Saturday, March 31, 2012

These are interesting times

I've had a good couple of days, man. I spent the last couple nights out at the coffeehouse. I performed both nights. Last night was an in-the-round with two other songwriters, two good songwriters. I got to see friends and I've felt less isolated than usual because of it.

Good for you, farmboy, on two different counts: getting out to see friends and performing. How did the show go last night?

Pretty good. No major flub-ups, you know? I just wish I get get myself more under control or something. I find performing just fuckin' nerve-wracking. All my insecurities come out. (laughs) Just like recording.

These are challenging times for you, farmboy?

These are interesting times, and not necessarily in a bad way. It's just a time where there has to be a little emotional, um...unravelling. So you can put it back together the way you want. In recording I have a lot of self-criticism...

I think you have plenty of self-criticism in your own life already, farmboy.

Yeah, I do. It's just that some of this musical self-criticism is necessary. I just need to remember that it's just a stop on the way, not the whole journey.

I could get fuckin' philosophical here, but I won't. Spring break is almost over and I don't have the time to do that. I just want to sit around and watch Trailer Park Boys and get stoned.

You just want to relax.

Yeah. I just want to take it easy, man.

You got it. Have yourself a good night.

I will. You too, man.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Some kind of aural microscope

Went out tonight to the coffeehouse. It was their Woody Guthrie night. I played a couple songs, "Oklahoma Hills" and "Do Re Mi". What a great fuckin' writer, man.

How did it feel to perform? I've noticed that you haven't been doing much performing lately, farmboy.

I haven't been doing any performing lately, man. Just practicing for the CD.

It feel really good to pay with a flat pick. I do so much finger picking that I forget how much more sound you can get with a flat pick.

Performing went okay. Which is a great thing, because I've just been suffering from a lack of musical confidence lately.

Why do you think that is?

Because I've been recording and I have to hear myself. And it's like my voice, I put it under some kind of aural microscope or something. I hear every fuckin' thing and I criticize myself like you wouldn't believe. So I'm convinced that I sound like shit and it's completely hopeless. Pisses me off.

You know that most musicians go through this...

Yeah, I know. And I know it will pass. It's just hard, you know? But I know it's just temporary.

I'm glad that you know that, farmboy.

If you make a mistake over and over,, eventually you learn something. I hope.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

RIP Earl Scruggs

Sad news, man. Earl Scruggs died.

A moment of silence, farmboy?

(farmboy and the interviewer bow their heads and stay silent for a couple of minutes)

Are you going to play your banjo now, farmboy?

Not right now. I will, though. And when I do, I'm gonna play "Will the Circle be Unbroken" in his memory.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Talking because I can

It's finally happened, man. I'm speechless. I've run out of things to say. Words, they don't come to my beck and call the way they used to. It used to be so fuckin' easy, you know? Well, no more, no sir-ee-bob, I tell you.

What are you talking about, farmboy?

Nothin', man, I'm just blabbering away, just talking because I can.

Did you go to the studio today? How did the recording go?

Oh. That.

It was instructional. My nerves, my hands, my fuckin' insecurities, man, they just all came out to fuckin' play. I couldn't perform worth a shit and I've decided to go the way of click tracks and overdubbing my vocals and doing it the "correct" way. Oh well. I tried, man. And I'll try again in the future. But I needed to make a decision about now and that was the best decision I could make. 'Cause it's all about the songs. Everything must be in service to the songs.


(sighs) So I'm glad I learned about what is right for right now and what I need to do. Which is practice guitar parts, practice them with a metronome. So I can record the guitar parts separately, you know?

When do you start, farmboy?


You're a hard worker, farmboy. You'll do great.

Thanks, man. I appreciate that. I need that kind of confirmation.

Yeah, I'm gonna start the guitar stuff -- the drill, if you will -- tomorrow. And I will do fine because it's the one area of my life where I'm good at discipline, you know?

You're good at putting in the work. And that's the main ingredient.

In the recipe that is my life?

(laughs) Well, yes. Exactly.

I can't say I disagree, man.

Monday, March 26, 2012

In my own peculiar way

So I've been on spring break for, like, three days now. It's been good. I've been lazy. Smoked up all my hash. I love it but it's a good thing I don't have it very often.

Tomorrow I go into the studio to try to get some good, relaxed performances that I can later have people play on.


Yeah. It's all this process and if all goes well, this will be the final stuff I'm recording, as far as my performances go. Which is kinda weird, especially since there's so much more to do.

I go see my nephew tomorrow after the recoding is finished. Then I go back to the studio on Thursday and finish up my part of the recording.

Are you enjoying it, farmboy?

I'm not sure enjoy is the right word. Seems to me a lot of things you believe in are like that, don't you think? It's more like it's the right work to do, you know? Hopefully it will be satisfying. But fun? I'm not really fuckin' sure, if you want to know the truth. Man, sometimes I'm just amazed by just how much of my life has to do with instinct. It's like I'm just sorta fumbling out there, like a fuckin' insect or something.

But, you know, I'm doing it, I'm out there. I'm participating in real life in my own peculiar way, man.

It takes courage, farmboy.

There's no reason why I can't do this, man. The only thing standing in my way is me. And I won't stand in my own way for this CD, I won't.

So wish me luck, man. I'm going in.

Friday, March 23, 2012

A little cayenne pepper

Man, I fuckin' tell you, tonight I have just hit the extreme of that self-critical thing that I'm into. Damn, man, it's like it's some kind of obsessive thinking or something. I get off one subject and onto another one but each one is about how I need to panic because I'm such a fuck-up.

Why, farmboy? I mean, this is the first night of spring break; I'd think you'd be celebrating.

Which I am. Hashish and Chinese food.

Where did you get the hashish?

From a friend of mine. It's pretty great stuff. I'm taking it kinda sparingly, though.


So I'm thinking "This too shall pass" about the self-critical...


That, too. I'm thinking it'll pass.

Hey, I had an amazing rehearsal today. I had smoked a little hash and it just enhanced the experience in an extremely nice way.

I'm glad you enjoyed it. What if you hadn't been stoned?

It still would have been good. The hash was just like, you know, a spice. A little cayenne pepper. It wasn't the whole point, you know. The music was.

I think maybe I'm just tired. Or maybe I'm smoking too much. Fuck.

Try to have a good night, farmboy.

Oh, I will. I really will, man. It is the first night of spring break, you know.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

No fuckin' work for a week!

Tomorrow, man, that's the day. Spring break begins!

You'll be recording. Right, farmboy?

Yep. I'm gonna try to get all my basic track done. My nephew's coming onto town, and I hope to see some friends and do some music stuff. No fuckin' work for a week!

That's going to be great, farmboy. Sounds like you'll be busy but still have time for yourself.

I hope so, man. Time to relax, you know? To sleep late if I want, or take a nap, or whatever.

Have fun tomorrow, farmboy.

I'll certainly try.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

secret life

this is my secret life
this is my imagination
dreamer of dreams
and all in between
this is my occupation
you can't deny me
you can't deny me
you can try but I
have you deep inside me
this is my
this is my secret life

Monday, March 19, 2012

snow in the morning

falling like petals
soft and wet to the touch
snow in the morning

Oregon weather
I'm not a big fan
take me to California

let me see my family
let me take all my Oregon friends
with me
along with the pine trees
I like the pine trees

and snow in the morning
call off the school day
I like

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Some kind of balance

Did you go visit your friends tonight, farmboy.

Sure did. Had a great time. I really need to stop isolating myself so much. It was really good to see them.

So do you think you'll start being more social?

I fuckin' hope so, man. This being lonesome all the time fuckin' sucks, you know? I know that I'll be seeing people during spring break. I'm gonna do some recording then, too, and my nephew from southern California is coming to town.

I guess this being social thing's gonna be whatever I put into it. I guess what I mainly need to do is find some kind of balance, you know? I need a lot of alone time, for some reason. It's funny; I've got two brothers and a sister and I still spent lots of time alone growing up.

Which you put to good use, farmboy. You learned to play music, you learned to write songs.

Yeah. I don't know how popular people do it, you know?

I really am an introvert, you know. I find it exhausting to be around people a lot of the time. But I need to have friends; life seems really empty when you don't have any friends.

You have lots of friends.

I know. I'm very blessed. This isolating myself the way I do is my choice, man. So I can choose to not isolate myself. It's not like I have to be around people all the time. I can still have alone time. It's like I said, I have to find a balance.

I have confidence that you will, farmboy.

I'm glad somebody has confidence in me. I'm fuckin' confused all the time.

Friday, March 16, 2012

I ain't a fuckin' hermit, man

Well, I've blown it again.

What do you mean, farmboy?

It's another Friday night that I might have spent going to the coffeehouse, checking things out, being social, you know? But instead I stay at home and smoke weed and play guitar and listen to podcasts.

Which is fine. It's your free time. You've earned it.

Yeah, I know, but I'm losing touch with people and I've gotta start putting more effort into my relationships with my friends. I need friends. I may be antisocial but I ain't a fuckin' hermit, man.

I'm glad to hear you say that, farmboy. I worry about you isolating yourself too much...

Which I do...

It really is good for you to have friends.

You don't need to convince me. I know what it's like to be without friends and I know how damaging isolating myself can be. I start this obsessive thinking, you know, I think about death and the meaning of life. I think way too much about my past. I think I'm fuckin' obsessed about my past. Pisses me off.

So what are you going to do?

I'm going out tomorrow night to a friend's house. And I am looking forward to it. My friend is also in the process of making a CD so comparing stories will be fun. And maybe I'll visit the coffeehouse people this weekend.

Whatever you do, farmboy, have fun.

I will, thanks. I'm looking way forward to it, man.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Back into the studio

There ain't nothing new today, man. Which is not necessarily bad news. That also means that nothing tragic in my own puny life has happened today. That I know of.

So I'm just checking in, see how you're doing. How are you doing?

About the same, farmboy. Nothing particularly good or bad has happened.

That you know of.

That I know of. That's true.

Hey, I've made plans to go back into the studio, for a couple days during spring break. Give me a chance to get all fuckin' obsessed and nervous and shit.

Have you been rehearsing?

Pretty much every day. I play guitar on Sunday, but I don't think I rehearsed the songs off the CD. Or maybe that was Saturday. Whatever. I sorta slacked off for a day.

So, man, I'm gonna get ready for bed in a little bit. I just wanted to make sure you were doing okay, you know?

I'm fine, farmboy.

Good night, man.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

just because

just a child
that's what I was
and if you ask me why
I'll say "just because"
just because I want to
just because I can
just because you won't don't mean
that I don't understand
'cause I understand completely
as much as anybody does
the meaning of the words
just because
just because

I'm proud of my common sense
it's always served me well
preventing me from thinking
that I don't know myself
because I know my thinking
because I know my mind
because I know the journey
with the distance well-defined
and I know the difference
between a minus and a plus
just because
just because

Monday, March 12, 2012


there's no poetry
in the way that I'm feeling
just an empty shell

of a human being
like the shell of a locust
stuck to a tree branch
in a California suburb
in the desert
a long, long time ago

I have no use
I am just an empty shell
of a human being

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Spinning my fuckin' wheels

So here I am, it's Saturday night and I've got reefer and takeout Chinese food. I just finished watching season three of Trailer Park Boys and life is good as long as I don't think about all the things that worry me.

Like what, farmboy?

I'm not thinking about that stuff. I'm thinking about music and laughing at the TV show...

Trailer Park Boys?

Yeah, man, it's so fuckin' funny. I love that show.

So today I played guitar and didn't do hardly anything that I meant to do. Either I'm a total fuckin' loser or I'm just a regular guy who needs a Saturday off after a week's worth of hard work. Or maybe I'm just lazy.

Come on, farmboy, give yourself a break. You think badly of yourself all the time. It's time to stop telling yourself how wrong you are about everything.

I know, man. But it's hard. I've always been this way, you know.

I can help you through this, farmboy. I want you to succeed.

I want to succeed, man. Or at least I want to want to succeed. I want to be a full-time musician this summer. I want to get in better shape physically. I want to quit spinning my fuckin' wheels, you know?

And you will. But you're going to have to treat it like you do your rehearsing. You're going to have to work at it every day.

And how do you propose I do that?

Positive actions, farmboy. And positive thoughts.

I already do that sometimes.

That's how I know you can do it. That's why I have faith that you'll succeed.

Really, man?

Yes. I also know that you're a hard worker when you want to be.

It's that wanting-to-be part that's hard.

Nothing you can't handle, farmboy.

You're right. It's like that Alcoholics Anonymous thing, one day at a time.

I like that you reference both AA and Trailer Park Boys.

All in a day's work, man.

Friday, March 9, 2012

free writing 3/9/2012

I was young once
a long, long time ago
and I could tell you stories
you don't want to know
so I will be silent
and I will behave
heaven forbid
that you know that I'm brave
yes, and you were the one
who let me inside
when everyone else
ran off to hide

I forgive you
I forgive you

Thursday, March 8, 2012

All that fuckin' adrenaline

Hey, man, can we talk?

Sure, farmboy. What's up?

I'm scared, man, I'm fuckin' scared. I was looking at finances and, well, I'm not completely fucked, but what if stuff happens? (starts speaking faster) I don't know, man, it all just fuckin' scares me, how precarious this life is, how we're just meandering around with no chance of hope...


So I don't know what to do, man, it's all just spinning out of control...

(slowly) Listen to me, farmboy. You're in a state of panic. This is not real life, farmboy. It's just panic. It's not real.

Take a deep breath. (farmboy breathes in) Okay, take another one. (farmboy takes another breath)

Man, I...

Take another breath, farmboy. Remember to breathe.

Thanks. Man, it was so fuckin' weird. I was online doing some banking and I'm thinking there might be an error, and then I got fuckin' overwhelmed, and then...


Exactly. All that fuckin' adrenaline. Talk about misplaced energy.

How're you feeling, farmboy?

Okay. A little shaky, I guess.

Thanks, man. Thanks for helping me through it.''

No problem, farmboy. Anytime.

Well, hopefully it won't be too soon.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

And I know nothing about Zen

Hey farmboy, can I ask you something?

Sure, man. Shoot away.

I've noticed that I haven't been hearing from you as much as I usually do. Is there something wrong?

Not with you. With me. I'm stuck in a cycle of self-doubt and it's because of the recording. And I seem to be stuck there. Damn, man. It's such a fuckin' motherfucker, man, and I don't know how I'm gonna fix it.

I mean, I don't ask for much, you know? I just want to be the best songwriter in the world. That's all. That's not too much, verdad?

No, not too much at all. You certainly put yourself under a lot of pressure with your music. I wonder how good that pressure is.

I'm beginning to wonder that, too. I wish I had someone I could trust to produce me or at least oversee the project. That would really help.

The thing is, I don't want to abdicate responsibilities, especially when it comes down to my own music. Whatever it is, it's mine. But I know it's limited and I also don't think I know enough. And I think I may even know what a big fuckin' part of my problem is.

What's that, farmboy?

I'm thinking too much. When I rehearse, I'm thinking too much. I'm always thinking too much, man. You know, Paul Simon has two songs called "Think Too Much." Now, that's something, when you write two fuckin' songs called"Think Too Much."

It's funny. I try to not think so hard when I'm writing and I leave a lot of stuff up to instinct.

And that seems to work for you.

I think so. I fuckin' hope so.

So maybe it comes down to some kind of relaxing. Maybe it's one of those Zen things. And I know nothing about Zen.

You'll find out, farmboy.

Yeah. We'll see, won't we?

Monday, March 5, 2012

Everything hinges on acceptance

So today's crisis is: I got the CD from the recording session and I have the hardest, most awful time with listening to my voice. I know that's normal, the having problems listening to yourself, but I really wonder if my voice, my singing, is really that bad. And I...

No, it's not.

No it's not what?

It's not that bad. You, like many people, have problems hearing yourself. In more than one way, I might add.

Yeah, yeah, I get what you're saying, man. But what can I do about it?

Just accept that that's your voice and just sing the best you can. That's really all you can do, farmboy.

That's not a lot of fuckin' help, man.

Maybe. But that's all I have to offer.

I was afraid of that. But, of course, you're right. Everything hinges on acceptance, in one way or another. Maybe. I haven't thought it through. But it sure sounds good, don't it?

Your singing sounds fine, farmboy. You have a very conversational style of singing, and it's very honest, which I know is important to you.

Well, the songs are honest. So it's natural for the communicating to be, also. You know?

I would, though, like to be better at little things like, say, pitch or rhythm.

That's just mechanics. You know how to work on that stuff.

I probably just need to stop worrying about it so much.

It couldn't hurt.

No, I guess not, man.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Are the songs good enough?

The weekend! Finally! Hey, I think I get the recordings from the sessions tomorrow. Then I can listen to them 10 gazillion times to see how I can improve the performances. Plus, I can play with sequencing and I can play it in the truck.

The big test.

You got that right, man. (laughs) If it passes the driving test, maybe I've got something.

I'm looking really forward to hearing it, farmboy. I'm betting it's going to be exceptional.

Well, really, the whole project comes down to the songs. And it's like, are the songs good enough? What I know is that they're the best I can do.

Which is all you can really hope for in the long run.

Yeah, I suppose. It's tough, man, it's all fuckin' tough, but it's the thing I was born to do. I'm not talking any kind of fame or fortune here, I'm talking about what it feels like to write and play and sing. And, of course, there's other things, but I guess I'm primarily looking at myself as a writer, because that's how I see myself.

I hope the CD is exceptional, you know. I would love if the album went out into the folky world out there and found new listeners. I would love to be respected as a songwriter.

farmboy, you are respected as a songwriter.

Well, then, I guess what I need to do is respect myself. As a songwriter.

I guess I'm saying that I'd love to have a bigger audience, and I would truly love it if people connected with the songs. So I have to tackle the business aspect as well as make the best CD I can possibly make with the resources I have.

But for now, I need to focus on the CD. I mean, I have to do some stuff for financial reasons, but, man, I need to have the CD foremost in mind, you know?

And I think you do.

Man, I certainly hope so. 'Cause this creative stuff, this is what it's really all about.


Thursday, March 1, 2012

Energy and faith

Okay, so I started planning for the summer and it looks like I could make it financially with music if I work really hard.

Yeah? So what's new?

(laughs) It's actually newer than you think. The key is the "work really hard" part, because I'm afraid I'll get discouraged or lose faith or something and quit. And I don't want to be like that. I want to follow through with things, you know?

I know, farmboy.

It's just a fuckin' uphill struggle all the time and it pisses me off, man. But, well, it's like this CD. I have to follow through with it. I feel like I owe it to all the people who support me. Plus I owe it to myself, just for the creative experience. I've put a lot of energy and faith into this. I have to make it to the final conclusion.

So I need to work really hard. Like John Irving wrote, I need to get obsessed and stay obsessed. I need to have a strong belief in myself and in my songs.

I'm fuckin' workin' on it, man.

You are. You're a good worker, farmboy. You just need to believe in yourself.

Easier said than done, man.

But not impossible.

Yeah. Not impossible.