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Rio's Attic: Celebrating the Life and Times of a Dearly Missed River Phoenix

March 24, 1999

To all at Rio's Attic,

First of all, I just wanted to thank you - thank you for giving those of us who never knew River, a chance to know about him.  You seem to have achieved what nobody else has, keeping his memory alive and "pristine," in the sense that you have kept away from just presenting him as an image, (as he always seemed to hate), and instead just told us the story of River and his life.  You have helped me, and I'm sure many other people, to understand him and what he stood for, what he was about, and most importantly, how to appreciate him for who he was: a good person.  My biggest regret is that very few of us ever knew River, shared our lives with him or even met him, and so just to be shown who River was is almost enough for the rest of us.  For the way you have done that, and for remembering him, you should be congratulated.

I was so impressed with the depth of emotion that exists on your pages, that I thought I might share my thoughts, of River, with you.  (Perhaps if we all add our own thoughts, we may go a little way closer to understanding him.)  I felt I needed to write on a personal level, so I have chosen to write an open letter to River himself, I just hope he can hear what I am saying.  I do not expect that this will ever be published on the Attic, but feel free to do so if you want, and I know this is probably way too long for you to even read, but I want to do it anyway.  I want to do it for me, and for River.


I never even knew who you were until a few years ago, until you had already gone.  Is that silly, Riv, that someone who I didn't even know existed until they had died, could ever mean so much to me?  Maybe it is.

I've spent so much time over the past few months just sitting and thinking, of what you mean to me, why you mean anything  to me, and whether you should mean anything to me at all.

You know what, I still don't know.  Even sitting here writing this I don't know what I'm feeling, so please be patient with me, this is the hardest thing I've ever had to do. I can't remember when I first saw you or found out who you were, but in a way I'm glad I didn't know who you were when everybody found out you were gone, I think that would have hurt too much.

I do remember thinking, though, that you were different, that you were beautiful, not just physically, but in a way that most people don't ever understand.  I suppose you'd be right in thinking that I was attracted to you, in some way.  I don't know how I knew all this, I just sort of knew, you know.  I spent the first couple of years just watching you in the few movies that I ever got to see you in, and admiring you for what you were, an actor.  But for some reason that changed, and I became old enough to understand how powerful and mesmerising you were.  This was about the time I started really dealing with all sorts of different emotions, and finding out the sort of person I was becoming.  You, through your performances and the characters you played, helped me to reach inside myself and take a long good look at who I was - you got to me River Phoenix, somehow you managed to be with me all the way.  Thank you, for showing me how to do that.  But I'm sorry Riv, because that whole time I still saw you as just a wonderful actor, and perhaps even still as the image you had always been presented as.  I'm so sorry, I hope you can forgive me.

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