There’s a song off Elliott Smith’s second posthumous record called Half Right. It’s about heroin and relationships (as far as all Elliott’s songs are about heroin and relationships) and I didn’t understand the lyrics until yesterday. I was sitting in a coffee shop finishing the last foamy bits of a latte and I was watching a little girl balance precariously on one of the tall, uncomfortable stools that make up half the seating at Black Medicine and I was thinking about a recent conversation I had with S, and how impossible it sometimes is to communicate simple ideas to someone so constantly far away. It’s not just him, of course: it’s everyone. Distance isn’t just about physical distance. There’s a barrier that builds itself up in your mind. You become unable to articulate your feelings. I try and say the same thing twelve different ways and then give up, defeated.
I got my hair cut two days ago and at the end of it my hairdresser helped me into my coat and then kissed my cheek and wished me happy holidays. I’ve never been alone this close to Christmas and it wouldn’t matter so much if there weren’t lit trees everywhere, candles in windows, a group of red-cheeked Christmas carolers at the edge of the German Market.
Anyway, Half Right was a Heatmiser song first. I was only eleven when Mic City Sons came out. You shouldn’t listen to this sort of music when you’re so far away from everyone in the entire world. But sometimes you can’t help it.
Very early tomorrow morning I’m boarding a plane to travel from Edinburgh to Los Angeles. I have a short flight to Frankfurt, a longer flight to Boston, a long layover at Logan and then the last leg to LAX.
Enjoy your holidays. I’m thankful for everyone following this blog so far; it’s been a pleasure to write and record and photograph things for you. I’ll be taking a short reprieve and will return in the new year.
photograph taken on New Year’s Day three years ago in New York City.