Sunday, January 31, 2010

Shit, yeah, man, fuckin' A

Can I talk about something other than emotional problems? I mean, is this therapy or something? I'm not quite sure what this interview stuff is all about.

It's just a way to get you to talk. You've said to me that no one ever asks you about anything. So now here's your chance. But let me give you some advice: Don't analyze it too much. Seriously. Because that's one sure way to make it (and me) disappear. Don't try to define it.


No analyzing.

Yeah, man, but what about...

Stop. Stop now.


What were you going to talk about anyway? Something going on?

Uh, there's this songwriting competition, eh? It's about songs that are social or political in theme, and it's held at the Kerrville Folk Festival in Texas, which I've been to many, many times. I even played main stage once. Anyway, I'd love the chance to go back, so I planned on entering this song I wrote years ago. Then I just recently discovered that songs that are older than two years are ineligible. So, I was disappointed, you know?

That sucks. I see why you'd feel bad.

But there's more. So yesterday I got out the kitchen timer and decided I'd write for 15 minutes. Anyway, I ended up writing for two hours and got the first draft for the lyric. And I've been whittling it down, you know, and rewriting, and putting some guitar and working on a melody...

Really? That's really good. That's excellent, farmboy. Congratulations!

Yeah, well, I was hoping to get it done and recorded today, because the deadline is tomorrow.

Tomorrow? No shit?

Shit, yeah, man, fuckin' A. So I'm thinking about taking a personal day and doing a better job rather than doing a half-assed job, y'know. Because it has the potential for being good and...

Do it. No work tomorrow for you, that's what I say. Even if there were no competitions, I'd say take a fuckin' day off and finish it. Because this is what you are, a songwriter. Ain't no contest, farmboy, you got to call in and do this song.

Yeah, I know. (laughs) It's really good to hear it from someone else, though. Thanks.

I hope you get in the competition. I hope you get to go to Kerrville and see all your old pals. But mostly I'm glad to see you excited about songwriting, about music.

Yeah, me too. Hey, sometimes...


Um, I forgot what I was going to say.

Let me know when you remember. I'd like to know.

I will. (pauses) It's okay to do this music stuff, right?

Do you really have a choice?

Good question. Guess I'm taking a day off. Hey, about what I was going to say...

The thing you forgot?

Yeah. (quietly). I like talking with you. Thanks, man.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

R.I.P. J.D. Salinger

Fuck, man, J.D. Salinger died.

Yeah. He lived a long time, though. He was 91 years old.

Yeah, but, but, it's sad, you know. I'll be reading stuff, you know, and then Bang! There it goes again, the headline about J.D. Salinger.

I know you know this, but it's okay to feel sad. Just be quiet, breathe a little, and let yourself be sad.

Are you a therapist or something?

No, but that brings up something I wanted to ask you. Have you ever thought about seeing a professional about those emotional issues you talk about?

It's emotional problems. Not issues.

All right. So what do you think?

I've seen counselors, psychologists, even a couple of psychiatrists, since I was like 19.


It helped quite a bit, actually. After a while, though, I get bored with myself and I feel sorry for the doctor or whoever. Even though he's getting paid.

I would and should go right now, but I really can't afford it. That's part of the money problem thing.

Gotta play more gigs, farmboy.

Man, don't I know it.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


You okay?

You know, I don't know if I'm ever really okay. I got so many, so many sad and depressing emotional problems and money problems and artistic difficulties, and I am too tired to look at them right now. I'm having such a hard time writing lately, it's really hard. Really hard. And I'm trying to not let it get me down, but of course it does. Plus I'm really fragile and sensitive and jealous of everybody who has any gigs or attention or friends or I don't know what. So what do you think, was that a good answer or what?

You worried?

I'm sorta anxious and I have medication for that but I don't want to take it, because I'm running out, but I've been tense lately. Man, it is hard to be me. You have no idea.

Are you serious or are you joking with me?

Oh, I guess both. I mean, everybody has it hard. I heard once "Be kind to people, because everybody is carrying a large burden." And that's so true. Plus, I mean, I could be in Darfur, you know, I could be in Haiti. I could be much. much poorer with people dependent on me. I could be in worse health. So, yeah, I'm thankful, really.

But I have these fuckin' emotional problems...

You know what I think?


Take the fuckin' pill. That's why you got 'em. Do some deep breathing, smoke a little weed, put on some soft music and go to sleep. Just give your mind a rest, okay?

Yeah, but...but there's all this stuff. man, like you say I need rest and sleep and shit and you sound like my Dad. He wouldn't say nothin' 'bout weed, though. I miss my Dad. Nobody ever tells me that kind of thing, you know. And since he died, I ain't never been the same [starts to tear up]. And,,,thanks for listening. You're right, I need to rest. If only for a few hours...

Good night, mijo.

That's what my Dad used to call me,

I know. Good night, mijo.

Good night. [pauses] Thanks.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Songwriting #2

So, I almost got out of bed to go find you and talk to you, for once, y'know? With nothing really in mind. I just needed to talk to someone.

I'm flattered.

Yeah. [pauses] Can I talk about songwriting?

Sure. Anything new?

I wrote this one set of lyrics, a first draft. Can't show it to anyone, 'cause it needs a lot of work, if I decide to proceed with it.

This contest thing is hard, because, writing at this late a date, it feels like I'm trying to second guess someone else. And myself, too, probably. So I should just write what's on my mind and in my heart but I have no ides what that might be.

An adventure!

I hope so. I could use a songwriting adventure. Oh man, I would love that. I'm hoping that's still possible.

So what can you do?

All I can see is to just keep writing and playing guitar and...just playing with it.

Have fun, farmboy. Yer a smart fella.

Oh man, I hope I'm smart. 'Cause I worry about that, being smart, and sometimes I think maybe I'm not smart.

Oh, you're smart. You're certainly smarter than you think.

Well, in my life that's a given. But let's hope so.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Songwriting #1

So, let's talk about songwriting.

Okay. Right now I'm having a little difficulty.

How so?

I was going to send this one song to a songwriting competition I'd really like to get into, but then I read the rules and they say the song is only eligible if it was written in the past two years. And the song I was going to enter...well, too many people at that festival may know it and I'm sure I would be found out. Plus, I have a hard time cheating. It's that fuckin' karma thing, you know.

So write a new song.

Yeah. I'm gonna try. I just feel pressured. you know, self-pressure, And I have this preconceived idea about what they want, and I don't want that to affect me or the song I'm writing. I mean, what's really important is that it's a good song, not whether it gets in a contest or not,

So just write a song and give it your best.

Oh, I will. "Express; don't impress" is the best advice I've ever got for writing. That's what I need to keep in mind.

Good luck. Good skill.

Inspiration wouldn't hurt either.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

You're smart, you're curious

I'd really like to know more about you. Tell me stuff.

Well, if you really know, I was going to quote that first line from Catcher in the Rye, but I don't know it.

I'm always really surprised when someone wants my opinion about anything.

You know, I was thinking history or music or whatever you're interested in.

But why? Why do you want to hear stuff.

Hey, here's your chance to talk. Don't fuckin' blow it, farmboy. Don't question it. This is an interview. I'm the interviewer, you're the interviewee. Got it?

Then give me a question, Mr. Interviewer.

Okay. Let's see. An easy one: What do you have to look forward to tomorrow?

(laughs) Oh, an easy one. It's Friday. I'm gonna get the new Spoon CD. Maybe have pizza, maybe not. Get stoned, play guitar, surf the internet, read. Maybe jerk off, maybe not. I love Fridays.

So, is the next question going to be hard? 'Cause I don't like hard questions.

So I've noticed.

Fuck you.

(sighs) Listen, you'll get to have your say. You can just talk. There's nothing to be afraid of.

Yes there is.


(quietly) What if you don't like me?

Don't worry about that. And, besides, I do like you. Very much. You're smart, you're curious. This will be good, I promise. You can stop or take a break any time you feel the need to. You can refuse to answer questions. This is all for you. Really.

We'll see. One question at a time.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


I got nothin' to say.

Yes you do.

Really, I got nothin', I'd have to force something out. Better not to force things. [fakes Southern accent] Mah daddy taught me never to force thangs.

Oh. Okay. Talk at you tomorrow.

Yeah, tomorrow. See you then.

Monday, January 18, 2010




How're you doing?

I'm okay. Gotta go to work tomorrow. Gonna go to bed, listen to music. Don't know what yet. It's gotta be quiet.

Been getting rest?

Rested today. Three day weekend. Martin Luther King Jr. Great holiday, you know, I mean he truly is inspirational.

That's pretty positive.

It's the truth. The whole civil rights movement is pretty fuckin' amazing, if you ask me.

I gotta go to bed. I'm sorry.

Why are you sorry?

Oh, 'cause that's what I do, you know. That's my job.

Martin Luther King wouldn't have said that.

No, he wouldn't. And I shouldn't either. Man, shaking off depression, fuck, it's hard, you know?

Do you want to get into that tonight?

Oh, well, no. I gotta sleep.

Good night, then. Stay gold, Ponyboy.


Sunday, January 17, 2010


You all right? I've been worried about you.

I'm okay. I feel like crying. I feel fragile.

That doesn't sound okay to me.

I think the last time we talked I got kinda spooked. I don't open up, really open up, to nobody. And I'm so afraid that if I do, I won't be able to stop. Like I'm this...this volcano, and if, like, if I start letting these feelings out, then I'm going to erupt, and then I'll never stop. But, man, everything's building up and it's so much work holding it together. Fuck. I don't know what I'm going to do.

You know you're safe talking to me.

How do I know that? I mean, I don't know anything.

And you don't trust anybody...

Oh. man. I'm in some big time trouble here. I mean, emotional trouble. I get these problems, this depression stuff and this overwhelming belief that I'm a shithead, I have no right to anything. And that conflicts with my belief in my songs, my music. Fucking conflict, man.

Thanks for telling me to get rest the other night. It was nice to hear somebody say that.

You're welcome.

Get some rest?

Get some rest.

You'll be here tomorrow?

Talk with you then. Get some rest. Take care of yourself. Drink some water once in a while. Eat vegetables. Play guitar. But mostly, calm down. Try not to panic. Breathe.


Good night.

Good night.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

What emotional stuff?

Hey, where you been?

Oh man, I gotta tell you, I keep fighting all this emotional stuff, all the time, I just want a fuckin' time out once in a while. Anyway, I was surprised to find out that I missed talking with you and that I was making up messages to you in my head. Satisfied?

What emotional stuff?

You know, it's all complicated and I kinda feel like if I knew what it was it might be easier. I've spent my life defining myself, diagnosing my own mental illness. But, anyway, I was on the internet the whole time or wearing headphones and listening to that "TBTL with Luke Burbank" podcast, you know, computer Scrabble. 'Cept they don't call it Scrabble, 'cause of lawsuits with Hasbro or something.

What emotional stuff?

Damn. What it is, man, it's the feeling that I'm subhuman, that I'm just a...shithead, you know.A natural shithead. And that there is nothing I can do about it. And I know rationally that that's not true, but I don't know it emotionally. And I guess I didn't talk to you because I thought I'm going to sound like a needy whiny adolescent. And I am not an adolescent. I'm a long way from that.

Hey, I'm sorry. I didn't know this...

There's no reason you should. (pauses) That's just what it is. Can we go on to trivial matters?

Get some rest tonight, farmboy.


Monday, January 11, 2010

Checking in, again

Just checkin' in. How you doin', man?

I'm okay. Gonna be time to go to bed. Listened to a live concert by Bon Iver that was pretty great. Listen to more music as I fall asleep. Then wake up and goo to work. Same old same old, you know? Go online, play word games, play Scrabble, read about music, dance about architecture.

Play some guitar...

Yeah. That's important. It's important that I remember that.

Hey,I gotta get some sleep.

Good night, John-Boy.


It's a reference from a TV show back in the 70s.

Okay, talk to you tomorrow. G'night.


Friday, January 8, 2010

Marijuana #1

Hey, you're stoned. farmboy. How does it feel?

Feels good. I love being high on weed 'cause it helps you realize how special the everyday things are. Smoke pot. Eat an orange. Play guitar. Jerk off. Listen to some Mississippi John Hurt or Dolly Parton or Al Green.

Helps with the ears.

Helps with the ears. Yeah. The first time I got stoned was years ago. I went with some friends to hear the Philharmonic Wind Quintet at the local community college. And I was paranoid, but I remember being, like, "let's follow the oboe," that kind of thing. It was like hearing a great sound system after listening to a transistor radio all your life,

Damn, farmboy, is everything in your life connected to music?

Oh yeah. It all ends up being music, eventually.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Depression #1

I'm sad. I'm depressed.


'Cause everything seems hopeless.

Can you be more vague?

Is that sarcasm? 'Cause I don't need sarcasm right now.

Okay, how about if I spout out self-help cliches? Hey, wake up and smell the coffee! Pull yourself up by your bootstraps! When life hands you a lemon...

Okay. You can do sarcasm.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Checking in

What song have you been playing in your head?

I've been hearing two songs, mainly. One is "Love Vigilantes" by Iron and Wine. It's a New Order song. I love this song so much that I'm learning it. The other one is "Train Song" by Ben Gibbard and Feist, on that Dark is the Night compilation. That's a song by Vashni somebody, some singer from the 60s that I've still never heard. And I should. It's a good song.

Also, there's that Charlie Darwin song by the Low Anthem, who I like. There's always that song. That's my favorite track of the year.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

Happy new year!

Happy new year!

Whatcha got for us, farmboy?

A quote from my refrigerator. Or, rather, from and by Ralph Waldo Emerson:

Finish every day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.

Change "day" to year.

Change day to year.