May 6 • 3M

Ambulance (out May 27)

with bonus "I Love..."

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Jeff Tweedy | Starship Casual
Unreleased songs, demos and more.
Episode details

I Love ...

Motomami by Rosalía… I can’t stop listening to this record.

Alabaster dePlume: Gold - Go Forward in the Courage of Your Love Album  Review | Pitchfork

… Alabaster dePlume’s Gold… the only word I can think to describe this record is “healing”.

... this letter Kurt Vonnegut wrote to some high school kids after they’d written to him for advice. I stumbled across it on Twitter, after @gabehudson posted about it. Once again, making the platform hard to delete. 

From what I understand, the way it happened is that in 2006, a New York City English teacher named Ms. Lockwood asked her students to write to their favorite author and persuade him or her to visit the school. Five of those pupils chose novelist Kurt Vonnegut. Though he never made the trip to Xavier High School, Vonnegut did respond to the students with the following letter. He was the only author to reply. Here's the letter: 

November 5, 2006

Dear Xavier High School, and Ms. Lockwood, and Messrs. Perin, McFeely, Batten, Maurer, and Congiusta:

I thank you for your friendly letters. You sure know how to cheer up a really old geezer (84) in his sunset years. I don’t make public appearances anymore because I now resemble nothing so much as an iguana.

What I had to say to you, moreover, would not take long, to wit: Practice any art—music, singing, dancing, acting, drawing, painting, sculpting, poetry, fiction, essays, reportage—no matter how well or badly, not to get money and fame, but to experience becoming, to find out what’s inside you, to make your soul grow.

Seriously! I mean starting right now, do art and do it for the rest of your lives. Draw a funny or nice picture of Ms. Lockwood and give it to her. Dance home after school, and sing in the shower, and on and on. Make a face in your mashed potatoes. Pretend you’re Count Dracula.

Here’s an assignment for tonight, and I hope Ms. Lockwood will flunk you if you don’t do it: 

Write a six-line poem about anything, but rhymed. No fair tennis without a net. Make it as good as you possibly can. But don’t tell anybody what you’re doing. Don’t show it or recite it to anybody, not even your girlfriend or parents or whatever, or Ms. Lockwood. OK? 

Tear it up into teeny-weeny pieces and discard them into widely separated trash receptacles. You will find that you have already been gloriously rewarded for your poem. You have experienced becoming, learned a lot more about what’s inside you, and you have made your soul grow.

God bless you all!

Kurt Vonnegut

What Kurt Vonnegut says here in this short letter is basically everything it took me a whole book to try to get across. And more! 

Photo credit: Jamie Kelter Davis

If you’re behind the paywall, here’s another song from Cruel Country (which comes out in 3 weeks). The track is called “Ambulance”. It has come a long way since I shared the first draft back in August.

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