Sunday, February 28, 2010


Man oh man I hate going to bed on Sunday nights.

What did you do today?

I spent money. I put gas in the truck and bought some groceries. I (pauses) didn't eat the other brownie from my friend. Those motherfuckers are strong, man. I woke up still loaded from the night before. I gotta watch that kind of stuff. I mean, thankfully I didn't have to really do much today, because that shit just kept goin'. I mean, the fuckin' brownie was like the Energizer Bunny of pot, you know? It just kept goin' and goin'...

There was some stuff I was gonna tell you, but I forgot what it was. Seems like lately I keep thinking of things to tell you, but then I forget them, I move on to other stuff.

That's okay. Your mind is working, you're learning new things about yourself...

Well, that's debatable. I don't know if I've learned anything.

You like learning. I know that about you.

How do you know that?

You spend all night on the internet, looking up subjects you're interested in. You read, you listen to podcasts and radio shows and music...I've seen you really listen to music...

Listening, man, is like silence: Both are severely underrated. Listening is an art. Silence might be an art, too, but I've never thought much about it.

Okay, I like learning. As long as I'm interested in the subject and I don't have to sit in some fuckin' classroom.

So you're learning about yourself. You just don't know you are, because you're in that learning process and this is pretty emotional stuff...

Hey, I remember what I was gonna talk with you about. It was about all this social stuff, about my discomfort being around people.

Discomfort is putting it lightly.

I was thinking about how I didn't really have many friends growing up. I mean, we're talking about years with no friends, like in high school. Or very few friends, and very very few close friends. And here I was, I was scared. (speaks softly) Can I tell you something?

Sure. Anything.

I was more comfortable around girls because I was always afraid of other guys. My older brother once told me that that didn't surprise him, because --


Oh, man. Let's not talk any more.

Wait, farmboy. It's okay. You're okay.

Because? brother said it didn't surprise him because I grew up with a, um. a...

Oh man...

You're okay. You're safe. Farmboy, you grew up with...

With a cruel father and a cruel brother. Okay, but look, that's my brother talkin', man, that's not me. I ain't gonna wave no child abuse banner around...

No one's asking you to.

I loved my father. I love my father. And I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that my father truly loved me, he loved all of us.

Look, it's okay. You're just reporting what your brother told you.

But I feel so dirty, so guilty...


Look, I don't want to blame no one, nowhere, no how, okay?

Can we...can we talk about this later? Oh, man, what am I gonna do?


Man oh man oh man, what have I gotten myself into now. I, I don't know... (starts to cry) Help me. Oh, man...

Hey, farmboy, you're safe, I'm here.

No, man, I am evil.


Oh, man, if you only knew...

Only knew what?

Man, I can't believe I said that...

Said what?

I can't believe I pointed fingers at people who are not bad people. You know. it's that human being thing, you know, we make mistakes and those were different times and I'm being dramatic, that's what it is. I am lying. I am sinful and I am evil --


What? Wait...

NO! Take a deep breath. You're forgetting to breathe! Just stop, calm down...

(takes several deep breaths) Uhhhh... I'm really tired all of a sudden.

I really would like to talk about this later, okay? I'm sorry I yelled at you. I am really concerned about you, farmboy.

Man, I am going to feel completely beat up...

You seriously need to be kind to yourself, and if you can't be kind then I will be kind for you. You're going to see and hear me being kind to you and you're going to learn how to be kind to yourself. Got that? Understand?

Man, I don't know...

You are going to be okay. I promise.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

I ate this brownie...

So what's today's news?

Well, today's news out there is this big ol' world was that an 8.8 Richtor scale earthquake happened in Chile. I feel like any of my little first world problems really pales next to that. I mean, that is so fuckin' scary. Look at Haiti. Man, it's always "there but for the grace of God go I." And nowhere is immune from this natural disaster stuff.

So, like, my heart goes out and my prayers go out and I hope for God's grace to be with them.

I've hardly ever heard you talk about God. You discussed --


Scrupulosity. But this is something else.

Yeah. It's God.

I don't talk about God much, because I have a super personal relationship with God and it's nobody's business. I would rather my songs and my's hard to put into words, possibly because I have no idea...I ate this brownie...

Oh, I see. You're high and you're drifting from subject to subject.

Yeah. Maybe tonight's not the time to get into this spiritual stuff. But give me some time and I'll talk about God with you, because my faith is a big major part of me. It's, like, super important. I just need a little more time to...oh man, to trust you. I'm sorry. It's not you. It just takes me a really long time to trust somebody enough to talk about spirituality. To talk about faith.

Maybe this is close to it: I would like too see my faith represented by my songs and my actions. Or, sometimes, lack of actions, you know? Like not being critical. Like not saying that snarky remark you were going to say about somebody. There's a lot of power in being silent.

That's pretty wise.

I should talk about that at some time too. But that brownie makes tonight a good time for silence.

Friday, February 26, 2010

We human beings

Let me tell you about my night tonight.

How was it?

Good. You'll be proud of me --

I'm already proud of you.

And don't think I don't appreciate it. But anyway, I met a friend of mine for coffee about 4:30 and we talked for two and a half hours. And it's been a real long time since I've done that kind of thing, you know? That was great. Then I went home and got a phone message from another friend that he has some weed for me to buy, plus brownies. He makes the strongest brownies I've ever had.

So anyway, he's at this music venue manning the door, so I meet him there and stay the whole night. It was cool being an audience member. No pressure. Friends of mine played and other friends were there know, I have problems being social...

You don't trust your own species.

Uh, yeah. But we human beings, we're social animals, and that can kinda piss me off if I think about it too long. We need each other. And that's interesting for me because...I'm kinda scared of people, you know.


I think so. I know so. I'm scared of lots of things, and human beings --

You say that like you're an alien. Not people but human beings.

(ignores remark) Human beings -- that's number one on the list of what I'm afraid of. After that, in no particular order, I'm afraid of heights, driving over bridges, performing...even though once I'm up there I'm generally fine and once in a while I get in the...the zone of performing when you realize, when you feel powerful. And in huge, huge ways I feel powerless in my own life.

I have a fear of being out of tune. (laughs) I have a fear of not being perfect. I walk on eggshells for most of my daily life. I second guess myself constantly. I'm obsessive/compulsive and I have this thing called scrupulosity which is basically OCD with, like, religious rituals. And I was raised Roman Catholic. which is ritual upon ritual upon ritual.

I am afraid of illness, physical and mental. And I know that I'm mentally ill. I've known it all my life. And it sucks, because you're never a child and you never grow up. It's fucked. I can't believe that I am telling you this. I always end up telling you things that I didn't plan.

You don't get to rewrite your life, farmboy. Your life is not a song lyric.

Oh, you're wrong there, motherfucker, el fuckin' chingaso. Everything is a song lyric.

You still don't get to rewrite your life. It's always happening.

Yeah, yeah. All I know is that I keep telling stuff and...I can't believe I keep doing that, telling you these feelings, you know. These fuckin' feelings.

Oh, come on. I bet it's a relief sometimes to talk about this stuff. Look, you spent two and a half hours having conversation with a friend. I bet you were just plain thirsty for that kind of human contact.

(softly) Yeah, I guess I was . I guess I am. 'Course there is all this conversation with you --

Which we try not to analyze. Right?

I'm beginning to accept it. Which reminds me; I need to check out My Dinner With Andre from the library. So I can get an example of how to correctly do this extended conversation thing, this interview.

I think you're doing fine without role models

Yeah, well, I'd feel more cultured

I'm proud of you for spending times with friends. I'm glad to see you have friends. You know what?

No. What?

You need to go out and play.

(sighs) Oh man, don't I know it.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Frogs that sing in choirs

Man, I am so tired.

So go to sleep.

What? It's only, like, 7:45. I still got things to do, weed to smoke. guitar to play, diet Pepsi to drink, supper to eat, internet to surf. I can't go to sleep.

But I'm so tired. It came on all of a sudden. I'm thinkin', maybe I should get, like, some podcast to listen to, put it on the ipod and lay down and listen to it. I'll probably fall asleep. Or at least I've gotten to listen to something.

You know what I heard today? A gigantic mess of frogs. I mean, I can't imagine how many frogs there were. It was fuckin' amazing, man, it was like a chorus. I mean, there were background voices and lead singers and...I love that kind of stuff. I love the sound of nature. You know, crickets and birds and frogs and the waves on the ocean. You know, I grew up by the ocean...

I didn't know that.

Yeah, just a few blocks away. And I miss the ocean. I miss the sounds and the salty smell and the basso supremo of the fog horn. I love to look right down on the water, man, that's the most beautiful color of blue ever. You can fall asleep listening to that stuff.

Basso supremo?

Oh, that's just a term I made up to sound smarter that what I really am.

So are you going to go to bed now?

Well...I'm hungry. I have leftover chicken and I'm thinking about making a quesadilla. I also have leftover brown rice, but I'm too damn lazy to make fried rice.

Maybe you should try to go to bed a little early tonight, farmboy.

Maybe so. Maybe I'll lie in bed and think of the ocean. I'd like to dream of the ocean but I don't have as many geographic dreams as I should have, I used to have these amazing geographic dreams. I also used to have amazing swimming dreams. One dream I had, I swam around the continent of Africa.

Wow. That is pretty cool.

Maybe I should think of that stuff more often. You know, oceans and mountains and stars and...frogs that sing in choirs. And traveling. Maybe I miss traveling. But I've gotten so fuckin' afraid of it, you know? Afraid to step outside my door for fear that disaster will strike and horrible things will happen...and then, you know, you never leave your apartment. It's not really living a life after a while.

I'd kinda like to talk to you about that some time. But not tonight, man, because I'm tired and this fear thing is really important. I'd kinda like to have my wits about me if we talk about that.

Whenever you're ready.

Thanks. Hey, thanks for the company, man. I'm off to quesadilla land.

Get sleep, farmboy. Go to bed early. Lie in bed and listen to the sounds around you.

The cars going by? That's about it here. I'm not in a real good location for nighttime nature sounds. But there'll be birds in the morning. Spring is almost here.

I want to be outdoors, man. I miss being outdoors.

That will happen. Remember, spring is coming.


For the hundredth time, get some rest. Get some sleep. Okay farmboy?


Enjoy the quesadilla.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Hungry for silence

So what did you do today? Did you make the right choices?

You know, I probably make both each day -- good and bad choices.

What? You mean you're not perfect? You mean you're a human being?

Aaah, fuck you. Okay, I made some good choices. I walked, I ate spinach, I ate bananas, I played my new song 4 times, I played guitar. The bad choices were overeating, and eating a baugette, but not a whole wheat baugette, no, one made with white flour.

What else did you do? Tell me about your day.

It was a day when nothing important happened , you know. I went to work, but I really don't want to talk about work, In my free time, it's music, you know? The less said about work, the better.

What I do is play guitar, mess around on the internet, read all this music geek stuff, blogs and shit, listen to podcasts. I listen to RadioLab, This American Life. That TBTL with Luke Burbank show.


Too Beautiful to Live. It used to be on the radio, but now it's a podcast. This Luke Burbank guy, he calls it an "imaginary radio show."

Listen to much music?

Not much lately. I play guitar when I get home, but I'm usually hungry for silence when I get home. Man, I love music, I live for music, but I know that silence is important.

I listen to music when I go to bed. Quiet stuff. You got to be quiet in an apartment.

I think silence is necessary.

Me too. I need quiet. (pauses) Speaking of which...would you mind if...

Of course not. You finish your night and get some sleep.

It's nothing personal...

I know. It's okay.

Yeah, but...

Good night, farmboy.


Monday, February 22, 2010

You in this with me?

Man, there's so much I want to do.

Like what?

I want to make some money with music -- my goal is 300 bucks a month. I want to get in shape, physically. And mental and spiritually and musically, too, now that I'm talking about it. And I want to write songs and put out a new CD. Oh, and I want to go to Austin, TX and to California and play some places and, basically, tour, I guess.


It's a lot of work.

Yeah, but you know that going in. And even though this sounds like a lot, it's not impossible. You got songs, you've got talent...

I've got rhythm. Who could ask for anything more? Gershwin.

What I'm saying, farmboy, is that a CD isn't that far out of reach. As far as getting in shape, even in all those ways you mentioned, is a daily process and there are elements you already have in place. What I'm saying, is all that stuff you can do. It's all possible.

I'm really glad you think so, 'cause I'm gonna need you to help me with confidence, with helping me's so fuckin' cliched, but I need to believe in myself more, you know. I've got to gain some thicker skin without sacrificing the... sensitivity, I guess, that I need to write songs. And I need to learn how to sacrifice, in general, some free time and probably some weed smoking to accomplish what I want to accomplish. 'Cause you're right: It is possible. It's gonna take, like, a million tiny good choices.

Oh, at least a million...

You in this with me?

Try to keep me out. Hey...


I'm proud of you.

Let's wait to see what I can do first.



I want to be proud of you now.

I don't know if I can handle that.

Tough. I'm fuckin' proud of you, farmboy.

(cowers in fear) C'mon, don't say that stuff.

Why not?

Oh man, just don't say stuff like that.

I've said it before. And, remember, your father said it. Just before he died.

Look, just try it on for size. Here goes: I'm proud of you.


Jesus. Just say "Thank you."

Thank you.

You're welcome.

You satisfied now?

And, as you would put it, is my response: Fuck off.

(laughs) Oh, man. The old interview guy is back.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Where the new boundaries are

Oh, man, I'm depressed.

What's wrong, farmboy?

I've got to go to work tomorrow. I need more weekend in my weekend.

Hey, can I ask you something?

Of course.

I can be honest, right?


(quietly) How come you don't like me no more?

(startled) What? used to joke with me and we went back and forth a little and we had fun. I could insult you and you'd insult me back. I mean, this interview thing was fun, but lately you're, like, real distanced, kinda formal. you know?

(sighs) I was worried when I played that trick on you and I thought maybe I lost your trust. And that's not supposed to be part of the interview. So I'm working on where the new boundaries are.

So, maybe you still like me?

That you don't have to worry about.

Are you sure you're not a therapist?

I'm not a therapist.

What are you?

I'm a journalist. This is an interview. I ask questions. There are some things you shouldn't know the answer to. Yet.

What the fuck are you fuckin' talking about?

Oh, there's the farmboy I know. Language...

I got so many questions for you...

Yeah. Too bad that's not my job. I'm an interviewer, a journalist...

Like Terri Gross? You could be on NPR, man.

Sort of like that. I really just want you to trust me while I ask you some questions for awhile. You could try to enjoy this...

I do enjoy this.

If I'm going somewhere you feel uncomfortable with, just tell me and I'll stop. Here, we can have a code word: seriously. As in: "Tell me about your childhood." "I'm not gonna talk about my fuckin' childhood!" "No, I want you to tell me about your childhood." "Fuck off. Seriously."

Seriously? I can live with that.

Okay. Trust me?

I like you. You're my friend. But I don't trust nobody.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Time well spent

How was the gig?

We, um, it was...I'm sure glad I liked the people I played with. It was an in-the-round with three other songwriters, all of them my friends and all of them write songs and perform really well, and I really respect -- and like -- all of them. So that part was great.

Other than that, which is some pretty good stuff that I'm very thankful for, it was pretty much a bust.

If you don't mind me asking, was the money good? Much gravy?

No gravy. I made 15 bucks. I paid six bucks for parking, after I drove around for 45 minutes and couldn't find a parking place. My Mastercard was fuckin' declined, so I used, like, the drenches of my Visa. We didn't even get free coffee, and we had to supply our own mikes and stands and cords. The people we played to were great, of course; there just weren't very many. Didn't sell a single CD. There's this great song written by Susanna Clark and Richard Leigh called "Come From the Heart", which I learned from a Guy Clark record.

You gotta sing
Like you don't need the money
Love like you'll never get hurt
You got to dance
Like there's nobody watching
It's got to come from the heart
If you want it to work

That's really good writing.

It;s fuckin' brilliant. I hope to write a song that's half that good.

Some might say that you have.

It's just a great song. I mean, when fuckin' Guy Clark records a song by somebody else, you pay attention. Even though he and Susanna are married, I mean...That just means he heard it sooner than other people. Maybe, I don't know. I do know it's an amazing song.

I played fine. Coulda sang better, but I didn't embarrass myself.

It is nice that you spent an evening playing music with friends.

Yeah. Plus any time spent playing guitar is time well spent, you know?

So it's back to worrying about money?

Hey, I spent around eight bucks on groceries tonight. At least I got that. I didn't even have that before.

I'm going to have to figure out ways to make some money as a musician. I'm gonna need all the confidence I can muster in the future. (pause) I'm gonna need your help, man.

Anything I can do, you got it.

Thanks, man. I'm gonna need it.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Reefer and the guitar

Nice day today.

Oh, man, it was fuckin' beautiful, you know, blue skies, around 60 degrees.

What have you been doing?

Goin' to work, comin' home, smokin' reefer, playin' guitar, sleepin'. Same ol' same ol' but some of it's good. The reefer and the guitar, man.

Playing a gig tomorrow, a songwriter thing with some friends of mine. I hope to make some money, but really, anything over $20 is gravy.

$20? Don't sell yourself short, farmboy.

Man, nobody can afford nothin' these days, myself included, This ain't no criticism -- times are fuckin' hard. Fuckwad Bush left a big gigantic mess, and if Obama ends up being like all the other politicians, he's going to break my heart. Fuck, man, this is not what this country's supposed to be about. The working classes and the lower classes keep going down, down, down.

And what do I have left, financially speaking? I really don't ask for much -- although I do suspect that I ask for too much -- but I keep thinking aren't I supposed to be going the other direction?

And so, what do you have left?

Reefer and the guitar, man. And I feel blessed to have that. Seriously, dude.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Flask at a campfire

I really enjoyed asking those really mainstream and cliched interview questions the other day, so I started a list. May I?



I'm messin' with you. Go ahead.

What's your favorite book?

"The World According to Garp" by John Irving. It made sense to me. It helped me to see that my life, at least, has this...strange and weird and, hopefully, compassionate logic. I identify a lot with T.S. Garp. Plus, it's a really funny book, it's hilarious.

I was expecting you to say "Catcher in the Rye."

I love "Catcher in the Rye." I was real sad when J.D. Salinger passed on.

I remember you talking about that.

"Garp" opened up a world to me. But, really, so did "Catcher in the Rye." And other books, too. But today, today belongs to Garp. And John Irving.

Favorite beverage?

(laughs) Man, these really are trivial questions, ain't they? I love really good coffee. I love water. And caffeine-free diet Pepsi.

See, I would have placed you for a beer guy, farmboy.

I'm not real good with alcohol. I wish I was. But I hate the taste of it, and I don't recover well from a night of getting drunk. I love the feeling of being drunk, but it's just not worth it. I haven't been drunk in years. (laughs) I'm a fuckin' pothead instead.

A stoner.

Yeah. Numbs the pain. It's a cliche, I know, and I hate being a cliche, but marijuana helps to numb the pain.

The pain of...

You name it, pal. 'Course, it's also a pretty entertaining little herb. And I love music with it.

But I'd love to pull out a flask at a campfire and take a few sips. It looks classy. But it would be so fake, you know. I don't know, maybe I should try it.

I love campfires. I can stare into them for hours and hours and play guitar.

Especially when you're stoned.

You got that right.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Trusting my own species

So how'd it go?

Went well. Went very well, really. I wasn't bitter and I wasn't obsessed with the stuff that had happened before. I did think, at one point, that it's pretty easy to not feel super awkward when the folks you think you've had problems with are all oblivious to it all because you never let your feelings be known.

I am so fuckin' wordy.

Here's just an observation...


I think, if you could, you would just edit and rewrite everything, especially your own life.

Well, who wouldn't?

How was the performance itself?

Good. I only made one mistake, which was leaving out this thing I do with hitting two harmonics simultaneously. But nobody knows that that's how it's supposed to go 'cause that's the way I hear it in my mind. So it wasn't really a mistake. It was an omission. I'm no Ry Cooder, you know?

So, was it a successful night, in your opinion? Are you glad you went?

I'm glad I went.

The, um...the thing is, I'm so fuckin' hungry for friendship, for people to care about me, and for people for me to care about.

This one friend of mine hugged me, I mean really hugged me. And I kinda just...I kinda rested my head on his shoulder and he hugged me again and I felt like I was a little kid. He may have even tousled my hair. (laughs) I mean, it wasn't any kind of, like, sexual thing or something. It was so innocent. I mean, it was really like being this unloved lonely little kid and then you were actually accepted. And I felt like I was hugged by people all day long. Because I was. And I'm not used to that, I mean...I hadn't seen friends hardly at all since early December and I was fuckin' starving for affection. And...I'm not used to being open to it. And I needed it, I needed to be accepted by other human beings. And I'm not sure I've ever trusted my own species, you know? I get along better with dogs.

It scares me, you know?

I bet.

Fuck, I'm so fuckin' lonely. I have friends and I can't really accept their friendship, it's so hard for me to open up myself. And I was guarded all day long to a small extent. But then when I got hugged by my friend, I...I kinda opened myself up.

Man, I'm so fuckin' messed up inside. I used to have this fantasy -- I haven't thought about this in years -- that I was in a room with everybody who ever meant anything to me and they all took turns hugging me, I mean really hugging me. And I would start crying like I would never stop crying. And there was the feeling that it could never be enough.

And, the thing is, I'm not much of a hugger or a cryer...

I've seen you cry.

Yeah, but you see me when I'm at my most vulnerable. I'm not this way with anybody else. Plus, you haven't seen me cry that much.

Okay, it's rare. But there's nothing wrong with it, you know. But if you want, I'll never bring it up again.

Oh, I don't give a shit. I already pour out my soul to you. I always end up whining when I talk with you.

No you don't. What you do is you end up feeling.

(hangs head down) I am so tired.

I know, farmboy. You've had a busy day. I'm proud of you.

(surprised) Why?

Because you're a lot braver than you'll ever know. Plus, you're a good guy.

(whispers) Thanks.

I'm serious.

I know. Thanks.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Stupid little feelings

Hey, what's up?

I need to talk. You busy?

I've got plenty of time. What's going on?

I've had all this bad luck come back and I'm trying not to be nervous about this performance I'm giving tomorrow. There's some personal stuff that's been kinda happening with people who I know will be there. Sorry to be so vague, but these people are friends of mine and...

I thought you had no friends.

Oh. man, these folks accepted me right off for the most part. And it felt so fuckin' good to have friends. I mean, so good. I felt like the most blessed person in the world...


So there was this show and basically everybody in our core group was asked to sing a song except me. And I guess I got my stupid little feelings hurt.

Do they know about that?

No, I haven't said anything to anyone. I'm so fuckin' sensitive, man, pisses me off. Fuck. I mean, they don't have to ask me to play every time, you know? Not everybody can play every time. But I have to go and get all fuckin' hurt about it.

So I'm apprehensive about seeing everybody.

And performing?

Nothing more than the usual anxiety I have with performing. That's, like, the easiest part.

So go and focus on the performance and try to enjoy whatever friendship is there.

Oh yeah, I know, that's what I'm going to do. I mean, I don't want to hold a grudge. I'm sure they didn't mean to hurt me and they probably weren't even aware that it might hurt me.

I fuckin' hate gettin' hurt.

Put on a little emotional armor before you go. You'll get through it fine.

Oh, I know.

I guess I just needed to talk about it. I've been holding things in for over two months now...

You must be exhausted.

I am, man. I need to fuckin' chill out. It's like that Joni Mitchell song where she wants to have a river she can skate away on. Plus I got money problems, like 40 bucks to live on till the end of the month. And it's only the thirteenth.

Good thing it's February.

No shit. I need all the help time will give me.

Listen, I'd like to talk about all this after the performance. If that's okay with you, that is.

Sure. Um, let's see how it goes. (pauses) Hey, thanks for letting me blow off some steam, man.

No problem, farmboy. That's what I'm here for.