“Philip Seymour Hoffman” by Nick Flynn

Last summer I found a small box stashed away in my apartment,
a box  filled with enough Vicodin to kill me.  I would  have sworn
that  I’d  thrown it away years earlier,  but apparently not. I stared
at the white pills blankly for a long while, I even took a picture of
them,  before  (finally, definitely)  throwing  them away.  I’d been
sober  (again)  for  some years  when  I found that box,  but every
addict  has  one— a  little  box,  metaphorical  or  actual— hidden
away.  Before I flushed them  I held them in my palm,  marveling
that  at  some  point in  the  not-so-distant  past it seemed a good
idea  to  keep a  stash of  pills on hand.  For an emergency, I told
myself.  What kind of emergency? What  if  I needed  a root canal
on  a  Sunday  night?  This little  box  would  see me through until
the   dentist   showed   up  for   work  the  next  morning.  Half  my
brain  told  me  that,  while  the other half  knew that  looking into
that  box  was  akin  to  seeing  a photograph of myself standing on
the  edge of a bridge,  a bridge  in the  familiar  dark neighborhood
of  my  mind,   that   comfortable  place   where  I  could  somehow
believe that fuck it was an adequate response to life.


Nick Flynn, “Philip Seymour Hoffman” from My Feelings. (Graywolf Press, 2015). Copyright © 2015 by Nick Flynn.

“The best you’ll ever feel is when you’ve done a good job.  That’s the best you’ll ever feel. And that satisfaction is wonderful because it’s a job well done. And I’m grateful for all of it. But I know at the end of the day that when I was shooting “Capote” or I was shooting any film I’ve done or done any play that the day that ended where I felt like I acted well and I went home and I was able to breathe a free breath that was long and deep, you know, and will go to bed and my eyes shut and I went to sleep peacefully.  Those– that’s– that’s as good as it gets.” Philip Seymour Hoffman (July 23, 1967 – February 2, 2014). From Steve Kroft’s interview with Hoffman for CBS in 2006.

Related Words for the Year posts: “Stop” and “I don’t know what it means to be happy

“I don’t know what it means to be “happy”… (Philip Seymour Hoffman)

I don’t know what it means to be “happy”… Pleasure is not happiness. Because I kill pleasure – you know what I mean? I take too much of it, and therefore I make it non-pleasurable – like too much coffee, and you’re miserable. And I do that to pleasure often … there’s no pleasure that I haven’t actually made myself sick of.

The late Philip Seymour Hoffman (July 23, 1967 – February 2, 2014) on happiness, in conversation with philosopher Simon Critchley at the Rubin Museum in 2012.

Via Explore (a Brain Pickings Tumblr project), thanks Maria. 


I know a sickness
So ancient and cross
No crucifix
Could ever fix enough
In the basement of a church
These people, they talk
There is a line
That must be walked
If you wanna make it stop
Then stop

I know a place
Where the future is denied
I know a hand
That twitches inside
For some of us the glass
Is filled with lights
But if the honey
Makes you sick
Honey, there is a line
That must be walked
If you wanna make it stop
Then stop

Slow down
You don’t have to talk
Lie down
Slow down
It’s not your fault
Look around
There’s so many of us
So many of us
You are not alone


Call in the backup and the backup comes
Nobody can help you if you won’t
Inside your chest your heart is just hurt
Behind your eyes a need replaced a want

I know a sickness so ancient and cross
A crucifix can never fix enough
I know a past when the future is lost
I know a line that must be walked

There is a darkness and there is a light
And there is a choice.
For a balance to be made every night
A weakness must be found
If you want it to stop

Stop” by Ryan Adams & The Cardinals, from Cardinology

Thank you Dede for introducing this song to me when you introduced yourself. You’re a star. The honor really is all mine. 


RIP Philip Seymour Hoffman. “Why Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Death Is So Scary : The ever-present danger of relapsing” by Seth Mnookin via Slate.com

“There’s not much separation between my having a drink and my ending up alone in an apartment with a needle in my arm.”