I started writing this text under a totally different mindset.I was on the road in Siberia, my survival instinct was sharp, I had beaten my maladies and I was ready for what might come. The lack of sleep, of rest; playing and travelling every day, leaves me, naturaly tired, but also iron-bound in my convictions and believes.
After my return home and with all the problems that started falling on my lap, as well as all the unavoidable last years conclusions, plans, wrong turns and reality-checks, I stopped writing or looking at these words. I wasn’t feeling up to share words about optimism when everywhere around me doors were closing, quarters were tightening,and people talking all the time like if everyone had the right to tell me wrong. I had a few rough days and decided to endure them as quietly and alone as I could, trying to stick to my instincts and the plans I have made. I dedicated myself to my family exclusively then. After a few days and with the fake yet welcoming thought of turning another calendar page, I thought these words would make more sense than ever, so here they are as a token of my appreciation for your following of my irregular blantings. I wish you all a happy 2014. I really do:
“An image comes to mind.
Art is like a beautiful, full mountain. The illusion of its exterior aspect is gilded with creativity, recognition and communication. But what’s in the core of that mountain? A boiling, fragmented rock made of dispute, despise, overlooked acts, bureacracy, trouble, selfishness, ego. If you stare at it long enough, it eats you alive. You need the fresh air outside, but, too many times, the path to the outside is long, you can not breed,tiredom lures you to sleep, a giant eye hipnotizing you with the ugly truths.
During all these years that I have been touring with Moonspell we never really halted at anything. There was no sabbatical year, no one getting crazy and demanding to be home for a while. No cabin fever, no time for ourselves, no day of reckoning. All the problems we had inside the band, were solved in real time, while they happened. Whenever people had to leave the band, for example, it was just a matter of days until we got back on the road or in the studio, dealing with the grievance or depression with our instruments on our hands, as it should be. This has been going on since 1995.
We have build our families and our domestic lives as good as we could with the time that we could spare from an intense schedule of travels, shows, songs, and band engagements. Everyday we think hard if we are doing a good job at both shores of our lives, while the river stream in between (the band) keeps on going, at different paces, but always running, impervious to what happens in the shores and to the way we lead the troops, on the road or back home. This acceptance of our lifestyle is earned and it does not go without crossing through some hard times. But, whatever happens, life does go on and the band stays central as we do not know or can afford any way around it. Vacations booked, a festival just called, change of plans. Weddings and funerals: we are glad if we can attend our own. Routine: packed bags inside cars and vans, backline stored in several continents, logistics, excel sheets, early airport calls.
There are many compensations of course that balance all these odds. By playing cities we have never been before and see that amazement in people’s eyes is priceless even if impossible to trade into words. Also at the family camp, when one loves and he is truly dedicated, we can do more in our short-timed presence and longer absences, than many who spend their nine to five routine, thinking in ways of having more time for themselves or that arrived home too tired and drained to love, to nurture, to feed,to be with. Today, we have visited The Forbidden City in Beijing, a testimony to a great nation that is China. Just a few days ago, we descended into the sacred waters of Lake Baykal, the sea of Siberia, and felt its incredible energy purifying our touring soul and bodies. When I travel deep in the heart of these nations, even if for a couple of hours in the morning, stolen from the much needed repairing sleeps, I can not stop from wondering how we all became cynics in Europe, ready to throw the first critical stone, at any of these nations while, at home, our “democracies” rot and our ways suffer a silent yet implacable death.
In a couple of hours we will hit the stage in Beijing for a first time in Asia but I already have the feeling we will be back to discover and trade with these magic territories, full of an energy I sometimes fail to invoke when the road is long and the time is short.”
That was in 2013. We did it. Has the world moved with us? Noticed us? Has home noticed? Maybe not. Maybe my weak contribution to define Optimism is just a straight look into this Optimism as a single option, one can and is obliged to take and honor as the way of disbelief will end up freezing you at start point. There is not other option than Optimism if you want to suceed. In the end, your Optimism is measured by the fight you have to put with. And if I dare to take a look at what is now on my desk and in my mind, I can only say I am optimist.
Picture by Duncan Macleod