Jim Trainer

Shrieks of Paradise, Correspondence&Rails#32, Dear Southern

In Uncategorized on September 8, 2019 at 4:55 pm

The Office of Jim Trainer
Delaware Division
℅ Starbucks Middletown
Middletown, DE

Justin Southern
Hostile City, USA

8/16/18, 5:56PM

Mr. Southern

Greetings from the slower-lower. The sun down here is criminally beautiful. It slants long and into places and evokes nostalgia for the youth you never had. At least I didn’t—we were sewer & creek rats, crawling through and coming out to ravines where we drank Rolling Rock ponies and smoked Marlboro Lights listening to Slayer’s Show No Mercy. I have great fondness for my comrades but I’m the only one who made it out and is still playing music today. I was thinking while driving here that the reason I haven’t grown tired of writing is because it doesn’t come with all the bullshit included in being a professional musician. House Wine is over and I’m glad. I wish them nothing but the worst. The Americana I came down to Texas for is cute now—a fad. My stuff paints in broader strokes. I’m not as depressed now, for one thing, and I think I’ve finally learned how to sing. What all this has to do with writing you I haven’t a clue but I write to keep the beast at bay. If I’m not as depressed these days I am certainly just as anxious which can come before the fall. Writing is the best thing I can do with my hands besides taking them to a punching bag. 40s are the strange age, Southern. It’s when the universe wants to know if you’re sure and I think I am so I’ma keep writing it down and sending strange letters to friends when I’m nonplussed or uninspired after traveling more than 8,000 miles away from home and having been too long in the wasteland.

You were right about Philly, it’s the same, but I was right about Philly because it brings out the worst in me. This last trek was the longest I’ve lasted before bugging the fuck out and driving South for an hour to get it out of mind and off of me. I got caught in a torpor paying the meter in Logan Square and gave the city about $50 all day before I finally got a ticket and just said fuck it. I been down here 3 days and haven’t done much. I got a blog off, of course, and I booked a flight and 10 days in Austin. I need to drive my car in from Slidell and wait until my apartment is ready on September 1. I got a kind woman there waiting and we’ll be together. Hot Damn. I’m sitting on maybe 4 travel pieces I would love to get paid for; and a feature on the nature of traveling across Europe with an insufferable, loudmouthed partner and training yourself not to act on the murder impulse in the close quarters of the commuter trains and eco villages of a foreign country.  Hope I can find some way to recoup or at least hit the road again on a mag or pub’s dime. Travel is the freest I’ve ever felt. It’s like falling in love without the baggage and saying goodbye never stops feeling good.

I said goodbye to Philly, 10 years ago, in a 2001 Hyundai Sante Fe, and I said goodbye to a thankless 6-year run at a wine bar with the personality of a tech conference that allows dogs, I said goodbye to Sofia, for now, but I think there are some stories there, on those streets and Autumn could feel Byzantine or like the Lower East Side in the 80s. I said goodbye to all the loves of my life—some voluntarily but none from the safety of a computer screen. I said goodbye to my Father on his deathbed and found the meaning of forgiveness. I said goodbye to my hometown and the cops there a cancer on them all…goodbye to my High School and goodbye to the cushest gig I ever had working in the Last Confederate Governor of the U.S.’ old place, and I said goodbye to my ex-Publishing partner, that blackleg wench, as she rolled out on the bridge and I sped away into downtown Portland. You never say goodbye to love and if you’re lucky your true love is a road. You get up in the morning and you look it in the eye. You hope you won’t end up in some slim podunk place where they play the entire Whitney Houston catalog, but, if you do you can just gulp down your tea and put your hands in your pockets, open the door and without turning around say…goodbye.


  1. […] get out enough but thankfully Hostile City has sent another of its bitter transplants my way.  Mr. Justin Southern is a fine partner and a perfect wingman for me and all my hapless and desperate pursuits.  We went […]

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