Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Hey, man, I thought I'd write you a letter. I almost never write letters but I thought I would because I forgot to buy postcards and anyway, letters are longer and I could use some writing practice anyway, even though I've been writing my ass off since I've been here.
I'm in a little village off the Atlantic shore called Gleanncholmcille. It's in County Donegal. It's amazingly beautiful, and strangely reminds me of home -- I mean "home" as in the place I grew up. I mean, my hometown beach isn't as spectacular as the one here. Port Hueneme, California doesn't really have rocky cliffs, and of course it's not green like Ireland. But the Pacific is also amazing, I think. Also, there are a number of paintings here that are almost exactly like my ones my father painted. I mean the style. I don't know a whole lot about paintings, but the styles are eerily similar. I look at the paintings a lot, though. They comfort me.
I've had a really good time here. The group is 12 people and I like them all. My friends Matt and Nancy are the ones who run the retreat, and I love both of them, of course. The others are songwriters like me, or spouses who are creative and interesting in their own right. Everybody is very supportive and very emotionally generous. I feel privileged to hear all these songs written from the heart. I'm deeply in love with writing songs. It's what I was fuckin' born to do. That is why I'm here on this earth. I don't doubt that. Ever. I don't know if it's explainable.
So that's what brought me to Ireland, music. Ireland seems to have a respect and love for its culture and history that would be unimaginable in the USA, especially in the current political climate. I went with some of my new found friends to a pub in Donegal town, and it was packed. It was a Friday night and there was a singer/guitarist and and an accordionist and it was fuckin' stunning, man. The singer sounded like a healthy Shane McGowan. Or maybe just a sober Shane McGowan. Anyway, everybody knew lyrics and everybody was singing and it got rowdy and people started dancing spontaneously. It was like a movie.
One of Matt's friends from Ireland is a songwriter named Eunan McIntyre who is just fuckin' amazing and a real nice guy, too. He writes these songs that can make you fuckin' cry, man. And talk about a voice! I feel incredibly blessed that I got to hear his music. I bought a couple of CDs from him, so I'll play him for you when I get back.
Emotionally speaking, I'm doing much better here than I have been doing back home. Because this, for me, is my idea of paradise. I'm not so fuckin' isolated, of course, and the priorities are music and friendship. And Guinness. There are times that are not easy because -- well, I have some mental health issues, as you know, and they hitch a ride everywhere. I'm always surprised when people like me and accept me. That ain't nothing new. I expect to be rejected all the time. I'm always afraid that I'm talking too much and God knows, I'm always walking on eggshells. Even when I'm by myself. It's stuff like this that's the reason why I see a therapist. It's like I'm always afraid that everybody I know is going to participate in a gigantic intervention to let me know that everything I do is unacceptable and that they are all going to desert me.
And that way of thinking crossed over the Atlantic Ocean with me, which means that I'm projecting those qualities to everybody I meet. Which isn't necessarily true. And I know that intellectually, but, you know, it's stuff so fuckin' ingrained that I can't convince myself otherwise. But, even though it's here with me, it's milder and it's not keeping me from doing anything. Believe me, it's like a hundred times milder here in Ireland that it is at home, at least. You know me back home, man, it's one fuckin' emergency after another. And rage at the smallest fuckin' thing...I'm not doing that here. I know this is temporary, but I am grateful.
Songwriting and working on songs is going spectacularly well. I can write for hours here, and I find myself writing just for the fuckin' fun of writing. The rewriting is going better than I could've imagined. Songs are coming together and I'm gonna record a new album, probably this summer, hopefully. As painful as my life has been since the fuckin' accident, the creativity, the songwriting, it's fuckin' exhilarating, man. It feels good. It's what I was born to do. It's also a great defense mechanism.
So I'm going to go out in the living room and listen to people playing music. Maybe I'll even play something myself. I'll have a pint for you.
See you when I get back
your friend farmboy