The First Private Exchange
In April of 2008, the Counting Crows Message Board was reopened as a free board and most of us regulars trickled back to the Off-Topic section, many under different names. I struck up a conversation on the board with a person whose screenname at that time was, I believe ForTheLoveOfPencils. We talked about Sonic Youth and art. Eventually curiosity got the best of me and I sent this person a private message. What followed was months of correspondence between this person who claimed to be Ryan Adams, myself and a few others. There are certain aspects or names that I probably won’t reveal here, but I’ll be as open with it as possible.
The “sender” name on these e-mails was Mrs. Lovely
Me: “Umm…Are you a dude or a chick? can I even get a hint?”
Me: “So I sent you a message and it came back to me from me. Are you really me?”
Him: “I so am.”
Me: “I knew it.”
Him: “at is why it is bouncing back. you are e-mailing yourself. Is it weird? If I was not you I would want to talk to myself…which I am essentially doing.”
Me: “I talk to myself all the time. And when I talk to other people, it’s mostly so I can hear myself talking.”
Him: “See…I am you. I like the sound of my voice and my thoughts.”
Me: “I guess that’s settled then. Good luck on the board. It can be an unforgiving place.”
Him: “I know. I am less than thrilled about this whole internet addiction. Such is.”
Him: “Who did you post as at the old board or can I not know since I am reveling in my anonymity?”
That is the extent of the Mrs. Lovely exchange. I told him the name I had posted under. We exchanged a couple messages about another boardmember. I’ll leave those out.
At this point, the e-mails were coming with the name David Rad.
David: “Yesterday you mentioned something about writing. Do you write? Music? Prose?”
Me: “I write pretty much everything. I’ve been trying to concentrate on movies lately, but I’m thinking of getting back to basics to get back on track. I have a
degree in English/creative writing form the University of Arkansas. I won a couple of awards there as an undergrad. I also co-edit an online magazine
www.ghotimag.com How about you? What’s your story? (pun intended)
David: “Singer/songwriter, wanna be artist, wanna be writer…pretty much an all around loser. If I could write about shit that wasn’t so fucking depressing, I would be set. I appeal to a small audience because of this. I will have to check your magazine out. What do you write about?”
David: (Next e-mail) “It is getting late and I am heading out to an art show. It was nice talking to you again. I would love to read some of your work sometime. Other people inspire me to be a 1st rate version of myself which is not hard. Peace.”
Me: “All good writers are depressing, and most good writers only appeal to a small audience. If you appeal to everyone, you’re probably not writing anything that isn’t broad and generic.
I also dabble with music. Mostly as a goof right now.
If you click on the link in my CCMB signature, you can
hear my stuff. It’s pretty much tongue in cheek, but
it’s a start.”
David: “Will do. And I agree with you. Critics just get you down after a while. It is depressing to be under a constant microscope but what can you do. It is the life we chose.”
Me: “I think it chose me. Writing’s the only thing I’m good at, unless you count being an asshole, and some people do, but it doesn’t pay well.”
David: “I am writing a book of poems right now but they all suck. I have a meeting with an editor next week And my shit sucks. I am hoping it is just my perspective.
I think being good at writing is the greatest gift. No one will remember you for shit else anyway.”
We continue to talk about writing, and David opens up more about himself.
Me: “Have you had much published? My laziness has kept me
from achieving much.
Here’s one of my stories from Pindeldyboz. I hate
showing it to people because there are some formatting
errors when they archived it, but it’s online, so it’s
easier to share.
David: “Songs. That is it for now.
Thank you for sharing this with me. You are a VERY gifted writer. You should get past that laziness and share more with the world.
I will send you some of the shit I write but you cannot share it with anyone else as it would be catastrophic since it is yet to be published. Feel free to tell me how shit it is. When I write, it is with raw emotion (as most do) so I tend to not edit myself. I am in France right now (had to get away from New York and everything ex-girlfriend related before I went insane). I think I have written more now than I have in the past few days. This is about my vampire ex girlfriend:
At a distance
this thing in me
that growls at my gut
it plays strange games
and sneers at me
from the shadow
it stays busy
when i escape, if only for an instant
At a distance
I can see myself
a grown man
aged thirty three
but none at all in years
if those years mean
a fallen wall
a piece of mortar
missing from the bright
morning side wonder
of a child
At a distance
I know I do not know
neither do you
nor your Gods
nor your books
nor your analyst
nor your AA sponsor
nor your family
because, like all things
they too will pass us by, as we pass
and fade into the dry-mouth
barely a stain
on a rug of electricity
floating in space
pardon me if I don’t grow up already
At a distance
and my feet will never give
not even if they are but a bone
in a shoe
because I was born with a heart
the size of a question
asked by an ocean
a love of everything
not too close
at a distance”
David shares more of his writing.
I wrote this when I got to my hotel. Again, very raw and unedited. Please do not share with anyone else. It is mostly just bullshit anyhow.
Before I fell asleep on the plane (before we even took off..)I was thinking a lot about how I quit drinking almost two years ago. I was thinking about how little it affected me actually but how it affected the things around me.
People who quit drinking (who quit giving up on their minds, their days, their souls or pain) become quite unattractive to those who still drink. It is just so true.
It is almost as though your soul begins to speak a different language. A clear and defined one where every thought is stressed and you leave a trail of ideas and meaning every which way you go.
Of course I only ever drank to confuse people. Besides, I hated drinking, I just wanted something to do that was nasty while I worked my self into a black hole. And you just can’t take drugs. At least for me, it was perfectly acceptable to have oh say, five kinds of drugs on me at all times, but never, NEVER, acceptable until after a few drinks, and if there was no work being done, forget it.
I think some people drink to make sex less intimate. To make life less intimate. I don’t know really. I always thought it was disgusting. I really liked being as untouchable as possible, as far away from attainable as possible and that helped. Most of the time, people would say they saw me here or there, and I was wasted. I loved that. Because I wasn’t. I was writing 20 albums worth of music and keeping very detailed books of poetry and short stories to use later when the time was right. I was painting. I never did manage to do any decent touring however as my god is that the loneliest fucking work ever.
Sure, Sure, the GLORY the GLORY of the SHOW, the show„„sure, sure, but really, that is the delivery of the goods, the seafood, and much fishing and a lot of water passes in between. And there are no sirens on those rocks. The point of that mythological tale is, “A MAN WILL DRIVE HIMSELF INTO A WALL OF ROCK IF HE THINKS IT WILL KILL HIM FOR HE LOVES WHAT HE HAS SO MUCH IT IS A DEATH EVER TIME HE SEE’S IT GO”. Joseph Campbell, you can chew on my nuts if you don’t like that interpretation but it’s true. Men LOVE the shit out of what they work for, and to be away from it, and to watch it pass into it’s own time, to see it age, and know it is, like the rest of the cosmos, impermanent, destroys him. The saucy good men anyway. The fuckers with heart and grit in their nails, good love em.
As for women, and standing on some rocks to make a man crash a boat, I’m afraid I have nothing witty to say about that except they might want to consider putting a Christian La’Boutin in at the base of the rock. It would do well and be the stuff of legend.
In fact, men should just wish they were shoes, but that is another story and and if you have noticed, Q.Taratino has been trying to tell it over a lot of stray bullets for quite some time……I digress….
What glory there was in elbowing up in some ratted shit-hole somewhere when you knew there might be a little fight left in you in a day, but that, somehow in that glorious first pound of a shot of this or that, you could sit and watch the curtains of a day go up in flames, and watch, despite the structure around you.
And how that felt slightly naughty and evil. Almost historical. Every drink after that, for me anyway, and for what I saw, was just that idea, that idea of destroying an ability to analyze something, further an further down the pass, until it was a swamp, a swamp of broken ideas and bad people, who took naturally to dreamers, awash on their rum bleached dock, ready for a rummaging through.
Drinkers are like purses left in baggage claim. Sometimes they get lucky and their rightful owner finds them.
But most of the time,
a fate is crossed,
a woman cries
an identity is lost,
you end up feeling like ghost luggage
in a strangers hands.
I feel like that sometimes.
There was ever a torch bright enough to find my way through those castle walls to rescue the one I truly loved. But I saved myself.
And that means pain.
And that means joy too.
Greatest of all
it MEANS shit.
that is what this is all supposed to be about.
thank goodness springtime
split into a swarm of fluttering
and the clouds let me pass through
over an ocean
I would never want to name
for it’s lack of memory.
You know…talking to you is pretty cool. I like that you have no idea who I am so you can be completely unbias. Thanks for that.
David: “Last one and then i will stop filling your inbox.”
wasn’t your lover from here, alit daffodil?
i eat his food they serve me and smile
i compliment the chef
for my lack of being born into the coin
i was born into a love
and when i say a thing is good
a mouth opens and teeth move the lips up
for it’s blinding truth,
plastic invisible menace
“a writer” too, he worked, what?,
8 hours a day
and saved himself for you,
because you loved his lashings
and like a shark
you were helpless
in his arms
once the blur of gray went into fins and madness
losers finding each other
like perfect bad novel names
i buy a book then
of course not his
he couldn’t publish
if a xerox begged
nobody here coughing
over a shoulder
sounding like a cough
if it were a
hack, HA CC KKKK
self-served„„ THEN brat
(one must allow ample time for that)
someone get a typewriter
before his fingers
and his mothers suits mean nothing
it’s the upper east side for god’s sake
after the wedding,
don’t forget to take a photo
of the orgy
it will be good for the book,
that novel he will never write
so i buy the bad ones
i see in the bin
one for every hundred pin
i find words he would use
and i stick them in
i imagine what eyes
adorn his face
and dream of hornets
and stinging stems
trampling his bones
crushing his limbs
dressed as businessmen
named Hank and Lou
marrying his daughters
and taking them to suburbs
track housing buries them
and their souls
as they suffer their lives through their children
every wasted word and a shift
when i light the candle
i make a wish
a fucking hole
in the wall
of the house
of the damned
over a perfect coffee at pitch
saturate this place
with my scent
i am a tiger let loose
upon the house of the
and i am screaming
dripping with sweat
every moment you lied
i was starved and blind
thumbing the walls
anything that also feels alive
when the bottom comes up
if this ship is intact
on it’s side
you will salute
a ruin maybe
a revenge not likely
done unto a thing
in this fire
we do not burn
by the lines
waiting on the rides in the endless ring
of unneeded desires
a rich persons problem
a fantasy fuck
and i will always
better and so much more
your mothers daughter
you are not,
and if nothing else
born of the coin,
any whore can be something great
to be a knower
and refuse the warmth of a home
just a slut
to be trapped and caught under
with trashy give-aways
stuck on the bottom
in tweed and twit
so from his home
in the comfort
of my labored rest
you deserve everything you ever wanted
Last exchange from 4/20/08
Me: “Thanks for sending those, man. You definitely have a
gift for language. I think I enjoyed this last one the
most. It had more focus and a narrative thread. You
could probably format it as a prose poem, rather than
drag it out so much. That would be my main criticism
of it. It becomes cumbersome to read when it’s dragged
out so long, with single word lines. I’m of the school
of thought that poetry is intended to be a spoken
medium, so how it looks on the page is secondary, but
if you’re going to factor form in, make sure it serves
the poem. The last word in a line should be the most
important word in the line and draw you into the next
The second about drinking is good, but incomplete. I
think you could turn it into a good piece of short
fiction if you set an actual stor to it. There are
some interesting ideas in there.
The first you sent has some really good lines in it.
It grabbed me the least of the 3 pieces, but it’s
still pretty good. You said something about writing in
raw emotion and not editing, but I’ll share a couple
bits of advice that were given me 1. good writing is
n’t written emotionally, it’s written reflectively,
and 2. writing is revising.
Also, the poet Miller Williams once told me “The poem
should start as the writer’s and end as the reader’s.”
I think most good poems achieve that.
Okay, sorry to get off on my editing rants. Sometimes
I really miss being in school and workshops. Bottom
line is that you have talent. Thanks for sharing, and
no, I won’t show them to anyone else.”
David: “Thanks for that.This is what I meantt by the non-bias opinion. Much appreciated.
You should be a teacher. You know, I fear that I cannot write any other way. I have been doing music for so long that every thing I write tends to go by way of song. If not, it is a rant. I have a lot of work to do. Thank you so much for the advice. D.”
At the time, I worked overnights at Target. I came home in the early morning and was tooling around on the CCMB and came across a post on a section of the board I rarely went to, and it was about Ryan Adams, who as a solo artist, well, let’s just say at that point I hadn’t given much consideration. Even so, I clicked a link that led me to his blog, where much to my surprise, I immediately recognized the writing.
Me: “I always give a fair opinion. I expect honesty from
people and it’s what I give in return.
I understand your desire for anonymity, but I have a
question…Is this you? http://dradamsfilms.com/ Or
are you just fucking with me and everyone else?
I saw a link posted on a section of the board in a
thread titled “ryan adams is a blonde…”
What’s the story?”
David: “Ah. I was afraid of that happening.
Yes. That is me. I would appreciate you keeping it to yourself so I don’t get 5,000 e-mails. fuck. I should have known better.”
David: “Man, ain’t that a bunch of shit. I guess it is my own fault. Thank you for your opinions on the writing. I feel a bit like a douche now but thanks again.”
Me: “Um, okay, first off, I’m not here to blow anyone’s
cover. I don’t have any need to say look who this is!
It’s not my style.
Second, I’m not entirely convinced it’s you. I mean,
you have to appreciate my skepticsm here. Granted, it
would be a very elaborate joke, but knowing the people
from the messageboard the way I do, it’s well within
the realm of possibility.
Third, I would like to keep discussing writing with
you. I was more excited about finding someone who
could write and that willingness to share and discuss
than I am about you being someone famous. But if you
are who you say you, I’d kind of like some proof. (See
second reason), as I have no need to critque Ryan
Adam’s work if you’re not actually him.”
David: “I can appreciate that.
After talking to you yesterday, I posted this:
I refuse to edit
I am but a single life
I refuse to edit
if you choose
but these bulbs
will burn in cycles
was a single night
I don’t know if this will suffice but whatever. As you can probably imagine, it really doesn’t matter to me either way. I think you are pretty kick ass but if this is not proof enough for you, I understand. I find it pretty hard to believe that someone would have enough time to impersonate someone else. I posted back on the counting crows board about 4 years ago as “whatever, it’s ryan” and I never got that feeling…but I really didn’t care either. I like no one knowing who I am because it makes life a lot easier (and people remain honest). To be honest, I am rather dissappointed that you figured it out. I am so fucking reatarded when it comes to this shit and I guess I really just don’t give a fuck.
Either way, believe me or not, it was great talking with you man.
From the end of 4/20 to 4/22, there are a series of emails that now only appear as lines of gibberish. I can’t quote them, but from memory, it was a lot of “I don’t care who you are, let’s talk about writing.” I sent him some more things that I had written. He tended to rattle off emails in spurts.
Me: Alright man, there’s some poetry and some fiction.
You’re lucky most of my stuff is trapped on the dead
hard-drive of my old computer.
If you want something to read on the plane ride home,
I can send you my screenplay…which needs a thorough revison.
David: I saved it all for my ride home. Cant fucking wait man.
I put the blog back up. I spent all night and day. I am fucking insane but I dont fucking care. I am tired of all of their shit talking. It makes me laugh actually. Talentless pricks.
I am tired as fuck
inspired by you my man. This part I figured you would see geared toward you
or people who liked some of the music i made ( which i like too sometimes but it is never really that far out enough for me, and hardly what i really am. i prefer my writing and art to music but have trouble thinking about a life without music. i mean, it led me here) i noticed, some of those people started to think about art again.
one day, a cave man picked up a piece of rock and drew a beautiful bison or buffalo on a cave wall and now,
now we are here.
we are here now, in a world of designs and abstractions.
you inspired me. maybe I will again inspire you. If we do not talk soon, it’s been real man. you are a true genius and you need to keep on writing. i read more than most normal humans. you are rein supreme. This is not good bye…just maybe for a bit. you have been healing. credit yourself that. you in very weird ways inspired me to put up the blog again. inspired me to not give a fuck. thanks man.
ok I am out for a while. thanks again man. true inspiration.
At this point, he signs the email as “Ry.” He was trying to send photos of Kim Gordon’s art. There are photobucket links, but they no longer work.
I am stupid and have no idea how to forward pictures so hopefully this works. She is fucking brilliant.
Glad you enjoyed the movie. You have no idea how much I love doing that. if I could get paid for it, it would be all I do. Well that and paint…but i am really not so good with the painting. I will show you some if you want.
I really meant to not get back on here. it is 2AM and I am balls out tired.
Man that Andrea. I feel kind of bad for her. She seems to have been fucked over by a lot of guys. I was on here sending you links to the blog and she popped up on my screen (which was weird as fuck because I have never instant messaged in my life) and so I talked to her for a minute. She thought I was adam ha
I posted 15 things today and deleted all but 5. I am getting self conscious. I have never been that way. I will keep the movie up for a while longer.
if I dont talk to you, have a good night, day week and so on. Stay punk bro
Ry: by the way, these are hanging over my bed. I bought them at her art show a few weeks back. good god damn
This was the beginning of Ryan and he talked about the band and the songs that would become Cardinology. Though he will still refer to himself as D. or David.
I wrote a song last night, and accidentally posted it, but it was supposed to be a metal jam and I was very tired. Which is bad for me because I get in trouble sort of. So saying that, I woke up and wrote my favorite song of the whole batch called “Cobwebs.”
Many of the songs I am writing are from the perspective of my friends in the Cardinals, or at least my words are me imagining them, thinking about their day, or sometimes lately, I just write directly from me with no filer, but i am trying to avoid too much meta-physical geography and stick to “what would i see in front of me, if I were relaying “enter feeling” here.” which seems to be working.
although i am writing about perusing bookstore isles and the color of things. the saddest line so far “little by little my hearing goes, really going to miss the world in stereo” .
and also a song where I made myself write a song from the perspective of a stuffed animal in a trash can. that one is called “I’m Rags”. Pretty brutal.
Making super sad tunes reminds me of the fret challenges of making metal riffs. You have to get in there and find complexity in the the cliche’. Its very important to make the dumb parts of rock n roll try and remain still dumb but in some clever way. But it should always be dumb.
Smart is for the museum, entertaining the parents of a lover and tipping. Smart is being over the top and you know it.
I am fucking tired and cannot sleep.
I am going to send you some pics here in a bit. I have to figure out how to do it smart vs. internet idiot.
Me: If you were anymore genius, I think my spleen would
rupture. I’m not kissing ass here. You just remind me
of me, except more successful.
I tried to write a song last night but I’m a shitty
guitarist, and that really comes through when it’s
just me and an acoustic. I’m hoping to get an electric
soon. And a bass. I used to have some decent gear but
I lost all of that shit because of my ex-wife. If you
think you’ve had women problems, I could tell you the
story of my ex-wife.
I’d like to be in the room when you write songs. My
fiance and I write songs for my Phillip D’Tanc stuff
on our $99 keyboard and my acoustic, and it’s nonsense
mostly, but we think it’s clever, and that’s really
all life boils down to…just making yourself happy.
Him: couldn’t agree more. (not with the genius thing [tho funny]…the make yourself happy thing)
by the way…your e-mail earlier made me spill my coffee…funny as shit. good thing i am not a chick, eh? I am awful girlie though…i just dont like cock.
I am going to eat something and kill my lungs then I will send you some pictures.
Did you see on my blog the being as punk as fuck thing? I figured you would laugh at that.
So what man…are you going to start listening to my music? nah just kidding
Me: Here’s 2 minutes of your life you won’t get back…
It’s my video for “Thick As Thieves” by Dashboard
Confessional. It was for a contest, and I’m not really
a fan, but it offered prize money.
Him: heh that is great man! Your videos are like mine!
So ok…you need to hang with your chick. I will loser you into oblivion…seriously.
I am really close with my grandparents. My mom hates everything I do. Whatever.
I fell asleep. The time zone is kicking my ass.
pictures to follow.
Punk as fuck is my permanent motto.
your fiance has good taste. kidding
While I was hanging out with Elise, he would send me a ton of photos.
Him: I cannot figure this picture thing out so you will have to settle for my fucked up way of sending them.
Again…no sharing (omg i just internet smiled. fag)
this is my work area at my apt in NY:
what I see every night before I close my eyes:
the warrrrrrrrr beast
kim gordon over the bed where nothing happens
Me: Nice apartment.
The Warbeast guitar reminds me of my first axe…it
was a red and black flying V…like a shitty pawn shop
brand…I loved that thing…
I was looking at your list of music on the blog and
you remind me of me…you had Cinderella on there…I
was such a hair band nerd…but I also liked country
and rap and punk…no one would accept me because I
Him: did you happen to read that facts about me thing i posted before erasing the blog? i think you will think it funny. i fucking hate country. i am suck a metal punk. it always shocks people. i can probably find it here on foggy if you did not read it.
ok now the art show. remember it is all raw. it still fucking hurts. god that woman.
this is new york is unfinished and self portrait
by the way…does your girlfriend think it weird that i am talking to you. I think it is weird. i think i am talking to myslef. like you are me and i am e-mailing myself and i am really losing my fucking mind.
He spams a few more photos and we get back to music.
Me: I don’t think I did read it…
How can you not like George Jones? George Jones was
Him: George Jones is ok. I dont know. it is just all so fucking dull and lifeless. anyone can play country. how many people can do punk rock?
i recorded some funny shit i will have to send you sometime. it is on my external at home. it is from my fake punk band called the shit. heh
Me: That is awesome. Wow. What I love is that you put
yourself out there.
And my girlfriend thinks it’s hilarious because A. I’m
not a huge fan and B. she can tell that I’m inspired
by the whole thing. She also thinks it’s weird you and
I are so similar.
It’s really weird to me. I mean, for you, it’s a
random dude from a message board…for me, it’s fuck,
that’s Ryan Adams.
Him: well…call me david. maybe that will make it less weird.
here is a picture for your girlfriend to laugh at (it is when i was dying my hair blonde)
it is weird huh. i am just so fucking lonely man. i have completely cut myself off.
god you must think i am a loser. i am talking to some random message board guy. fucking hell