In My Own Words

I have vivid early childhood memories involving the sounds of Abbey Road mixed with the smell of marijuana smoke and the clacking of Scrabble tiles. I also remember watching the old Saturday Night Lives with my parents, and loving Jane Curtain and Gilda Radner but thinking the news part was really boring. When I was eight, I became obsessed with Michael Jackson, and I’m not sure if I ever got the jacket but I DEFINITELY had the glove and I totally wore it to school. That same year I met Doris, and a few years later we got into a huge hippie guitar kick and spent a lot of time playing songs from the 60′s late into the night in her parents’ kitchen. My life is pretty much exactly the one I envisioned for myself back then, except for some reason I strongly believed that I would live in a log cabin and marry a man who looked like John Denver, and that didn’t exactly happen. I wonder what my shrink would say.

What I’m Like

I’m kind of an introverted, sensitive Cancer. I think about meaning a lot, why we’re here, how the universe works, and what dogs and babies think about. As a result I can be very serious. So I’m lucky to have Doris, Nate, and JJ around, because with them it somehow all ends up being really funny instead of tragic. My job is to laugh at everything they say. I’m also very woo.

Things I Like

Strong dark roast decaf coffee brewed in an Aeropress or an Italian macchinetta with half and half or frothed milk, dogs, meditation, new notebooks, dusk light, cooking fancy dinners at home, Belgian beer, trees, teddy bears, Greek yogurt, organic vegetable gardening, word games (and wordplay), old hardwood floors, one-on-one conversation, rhyming (especially internal rhyming), well-written novels and memoirs, old maps, herons, egrets, and other magical birds, The Weather Channel, dark chocolate salted caramels, Bikram yoga, femmes, thunderstorms, a really good pair of jeans, visionaries, hope, and musical suspensions.

Dislikes

That sound that people make after they take a sip of a hot drink that’s a combination of a loud exhale and a satisfied grunt, driving more than twelve hours in one day, the concept of “chick lit” or “chick flicks” (what does that even mean except that it contains a female protagonist?). Also automatic flush toilets that flush constantly – why are those still around when water is running out? I also dislike the news, especially the authoritative scientific rationalistic tone of the New York Times (although I also read the New York Times pretty much every day), see also: science as religion. People who laugh at or seem bewildered or disappointed that we’re called Girlyman, see also: the idea that men should always be masculine and women should always be feminine. Chain restaurants. Pessimism. Instant coffee.

On Being In Girlyman

It doesn’t always come easy, but I love when I manage to write a song that surprises me and feels really true. I used to write a lot of half songs and then wait around for the perfect ending, and edit mercilessly. I’ve learned that there’s nothing more exciting than the original energy of an idea, and that the words that gather around that energy are ultimately more interesting than the ones I think of later that make sense. Usually they have their own intelligence, and my task is to get out of the way.

Beyond that, basically I get paid (a little) to have peak experiences. I love performing because it’s such a continual practice in being present and silencing the voices in my head. I have an imaginary nemesis named Bob who judges everything I do. He has a long beard (like God) and always sits in the front row and spends the evening texting and yawning, taking mental notes for the blog he’ll write later about how boring the show was. My other job (besides getting out of the way so my songs can come through) is to remember that Bob is not real. (My apologies to all the real, bearded Bobs out there who are nice guys and enjoyed their evening.)