…You will never know how far reaching of an effect your life had.
Long live the Afflicted Yard!
I’m sure most of us growing up, have heard elderly people quote biblical scripture..
For man also knoweth not his time: as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare; so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly upon them.
To some degree that is mostly true, but there are a few people who have been struck with affliction that gives them insight, not necessarily to the exact moment of their time of leaving this earth, but they have an idea that it is upon them and have time to consider their journey that has lead up to it. Is it a blessing to have this type of knowledge, or is it a burden? Sometimes I think we all like living with some level of the ‘ignorance is bliss’ mentality, because just being informed at times can be a bit too much. It is a lot less draining going about our business as happy fools, never truly being aware of certain things. Peter knew what he was facing, and to some degree, he was able to leave on his own terms.
Maybe it’s just typical scatter brained tendencies, but my mind was soo all over the place after I heard the news of Peter’s death, I could not put two cohesive thoughts / sentences together to describe the effect this man had on my life, without it sounding like complete drivel. I’d like to comfort myself and say something that I would hope to be profound like,
‘well you know the mind of a creative person is just sooo complex’, yad yada yada,…
but in all honesty, I just had no idea how to begin and end a story about such an individual. As humans we are all soo innately selfish, that even in the death of another, and the grief of their close loved ones, we go right back to how we are affected and how we feel, which at this moment I still can’t yet decide. I am in between bouts of laughing my ass off like a crazy person at my desk, at some of the absolutely outrageous things he’d said and done, and crying my eyes out, that even though we’ve corresponded and become ‘internet friends’ over the last 14 years, that I will never be able to fulfill that hope of actually finally meeting him in person. I would say in almost every conversation we’d had,
“Where in the world are you now Peter?”
He’d tell me, then I’d say,
“One of these days, we will finally be on the same soil and make this meeting happen.”
Now it never will and I am more gutted than I could have imagined. It’s normal for people to feel sad when someone passes away, especially when they are very young, whether they knew them personally or not. I’m trying to keep it all in check though, because he didn’t seem like the type of guy who liked people fussing over him, even under these circumstances, but I gotta be honest and say, this genuinely hurts me.
My first reaction was,..this dude is soo out of this world and out of his mind, that this has got to be some kind of side effect of him doing or saying something, or some kind of sick joke that some media outlet got a hold of, and assumed he was dead,..but he Really Isn’t. It’s one of those death hoax things. It had to be. I had to re-activate my facebook profile to go to his wall, to see him post a funny comment about all the silliness in the media about him dying, and all I saw were condolences. Social media is never a true reflection of what battles are going on in most people’s lives, so the masses never knew of his battle with cancer. I didn’t and only discovered it reading another’s tribute on his life.
All of the egotistical bullshit that tends to fly around facebook had bothered me enough to quit it, but then in temporarily re-activating it. I remembered the last time I saw his profile log into chat , I’d resisted the urge to do my usual hail up, because I was busy( probably doing something I didn’t really care about), and said I would hail him up another time. Then there was the constant fan in me that didn’t want to bother him, so sometimes I felt the need to be cool and not always pounce on him to say hi every time he logged on. 😦
I’ve watched the devil that is cancer from up close, take someone that I loved years ago and it is one of the most unpleasant things one can witness. There is nothing more heartbreaking than watching someone you love, have their body completely betray them and check out, before their vibrant mind is ready to follow, leaving them with the gift or the curse of knowing that the end draweth nigh. Seeing someone you love in chronic pain, when pretty much all you can do is stand by and watch, drains your soul, so I can only imagine the pain and grief his close friends and family are experiencing right now. The only bright spark,..(and I say this cautiously knowing that I am at risk of sounding incredibly cliche’ and that if his spirit is looming about still on this plain, sheepishly grinning at realizing how much he was loved, and rolling his eyes at the melodrama that has ensued, including my own attempt now at wrapping my mind around his loss, wishing we would all fuck right off), 🙂 , is that he is no longer in probably what was incredible physical pain towards the end of his life.
I fell in love with the afflicted yard website around the year 2000, and was hooked pretty much immediately. After months of basically stalking the page, I got up the courage to send him and e-mail,..basically to let him know that he had a fan in Antigua, who loved just about everything he posted. I was kind of scared to, because from the postings on the website, I felt somewhat intimidated by him. He came across as a real no nonsense guy, who wouldn’t have time for my silly ass. I figured it would have been one of many fan e-mails, that would get lost in the shuffle of his inbox and go unnoticed, unopened or unresponded. ( yeah I just made up unresponed to keep up the flow of my sentence.) 🙂
I sent it, and said
‘Ok Tameka, you did your part.’
I’m a believer in telling people that they’ve affected you, especially when it’s in a positive way. To my surprise, he not only acknowledged my e-mail, he actually took the time to write a few sentences back. ‘Nobody couldda tell me nutten’ after that. lol 🙂 I was like OMG he answered me!!! We emailed back and forth a few times, and eventually added each other on MSN chat, which was where I had some of the funniest and most in depth conversations I’ve ever had with anyone. They were so good I actually saved a few of them in my e-mail. Don’t ask me why. Maybe I thought some time in the future, he would acquire legend status, and I could somehow be in on the glory by just merely having interacted with him in some capacity. I went back and re-read one of them yesterday that was actually back from 2003, and was not only reminded of how funny was, but how much he spoke his mind regardless of what anyone had to say.
We’d only ever gone ‘deep and personal’ a few times, something I suspected he wasn’t very fond of, but I remember him telling me about a situation years ago, about a girl who I knew he loved very much, and wondered if it was just a rare moment of vulnerability, or he did really want to know my perspective. Either way, when you admire someone the way I admired him, and they let you into their world even for a little bit, it makes you feel…. validated as a human being. That conversation made me feel as if in some way, I was important. He may or may not have discussed that situation with others, and I may have been just one of many perspectives he’d gathered on it, because he was truly a man with no filter, but him discussing it with me at all, was a very big moment for me. I write this post from a place not necessarily considering myself his friend ( though in my head I would love it if he’d thought of me that way), but an incredibly blessed fan, who was able to capture his attention on quite a few occasions over the years.
Peter Dean Rickards, was one of the heavy unspoken influences in my life. If I am to be completely truthful, he was one of the major reasons I recognized that maybe all of those thoughts in my head that I would get funny looks from people for when I mentioned them, maybe weren’t so bad, and that maybe I wasn’t so crazy after all. He was the reason why I started my first website waaaay back in the day, when geocities had website templates. He made me think that it was ok for me to yell at the world too. After geocities went defunct, I kept my ‘crazy’ thoughts and stories and ideas in my email, until I created this blog, yet another attempt to make my internet foot print, and hopefully have something interesting and witty to say.
These are some of his images that have captivated me over the years.
I don’t know that Peter did anything to impress anyone. I believe he just lived his life and marched to the beat of his own drumline, and you decided if you were going to applaud or criticize. Jamiaca/the world may not have been ready for him yet and now , we can’t have him at all, but they can at least now fully appreciate the magic that was him in his art and his sense of humour. Sometimes I’d feel bad for laughing at some of the things he’d said,..but I’d still laugh any way, because I couldn’t help it.
Even while dying, unbeknownst to the masses, his sense of humor remained completely in tact, while his body was transitioning to start the legend proceedings.
Peter posted this below, 5 weeks ago on instagram.
I have come to realize, that geniuses are never more than an interesting topic in life, but a Saint / Visionary /Prophet, in death.. We already have a Saint Peter, so I guess he will be Saint Afflicted.
Heck, he was so creative and genius in life, maybe he had some kind of technology up his sleeve, that he’d not yet unleashed on the world and can still communicate from beyond. Instead of afflicted1@yahoo, or one of his other earthly email addresses, it would be email@example.com ,with a signature at the bottom that would read, ‘you ’til cyarn shut me up’ or ‘media terrorist from beyond’. I mean..he was able to still have the last word and last laugh even after his death, because if you go to his website you will see..
I don’t know if this was his private mantra, but it seems quite fitting.
…And it is indeed felt.
The great thing about living the life that he did, and it can be said of creative/artistic people in general, is that they will experience a level of immortality, through their works and the things that they’ve created. They will continue to make an impact on society, long after their death…. And so the legend begins…