I try to stay away from just regurgitating information here and trying to contextualize it to my life or things that are important to me, but I neglected to post anything about it.

I was a huge Jim Carroll fan. One of my friends, Janine, always cries when she watches The Basketball Diaries saying it reminds her of me. Doesn’t that make me so very tragically hip and fatally cool?

In any event, I liked what the guy wrote. I was all hyped when I first moved to Philly and saw that he was doing a book signing at Borders or B&N for Void of Course: Poems 1994 – 1997. I knew or heard he was in recovery, in NA, so I was trying to figure how I could in some secret code let him know I knew he was in recovery, and I was in recovery too. In theory this would lead to the realization we were kindred spirits, and we would go off to meetings, then off to coffee shops and have some great, deep conversations. I thought the perfect opening line to this play and as he signed my copy of the book, I stuttered to him, “You know Jimmy K. too?” A reference to the founder of Narcotics Anonymous. Recovering alcoholics ask the question, “Are you a friend of Bill W.’s?” as their secret handshake, so I figured this was a pretty good shot. I remember a frail and gaunt looking Carroll squinting at me saying, “Who?” as he scribbled in my book. Embarrassed and realizing he had no idea what the fuck I was talking about, I left.

Funny enough there was a girl from Drexel I was trying to smash (Mya?), and I knew she would appreciate an autographed copy of the book, so I went home, got another book of his, went back, stood in line, and without saying anything, got another book signed. And I was right. The girl really, really appreciated it. But apparently not enough to fuck.

Jesus. That story wasn’t even the point of this post. The point is that the NYT recently ran another piece about Jim Carrol’s last days, and the nearly completed book he was working on at the time of his death. (Interestingly enough, going to NA meetings and hanging out in coffee shops… Jim, what the fuck?!) The piece has some interesting insights into his day to day life, and also offers a glimmer of hope that the book might see daylight next year. Fingers crossed.