Death of a Perfume Blogger
“On the stone an ancient hand
In a faded yellow-green
Made alive a worldly wonder
Often told but never seen
Before the fall when they wrote it on the wall
When there wasn't even any Hollywood
They heard the call
And they wrote it on the wall
For you and me we understood…
(Steely Dan, “The Caves of Altamira”)
Blogs are not people, and even though they reflect some part of a person's life, there are some things that can never be told or seen through this virtual window to their soul.
And how many times did you click through your web links only to
find out that your favourite scent blog didn't have a new entry at all in the past week? How many times did the thought "oh no, maybe s/he died this week" pass your mind silently only to be ignored by another thought "Why does so and so ever bother to keep a blog if they let it go stale for so long?!".
While the later thought is admittedly rude and judgemental (things
do happen in life, you know, outside of that 13" wide MacBook of yours (Gheesh, go get a life now dammit!), the initial one is strangely realistic and rational.
And who is going to start a paragraph with an “And”, now that we learned of the tragic and terrible news of the tragic death of Ms. Theresa Duncan. Who is going to quote mostly Steely Dan to open a perfume review. And why did I need to have the “wit of the staircase to only link to her blog now that she’s dead, and not before when it might just make her ever so slightly happier. Perhaps just enough to stay alive.
The news of death of a fellow blogger, even if one I’ve never communicated with directly (well, I did try to leave a comment a couple of times, but I haven’t the faintest clue if it came through). Communication is the message you get. And I definitely got plenty of messages from Theresa Duncan. And even if I don’t know her in person, at least I know a few things about her which are meaningful enough for me to include in this post.
Theresa started most of her perfume reviews with a quote.
Theresa usually mentioned the perfume she reviewed only once in the blog entry about it.
Theresa always picked quite bizarre and at times provocative and stunningly beautiful photographs that were borderline fashion and art. The last image she posted was called "fireworks" and looked like this.
The last perfume she reviewed was Aria di Capri by Carthusia.
Theresa loved many of Serge Lutens perfumes. Far more than any other blogger I’ve read.
Theresa had one talented way of expressing her thoughts and memories and link them to perfume. I may have not been able to relate to them all, or fully understand them, but I sure feel that she opened one intimate window into her soul by writing about them for us all to read.
Theresa seemed to have changed her writing style slightly recently, speaking as “we” rather than “me” or “I”. She even mentioned a “Mr. Wit”. She seemed to be in love.
Theresa’s last quote was from the Koran.
Theresa also seemed to mention or think about God, the spiritual and the metaphysical quite often recently – in the quote from the Koran, the reference to the creation of light, as well as a previous post related to Kabbalaa (By the way: in Hebrew, Kala means bride).
Theresa loved the sun and loved California. She hated New York. And this is where she died.
Theresa loved Steely Dan. So do I.
The last Steely Dan quote Theresa used was from “Rose Darling”.
So let’s close our eyes and listen to it now (really, close your eyes so you don't see the afwul montage… Sorry for lack of a visually better version). Wherever you are, Theresa, may your soul be at peace and enjoy the loveliest perfumes, words and music.
Theresa's Last Post on Wit of the Staircase
Interview on LAist.com
Interview on Salon.com
Jeremy Blake's work
Jeremy Blake on IMDB.com
New York Times July 21 2007
LAObserver July 19th 2007