AND SO IT WAS a month before my 31st birthday, I found myself within a forest dark, for the straightforward pathway had been lost. But look! though I had stumbled, I am upright again. In darkness I have crested that odious wave, have broken free finally of the thing which was every day taking me further down. Alone I lurched back to the starry shores where I had been before, and it is there I now build my new starry kingdom. Come in! and know me better, man!!!! lol
Uhhhhh: I am writing this post in order to get ahead of the press . . . I want to control my own narrative, and I feel I have every right to. They will spin the whole thing anyway, and take from me the triumph over my near-destruction. Drearily from my chair I imagine the Monday morning front page of the New York Times:
CALLS IT QUITS!
Well! No!! Thus always to Starsailor . . . no! Starsailor, uh, endures! Ryan persists!
And how did I do it? Some years ago, never mind how long precisely, McCune and I were sitting in my parked police car on Telegraph Avenue next to the Beer Garden there. We were going to visit my friend Rachel K., who worked weeknights, and who always gave us free coffee. We did this three or four times a week. I was going through my annual Dark Period, and McCune was attempting to comfort me in his own McCunian way. He warned me that every word I’d put on him in the last month or so had devolved into a “lonely diatribe”, which I have always loved, even though that’s completely missing the point. I replied with something about wanting to give up for good, or some childish thing like that . . . the sort of thing I have not ever been able to stop saying, even to this day, as some of you well know!!
But I remember him saying: “Are you really going to let this pitiful world kill you, soldier? No! Pulverize it, my spirit-brother!!!” And he was right. You know, they want you to cave to the great darknesses which govern this hell . . . and I cannot rightly go down like that, and do what they want me to do. I cannot triumph over Death, or time and money for that matter, among a few other masters I have . . . but I’m also not going to take this onslaught of horseshit sitting down! Jesus lord, can you imagine? You’d have to be a cornfed cheese-eating ghost fart to sit down and allow yourself to be steamrolled by this hell-on-earth money-go-round.
What did Papa Hemingway say again? Yes:
The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry.
So: sure. The whole thing is going to obliterate me and rot my body at some point, reduce me to what I already got beneath, which is a hideous assemblage of bones, and god knows how long from now that’ll happen . . . it was designed that way, man. The only thing you can count on in this life are geometric shapes and the promise of Death (such is my respect for it that it be capitalized twice in the span of two paragraphs). You don’t got to make friends with any of it, but you got to at least get along with it, deal with it, make terms, and on and on. Yes. Even a fool knows that, and lord knows I’m a fool. If nothing else I know these things.
And look! I have decided to let the world break me once again. It has gotten its revenge on me and maybe I had it coming all along. But it did not kill me. Maybe I forgot for a little while who the true master is . . . though I’m here to tell you that, baby, I’m back. Hell, I just got lost for a little while, that’s all. The tube of linear time has spit me out in a different place in this forest dark, a secret place, and a place I did not intend to end up, but then what else is new?? On this new starry continent of time and space I have room to take in all of my precious babies, my precious friends, just like I had before. I have returned to my fellow orphans on the Isle of Misfit Toys, strong in the broken places maybe. And I hath extendeth my pale hand, and ye shall take what is found there, which is ironclad friendship that will not be snatched away, not no way!!! That’s why I sailed through the stars and came here to this place: to be your friend. Or didn’t you know?
And listen: I am starsailing to a city near you very soon. Yes, I have spent every last airline mile I was squirreling away, and have booked trips on every three- and four-day weekend I got coming to me in the next few months. In order:
JANUARY: LOS ANGELES,
In Los Angeles I will go to Amissa and Sarah and Alex. In San Diego I will go to Chantal, who I have not seen in five and a half years . . . have not seen since she dropped Dante and I off at the Austin airport to go to Oakland for good! And in Detroit! my friends Logan and Storm, who are sisters, and who, yes, really were named after the X-Men. I won’t tell you their last name of course, but it’s sounds real cool when combined with their comic book first names. And Tokyo . . . I don’t even know. Jackson says he’ll be gone by March, what with the mess he’s gotten into with his visa, though I suppose Rudie is still around. He emailed me the other day and I need to email him back. I have the next four days off, so maybe I’ll wake up tomorrow and do that, with the heat on and some halfway decent black coffee that I have at least gotten good at making palpable. . . .
(Tombo, my spirit-brother in Thailand, I will write to you too. You wrote me a nice little email, and I want you to know it made me feel real nice~)
And I am going to other places in between!! I told Leila recently, you know, who returned to me the very day I wrote a little post about her, I said: “We haven’t seen each other in three years, and for no good reason. We should meet in the place between Oakland and New Orleans and stand in the center of the main throughway there, about a hundred feet apart, and slowly advance towards one another while having a nice conversation over the course of an hour.” I have determined that the center of the universe between my old friend and me is none other than Santa Fe, New Mexico. Can you believe it? It lies almost exactly in the middle of us, and only off by six miles, which is on the New Orleans side of it. Sorry Leila. But we’re gonna do it I think in the next few months. Yes? I have not been there in many years.
I AM REMINDED of a post I wrote back in July 2014, when my veins were filled with acid and I was lying on a couch in the dark spare bedroom of Leila’s house in New Orleans. It was called. . . .
BREAKING: RYAN STARSAILOR
HIS MORE RESPONSIBLE FRIENDS
And sounded like this:
NEW ORLEANS—Ryan “Baby Star” Starsailor announced today amidst the torrential rainfall and violent chaos of the 7th Ward that he had come out of retirement and would resume his previous non-occupation of traveling the United States of America under the pretense of “wanting to hang out and write some crap.”
“I just got sick of paying bills, man,” said Starsailor, wiping tears from his eyes. “Those Oakland streets were really chewing me up. I have a lot of fun over there and I’m gonna stick around for a long time, but I gotta start going places like I used to or I’m gonna pop.”
Starsailor, whose recent trip to New Orleans awakened him to the fact that he had been vacantly staring at the same walls for far too long, says he plans to completely change the way he earns money and fills the hours in order to accommodate his desired lifestyle of transience and discomfort.
“When I get back home I figure I’ll drive rich people around in that old police car me and John have to make some money. I’ve done it a couple dozen times in San Francisco and people go nuts about it. Maybe now that I’ll be making my own schedule and earning every penny myself I’ll have time to go off and finish my novel. That thing needs to be done already—before I’m done, if you know what I mean. It just isn’t happening right now. I’m spread too thin. If you saw me right now you’d say, ‘Now there goes a broken man.’ I’m static and vapor. I’m a ghost’s fart.”
Before losing consciousness, Starsailor had this to add: “Baby—what else can I say: I’m back. I’m ready to go places and write and sleep on your couch while you’re at work. I’m a free man. I gotta be free. I was dead for a while but now I’m alive again. As alive as I’ll ever be, anyway. And that’s something. It certainly isn’t nothing.”
(Uh oh. This sounds depressingly similar to everything I have written since that day . . . including and especially this very post! Well, whatever, man~)
I can’t rightly make a post this long without mentioning my spirit-sister Laura Rokas, the world-famous French Canadian multimedia artist, who is coming with me to Tokyo in March. And so: there is a sort of yurt in Sonoma County that Laura and I are going to rent out in the next few weeks. It is an octagonal tent in the middle of a vineyard. It is beautiful and stupid and cool. Yes, and we are going there, because now I have to go places again, which is one of the things I used to do that made me feel like myself. I have not been myself in some time on account of a lot of different things . . . but no longer I will be that other thing! I know who and what I am, and I’m never going to let anyone or anything confuse me into thinking otherwise again. So I’ll get on some airplanes and visit some cities I haven’t visited in a long time, and see all my friends there, who I love a whole lot. I reckon it’s about as simple as that.
They’re telling me Monday is New Year’s Eve. I am once again sheltering the California orphans who have nowhere else to go, I among them saddled with the same fate and not at all sore about it. It will be very good. I like the idea of everyone coming to my house because There’s Nowhere Else To Go. We have that in common, along with a lot of other things, for good or ill. God, why not? If the last six weeks have taught me anything (when I was nervous I could never be taught anything ever again), it is that I have somehow sheared away every rotten person I ever knew, and have these friends far and wide who are, near as I can tell, the last of The Good Ones. They too will persist in the future until there finally is no future, and we will know each other and be glad. What is Time, anyway?? I ask as I smoke a big-ass doob as thick as a little league baseball bat, which is precisely the size of my hero Gritt Calhoon’s quote-unquote yogurt slinger (sorry!!). We got these god damn artificial goalposts in time, and the king of them all, New Year’s Day, coming to a theater near you in just four days whether we want it to or not. Yes, because. . . .
“THE SUN SHONE,
HAVING NO ALTERNATIVE,
ON THE NOTHING NEW.”
Verily I say unto you: Are you sick yet? Having read perhaps the most obnoxious and literature-alluded post I have ever penned and shamelessly set free like a junkyard dog into the and dark gloomy plains of fine website, which as of next Tuesday has existed for seven whole years? Well, the good news is that I am at least for tonight finished with whatever this stupid thing is. I will resume purposely embarrassing myself tomorrow. But listen: I am OK. Dr. Wizard, my wizard-psychiatrist who saved my life a few weeks ago, he’s got me on an upped dose of the good stuff I’ve always relied on, and he’s also given me a mood stabilizer that will send me into an ethereal and dreamless world inside my head whenever I take half a little white pill . . . and so I am more or less straightened out for now. This rotten sickness unto death is just that: unto death . . . though I’m on the other side of the eight ball until I’m not. And when I start to slip, I know this son of a bitch will consult his scrolls and ancient wisdom and gift me with some new and beautiful elixir to move me forward through time until the next Dark Period, and on and on. I still plan to be a frozen screaming skeleton in Antarctica, but not yet. I was sick, but now I’m well again, and there’s work to do. Kilgore Trout said that to everyone in TIMEQUAKE, don’t you know. It’s true for me. It’s one of the few true things I know anymore. And hell, I got a hot date with the Ruby Room heiress on Sunday. I got a half dozen people coming to my house the day after that, and I’m getting my haircut with Laura in the city a few hours before that. I got! trips! planned! and I will soon see my faraway friends. I’ll see the rest of you in the morning. (I really did quote the Bible, huh?) Well:
IN THE PRESENCE
OF LAUGHING DEATH!
. . . AT LEAST FOR NOW~
And once more for the people in the cheap seats:
29 december 2018