I Used to Live Here: Old Interview w/John Darnielle About “The Life of the World to Come”

w/various things about his religion, but this was the part which struck me the most:

Pitchfork: “Genesis 3:23″ is about breaking into a house where you used to live. Is that something you’ve ever done?

JD: Sort of. Not breaking in. I don’t do B&Es anymore. I actually never did B&Es, I just did Bs. [laughs] But the inspiration for this is twofold, and is going to be a bit of a long story. I have that feeling that this is something that other survivors of abuse do. When I go back to any place where I used to live, I sort of have to go past where I used to live. I have to drive past there; I have to look at it. It’s not like I linger on the sidewalk or anything. I went back to Claremont [California] recently, and I have three or four houses I have to drive past. [laughs] I make this circuit of it. I do this sort of pole position-shaped racecourse thing around Claremont. So yeah, I do that wherever I go. It’s a certain feeling you got. It’s not necessarily a good feeling, either; it’s sort of a strange disconnected feeling. But I’m assuming there’s a lot of people who have to do something like that. I think when my father does things like this, he thinks that it would just be fun to see it, but for me it’s looking at where stuff happened.

The first time I remember doing that was four or five years ago, maybe fewer. I had this one that was kind of a traumatic version of it– not traumatic, it was actually really great, but traumatic in the sense of huge. I went to Portland, and the house I lived at in Portland is a place where I very nearly died. There’s whole weeks there that are totally lost; I’ll never know what happened during them. And it’s a really scary building to me. I had driven past it in previous tour stops in Portland, but we were doing two dates at the Doug Fir, and we were staying at the hotel, the Jupiter, that’s attached to the Doug Fir. It’s like four blocks from my old place. So I took a walk over there the next morning, and I stood there, and I thought, “Wow, there’s that building. God, it looks exactly the same.” A lot of Portland has changed over the past 10 or 15 years, but it was exactly the same beautiful building with marble walls in the entryway. You’d think it was expensive, but it’s totally not; it was just old. I walked up the stairs to the glass door, just to remember what it was liked to stand there. And then somebody came out, and I just walked right into the entryway. I was like, “Oooh, I’m inside the building.” [laughs] And it was so cool. So I just got in the elevator and took it down to the basement, where I lived, and stood in front of number 10, which was my door. The scuff mark that I left on it coming home drunk a million years ago was still there. [laughs] It was sort of intense to be in there. Those kind of feelings, you sort of can’t even process them; there’s just too much information. You can’t understand what the little ghosts are saying. For me, it’s sort of a fact-finding expedition, but you can’t really read the facts when you get in the home.

more (via TKB)

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