Who doesn’t know about Kurt Cobain? But just to be safe, I’ll give you a quick summary. Kurt Donald Cobain was an American singer, songwriter, and musician. Originally from Aberdeen, Washington he formed the band Nirvana with Krist Novoselic and Aaron Burckhard in 1987 and established a new music scene now known as grunge. His death was tragic, and to this day unresolved. Some say it was suicide, some say it was a murder. After reading his journals, I believe it to be suicide since he often speaks about wanting to kill himself. But that’s not the point.
I grew up listening to Nirvana, was in love with Kurt Cobain (like any child going through a punk phase) and only now I got around to reading his journals. I stumbled upon this book by accident in my friend’s apartment, and immediately started to freak out. Of course discussing it in detail, page by page would be a tad too much, so I decided to pick my favorite journal entries and post them here.
Starting with his engaging simple writing, to his political opinions, drug related entries, and his art. It was very hard to pick these entries out of the hundreds that were in the collection, hopefully you’ll enjoy them as much as I did.
You know when you’re tired of the monotonous life? And just lie down in the grass and try to connect with the nature? Those little blobs you see in your eyes “swimming around”? Well that’s what Kurt decided to write about. “Just before I fall asleep and when I’m really bored I … Laydown and think for a while until I fall into a semi hypnotic state of subconsciousness , some call it daydreaming, some call it just fucking spacing out.” I included this in my blog because I find it so simple, relatable, and humanesque, especially that his calligraphy is so inconsistent that you are quick to assume that he was under the influence when writing this. In my personal opinion, it’s marijuana.
Now this next one is a little different compared to the one above. I’m not sure if he wrote this as an actual diary entry or if it was just a story he came up with, but I found it mesmerizing. He always has a recurring theme of boredom in his journals. “A finished anarchy sign spray painted on her robe … ‘After a while they became bored with vandalizing the church and went away to buy a gram. So I suggest we all just connect our vitals to this ancient cow milking Hookah and Relax, because the River will never dry up for it is fed by the mountains which will alway be addicted to boredom.'”
And then here’s his advice on seeing the after life… “If you want to know what the after life feels like, then put on a parachute go up in a plane, shoot a good amount of heroine into your veins and immediately follow that with a hit of nitrous oxide then jump. Or, set yourself on fire.”
He was an amazing writer and a deeply sensitive man, with a lot of political opinions which I completely agree with. I will only be posting one since the rest of them are very long (up to 4 pages per entry), and I would feel bad to only post one page from the whole monologue. See one short opinion about the right wing below.
His sensitivity is best expressed in these couple of entries below. You can tell how he as a hard time opening up to people, how he feels silly for wanting to share his insecurities and he’s trying very hard to pin point his personality with bullet points (which seem unfinished).
Or how he takes the media’s review of his songs and writings so personally, being obviously offended.
And as said above, his hardship with finding someone to open up to. “I wish there was someone I could ask for advice, someone who wouldn’t make me feel like a creep for spilling my guts and trying to explain all the insecurities that have plagued me for oh, about 25 years now.”
But what I found the most interesting is that he goes through an emotional rollercoaster about his fame, saying how he doesn’t want it and then suddenly being extra appreciative to his fans. How he became an corporate toy, and made so much money that he still doens’t want to share.
But on top of everything else, I adore his little advise blobs in his journal. This one, I found the most sincere and adorable, and honest to god true. He gives some advise to boys, to stop looking for role models in their relatives, to stop trying to fit into their mindset and to stop acting to tough all the time. He tells boys it’s okay to be sensitive, to open up, and to not be mean to girls. I found it very heartwarming.
Kurt Cobain was a known heroin addict, but the reason behind his addiction is less known. It’s often said that he started his heroin addiction due to his ex-wife, Courtney Love, but that’s not entirely true. Kurt suffered from Crohn’s disease, chronic stomach pain which made him vomit and want to kill himself, that drove him to self-medication with heroin. He often talks about it in his journals, see one of the entries below.
But he didn’t condone the use of drugs. In this entry below we can see that Kurt realizes how bad of a habit it is, and that it’s always better to find something else to fill the void. “Drug use is escapism whether you want to admit it or not…if your ego is too big to start at square one and go the psychological rehabilitation way, either way you’ve got at least 5 to 10 years of battle ahead of you.”
But then we see a different Kurt. In this entry below, for example, he shows completely different colors “…the stupid fucking British press bought the lie that I suffer from narcolepsy. Yeah talking about drugs.” What are we to believe, especially that this rant is followed by “…3 days later we went on a Australian tour and on to Japan during which I collected a very distressing stomach disorder.” Did the stomach pains come before of after his heroin use?
But heroin wasn’t the only drug he spoke about in his entries. Seems like he was also a big pothead, though he said that it didn’t help the pain anymore so he had to switch to heroin. See a small excerpt below.
And now moving on to his art. He had a lot of scribbles in his entries, Nirvana merchandise sketches, music video scripts, and more. I decided to post these entries here out of the many. The first one I find very disturbing, how the earth is being pulled apart by a demonesque creature, though it’s also very symbolic. Mainly though, I think he was just trying to do a hardcore metallic drawing, cause he often talks about how he’s not hardcore enough.
I apologize for the bad quality of this picture, but to make it up to you I’ll write out the text here.
Panel 1: “My son! Boy he’s gonna be quite a man. Listen to the power in those little strong legs! He’s gonna be a football player.”
Panel 2: “This kid better now be a lousy little girl. I want my very honest hard workin, jew, spic, nigger, and faggot hatin 100% pure beef american male! I’ll teach him how to work on cars and exploit women.
Panel 3: “AHH listen to those strong legs kick.”
Kurt shows all of his political opinions in this small comic strip, standing against racism, homophobia, xenophobia, sexism, and everything else that those type of “american males” stand for. Seems like he chose a southerner to represent this american male, with his rifle, hat collection, and his mustache. Luckily his son or daughter decided to kick right through his backwards brain. Good job Kurt.
And being a musician of course, his obsession with guitars was not news. Here’s a short clip of some of his guitar drawings in his entries. I wanted to include this since I find it a huge part of his personality.
I understand this wasn’t a very refined article, I simply wanted to share my appreciation for such a legend. We are always quick to assume what kind of a person someone is without thinking much about what’s inside. So when someone tells you Kurt Cobain was a world famous rock star with a heroin (and more) addiction, you are quick to jump to conclusions what kind of a person he would be. But in reality, he was one of the most open minded, warm hearted, broken person, who just wanted to feel better, and to find somewhere to belong.
So please, before you decide what kind of a person someone is, make sure to dig a little deeper. You might be pleasantly surprised.
Cobain, Kurt. Journals. Riverhead Books, 2003.