Sunday, May 30, 2010

This is why I was born

You know what I've been thinking about lately?

No. Hey, what have you been thinking about lately?

I've been thinking that this writing songs thing, it can conquer all. I mean, like, even when you die your recordings remain for awhile. This songwriting thing, you know, it's a pretty good thing to be gifted in. I hope God knows I appreciate it.

I'm sure God knows. That's a pretty good observation.

Thanks. I'm proud of it.

You know what I'm looking forward to?

No. What are you looking forward to?

Sleeping in just my shorts with the window open and the blue sky above. Watermelon and nectarines. I'm looking forward to summer.

It's almost here, farmboy.

About fuckin' time, Hey, back to songwriting...I've decided that I always want to be working on a song now. I think I'm happier, I think I know my own purpose on this here planet when I'm working on a song. You know, when I'm just walkin' around and I cant get it out of my head and I keep going over the lyrics and I'm working out the guitar arrangement and...

There's a lot involved.

Oh, man, is there ever. But it's the best fuckin' thing ever.

You're certainly good at it.

Really? You think so?

I do. What do you think?

Um...I'm not sure what I think. I mean, I would think that every writer who's any good believes in what he or she is doing.

Do you think they're good songs?

Well, they're the best I can do. Or they're pretty close to the best I can do.

But do you think that they are good songs?

(quietly) Yeah. Yes I do.

See? That wasn't that hard, was it?

Well, yeah, it was hard.

It gets easier with practice.

I don't know. I'm not comfortable saying to people "Listen, I write great fuckin' songs."

You don't have to say it to anyone. I just want you to know that you write good songs.

Okay. I see. I do know that I write good songs. I know it in my heart.


Yeah. That's what kinda makes things hard sometimes. For most things in my life I think I'm a piece of shit. And then there's these songs, and not only do I believe in them, I'm also fairly confident that they're good. And confident is not a word I associate with myself.

But you're confident in your songwriting?

Yeah. I'm confused about everything else, but I'm sure of my songwriting ability. This is why I was born.

Wow, farmboy. This is great to hear.

Do you want to know what I've been thinking?

Okay, what have you been thinking?

This belief you have in your songs -- it's a good foundation.

Foundation to what?

To whatever you want it to be.

I knew you'd say that. You can never let things be easy.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Art out of feeling guilty

I feel bad.

Why, farmboy?

Because I didn't feel well when I woke up from a nap. So I told them -- or, actually, my brother-- that my stomach hurt and would it be okay if I came over tomorrow instead. And he said yes and that he would call me if he sensed that his wife felt disappointed and I would go over. And I feel like a chump because of what I said yesterday, offering to go over, and here I am, cancelling going over.

Uh, was your stomach really hurting?


So you told the truth.

Um, yeah. I really didn't feel well 'cause I think I slept in an uncomfortable position and I ate this brownie...

One of the famous brownies from your friend?



Yeah, I know. So I was stoned all fuckin' day! I even took a two hour nap at one point and woke up stoned and stayed stoned for hours afterward. I mean, fuck, man!

So basically I called in sick and I feel guilty.

Did it seem like a job to you?

No. Why? Did something I say seem that way to you?

"I called in sick."

Oh, that? No, nothing like that. I think that phrase, for me, has to do with the guilt of possibly letting someone down.

You know what I think?

No. What?

I think you're making too much out of this. You're blowing it all out of proportion.

I know.

Are you going over there tomorrow?

Yes. I'm going earlier, in fact, and I'm thinking I could do stuff with their niece so they have some time to do whatever they need to do. My brother said that a friend of their did that today for, like, three hours, and that it was great for them.

So I'm thinking maybe I'll take my niece for a movie or something and then we can go to the store and buy stuff for supper. And then we'll make supper together, so her parents don't have to cook.

I don't think you have to worry, farmboy.


Farmboy, I've gotten to know you. And one thing I know about you is that you feel guilty about everything.

I know. It should have been my major in college. I've made an art out of feeling guilty.

And where has that got you?

I know, man. But what if I really am guilty of these...



You talked about scrupulosity before, remember?

Yeah. The OCD thing with religion. I told you about that.


So, for right now, just let yourself off the hook.

What if I can't?

(frustrated) Look, you just try and quit making excuses and give yourself a fucking break.

(quietly) You're mad at me. I'm sorry.

(sighs) Farmboy, you're kind of escalating right now. Take a deep breath. Don't forget to breathe. Calm down. I'm not mad at you, I just want you to feel better.

So you yell at me?

Farmboy, you've got to let me be human. I'm going to make mistakes, I'm going to get frustrated, I'm going to be tired sometimes. But you've got to know that I'm here for a reason, and -- seriously, now -- you're my friend and I love you.


Yes, farmboy.

I love you, too, you know. You don't know how much you've helped me sometimes.

This is getting schmaltzy.

I've noticed. That's okay.

When are you going to tell me all that stuff you can't tell me?

(laughs) I can't tell you.

(laughs) Motherfuckin' sonovabitch, man.

Friday, May 28, 2010

It just kicks my fuckin' Mexican ass

So it's payday and a three day weekend. What's up?

Well, my sister-in-law's father passed away. I feel so bad for her. I offered to take my niece if she and my brother need time alone.

But death...fuck, nothing I can say really will mean nothing. Losing a parent is one of the big ones in life, you know. Or at least in my life. I don't want to generalize because everyone's grief is different.

But, man, I wish there was something I could do to fix it.

But you can't.

And it's not about me anyway. I guess all I can do is support her the best way I can. Whatever that is.

That's right, farmboy.

Yeah. This death thing, it's just a fuckin', it just kicks my fuckin' Mexican ass, I'll tell you that. Death and faith, man, I tell you.

It's such a mystery.

Yeah, that's a good word. Mystery. That's exactly what it is.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Man, that can fuckin' overcome everything, y'know?

You know, I've been writing since December. Writing songs. And, y'know, it's really gotten to the point where I realize that I like to write songs. I mean, I like working on the songs. Getting the raw material, that first draft -- now, that's the hard part. But working on the songs -- man, that can fuckin' overcome everything, y'know?

This is good, farmboy, hearing you talk about songwriting.

Well, I was asked the other day: "What is your process?" (laughs) I wasn't aware that I had a process. I could tell you all these reasons why I write the songs I write or even how I write them, but I've never really asked myself about my process. I always thought every song had its own process, and I haven't been proved wrong either. But it's all kinda strange because I love hearing about other people's processes, and not just songwriters. I like directors' commentaries and journals and stuff like that.

So do you have a process?

I don't know, I haven't dug that deep yet. And I'm not sure I want to know, but, you know, I don't want to be ignorant either.

But I do know I love working on songs.

Which is a good thing.

Oh, it's an fuckin' amazing thing. I don't know how people live without writing songs.

I'm thinking, I'd like to always have a song I'm working on. I bet that would make me a happier person. So I'm trying.

I bet you'd be happier too, farmboy.

Summer's coming up, so I'll have more time to write.

How much longer do you have until summer break?

Like, about three weeks. And tomorrow's Friday and it's gonna be a three-day weekend.

So next time we talk, you'll be a free man.

For three fuckin' days. But I'll take it.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Summer will come soon enough

Okay, here I am. Checking in. I'm doing all right.

Good. What are you doing?

Listening to Neil Young through headphones. I woke up from a nap a while back and I'm still groggy. I was really tired.

You've been tired quite a bit lately, farmboy.

I've been sick, remember?

Oh. That's right.

I'm also at the point where I'm just ready for summer. I'm tired of the rain and I'm tired of the gray and I want to be able to sleep with the window open and the fan on, you know? But I need to be patient, because I've got about three weeks left. But it ain't ending soon enough for me.

Summer will come soon enough.

I love summer, if I can do it right, which means not being obsessively concerned about money every minute of the day. It's by far the best thing about working in a public school, getting the summer off.

Hey, by the way, our hours are not being cut at work,

Really? That's great, farmboy.

Fuckin' right it's great. It's fuckin' awesome.

But I still can't wait for summer to be here.

Patience, farmboy. It'll be here soon.

Not soon enough for me.

I know you're anxious, but just relax a little.

Oh, it'll be better this weekend, 'cause it's a three day weekend. Plus, this is my first full week after taking those days off because of illness and babysitting my niece.

But, yeah, it'll come. Summer is a-comin', man.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

An absence of bad things

I didn't see you yesterday.

Yeah, I know. It's just that everything is so boring. Or, rather, I am so boring. Not that things are either bad or good; believe me, I am thankful for the times when there is an absence of bad things. But I don't want to waste your time...

But you're not wasting it.

Look, I'm even boring myself these days.

We don't have to talk long. Just let me know how you're doing.

Every day?

No. Every few days would be nice.

Okay. I can do that.

So how are you?

Tired and ready for the school year to end. We got, like, 16 days to go. Memorial Day weekend's coming up, and I ordered a couple of killer pot brownies.

But you know I haven't been feeling all that well physically. The bronchitis is pretty much over, except for a fuckin' sore throat. But my backs been hurting and I pinched a nerve in my arm and my sleep has not been great. My doctor wrote me a new prescription for my anti-anxiety pills, so I may take one tonight just so I can have a good night's sleep.

Sounds good to me. I know you don't take them often.

Yeah. I need a good night's sleep.

So, farmboy. Check in tomorrow?

You got it.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

You're depressed, pal

So, a couple things...

What, no "hi, how you doing" or "good to see you" or anything?

Hi. How you doing? Good to see you.

(laughs) Smart ass.

Yep, that's me.

So, where'd you go tonight? I was very surprised to see you going out on a Sunday night.

Went to my monthly songwriter meeting.

How was it?

Good. I was glad to see me going out too.

I'm a little concerned. I know somebody who is in a kind of a problem...actually, a very serious problem. He had an aneurysm after he quit taking his meds and started drinking again because he was so depressed. They say he was isolating himself on top of the drinking, and, I'm thinking, maybe I'm fuckin' depressed without even fuckin' knowing it.

Uh, farmboy...I hate to break this to you...


You're depressed, pal.


That's one of the reasons why I'm here, to help you figure out your depression and unhappiness.

But, really, I'm thankful for my life.

You can be thankful and be depressed. It's not just one or the other.


You know this stuff, farmboy. You know how miserable and unhappy you've been. I'm glad to see you recognize it, though. I'm glad to see that you're concerned. But mostly...


I'm glad to see you going out and living your life.

Yeah. Me too.

You're a good guy, farmboy.

I'm glad you believe that. There's a lot of times where I don't.

That's why I'm here, farmboy. To believe in you when it's hard for you to believe in yourself.

You got a lot of work to do, man.

I can do it. You're worth it.

Friday, May 21, 2010

This is not a show

Man, I tell you, I'm tired. I just woke up from a short nap and I'm all full of aches and pains lately, but at least the fuckin' bronchitis is on its last legs.

That's a good thing.

Yeah, I'm thankful. But, man, I feel bad for you 'cause I've been so boring for awhile, and you're the one who ends up listening to all my stuff. I'm sure I'm a lot more entertaining when I'm desperate.

Not necessarily, but that's not important. It's not my entertainment that matters. What matters is that you are yourself. That's what really counts.

Well, "myself" is not that interesting.

What did I just say. Are you listening?

(surprised) Are...are you mad at me? I'm sorry...

Farmboy, listen, I'm not angry. I just want you to know that you don't need to worry about what I think.

You gotta understand. I'm a performer. I have to worry.

No you don't. This is not a show. This is real life. If you're not going through some kind of major emotional upheaval, that might be kind of a good thing.

Real life...

It's a good thing. Try it. You always perform in your life as if you're going to be judged, and that's no good. It's also not accurate or true. Or important. Not as important as just living.

Okay, I'll try this. I'm not a natural at it, though.

Just try to not try so much.

Look, you're a songwriter. You think in terms of lyrics. Here's one for you:

You criticize and you flatter
You imitate the best
And the rest you memorize
You know the times you impress me most
Are the times when you don't try

That's pretty good.

Joni Mitchell. "Woman of Heart and Mind."

Cool. She's good.

What I'm saying, though, is just live and be yourself, farmboy.

That's never worked for me.



You don't ever really do that, except for music, perhaps.

But I'm performing there...

I guess I was thinking more about the writing. But I'll concede. You do have a point. I guess I just want you to relax and give yourself a break.

Okay. (breathes deeply) This stuff is hard for me.

You're learning all the time, farmboy. Getting better and learning more and more.

You are my witness.

Well, it's true. You're a smart one, farmboy.

I'm glad it's you who is my witness.

I'm glad it's me, too.

I'm all confused right now.

Just relax. You're doing great.

Okay, I'm just being me. Now what?


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Monster or something

You're back home!


How're you feeling, farmboy?



A good deal better.

Good. This illness of yours lasted a long time.

It's been over two weeks.

How was the babysitting?

It was good. My niece is a sweetheart who likes sugary things. We went to hear some kids' music and we watched Monsters Inc. Which was really, really good.

But, you know, I felt like I was fighting off sadness a lot of the time.

Why is that?

Because I can get this sad feeling when I'm around kids.

Wait. Explain?

It's hard to describe. There's a fear of death in there...

A fear of death?

Yeah, but wait, there's more. There's these intense feelings of guilt in there, from when I was a child. Which is so fuckin' stupid. I mean, I was a kid, but there was a lot of things that were amazingly screwed up. And this is not some child abuse thing. It's like I kinda carried the world on my shoulders. I was too fuckin' sensitive.

But there's even more. I have this outrageous...well, self-hatred, self-loathing, of myself as a child. Oh, God...

What's up, farmboy?

Oh, man, I can't talk about this stuff. But...

But what, farmboy?

The thing is, I feel like...let's give this stuff characters.


Bear with me here. It's like all this negative stuff, some kind of monster or something and it goes after me and prevents me from really living my life. Wait, that's putting it way too mild. It's like it's attacking everything in my life's like I'm going "You can't have my niece. You can't have my niece!

Fuck, man, I have no idea on how to explain it. Pisses me off.

It's a feeling. It's not concrete.

I know, but, fuck. I was just a fuckin' child who always felt he was evil.

Excuse me, farmboy, but what the fuck are you talking about?

Hey, you're serious here. You're cussin' and shit...

Farmboy, I'm here to help you. And it pisses me off that somewhere inside you hate the child you were and that you've thought of yourself as evil.

(quietly) I know.

What happened to you?

Oh, man, I don't know. I've been to counselors and therapists and doctors and psychologists and I've been on medications and, fuck, I don't know if I'll ever be able to figure it out. But I want it gone, man. No child should have to go through that stuff.

I...I think all of this stuff is real important, but can we talk more at another time?

Are we getting too close...

...To some nerve or something? I don't think so. Okay, maybe, but just a little. I'm just mainly tired. But I just thought you should know this stuff.

Thanks. I'm glad you told me. I can help you with this.

That's what I was hoping.

Monday, May 17, 2010

That big ol' blue sky

Well, this is different. A phone call.

Yeah, well, I'm at my brother's house. I'm staying with his daughter -- my niece -- tomorrow. It should be fun. I did this last week. My niece is a sweetheart, to be sure.

How've you been feeling?

I've been going to work and stuff, but I'm actually still sick. But I'm not as sick as I was, so that's good.

There's been some improvement, then.

Oh yeah. The main thing now is my throat, which hurts like a fuckin' sonovabitch. I've been gargling with salt water, drinking tea with lemon and honey, all the stuff you should do. And there has been improvement. It's just that if you're talking all day and you're going outside and you're not getting the good rest you need -- even though that, too, has improved -- your throat's gonna suffer. But, I'll tell you, man, I'm so fuckin' tired of not feeling any good.

Are you sleeping over at your brother's?

I'm sleeping over because he has to go to work early.

How old is your niece?

She'll be four in a few months.

Great age.

Yeah, she's pretty wonderful. We're probably gonna go hear some children's music tomorrow and do some other stuff. We'll figure it out as we go along, I guess. Maybe we'll go to the movies or something. Maybe we'll go visit work. (laughs)

Work? Why would you go there?

To show her off, basically. I'm very proud of her, and I just think she's great. She's so smart and so talented and she so much happier than I remember being. Though I do remember some good times.


Like looking up into that big ol' blue sky and thinking about how high it was up there, and how it kept on going. Like the magic of melodies and rhythms. Like drives out in the country. Man, I miss being in nature.

You have a truck. Go camping.

I might just do that this summer. I really gotta get out of this city. I mean, I like it and all, but I want to see nature and I want to see the ocean.

When do you get off?

One more month of school, that's what I've got. Then I play music and hopefully I won't have to worry about money as much as I did last summer.

One more month...

Oh, man, I can't wait. I'm thinking about the things I can do if I work hard and take chances,,,

Traveling? Recording a CD? Performing?

All that stuff. And I look at it and I think, yeah, I really need to do this stuff so I can make some money and live life with a little more adventure.

Adventure is a good thing...

Yeah, but there's all that fear and worry that go along with it. And I'll have to deal with it.

You'll do fine, farmboy.

Thanks. I need to hear that. Man, I hate living a life defined by fuckin' fear.

As you should. You're more adventurous than that, and you know it.

I know! Man, I'm looking forward to this summer. Being outside...

Playing music...

Eating watermelon...

One more month...

And I'll be there, man. With my guitar and my imagination.

Looking up at the sky...

And, man, look how high it is!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Jumping off here

Man, I should make a CD, just here at home on garage band, just solo. I mean, I don't have to put it out if I don't want to, you know? I need to get over my fear of doing computer stuff. I don't have to put it out or sell it or anything. Nobody ever has to hear it. I think that if...

Oh, stop. Just record it.

Just record it?

Yeah. You have garage band on your mac. It's not going to cost you anything to record it.


Maybe just try to record a song a day or something, you know, three or four times a week. Not even keepers, necessarily; you should just keep recording no matter how bad you think it sounds. Quantity is quality, in this case.

I'll think know, I'll just do it. Let's see where this goes.

Just do it for a while. And you'll figure out what suits you best. Just do it pretty consistently, but...well, I'm a little concerned about how perfectionistic you get, your obsessive/compulsiveness...

Oh, great. Now I feel really fuckin' good about myself.

I want you to be...farmboy, I'm going to sound like a guidance counselor or something, but I want you to have a positive experience.

Okay. I really do know what you mean. You want me to enjoy recording.


I will do this. I'll probably need your help and feedback, Just warning you.

Sure thing.

Let's just see?

Yeah, farmboy. Let's just see.

I'm jumping off here, you know.

I know.

You gonna catch me when I fall?

You're not going to fall. But I'll be here anyway.

Friday, May 14, 2010

This stayin' awake business


Hey yourself. Busy day?

Yep. Went to work and screwed up my throat singing with the kids...

The kids?

The students. Anyway, I came home and googled "sore throat remedies" and found this great website of home remedies, you know, the stuff your mom and dad did when you got sick. One of the remedies was gargling with salt water. Which my mom had us do, And it really brought some relief. It felt much better after that.

I bookmarked the website, of course.

How was work?

Good. It was good to see my coworkers and the students.

How was the performance?

It went really well. I was pleased, for the most part.

Are you tired?

Yeah. I'm hungry, too, I hadn't really thought about it, but I am tired. I'm not long for this stayin' awake business.

You gotta rest, farmboy. Take good care of yourself.


Go to bed, farmboy.

I'm going to. Gonna eat something first, then I'll do internet things, then go to bed and go to sleep.

Then tomorrow?

Tomorrow I listen to the CD I bought today, "High Violet" by the National. $7.99 at Best Buy. I haven't bought a CD for a long time.

But, tonight, tonight I sleep. Like the innocent and lovable farmboy I once was a long, long time ago.

But until then...

I deal with staying awake, which is a good thing. I want to relax, then sleep. Calm. I want to be calm.

Calm is good.

In the right place. When it's good, it's great, and absolutely necessary.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Good luck and good night

Not much to report tonight. Still sick, but I gotta go to work tomorrow, but it's okay.

Are you okay to go back?

I hope so. I'm better than yesterday, and I'm gonna take an anti-anxiety pill tonight to sleep. That's when I've felt really good, after I get some sleep.

So is this good night?

'Fraid so, pal. I'll talk with you tomorrow.

You okay?

Yeah, actually. Tomorrow's Friday. I'm supposed to perform at the coffeehouse, but I'll probably cancel if I'm having those fuckin' coughing fits.

But you never cancel...

This is a night with several acts, so actually they'd be okay with it. The venue folks, that is. They're, like, super understanding.

Look, you get some rest, farmboy.

I will. Wish me luck.

Good luck and good night.

Hey, you get some rest, too. Thanks.

Good night.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Fuck it

Man, I'm bummed.

What's up, farmboy?

I was given a little bit of pot by a co-worker and I can't find it. It's driving me fuckin' crazy. Pisses me off.

Have you looked?

Oh, man, I did. I was just carrying it from one place to another and in the space of that 12 feet or so, I lost it. How do I do this?

You'll find it. It's one of those things.

I suppose. But I just keep thinking about it...

Well, you can be kind of obsessive. Let it go for awhile. I bet you're going to find it when you're not even looking.

What if I don't?

If you don't, you've lost a little bit of pot. To use your way of speaking --

Fuck it.

Um, yes. Fuck it.

I like hearing you say the word "fuck."

I bet you do.

C'mon, you gotta admit, it satisfies like no other word in the English language.

I have to agree, actually.

C'mon, say it again.

No, I don't think so.


Okay, farmboy, here it goes. Brace yourself.

Fuck it.

Woo hoo! How did it feel?

It felt good. That's why people say it.


You're doing something supposedly forbidden. You're giving yourself a little tiny bit of power, maybe you get attention, maybe when you feel powerless...

Fuck it, man! You're taking all the fun out of this!

(laughs) For you, maybe.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Yes fuckin' way!

Well, I gotta go to my brother's house so's I can baby-sit my niece tomorrow...

How do you feel, farmboy?

I feel like crap.

Did you go to work?


It would be so much easier if I could just sleep more than an hour or two at a time. I'm just coughing so much and I feel so miserable. But I'm still gonna baby-sit. It's important. I am needed.

Man, I just don't want to get ready...

You can do that, easy, though. Go ahead. Take the shower, get stuff together, leave. Just don't think about it so much.

Okay. That's what I'll do.

One quick thing, though.

What's that.

Today marks the 100th time we've talked.

No fuckin' way!

Yes fuckin' way!

Man,you've heard a lot of whining and complaining and crying...

I've also heard a lot of hope and humor and we've had some good times.

Hey, congratulations to us! I am so fuckin' glad you're my friend. I'm not sure who you are or why you're here, but I am grateful.

Here's to 100 more!

At least!

At least!

Now go get ready, and we can talk more later, farmboy.

Hey, man...thanks for everything.

Thanks to you too.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Blood and love

Are you still sick, farmboy?

Uh huh.

Going to work tomorrow?

I'm planning to, but if I feel as lousy as I do now, I won't. I hate doing that only because I don't have many sick days left. But if I have to call in, I'll call in.

Today was Mother's Day.

Yeah, I played music for my Mom, stuff she liked me to play when she was alive. The Carter Family's "Wildwood Flower" and Joni Mitchell's "Both Sides Now." I also played Dolly Parton's "Coat of Many Colors" and the Louvin Brothers' "If I Could Only Win Your Love," Which I know from Emmylou Harris. I fuckin' love Emmylou Harris.

My mother liked happy songs in major keys. She liked to sing and she liked music. My Dad did too.

It's in the blood.

It's one of the things I have to carry on with. Blood and love.

Can we talk about something else? I really don't want to be emotional.

Whatever you want, farmboy.


Looking forward to summer?

You know, if I can pull off this financial stuff, I'm looking real forward to summer. Work is over in a little more than a month.

You know, I'm gonna start getting ready to go to bed, to see if I'm gonna call in sick tomorrow.

Well, always good to talk with you.

Same here.