Update from Adam
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I had a really hard time the day I did the photoshoot for Rolling Stone back in March. I couldn't stop smiling. I hate smiling in photos. I always feel so self-conscious and then someone tells me to smile and it all feels so fake. I end up with this stupid grin on my face. I look like an idiot. I used to feel natural. I used to be comfortable in my own skin. I used to occasionally feel in real life the way I do when I'm singing: like myself. But that was a long time ago, and then I had this photoshoot for Rolling Stone, the first in many many years, and I was really nervous about it...

...and I couldn't stop smiling. All because someone wonderful had just made me very happy. The photographer would tell me to move to a certain position and I'd turn that way. I was actually feeling pretty comfortable. I'd move to the position he wanted and I'd look deep or intense or one of those things I try to do to avoid looking like an idiot...and then a smirk would steal across my mouth...and then a smile...then a grin...and finally I'd start fucking giggling like a complete fool.

And then he'd tell me a new position and it would start all over again. Over and over and over. 

I told her later that I thought she'd ruined me for photoshoots forever and that I'd probably never be a believable serious mopey guy again. She thought about it and said, "I think you've been sad enough in your life that you'll probably never be entirely free from that...but living in smiles is probably better anyway, isn't it?"

Living in smiles is better...?


Yeah, I guess so. But how do I find myself in a life where that's possible. I can see finding myself in a photograph where that's possible. I have photographs like that, moments frozen, happiness captured and static and pinned to a piece of paper, memories strapped and caged in two dimensions. I look at them sometimes and remember.

"She wore a silly yellow hat that someone gave her.."

And then I put them back in whatever drawer they came from and I close the drawer. Because you can't live in them. They are one or two dimensions shy of actual life and we are all stuck living actual lives, whether we like it or not. Photographs and memories are all well and good but living in them...living in them is not the same thing as actually living.

And that's my problem. I've never been able to string the moments together to the point where they stop being a string of moments hung like xmas lights across my life and just start being a life. A life. Something you can live in. I would never have thought of a smile like that, but then again I would also never have thought to find myself grinning my way through a photoshoot like an idiot. But there I was, swimming through these days all lined up in a row like a real life. 

Possibility days...

Another friend called me on Valentines Day and she asked me what I was doing. "You know I'm not doing anything," I said, "You know damn well this year hasn't exactly been a high water mark year for me as far as romance goes. I got booted on New Years Day." 

She said, "I know. I hate Valentines Day. It's such bullshit. It's just this total fake holiday created by Hallmark to sell cards and all it does is make everyone miserable." 

I said, "Oh, no I didn't mean it that way. It doesn't feel like that to me. I kind of like the idea of Valentines Day. It's a Possibility Day." 

She asked me what I meant and I said, "I don't know. I guess I just think it's nice to have these days that remind you that things are possible because I have a really bad habit of thinking they're not. And it doesn't matter who invented it either. I mean, I know I'm gonna have a shitty night tonight but that doesn't mean I'm gonna have a shitty night every night. And if I'm ever in love and it happens to be on a day when we're all supposed to celebrate being in love...then I am fucking going to town. So I'm just gonna think of tonight as a down payment on some other night."

"Huh," she said and thought about it for a minute. Then she said, "Nah, you're an idiot. This fucking holiday sucks, tonight's going to suck, you're going to be miserable, and all this bullshit you just spewed all over me is going to seem as idiotic to you tomorrow as it does to me right now. Screw it, I'm going to a party. You wanna come?"

I stayed home. And then two weeks later I laughed my way through a photoshoot. But what does that leave me with? Photos? I already have those. Video? Strangely enough, I got that too. But...you know, it's just moments and moments and more moments and some longer moments and what?


What? Because things come to an end. Not all things, I guess, but most things, and then what are you left with? Another set of snapshots, another set of memories, another set of moments captured and frozen in place...some are happy, some are giddy, and some are so sad, especially the last few moments as you feel time slowing down and your life, or the movie it has become, the life you have lived in motion, decelerating and separating into an ever more clearly distinguishable line of photographs again until there is no motion at all...just memories. You stare at them and then you collect them and press them between the pages of an album.

And you go back and you look for the place where the line snapped...but you don't find it because people are woven together on a loom in innumerable threads and there is no single one that snaps. There are only the places where the weaving begins to look more like a tangle and then you either untangle it and find the weave again or...well, love is a very fine weave at first (maybe always), easily divorced or divided from itself. It is a lace that can be easily untied, accidentally or otherwise.

Still, anyone who can weave...can weave again, I guess. It doesn't change the fact that there are always so many possibilities. There is always a tomorrow in which you are not doomed. I didn't understand that once. I watched love unweave itself and saw my life unwoven and untethered and I began to simply drift away. I don't think I'll drift away anymore. I hope not anyway. Things only end, after all, because they once began, so maybe all these endings are just the last things that happen before something else begins. Maybe you even come to an end so that you can simply step back and take a clearer look, then see a better way to begin again. There are things I wish I could begin again. 


I spoke to Gemma Hayes the other day. I sent her Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings a few months ago and she sent me her new album, The Hollow of Morning, more recently. The record, like all her best music is beautiful and jagged and distorted at the same time, all fuses and electricity and lace. It's brilliant, so of course no record company is interested. I told her how, in my opinion, that isn't such a bad thing for an independent artist these days. The world is an endless garden of opportunity for artists free to make use of all the possibilities the internet offers these days. Unshackled from the restraints placed upon the rest of us by the labels, anything is possible. 

We hadn't talked in awhile and we spoke for a long time. I thought later about all the time and life that had passed since we first became friends over bottles of champagne backstage at The Point Depot followed by pints of Guinness and a run through the bars of Dublin culminating in an impromptu songfest as one by one, Dublin's finest picked up acoustic guitars and each of us drunkenly sang a song for ourselves. I think Gemma sang "Helen Meets A Stranger" although my memory is not at all clear on that point. I know I stood in the middle of the floor and stomped my foot and sang an a cappella version of "Oh Susannah". I can't play guitar for shit. You do what you can do and I'll be damned if I was going to be the one who pussed out. It ended, like so many other nights on that tour, stepping out of the darkness of the bar into the disturbing and unforgiving sight of a sun already long risen and a day already begun.

I think that was five years ago, sometime in January of 2003.

So many things had happened to both of us since then. Still friends, we talked about the time between then and now and all the people that had fallen in and out of our lives. I think that was Jim's 1st tour with the band. She'd made two more albums and left Ireland for Los Angeles. I'd drifted for awhile, left Los Angeles for New York City, and finally made another album as well, two if you count the the evening and the morning (but after watching so many of the former fade into the latter, it's sort of cheating to do that). We'd both fallen in and out of love. But there we were, once again, with a pair of records finished, our lives spun from the air into the electricity and waiting to be plugged into all of you. We were so different than we had been back then but, in the best ways, nothing had really changed.

All art is the music of possibility.

The girl with the smiles and I went to see Stephen Sondheim's Sunday in the Park With George the night after the Rolling Stone shoot. It's a play about the painter Georges Seurat and, in a greater sense, a play about all artists and the nature of art itself. At the very end of the play, his great-grandson, an artist himself, is reading from a book in which his great-grandmother had scribbled some notes of her memories of Seurat. The final lines of the play, spoken as the shimmering colors of Seurat's most famous work, "Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grand Jatte" fade slowly into the greys of charcoal sketches and then to a few simple swaths of black paint on white walls and then to the white walls themselves, are:

            "White. A blank page or canvas. His favorite...so many possibilities..."

And he smiles as the lights on the stage go out.

The girl rolled over one time and said to me "It's nice to just be happy and live for a minute in a perfect bubble that the world outside can't touch. It seems almost a shame to have to go back to real life." 

You see, she was smarter than me that way. She knew a bubble when she saw it. I always think they're real life. I always think it's really happening...but the world is a dream for me sometimes and however nice and bright and full of possibility it seems, I always seem to wake up under a dimmer sun. It's because, even though I always say the opposite, I really want to stay in the bubble, or at least I did (maybe not so much anymore), and, in the end, you always have to pop it. You have to pop it and walk outside and find your way through a real day. You have to live without perfection and love a flaw.

I saw this bullshit artist on TV last Sunday morning and he said some crap about god wanting us to forgive each other for our imperfections. What a pile of crap. What arrogance to think that someone's imperfection is yours to forgive. Why not just see it for what it really is: a perfect expression of something unique and incalculably rare and irreplaceable...like a spray of freckles across the bridge of her nose or a hand that can reach across your whole life and lay a palm against your cheek and make a bed into which everything you are can fall and rest. We spend our lives strung so tight across wires that stiffen us into far more jagged versions of ourselves than we were ever meant to be. We are so much harder and so much more brittle than our mothers ever intended. All that love...and then they let us go and we hang ourselves like scarecrows in solitary fields, hung up to keep ourselves from ourselves and far far away from everybody else

And then a hand touches your cheek and...

...and you still have to figure out how to live outside the bubble. Nothing changes that. I don't know how that works. I can keep something perfect but learning to love someone in an imperfect world...I don't know how to do that. I DO know that the bubble is just a photograph. I know a bubble will eventually just be a memory and even the best memories are always gone. But she said that living in smiles is probably better and I know that's true so everything that comes after is...so full of possibilities...


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