Just a love note.nothing to release, promote, or announce, except to say that my team is taking a few (much-needed) months off - if not longer - and i'm re-assessing pretty much everything in the face of the changing landscape, inner and outer.
Everybody I know has had such a hard fucking year. Such unending confusion, and shift, and pain. And there's been some the good stuff too: enlightenments, differently-shaped unexpected joys, deep (and sometimes painful) realizations.
I know this letter is going to all corners of the globe, and everyone is in such different situations. Some people are in total lockdown, some, like my compatriots here in Aotearoa New Zealand, are living very COVID-free lifestyles. I was talking to my dear friend Coco this morning, and she she passed on a quote from another friend: that everybody has their own bowl of shit to deal with right now. Every bowl of shit is different. Thirty two flavors. But it's still shit. Do not judge or worry about anybody else's bowl of shit. Just work on your own, and know that it's real. Or, as the Kiwis have been saying: "We're all in the same storm, but none of us are in the same boat." Amen to that.
This has, no doubt, been the hardest year I've ever endured on many levels, with a constant twist of paradox: I wound up a single parent, but I wound up a single parent in goddamned New Zealand, where my life could be somewhat "normal" even though it was a strange "normal" in which I had few connections and had to start my community from scratch.
I toured the whole world in 2019 telling my weird, funny and sad stories on many stages, and I canceled only the very last show of the year-long "There Will Be No Intermission" tour - in Wellington - due to Covid. I think I managed to perform about 79 of 80 shows.
I can't stop thinking about that: I was supposed to be in New Zealand for four shows, for about ten days.
It's now been nine months. And everything has changed. I am so blessed to be here, and I'm also very homesick.for a home I now longer recognize.
I've decided to turn my attention more towards Ash, who needs me, and away from "work", although I've been an artist long enough to understand that "work" is always happening. My brain never stops piecing things together, and every step I take through the work is laying the foundation for anything that comes next, whether it's in five years or fifty. My heart hasn't stopped making songs in the last nine months, it just hasn't had any time to commit them to paper. That time will come, someday. The songs will stay alive.
Or.if I wind up pulling a Joni Mitchell and just retiring to a cabin to live my life out of the public eye so I can work on my oil painting, please expect to find a whole series of blood-and-flax splashed canvasses entitled "Pandemic 1-45: The Reckoing" after I die.
But even though this year has been a shitshow and everything came screeching to a halt in March, I still managed to put out thirty (fucking THIRTY) projects through my patreon: podcasts, silly songs, sad songs. All sorts of things. I'm proud of that. I'm proud of my team, who worked absolutely tirelessly.
We give a lot of money away every year, but I was astounded and heart-proud when we did this years tally and saw that we gave about $80,000 dollars away this year to different charities, and almost all of that money flowed through the patron. I love that: from my community's pocket, through my art-hands and the hands of my team and collaborators, and into the pockets of people who needed it. That makes me prouder than I can express.
It was also an exhausting year. I think I probably kept going, harder than I should have, especially when the pandemic hit and I kept pretending I could keep up while trying to raise a little boy.
On that note: I am going to slow down for a while. It's needed. I'm going to turn more attention to my own mental health, and to my kid. And I think it's time to pay more attention to the patreon and the shadowbox forum and a little less attention to old "social media". Twitter, Facebook and Instagram - and my communities there - have been beautiful chapters in my life, and I don't think I'll abandon them completely, but I'm not sure they're still the best places for us to be. I like the idea of feeding my own little community, locally, instead of always speaking to the whole world.
Wherever you are, and whatever is happening wherever you are, I want to just to let you know: I love you.
My close friends have all been struggling; with time, with health, with work, with family, with everything. It can't be just my own circle. I expect that everybody on this earth right now is struggling more than usual.
So may I remind you, as this year comes to a close with all the exhale and inhale and hope that comes along with it, that you are not alone. You are loved, and you are not alone. Even if you may feel disconnected, worn out,
And may the new year, 2021, be kind to all of us.
May you have ease of days.
May you be cared for.
And may all beings everywhere be peaceful, happy, and safe from harm and danger.
Wherever you are, and whatever you''re going through.....
I love you.
AFP (and her sidekick, little Anthony-or-Ash-for-short).