I wrote about the time I tried to kill myself for The Rumpus. It was a pretty intense time, as you can imagine. No album has ever stunned me like Cash’s American IV, it obsessed me so entirely. And then it left me, it became a stand-in for this entire period. To this day, I haven’t listened to it again. I’ve tried listening to individual songs, but can’t get through them without breaking down in tears. Maybe someday I’ll listen to it again, and write about that. This felt really good to write.The ability to put a narrative on a traumatic element of your life is one of writing’s greatest rewards.
This was really special to read. The Legend of Johnny Cash might be one of those “albums that saved my life” and it’s really great to know someone else has a similar experience with Cash. While I also wouldn’t say listening to his music took me away from the negative space I was trapped in, Cash made those feelings more digestible. I have a particular fondness for “A Boy Named Sue”, if only because it showed some laughing wrinkles on Cash’s beaten down face and, supplemented with “Ring of Fire”, provided a figure for me that I could observe both living and engaging with the darkness in their life.