In 2002 I moved into a dim, weathered apartment in Richmond, VA. Much of the square footage was devoted to one long, dark hallway connecting to the inner stairwell shared by all the apartments. The only windows overlooked an odd, U-shaped alley, full of garbage and cobblestones. In the summer it stunk of rotten meat and backed up sewage. In the spring it crawled with ants, and, though I never saw them in my apartment, the telltale signs of rats were all around the exterior. The beaten hardwood floors held decades of accumulated dust, which no sweeping could banish. The bedroom door had dozens claw marks scratched into it, which, when coupled with the iron bars covering the bedroom window, gave the impression that something terrible had been trapped inside it... and perhaps still was.
In short it was the perfect place for a melancholy art student, living in a new city without friends. I spent six lonely months in that apartment, consumed by the pursuit of beauty and the ubiquity of sadness. Throughout it all, the music of Mark Linkous was my Virgil. In the bright light of morning it was a rousing call to joy. In the darkest times it became a one of the most sincere prayers that I have ever offered.
Please send me more yellow birds for the dim interior
Thank you, Mark Linkous. Thank you so very much.