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sadly saying goodbye to thom martin

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hi everyone…..

thursday was a magical day, being in new york and doing my surprise statue performance, and i was going to blog about it right away, the next day, on friday.

i didn’t. i will, sometime this week along with a film and stuff for all the wonderful patreon folks (many of who i got to meet in NYC, even though i was shredded that night for the afterparty). in short, it was wonderful and strange and i’ll share the whole story when i get my head together.

but for right now: i got some really sad news that needs to be shared instead.
i’m back in boston. neil and i are leaving in a few days to go have the baby in the woods.

many of you locally have probably already heard through other channels, but for those out of community range, thom martin just left us.

this is thom.

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he was my age. he’s gone.

he was a part of the boston-art family i grew out of. this crazy loft, pan 9, in allston, and the cloud club (my joint in boston where i still live part-time), were like sister-freak collectives in the early 2000s, with members of both houses doing lots of projects together and people moving between the two places, which both threw parties and events. in the early dresden dolls days, most of our shows were either at my house or at pan 9.

steven martin (not that steve martin), thom’s brother, moved into the cloud club in around 2002, brining thom, who was practically like a twin, along with him.
thom moved into pan 9, and after pan 9 burned in a tragic fire in around 2006, thom moved into the dresden dolls rehearsal space in the basement. he was one of our housemates.
we drank a lot together.

and thom was a graphic designer, a great one, and he helped us a lot.

he designed our first record. he and i stayed up late hours in steve’s apartment, and in mine, working on the design of the disc and getting it perfect. i still thin it’s one of the most beautiful things we ever put out. all of the handiwork and text and flowers over lisa gordon’s original photo is thom’s. he slaved over it to make it beautiful. open it up. the gatefold was his idea. he created all those frames and chose all those fonts. it was all thom.

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this is the poster thom designed for our second album’s record release party (“yes, virginia”) in boston:
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while googling, i came across a photo i don’t think i’ve ever seen (or if i have, i haven’t seen it in 10+ years)….
it must have been taken by a boston globe photographer. top floor of the cloud club. thom is the one on his phone, because he was like that.
steve is next to him in the dark green shirt & brown pants. fuck, we all look so LITTLE.

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possibly most importantly, work-wise….you can still see thom’s beautiful work on the dresden dolls website; he created the original site back in 2004, and then he and his brother (& my housemate) steve worked together to update it in around 2007.

i had the idea of the dollhouse rooms, and thom ran with it and made it perfect.
he also had the idea, when we re-launched the site, to add this crazy peek-a-boo flash intro, which contains a silly little clip of me and brian (yes, that’s brian’s bum…yes, it was brian’s idea to moon the camera)

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anyway……you can go play with it at www.dresdendolls.com…. it’s all still there.

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we still don’t know how thom died. he was found at home.

like becca, maybe it doesn’t matter.

he hasn’t had the easiest road in life, that’s for sure. battles with his brilliant psyche, battles with alcohol, battles with his own hilarious, sardonic self.

i was just scrolling through thom’s Facebook and this was one of his last posts:

“Now that I live down the street from Planned Parenthood and walk by every day, I always try to think of a new and clever thing to say to the bad people protesting outside as I pass. I’m starting to run out of material, I’m by there so much. Ideas?”

….that’s my boy.

i got the news on friday morning, in new york city, just waking up to a new dawn, a new day, a new life having finished up the surprise statue project.
cosmically, i was with david franklin, who used to live at pan 9 and now lives in prague. it was almost uncanny that we were together when i got the text.

last night we had a gathering at the cloud club for steve, his other brother, chris, his parents, the posse.

i’d fallen out of touch with thom, as with a lot of people from the old boston scene, when i started traveling full-time. and mostly only heard about how he was doing when i’d come back home and arch up with steve.

thom’s moved to the west coast.
thom got married and it didn’t last.
thom’s in rehab.
thom was in a motorcycle crash.
thom’s living in salem with some girl.

now there’s a thom-shaped hole.

steve has lost his brother, the way i lost karl, except steve and thom were so, so much closer. they were inseparable, to the point where “the martin brothers” was a common phrase around our house.

but you can’t compete or quantify.

death. here we are again.

thom was there, and then he drifted, and then he was just an arm of this giant body we call our community, our weirdo logical family.

every death, every one, leaves some sort of failing phantom limb.

and every time someone dies, i feel like i should have been doing more to help.

death never stops happening. since i’ve gotten pregnant, all these people have gone away. anthony. neil’s friend terry. thom.
a week or so ago, someone told me that Noirin Plunkett died.

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she was one of the people who gave me a non-interest loan when I put the kickstarter out, in exchange for a charity event, which wound up being a really wonderful night in portland at the Q center for LGBT youth….some of you were even there, i’m sure. that was her. that was noirin.

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we only encountered each other through grateful and planning and thank-you emails, and then at shows, and at the charity event, but her death struck me and stuck.
here was this person, who’d been so incredibly generous to me, whose family i did not know, who I would occasionally banter with on twitter, who, if you read her twitter
feed, was progressive and loving and funny and…if you google her name, there is no news about her death.

when i asked how she died, it was unclear. if anyone knows, please tell me.

and now i wonder how many people have disappeared.

with all these phantom limbs….

all we can do

is keep on walking

keep on waving

with whatever limbs we have left.

i’m due in about a month.

i’ll get four more limbs

to love

or

to lose

but we take what we can get

as we get it.

hold yourself, each other, tightly tonight.

enjoy every sandwich.

we’re here for an eyeblink, folks.

love fiercely.

xxx

a
p.s. for those of you who knew thom, i’ll try keep you updated about where to send condolences, donations when the martin family announces.
for now, just keep them in your thoughts.
goodbye thom….we love you.

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  • http://amandapalmer.net/ Amanda Palmer

    folks: as usual, i’ll be reading the comments here and on patreon. comment wherever floats your boat.

    • rm_lupin

      This was a touching tribute to Thom’s memory, he created some beautiful imagery. So sorry for your loss.

  • Carly

    Amanda, if you’re ever inclined to write another book, please write one about loss and grieving. I think my heart needs it.

  • Andrew

    All we have is now. There is never enough “now”. But the “now” we have had is ours forever.

  • Kattinthehat

    So sorry that you are hurting, I would like it very much if the universe gave you a month of rainbows and kittens and puffy white clouds on blue skies and nothing but good news. Life is rarely like that for open hearts like yours…you know so many people and you connect and care about so much that statistically you would always be seeing the entire spectrum of life and death and all of the joys and sorrows therein. I think the woods are a good idea, may you encounter only rabbits and deer…no lions and tigers and bears, thanks! Love to you and Neil and your immanent son. xxx

  • lentower

    Thom’s account on Facebook has become one center of the memorial for him. Not sure how much of is “FB Public”.

    I’ll miss our occasional conversations. Thom was bright, passionate, and unique.

    • http://amandapalmer.net/ Amanda Palmer

      thank you len. xxx

  • Guilherme Eddino

    I’m sorry for your loss.

  • Triinu Meres

    I wrote this letter to you and neil, but I could not send it. I guess it’s time to publish it emmmm…. publicly.
    ________________
    I want to write you (like Neil and
    Amanda, I watched you both over the inernet before you even met) and as I can,
    I write.

    Appologies for my bad english, you have baby coming and you don’t really want
    my unasked letter, etc. Also you are both important to me, because both of you
    are publicly somehow like me, seem like good people etc.

    Those are sincere appologies and compliments , but as nice intelligent people
    you don’t need them outspelled and I have trouble to do so too.

    I have brain damage, you know. Traumatic
    brain damage from september 2014, because I tried to kill myself, met a train
    (went under a train? how they say that in english?) and survived, not thanks to
    anything that I did – I dont remember that and 4 weeks after anyway – but I
    chose a place, where ambulance had a short distance to come and that ambulance
    also consisted a best doctor to insert a intubation tube in my country.

    So I survived and slowly get … well, better? Yeah, I even think so. I slowly
    get better.

    I write. I wrote. I have written stories
    like Neil Gaiman, not as good, not as long (no published novels!), not as many,
    even relatively, but some of them are published and so I can say I Am An Author
    too. I’m also a woman, kind of pretty, kind of honest, kind of public and kind
    of amanda-like.

    And a blogger.

    Why I decided to kill myself – well, it is easy to say that falling unhappily,
    then happily and then unhappily again in love is the reason? But I also was
    depressed, I belive. As good as I could be and still not happy, still not
    enough (yeah, I read Amanda’s book too, after my train-meeting, along with
    American Gods. I dont read much these days, because I simply dont’t want to and
    I get tired very easily, but I read those, one for a first time, the other
    for… I dont know, maybe 23. time?)

    And I was trying to be brave. To do
    things, not only think of them. To be someone, not just to be like someone.

    It was rather spontaneous decision: I
    waited for a train, then went to supermarket, came back and then, when seeing
    the train, jumped. Of cause I don’t
    really remember it, but it seems logical thing to do. Also I rembemer thinking
    of “it”, watching train plan and my bag consisted among other things
    white cheese, plums and black bread.

    And now I only want to get back where I
    started. Yep, I maybe was not the best author, maybe not the most wanted woman,
    not the best student – but I want it back!

    Bbbbbbbut I’ve given it away, I’ ve given it away, and it does not make me very
    happy. I’m in need to get better, better, better, to be like I once was, but of
    cause i’m not. I’m living with my mother
    and her husband again, even as I’m 35 years old. Mother took care of my two
    children, when I was in hospitals (plural, first the one, then the other) (and they,
    children, are not connected to a man, who was part of my depression and
    probably relatively important part) and from my nursing school i’m on the
    academic vacation. I should be happy not to be dead, paralyzyed or in the
    wheelchair, but I’m only unhappy that my desicion was a decision then, not 6
    months later, when my nursing school were over and I much more free to die or
    live with diploma.

    Right now with my double-vision, brain
    damage and ataxia I’m not really a suitable student or a nurse, I can’t even
    take nursing job, where I should mainly talk, because I’m not with diploma.
    Yep, I have a story to write for first of august, but it’s for an august and
    I’m not sure it will be any good. Fantasies that I had always and that were
    part of my life since forever, are suddenly gone.

    If I had this diploma from nursing school, I would feel more secure than I’m
    feeling now. Or at least I should feel. Maybe I would not. I don’t know.

    Great, I don’t remember why I started
    this letter.

    I tend to live in the moment – my past is
    about two weeks long, my future about 36 hours long. I forget things in those
    times too, but at least they are somehow real in my mind. I want to get better
    and better and better, not to be dissapoinment to anybody, but I belive I am,
    because staying alive is the only thing that matters to me (not staying would
    be bad, but I promised in the end of 2014 to the friend, that at least 10 years
    i woutd not try again) and now I should do everything I refused to do when
    going under a train.

    I wont. Do. Those. Things.

    Even as I want to.

    And maybe, just maybe, you want to know,
    that someone somewhere stays alive even when she does not wanted to. That not
    everybody dies. That I’m even grateful to be alive, and maybe – just maybe – I
    live my life a bit smarter this time.

    • lentower

      well expressed. thank you.

    • Emily Jarrett

      I am sorry that you felt that way, I’m crying with your letter and I don’t cry much anymore. I really hope that you find the thing that keeps you here because your story made me cry, made me want to keep reading. I am rooting for you because you seem like a person that deserves so much more than that. I lost my grandmother six months ago, we didn’t get along well, she tended to view me with distain at time and i felt like I would never be the person she would like, and sometimes i felt that she didn’t love me. I miss her terribly, I miss her for all the things that made her kind and i have been writing to fill that gap, to make myself feel stronger. I called my character after her because I wanted her memory to stay alive. Writing is a healing process so it doesn’t matter if its good or not keep going because from what I read you seem like a wonderful person and I hope you find something to keep you here. Writing helps, I’m the same as you my life is so different but pain is pain and writing keeps us sorting through the pain. I wish you every happiness and that you don’t ever want to go in front of that train once more.

  • http://amandapalmer.net/ Amanda Palmer

    shannon henry on FB found noirin’s obiturary. (thank you shannon): http://www.currentobituary.com/Memory.aspx?Memory_ObitdID=179752

  • itMatters

    Your pronouns are wrong. Norin prefered they/their/them.

  • Ruth Morton

    I have also had periods in my life when death seemed to be around every corner. It is painful and harsh and life-changing. Those times pass, though. Death again becomes that distant thing that happens to other people. That touches other people. We remember the loved ones that are gone, though, like beloved books we’ve read and tucked into our souls.

  • Brenna

    It’s rare I comment on here or through Facebook or anything (because I’m painfully shy), but I’m so sorry for the losses you and Neil have suffered as of late.

    I wish I could offer better condolences… but I’ve always been bad at knowing what to say. But I am sending mental hugs and positive vibes.

    I wish I could offer more. Your music helped get me death through several deaths and Neil’s books have given me an escape so many times. I owe the pair of you so much and although I’ve only ever met you briefly at signings or after shows and don’t really know you— I hope you find some comfort and peace from trying times soon.

    Best wishes to you, Neil and your future child <3

  • kathy

    You write so poignantly about loss I feel my own phantom limbs.

  • Jim Wintergreen

    Couldn’t help but to turn Thom’s death into more Amanda Palmer marketing? Shameful.

    • BrianPope

      Jim, you’re a dick. Thom was super proud of that work, and I never knew the backstory behind any of it until today. Thanks for the remembrances, Amanda.

      • Jim Wintergreen

        Thom had a tremendous number of things to be proud of. Capitalizing on tragedy (over and over again) is not on of those things.

  • Hannah West

    “No one’s ever lost forever
    They are caught inside your heart
    If you garden them and water them
    They make you what you are…”

  • persefoni

    I knew Tom fleetingly…a friend of friends…an acquaintance…he was younger than me…and so, so talented. so sad. let us know where to send donations, condolences…

  • opalexian

    I’m sorry for your losses, Amanda. My sister got me a copy of the first DD album at a show and had you and Brian both sign it. The signatures were cool but the experience of opening the gate folds took me to a new place in a greenhouse with Mad Hatter tea parties while hidden fairies looked on. I hope he found his own slice of peace. Maybe he’ll stick around to be a hidden fairy.

  • luci_fer

    So sorry :(

    “we’re here for an eyeblink, folks.

    love fiercely.”

    Good advice.

  • Lucretia X. Machina

    Beautifully stated, Amanda. I enjoyed Thom’s artistry on the Dresden Dolls site during your earlier days at Cloud Club. Peace to him and his. ~Lucretia

  • Martha

    For information about Noirin Plunkett you should contact Crystal Huff @arisiacrystal She was a good friend and organised the memolial service.

  • http://dangerfactory.com/ Rex at Danger Factory

    Poor Thom. He was in San Diego when last kicking against the pricks. I had put together a 7,000 sq. ft. loft in the Gaslamp Quarter that I had hoped to make a space for wild creatives to share rent. Much like a loft I had in the 90s, and from what Thom told me about your shared time, much like your places. After securing a sizable and very cool section of it, his partners left him hanging and he had to leave, completely screwed by these “investor types” that had made a zillion wild promises but had turned out to only be con men. They even tried to open a bunch of commercial accounts using the loft’s name (Industry Showroom). We were all mystified, and Thom was mortified. We had a few wild drunken intellectual meanderings while he was here though, and I am more prone to prioritizing them with my odd friends. Ugh, mortality. The loft is over now and his giving up on San Diego helped me get more realistic as well. I’m headed to LA, but he was off at high speeds, erratic and wild to what I now find out, was his demise. I wish he would have slowed down just a little.

  • http://dangerfactory.com/ Rex at Danger Factory

    P.S. He had been promising to introduce us someday. So… “Hi Amanda. I appreciate your works and ways. My name is Rex Edhlund.” There. A morbid, somewhat inappropriate and sudden change in conversation. I think Thom would have approved.