Issue 007: I’m Warm, and
I’ll Keep You From Feeling Cold
12 November 2011
Sponsored by Ode to Sunshine, an album by a band you’ve never heard of called Delta Spirit. It’s an incredible album. I couldn’t have written this thing without it. You should acquire it legally. Tell me when you do!
Lone Star Beer. “Texas Born & Brewed” says the can. I love this stuff. It’s so awful, but I love it. Colette chastises me every time she catches me drinking the damn stuff, which is probably two or three (or four) times a week. Ouch. I should probably stop doing that. I should probably cut back. Oh, well!
Tracey Lien, who will be mentioned by name at least three more times. Seriously: Who donates money to a dumb newsletter that only thirty people read? You’re wonderful, girl. Thank you for being Tracey Lien. I’ll see you in San Francisco soon enough. I want to have a three-person hug with you and Tim Rogers. (Can we all sleep in the same bed? Is . . . is that asking too much?)
• • •
Often when I am alone I will speak to whomever is listening—God, I don’t know—and I ‘ll say this: “I’m ready to go wherever it is that people go next, even if that’s no place at all.”
The Creator of the Universe usually has this to say: “Nope!”
Some provider of comfort He is! I ain’t asking to die. I’m asking to disappear—to dissolve! I couldn’t take the pain of death. I’d get too antsy. All I’m asking is to be transformed into a speck of dust or a raindrop or a snowflake. All I’m asking is to make this pain go away. The only way I can imagine that happening is if I go away too.
• • •
Welcome—welcome to whatever this is. Another week of sad-funny musing. Another week of beaten-down torn-up junk. Another week of squirming in the mud.
Ladies and gentleman, I have been living in Austin, Texas for nearly three weeks now. Three weeks! That’s a hell of a thing. I’m happy about about it, I guess, but not all the way. But let’s be honest: I can never truly be happy about anything. Then you’d have nothing to read about. Then I’d be out of a job. And then what would you read? Something good for once? Hah!
This is the Starsailor Newsletter. This is life. Let’s go!
• • •
A brief note on the pair of brown corduroy pants I’m wearing: The care instructions are ludicrous. They are unreasonable. I am accustomed to washing my clothes in cold water, and I have for years dried them on low heat. I am delicate with my clothes. I want them to last forever. However, these pants—these pants—they’re asking too much of me. They say, “Wash and dry separately.” If I am reading this correctly, the manufacturer of these fine trousers are asking me to both wash and dry one pair of pants separate from the rest. Is this the case? Or does it mean “wash with like colors”? I feel they would just come out and say that if that’s what they meant.
No, they want me to load my washing machine with just these pants. And then dry them alone! What a ridiculous fucking world this is. What a waste of everything.
• • •
I have with me a six-pack of Lone Star tall boys. Chantal refers to it as the “party pack”. I don’t know if this is an official term or just a colloquialism. I’m going to assume it is the latter—I see no mention of any “party” or “pack” anywhere on the cans I’m about to drink. I have promised her, I think, that I will never again consume six by myself in one night. That’s probably not a smart thing to do, anyway. I’m going to drink four. You’ll probably be able to tell when I’ve hit the fourth one, because this thing is going to get sloppy and weird. Or is it sloppy and weird already?
• • •
Yes, and I have purchased with it a tall can of Sweet Leaf peach iced tea. It’s got a picture of a little old lady on it. She’s morbidly obese and smiling. Her cheeks and lips are ruddy. It’s all very unnerving. I plan to drink this thing when I start to feel a little dehydrated. I am aware that sugar dehydrates the body even more, but at least I can pretend like it doesn’t. And anyway I’ll be too drunk to notice.
Gulp gulp gulp!
This stuff is downright awful-tasting—the Lone Star, that is. It’s gotten easier to drink, though. It’s cheap and available everywhere. It is is as plentiful as oxygen in Texas.
Texas Texas Texas. I sure do love Texas.
• • •
Texas has been good to me. I am grateful to Texas for this. She could very well have been uninviting and spiteful and cruel. Instead I have found a sort of new home here. I have shed my Baltimorian skin. I have left Virginia behind.
The only troubling news is that I must return to both of these places before I am full-time resident. When shall I leave? Sometime in December, I reckon. I have to go back to Baltimore to repaint my apartment and box things up. I have to go back to Virginia to celebrate Christmas. Christmas! For God’s sake, Christmas.
Carry me back to old Virginny, I’ll say. And a plane will do just that. Maybe I can get my mother or father to cover half my fare home. I will ask them to do so that I can leave at the last possible moment—maybe on the 23rd of December. Tickets around Christmas are so expensive.
That would be wonderful, yes? To leave that late? Then I’d only have to spend perhaps a week and a half on that accursed coast—in that damned and forgotten city!
I’ll miss Steph Malpass. I sure will. She’s so great. (You’re great, Steph.)
But! But: You’re moving to California, yes? I heard Steph is moving to California. She’s told me that. We’ve talked about it.
Steph, if you move to California, I will come visit you. I’ll visit you so often. Can I sleep on your floor? I’m not even asking for the couch. The floor is fine. I want your cats to curl up next to me, perhaps in the area between my arms and chest (I sleep on my side) and just stay that way all night.
Also, let’s not forget that I am moving to California in time. I’m not sure when. A year and a half, maybe? Maybe I’ll move to New York City, though. Or Montreal. I think I would fit in well there—in Montreal. Everyone is so nice and happy.
We’ll see what happens. This is all so exciting!
But if I move to California (which I probably will), we will be best friends (I hope you’re okay with this). Maybe we can be great friends, too. I’ve always thought that—that we’d be great friends. I tried very hard to make that happen. But then we both had lives to live, and it fell by the wayside. I still think you’re a wonderful person, though. I think you’re one of the best people I know.
Until then, until California, you can be my twin sister. Remember how I always say we’re fraternal twins? We really are. Thanks for existing and for knowing me. I’m so glad I know you.
• • •
I feel so full of love right now. I want to tell everyone I love them.
So: I love you. I love all of you. I mean it. The reason you get this thing, if you didn’t know, isn’t because I feel like venting to a relatively small circle of people. Hell, I’m not even sure if half of you read this. But: I send it out because I love you, and because though you might be far away from me, I still want to reach out to you anyway. Reach, reach! Reach out! Grab me!
Some of you are in California—and Maryland and Virginia and Oregon and Pennsylvania. Some of you live in Australia. (Hi, Tracey!) Thank you, thank you. Thank you for being my friends.
Do you have any idea how much love I have to give? And how much I want to give to you all?
Take it from me. You are entitled to everything.
• • •
Today I spent most of my day sitting on Chantal’s couch. I told her about feeling rotten (it happens so often), and she gave me a little tough love. She said, man, come on. I thought that was great.
I was mopey and weird. I was acting like a dumb jerk. She didn’t like that one bit. She told me to stop thinking about girls who had hurt my heart beyond repair, and who took my cats, and she said, you know, she said: Just fucking live. I said: No, no, no! And then I said: Okay!
Here I am! Slightly drunk, slightly dead—but writing and wanting to be loved. Those are the only things I’m good at. Those are the only things I need.
Hey, Chantal: Thanks a lot. Just now I told you that. I thanked you for being sweet, and for being so nice to me. I’m glad you did both of those things.
• • •
Earlier this evening, Colette invited me to go to East 6th. I have no idea what that is. Nick Pacifico, who was making a sandwich at the time, told me that it’s a part of Austin. Maybe I should have gone. Maybe that would have made her happy. I really ought to have gone, Colette. I’m sorry. Next time! Invite me to, um, that place again, and surely I will show up. Can I drink in the car on the ride over?
Is that a scary thought?
My mother would be so proud!
• • •
Come to think of it: My mother was in my apartment earlier today. She checked my mail for me. She told me Baltimore is just the same as it always is, which is Fucking Terrible. (She kind of said that!)
If she went in my refrigerator, she’s probably pretty sore about it. It’s full of ethanol-drink. It’s full of sin.
I threw out most everything else before I left. I threw out everything that could potentially rot and ruin my refrigerator. I think I did a good job.
But that left only the alcohol. It’s nothing but alcohol in there. Whoops.
Alcohol never goes bad. It’s good forever. Unless it’s in your veins. It’s in mine. I’m full of the stuff. Uh oh!
Sorry, Mom. I love you. Your son is not an alcoholic. He was just sad for a while. He’s still sad. Please love your sad son?
• • •
Another series of sentences for Colette Clendaniel, who is now going to appear in a Google search as a result of my mentioning her by her full name: Hey! I’m sorry. I really should have gone with you tonight. I owed that to you. I guess I messed up. I like Nick A. a lot. I should have gone with you guys. Instead I’m drinking cheap beer at your dining room table and writing this garbage.
Thank you for replacing my vanilla soy milk. That was really nice of you. I’m sorry if you think I’ve been slacking with my duties around the house. I’ve been trying. I guess I haven’t been around much. I’ve been away trying to find happiness. I think maybe I found some of it.
I’ve been away trying to figure out out how to work at the grocery store across the street.
• • •
The grocery store across the street is called FRESHPLUS. I don’t actually know if it’s in all-caps like that. It looked like that on the application I filled out.
I think FRESHPLUS is funnier than what it might actually be called, anyway. “Fresh Plus”—pfft. That ain’t funny.
I submitted an application earlier this evening. The girl who got the application for me was great. She was wearing jeans and a flannel shirt. That’s what I want to wear if I get the job. This is the slacker capital of the United States, after all. This is where overeducated jerks go to die.
I want to be a slacker-philosopher with a college degree making minimum wage at a neighborhood grocery store. I think that too would make my mother proud.
It might make her cry, too.
Sorry, Mom. I love you.
• • •
Hey, I can tell you why I’m so happy right now, aside from all the beer racing through my veins: This album, man. This album. It’s called Ode to Sunshine, and it’s by a band no one’s ever heard of. They’re called Delta Spirit. God damn! What an album!
It is, I think, one of fifteen albums I can list as being absolutely perfect. And what I mean is that, conceptually, from beginning to end, it is (likely) as its creators intended it to be. It sounds so confident in what it is. Here, I will list the albums I know that do this (in no order):
1. Halcyon Digest by Deerhunter
2. War Elephant by Deer Tick
3. In the Aeroplane Over the Sea by Neutral Milk Hotel
4. Ode to Sunshine by Delta Spirit
5. Teen Dream by Beach House
6. Rubber Soul by The Beatles
7. You Are Free by Cat Power
8. & Yet & Yet by Do Make Say Think
9. Either/Or by Elliott Smith
10. F♯A♯∞ by Godspeed You! Black Emperor
11. Yellow House by Grizzly Bear
12. Loveless by My Bloody Valentine
13. Congratulations by MGMT
14. The Knot by Wye Oak
15. In Ear Park by Department of Eagles
And I don’t even care if you groan or roll your eyes at half of those choices. Anyway, they aren’t choices. They are things I feel. That’s different!
Do you have any of these albums? You should consider getting some or all of them. I will be your best friend if you do that. (Unless you’re Steph Malpass—you’re going to be my best friend anyway.) These aren’t even my favorite albums, per se, though surely many of them are. I just recognize them as being perfectly crafted. Even if you didn’t like the music you heard, you might be able to acknowledge how genuine and respectable and wonderful these collections of songs and sounds and heart are. You would be able to know in your heart of hearts how much damn love went into them.
My God, though: Ode to Sunshine is true artistry. It is perfection. From “Tomorrow Goes Away” to “Ode to Sunshine”—wow! I am playing this album as loud as my ears can tolerate, which is pretty loud. I’m on my third Lone Star, and I’m listening to this fantastic music, and I’m feeling pretty good. I’m also feeling pretty good because of that talk I had with Chantal earlier. I’m a little sad that I exist, and a little sad that I didn’t go to that bar with Colette C. and Nick A.—but I feel all right otherwise. (Sorry again, Colette.)
Wait until tomorrow goes awaaaaayyyyyyyy
Okay, I sure will! I’ll do just that.
(I really hope that God damn grocery store hires me. Fuck. Sorry. I shouldn’t swear. Fuck.)
This album! This album is so good. This is the third time I’ve listened to it tonight. I listened to it on the bike ride home from Chantal’s, and I’ve listened to it twice while writing this pile of excrement. I guess I should confess that I’m midway through the third listen. I haven’t actually completed it yet. Forgive me.
It makes me feel so energized and lovely. I think I’m going to add a “Sponsored by . . .” to the top of this newsletter right this instant. I’m going to say it’s sponsored by this album. I’ll be right back. Sit tight.
• • •
You know what the best song on the album is? “Bleeding Bells”. It makes me want to bawl. It makes me want to rip open my chest and let everyone see all the colors inside.
Do you want to see? Play “Bleeding Bells” around me. I’ll show you everything.
• • •
What happened? This newsletter started out so sad. “Take me away from this world! Um, God, you should probably do that.” That’s what I said. What has changed?
Not a whole damn lot. Maybe it’s a combination of our three sponsors—Ode to Sunshine and Lone Star. (And Tracey Lien.) Maybe it’s good music and alcohol and $100 AUD that has made me so very happy. I sure hope not. Wouldn’t that be sort of shallow?
No, it’s got to be the love I feel for my friends.
Can that be said at my funeral? If you attend my funeral, please have them say that: “If there’s one thing that can be said about Ryan [Starsailor], it’s that he had many friends.”
I have a lot of friends!
And I love them.
I love you. I love you so much. If I were around you right now, I would give you a continent-quaking hug. When you walked away, maybe with a broken arm (from the hug), there wouldn’t be a doubt in your mind of whether I loved you or not. A stranger could approach you and say, “Hey, does Ryan love you?” You would say, “God, I sure hope so. The bastard broke my arm.”
• • •
Oh God is it you.
• • •
That was for one person.
• • •
I have almost finished four Lone Star beers. I can feel my veins warming. I can feel them expanding. I’m listening to “Parade”, which of course is on the masterful Ode to Sunshine.
Ode to Sunshine, indeed! I mean the real sunshine. Let’s capitalize it again: Sunshine. Thank God for it. I’ve been a little sad lately because it hasn’t been as sunny in Texas as advertised. Every Texan I know keeps saying, “That’s winter for you.” Winter, huh. It’s November!
Though back home I have been receiving news of snow flurries and heavy-jacket-wearing. Maybe Texas isn’t so bad.
Four Lone Stars. My God—my blood. It must be so strange and interesting to look at right now. I wish I could look at it. I won’t spill any, though. I have spilled enough.
Ah ah ah ah ahhhhh. Ah ah ah ah ahhhhh.
Your family knows just half of where you’ve been
Yeah. Isn’t that true. That’s a God damn true thing.
• • •
This world is fucked, just as you have become
“Bleeding Bells”—God damn. What a marvelous song. Is there a better song? I don’t know of it.
One day, I promise, I will write series of essays about all fifteen of the albums I have listed in this newsletter. Maybe by that time the album count will have ballooned to thirty. But I doubt it. There can only be so much perfection on Earth.
• • •
What a weird place. Thanks for having me, Earth. How much longer do I have? Thirty years? Five? One? Give me one more. I only need one more.
When I am dead, you can tell them that I only needed one more year after this year—from 12 November, 2011 onward. I would be okay if I died on this very day in 2012. I would say, just before dying, “It was enough.” It has been enough already. And I don’t mean that in a depressing way. I mean that I’ve loved a lot of what has happened to me, and I’m happy to have known so many truly wonderful human beings. How lucky I have been! (How cursed.)
Be sure to tell them, remember, that I had many friends. That would really do it for me. I’d root for you in the afterlife—or The Big Nothing, if that is my fate—if you remembered my one other wish. I want people to know. I want everyone to know how privileged I have been. How many exceptional human beings does the average human being even get to meet? Three? I have known at least fifty. All of you are counted amongst that number. And I have met and known so many people! How rare you all are. How special. I love you.
The theme of this newsletter, if you haven’t been paying attention, is love. It’s the love I have for you. I would lie down on railroad tracks for you. I would stand in front of a loaded gun. I would eat poison.
I love you, I love you; I swear that I do. If I say I love you, will you say you love me, too?
• • •
I hope to see sunshine tomorrow. I will sing to it. I will think of you—yes, you! For heaven’s sake, please think of me. Is that too selfish to say? I have already said it. I will not censor myself.
When your working is done, and you’ve got nothing left
To lose, why don’t you just roll away
That stone that’s locked you up in your blues
Here I shall roll. Roll roll roll.
Love me, love me, love. I am a little happy, a little sad, a little drunk. That doesn’t mean anything, though, because this is what I wish to say again, just in case you didn’t believe me: I love you.
My lips are dry and my heart is full. I am happy to have been. I am happy to have known.
Tell them: “If there is one thing you can say about Ryan [Starsailor], it’s that he had many friends. And he loved them all dearly.” Add that last part.
And when you get to Heaven, if that is where you’re headed, tell them you know me. Point to me. “I know that guy.” I’ll be the one writing the Starsailor Newsletter, Issue 999.
I love you.