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Monday 26 October 2009


Balancing Rock - Click to view Larger
I was sitting in a bar in Lowell Massachusetts, The Old Worthen, now called Worthen House. I was having a beer with my good friend Brian Maloney. The Worthen is a very old bar in a very old New England town. Charles Dickens visited there. Jack Kerouac wrote there. It was so full of history and charm.Brian inside the WorthernBrian is a fine musician, a really gifted sole that I miss everyday. We were playing cribbage, drinking beer and smoking Marlboro Lights. Ah the good old days! I was a little down as I often am in the Fall. He looked at me as he played a killer hand of crib, and said, "You know, you have to keep your highs low and lows high. Balance is the key to happiness".Surfer - Click to view Larger
I’m not sure how either of us has succeeded in balance in our lives. We both put off doing what we loved to do in pursuit of money, security and establishing ourselves. Was it a mistake? I’m not sure I was ready to be an artist back then. I still had a lot to learn. I still do. But Brian could sing like a bird. I can remember us sitting down to play music together. He was so good that I stopped playing and put down my guitar. I just sat there and said, "Play". He could play songs that I loved and they would sound better than the original. But music is a young man's game. I watched him wrestle with his marriage, his work and his passion. Did he wait too long? I hope not. We lost touch a few years ago. Usually I call him every year on his birthday. Last year I called and his number was out of service. I searched for a phone number or some sign he was alive. Nothing. A line in a song he wrote kept running over and over in my head, "So many people have run through my life, so much resistance, so much to fight. It took me too long to see the light".Sandbanks Beach - Click to view larger

Whenever I feel down I think of that night in the bar. It was a cold, rainy night just like tonight. My friend made the time tolerable and fun. Balance? I don’t know much about balance even today. But I do know more about following my passions. I've learned a lot from the people around me. I've watched people struggle, make mistakes and carry on through the good and rough times.

I don’t have many close friends. Maybe I'm too selective or maybe it's some terrible character flaw. In the Fall, I struggle with the rain and the darkness. But I remember some wonderful people who have run through my life and how they have shaped who I am. I feel so lucky to have what I have. I feel pain and joy. I feel sad and happy. I remember a good friend teaching me to go for what you love, even if he couldn’t.

Keep your lows high and your highs low. Hope you are playing a bar somewhere warm Brian. By the way, I'm way better at crib now. Up for a beer at the Worthen?Brian outside the Worthen

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