“SHE MADE THE DULLEST PARTIES EXCITING. One time, we were hanging out in New York - me, her and her brother. She loved scary movies and was talking about this one, Evil Dead and how great it was and they were so adamant about getting us the video. This had to be the worst movie I have ever seen in my entire life, but she made it fun. Afterward, we talked about how terrible the movie was and it just became an all-round great conversation. That was my last moment of laughing with her.” - USHER ON AALIYAH, 2001
During the whole of a dull, dark, and soundless day in the autumn of the year, when the clouds hung oppressively low in the heavens, I had been passing alone, on horseback, through a singularly dreary tract of country; and at length found myself, as the shades of the evening drew on, within view of the melancholy House of Usher. I know not how it was–but, with the first glimpse of the building, a sense of insufferable gloom pervaded my spirit. I say insufferable; for the feeling was unrelieved by any of that half-pleasureable, because poetic, sentiment, with which the mind usually receives even the sternest natural images of the desolate or terrible. I looked upon the scene before me–upon the mere house, and the simple landscape features of the domain–upon the bleak walls–upon the vacant eye-like windows–upon a few rank sedges–and upon a few white trunks of decayed trees–with an utter depression of soul which I can compare to no earthly sensation more properly than to the after-dream of the reveller upon opium–the bitter lapse into everyday life–the hideous dropping off of the veil. There was an iciness, a sinking, a sickening of the heart–an unredeemed dreariness of thought which no goading of the imagination could torture into aught of the sublime.
Edgar Allan Poe, The Fall of the House of Usher (1839)
If there’s a question of my heart, you’ve got it
It don’t belong to anyone but you
If there’s a question of my love, you’ve got it
Baby don’t worry, I’ve got plans for you
Baby, I’ve been making plans, oh love
Baby, I’ve been making plans
Baby, I’ve been making plans
Baby, I’ve been making plans for you
you ain’t gotta answer none of my calls, I’m believin you’ll pick up one day. I don’t wanna add to your pain at all, I’m praying that time makes a change in your life, I’m realizing now how much you made a change in my life and I don’t wanna spend it with nobody else.
Ecstasy is only recognizable when one has experienced pain. Beauty only exists when set against ugliness. Peace is not appreciated without war ahead of it. How we wish that life could support only the good. But it vanishes when its opposite no longer exists as a setting. It is a white marble on unmelting snow.
Shaun Usher, Letters of Note: Correspondence Deserving of a Wider Circulation
Success is about dedication. You may not be where you want to be or do what you want to do when you’re on the journey. But you’ve got to be willing to have vision and foresight that leads you to an incredible end.