When I try to consider all of this as a linear sort of a narrative or a story I invariably fall on my face with it. Or on my sword. Or my ass. It's impossible to know.
I mean, I told the story. Two guys meet and hang out. They start a band. They part ways and a whole lot of people come and go. That's the narrative from my Point Of View, which is a sucky, shitty point of view. I have long looked at this as a thing "Me and Pat did" and that ignores all of the things that came after Pat. Pat left right around the midpoint to 3/4 point of the story and if I'm honest some of my favorite things about 5YJ came after that split. Hell, it sort of ignores Pat all together and it certainly short changes all of the ownership from all of the other actors on that stage.
So I don't want this to be a story. Because I don't think I owned the times or the tunes any more than anyone else that came through. I always thought did, but I don't anymore.
A lot of the time lately I'm struggling with my voice. Not the actual singing one - although almost 30 years of smoking hasn't really done that any favors - but what to say and how. I got to talking to my friend Andrea last night about writing as a "grown-up". It's as different thing. At first it's the time, thing, you have kids and jobs and it's harder to find time to sit and write, but for me that was a bullshit excuse. It was two things that made me die inside:
1. There's no urgency on my part to perform or to find an audience. It's freeing. I told Andrea that I think there are a million songs in being an adult, in the thousand little political things that occur in a marriage. The small wars, the fight for self. The desire to see the other person in a clear, objective way and apply the same criteria to them that you do for yourself. Love is the absolute longest fall. And I think I could write about it in a really free way, I can see things with more experienced eyes and I can bring a backstory, a lot of therapy and bigger context. The stakes are actually bigger than silly boy meets girl and boy loses girl stories. There are so many songs to be written, but I don't write them. Who's gonna hear? Who's gonna connect. And if they did who's gonna let me know they connected because . . .
2. I think with age comes a fear of excavation. Part of the truce of marriage is knowing that there are parts of your spouse you don't have access to and being really okay with it. It's not forbidden, per se, it's just not anything you get to have. At 22 you think that love is a complete revelation and by 42 you realize it's also a mutual respect of boundaries. I don't want to know everything, and that includes about myself. I've largely lost my stomach for crying about myself. Last week I put on a song I loved from probably the messiest time in my life and discovered it could still make me weep with the ferocity and intensity it did 20 years ago.
But I don't think I can do that everyday.
And even if I could, there's no story in it. It's just me working out my own shit. It's just Fear and Trembling. It relates back to the first point in an incestuous, spiralling Ouroboros of "Who would give a shit about that?" Even if I quit the job and left the family to be a fucking 'artist' I can't convince myself anymore that there's a drop of nobility in public self-evisceration. There's no story in it. I don't hear a single.
So maybe the story here isn't about me or about "Me and Pat" and it's not about some voyage to get to where we stand now - a lot sadder and a little wiser. Maybe every true story is a much more complex thing, a salad made out of sometimes adversarial points of view. That's messy and it doesn't put a bow on things very well.
But fuck your expectations. I hate the goddam bildungsroman.
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