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Why am I doing this? Entry date: 12/31/2021 - Letters to My Friends

Updated: Jan 2, 2022

Dear Friends,

To be blunt, I’m doing this because I need to write. I’ve been having an internal dialogue with myself, and with many of you, for some time now about my desire to write books. I use the plural because I have a number of stories I want to tell. I will be telling some of these stories in chunk-by-chunk form during the course of this year because I am committing myself to writing every day during the course of 2022.

What will I write about? Who knows? It will probably depend on the day. For the first week or so, it will probably just be stream of consciousness-type writing. It might depend on what is happening at work or with the band or with a movie I just watched. For example, on Wednesday, December 29, I got my booster shot and a flu shot, and they kicked my ass a bit. I laid in bed or on the couch for about a day and watched movies and caught up on a few TV shows.

I watched the director’s cut of Close Encounters of the Third Kind and really enjoyed it in a vey different way than I remember enjoying it as a kid. I didn’t remember the really strong commentary from Spielberg about how the government controls the narrative of what people see, hear, and feel. It was relevant for the world we live in right now, although I think it is more about the money controlling the narrative than the government. I have to believe they are really two separate but related entities.

All things considered, Close Encounters is still a very entertaining movie, even if the special effects, which seemed amazing at the time, are definitely outdated. I enjoyed Richard Dreyfuss a lot and appreciate just how frightening his performance in the first part of the movie truly was as he quickly went mad with obsession. As I laid there and watched, I couldn’t help but think about seeing the movie at the Cine Capri theater on 24th Street and Camelback when I was seven or so. How the world has changed.

Other movies and shows I watched over the last 36 hours or so, including a few things early this morning because I couldn’t sleep and decided to move out to the couch a little after 2am were: Funny Girl, three episodes of Yellowjackets, five episodes of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, Soapdish, Paper Chase, First Reformed, the end of Modern Problems, a bit of the original Amityville Horror (which completely fucked me up as a kid), and now I’m watching the Suns get killed by the Celtics.

I have to admit that I’ve never seen Funny Girl. I have an affinity for Barbra Streisand due to her work on the film, All Night Long, from 1981. That quirky movie always entertains me. I also thought she was great in Prince of Tides, too, even though the book is way, way better (Aren’t they always? Except for The Godfather). I really enjoyed Funny Girl, though, even though some of the songs were pretty terrible. It made me appreciate the lines from Kevin Kline’s In and Out movie where they talk about Funny Girl that much more. I guess I can add that movie to the list, too, that I watched a part of during the last few days.

Paper Chase was another really pleasant surprise, even though I saw it years ago as a kid. I remember liking the tv version, but my recollection of the film was not very strong, so it was like watching it for the first time again. Good movie and I think I’d like to read the book at some point, as well. Considering my deep appreciation for all things Boston/New England area these days, it was interesting to think about what that experience of going to law school at Harvard would have been like. I’m very happy being a teacher, but there were times in my life when law seemed like a good idea. Timothy Bottoms and Lindsay Wagner were really good, as was John Houseman, who I had forgotten won an Oscar for the roll. To be honest, though, Jason Miller should have won the award for his work on The Exorcist that year.

Clearly, I’m just avoiding the trap of looking at 2021 for this first post. What a strange year this was living with a pandemic. I think the biggest thrill of my year, though, has been watching my two youngest children embrace their teenage-ness with a gusto I wasn’t expecting. I’ve so enjoyed being a dad this year. The next few years, Liam and Teresa approach high school graduation and becoming adults is going to be a wild ride.

My wife and I had one of the strangest years of our marriage as we were living in two different states for about one-third of the year. In some ways, I think it really improved our communication as we had to talk to each other out of necessity. I really looked forward to those morning and evening calls. It was really good for Rhondi to be with her dad and being in Maine for almost six months did her some good. I got to spend about five weeks there and that was amazing, as well.

Prior to that I spent January through early June teaching online. I was working with K-4th grade students (one fourth grade class only) and teaching computer science and music. I enjoyed the experience a lot and getting to work from home was not a terrible thing. Life was pretty quiet during those months as I didn’t have many reasons to leave the house. Before Rhondi, Doug (my father-in-law), Liam, and Teresa left for Maine, we spent a lot of weekend time over at Doug’s barbecuing and hanging out. Social life was not something that people were interested in during the first full pandemic year.

I didn’t play music in front of people during 2021. This was the first time I went a year without performing since 1993. Bobby, Michael, and I started getting serious about The Father Figures again, though, towards the end of summer after I got back from Maine and it has been good to get back in the proverbial saddle. We have our first show in almost two years on January 8 at the Crescent. We also have a really cool batch of new songs that we are working on. Towards the end of the year, we got a couple of our songs placed in television shows (Ridiculousness and Yellowjackets) and that was pretty cool, too.

I finished my masters degree in December and have been teaching 2nd grade for the same charter school network I have been working for since 2019. It’s been very cool, strange, and challenging having my own classroom. I have some pretty cool little characters in there, although if I’m being honest, I haven’t missed them very much for the past two weeks during break. I’ve wanted to do this my whole life, though, and it is very strange to finally have my own classroom. I like it and will write more about it.

We lost a dog in August to a short, somewhat vicious battle with breast cancer. Rose was such a sweet soul. I miss her a ton, but I’m glad to have been able to have the time with her I had. She wasn’t the smartest dog in the world, but she had a beautiful little soul. I will miss her for a long time, I’m sure. It was hard for Rhondi to miss getting to pet her one more time.

There are probably a ton of other details about 2021 that I’m leaving out but if you’ve made it this far, you’re probably ready for me to shut up for today. More tomorrow.

Thank you, friends, for reading.

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