Top Posts Of 2016

As the clock runs down on 2016 I am thankful for another year of being able to share my photographs and writing with you all once again. To date I have written over 30 posts this year alone, as well as  hitting  the milestone of 100 overall posts earlier in the year. Though every time I hit ‘Publish’ on a post it comes with having spent time researching, writing, and choosing photos, there are some that inevitably rise to the top in terms of comments and reactions, not to mention my own enjoyment in writing them. So here are what I consider my top posts of the year, in no particular order.

  1. The Vinyl Edition-Memories of growing up with vinyl records and the recent resurgence of them. I worked with my own local record store in Queens on this one-https://robpatdoy.wordpress.com/2016/01/30/soundtrack-of-a-photograph-the-vinyl-edition/
  2. The Story-The final studio album by Scottish group Runrig prompted this post, based around the touching video for the title cut. This album, and this group are both very special-https://robpatdoy.wordpress.com/2016/02/13/the-story/
  3. Living Music-A chance encounter at The Noguchi Museum with piano music created from the ‘sound’ of plants led to this post. It is also a reminder of all the discoveries to be made at museums-https://robpatdoy.wordpress.com/2016/06/01/living-music/
  4. The Book-This was a short fiction series I wrote after seeing a dedication in an old book. The idea came when I thought about the stories that book might tell as the years went by. https://robpatdoy.wordpress.com/2016/06/27/the-book/      https://robpatdoy.wordpress.com/2016/07/01/the-book-2/     https://robpatdoy.wordpress.com/2016/07/06/the-book-3/
  5. Voices Of The Haudenosaunee-Native American Music and Culture and the beautiful voice of Joanne Shenandoah-https://robpatdoy.wordpress.com/2016/08/17/voices-of-the-haudenosaunee/
  6. Irish Noise-Any trip to Ireland means you come back with a lot of photographs, but on my own trip there this summer, I became aware of ‘Irish Noise’. https://robpatdoy.wordpress.com/2016/07/27/irish-noise/
  7. Water Is Life-Despite water being such an accessible resource for many of us, it remains a critical issue for many more. Featuring music by the wonderful Touareg group-Tinariwen-https://robpatdoy.wordpress.com/2016/09/19/water-is-life/
  8. Self-Portrait-For my third anniversary of blogging, I  wrote a letter to myself celebrating the fact that what I do is art and proudly owning it- https://robpatdoy.wordpress.com/2016/10/23/self-portrait-the-third-anniversary-post/
  9. The Queens Curve-My series of Photo Shuffles are meant to be quick and fun little snippets that start by letting my Ipod choose a song randomly for me to write about. None of them have been as fun to write about as this one about my home for the past (almost) 2 years-https://robpatdoy.wordpress.com/2016/02/20/soundtrack-of-a-photograph-photo-shuffle-12/
  10. Lastly, I have been lucky enough to work with a fabulous New Orleans based photographer twice now. The second one, Two Cities, Two Streets was once again so much fun to be a part of and I am thankful we came across one another. https://robpatdoy.wordpress.com/2016/09/22/two-cities-two-streets/

So there you have it. Not just in terms of numbers, but this has been my best and most satisfying year doing this yet. Whether you are new to my posts or have read them all, I thank you for you taking the time to stop by. Stay tuned next week for my top photos of 2016. I have a lot to choose from so this will be a bit of a challenge!

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All Photographs By Robert P. Doyle and Soranny Martinez

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Monochrome Mondays

Alright, lets keep the momentum going in Week 2 of Monochrome Mondays! I took this photo this summer in Kilcar, County Donegal Ireland. The local spot known as Muckross Head is one of my favorite places anywhere, a combination of unique cliffs pockmarked by centuries of ocean waves crashing together with a stunning vista of Donegal Bay.

If you are interested in contributing a photograph to Monochrome Mondays, let me know in the comments below. I plan on featuring one guest photo every month.

Ancient Rocks, Donegal

Ancient Rocks, Donegal

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Take Back This House

Early on in this blogging journey of the past three years I made a lot of mistakes. It is inevitable that it should happen of course. I had not done any writing since college some 30 years before after all, and even then it was not my strong suit. It is still a learning process and as I go on, I still learn more every time I sit down and put these posts together. The biggest thing I have learned is to be more focused and succinct when I write. I have thought about re-working some of my older and longer posts in this manner the same way an artist or a band revisits a song from the past. But much like a 1980’s song awash with synthesizers and drum beats that sounds painfully dated, it is sometimes best to move on and write something new instead.

Which is not a bad thing in this case, because early on I wrote a post about yet another favorite group of mine, the Oysterband. You can go searching for it deep in the archives if you want but to be honest, because I was so new to blogging and writing, I don’t feel like I expressed what I really wanted to and lost the point along the way. Ever since I have wanted to correct that, and find a way to write about them again.  That time is now. Rare is a band that gets stronger and comes up with  albums later in their career that are arguably better than the earlier ones, but such is the case with Oysterband who have been plugging away for well over 30 years now.

‘Give me sweet music and strife’

Shortly after college when I began earnestly exploring anything that had the ‘folk’ moniker, the Oysterband were among the first groups I found. Actually it was probably the punk inspired Pogues that I found first, but I soon realized that Oysterband had the same sort of punk ethos, though in a less shambolic way. Their songs are both of the tradition and modern. They express anger and joy, frustration and fear driven forward with a folk dance beat played by skilled musicians. Albums like Holy Bandits, The Shouting End Of Life, Here I Stand, Ragged Kingdom (in collaboration with the sublime June Tabor) and 2007’s incredible Meet You There remain some of my top albums of all time. They were one of the groups I would throw in someone’s direction when the words folk music were scoffed at as uncool. But the sight of singer John Jones swinging his melodeon around wearing a leather jacket and shades, fiddler Ian Telfer lurking around the stage while  Alan Prosser kept it all pinned down with tasteful  guitar licks was anything but uncool. A telling story from the band’s origins is how when the punk music craze was cooling off in Britain and people were looking for an alternative for something ‘real’, folk music turned out to be it.

‘There is fire on the mountain, let the mighty beware’

 Like any band that has been around for years, life experiences and situations  work their way into the lyrics and music over time.  Though not the only focus to the music, political issues have been a part of the Oysterband’s repertoire throughout their career. One of the reasons I have continued to admire them is the fire has not died in that regard. If anything it has grown stronger. While playing the Oysterband’s music in the last few days in preparation for this post I was struck by several songs in particular. In a way, it almost seemed as if they were  part of a similar train of thought, even though they were written at different times, and were on very different sorts of albums. Collectively, the key lines to those songs have been in my head a lot in the past few weeks as I contemplate where we are politically and socially right now.

Despite having the songs swirling around in my head, I have  hesitated writing this post since after the U.S. Election. I think I needed to shut down for a bit and process all that has happened and is about to happen. Even after the election there has been countless analysis, frustration, fear and anxiety. On the other side of it, there are people that are happy, gloating, and celebrating the outcome. Friends and family are squabbling with one another, especially on social media which has become the new go to place to discuss events. Forget water cooler talk, Facebook has become the new place to share our thoughts though quite often it is based around overreactions and half-truths.

‘You ask me why we celebrate when nothing has been won’

After the election I found I could not be very active initially, beyond ‘liking’  posts from friends that were expressing the same frustrations and fears that I was. I have not touched on the political too much here, but I feel something has happened to me since the election. That is partly due to the results, but also in having decided recently that what I do here is a unique type of art, I feel more empowered than I have in years. I am ready and willing to speak my mind as to what I feel is right and wrong. And I genuinely feel there will be a lot of wrong to come in the coming future. Dear friends to me are already fearful of the anger and hate on the rise. But songs and groups like the Oysterband embolden me to make this stance and stay (quoting from one of their songs) on ‘The Shouting End Of Life’.  Strong, defiant, and fired up to say what I feel is wrong. To not back down and cower. To stand up. Not just because of an election result, but because it is the right thing to do as humans. 

I am including two Oysterband clips here. The first is a new song from a Best Of Compilation spanning the years 1998-2015. Call it a prediction, or just a case of same story different faces, but the song has an unsettling similarity to recent events-

‘Great towers reach the sky, dwarf me in their shadow.

Effigies and monuments that grow so high and keep us low.

In my heart this hope, I swear we can heal, we can repair

These hands were never meant to dress the wounds of millionaires’.

The second is the title track to the last studio album-Diamonds On The Water and is a reminder that despite injustice and despair, there will still be ‘music in the air.’ Which we need now more than ever before as we find the strength to carry on. The music of Oysterband will sure help me to.

The Shouting End Of Life and I Built This House-Written By Telfer, Jones, Prosser

Diamonds On The Water-Written By Telfer, Jones

This Is The Voice-Written By Telfer, Jones, Prosser, Cooper

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Monochrome Mondays

Presenting a new little corner of my blog devoted solely to my photography. As you can imagine, I have taken a lot of photographs over the years and only a fraction of them make their way here to the pages of my blog, so I thought this would be a good way to share more of them in my favorite medium-monochrome. I hope you enjoy this new section. In time I would also like to include some guest photos as well, so if you have some black and white shots you want to include, please get in touch with me.

Window Bottles, Wellfleet, Massachusetts

Window Bottles, Wellfleet, Massachusetts

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Photo Shuffle-Barrett’s Privateers

I pressed play on my Ipod and this is what I heard…Barrett’s Privateers By Stan Rogers.

CSS Acadia, Halifax Nova Scotia

CSS Acadia, Halifax Nova Scotia

Those of you who have been reading my posts for awhile now must surely realize that recurring themes pop up in my posts from time to time. Chalk that up in part to the types of photographs I like to take.  When I travel to a new and different place I  anticipate the types of photo ops I might get, and I instinctively pull the camera out to be ready. Say for example in Halifax, Nova Scotia,  which I stopped in while on a cruise a few years ago. It was a place I hoped would be full of different types of ships, which is one of those recurring themes I mentioned. I do have a thing for all manners of transportation! Happily I was not disappointed, and just a few moments after disembarking while still getting our bearings, my wife and I walked along the fabulous waterfront in Halifax, which was filled with all manner of ships in a busy port.

I suppose the reason I don’t feel bad about recurring, or ‘repeating’ themes here is because  photos, like songs  have similarities, yet there is always something unique to them somehow. A busy port filled with commercial, military, and  cruise ships together with pleasure craft may seem the same as any other port anywhere in the world, yet there is always something different about them, be it due to the layout or the climate. Likewise though songs may have the same time signature, same instruments playing, and maybe even the same subject matter, no two songs are ever truly alike.  I think both of these elements are why I am so easily influenced and inspired by things like transportation as a photography subject. It is also why I am so particularly drawn to folk music because it keeps such a connection with history.

There was another reason why I was so excited to be walking the waterfront of Halifax though, and I was happily humming a song in my head almost the entire time I was there. You cannot mention the words ‘Canadian’ and ‘Folk Music’ without immediately following them with the name Stan Rogers. Perhaps no other singer managed to attempt to fully explore the vast expanse of Canada the way Stan Rogers did. From the craggy shores of his native Nova Scotia, to the vast prairies of Alberta, Stan Rogers explored the Canadian experience throughout his all too short life. His songs reached deep into the soul of people, whether singing about a farmer in ‘The Fields Behind The Plow’, or the salvaging of a sunken ship in ‘The Mary Ellen Carter.’ His deep baritone voice, and his physical stature looked imposing, yet he had the gentle soul of a poet. Stan Rogers sadly passed away in a fire on board a plane in 1983 while returning from a folk festival but his name and legacy of songs continue on to this day.

One of those songs is what I was humming in my head that day in Halifax. Stan’s own boisterous song Barrett’s Privateers is sung in the style of a sea shanty. It is about a man on board a dilapidated privateer named the Antelope  in search of American merchant ships during the American Revolution. While off the coast of Jamaica a battle ensues and the Antelope is destroyed. It has taken the narrator of the song six years to finally return home as ‘a broken man on a Halifax pier, the last of Barrett’s Privateers.’ Years ago, when my friend Tony introduced me to the music of Stan Rogers, this song firmly became my favorite. Not just because of the enthusiastic swing your pints of ale manner of the sea shanty, but also because it tells such a gripping tale in the space of about four minutes. That thing I mentioned about songs being similar, yet different? I could rattle off several other songs with similar subject matter, yet none impact me quite the way this one does. In the years since its debut on Stan’s first album Fogarty’s Cove, it has become a folk standard throughout the world, but especially in the Canadian maritime provinces.

The photos I have included here, of CSS Acadia, and HMCS Sackville are two of the most revered ships in recent Canadian history. Fitting images for my own stroll on the Halifax piers while humming Stan Rogers’ song Barrett’s Privateers. I probably could not have been any more Canadian that day if I had tried!

HMCS Sackville, Halifax Nova Scotia

HMCS Sackville, Halifax Nova Scotia

Barrett’s Privateers-Written By Stan Rogers

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*Photo Shuffle is a short slice of my regular blogs based on setting my Ipod on shuffle and matching up one of my photographs to whatever comes up.

Blues In The Night

 

Having just celebrated my third year of blogging I spent some time recently going back through my older posts. I wanted to see the evolution and see what I am doing right and wrong. I also evaluated the types of music I have written about since the start. Unsurprisingly there has been a lot of folk, rock, country, soul and world music, with occasional nods to jazz and classical music. I realized that other than one or two brief mentions of the blues, I have not really delved into it much. Which is a surprise, because there is nothing quite so enjoyable as some down and dirty blues music, oozing out from a well worn guitar, and a singer pouring out pain with every word.

I’m not exactly sure how or what the first blues I heard was, but I am pretty sure it came by way of guys like Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, Jimi Hendrix and Jimmy Page talking about their own exposure to the music.  I find the best way to find new music is to listen to what the people making music say, and what has influenced them. The answer that those four guys would have all said early in their careers was the blues. Now the blues has always had lots of different styles and types-from its roots in the Mississippi Delta, to the southeastern Piedmont style, up to the electric sounds from Chicago and beyond. What they all share is a gritty, no-holds barred attitude to subject matter. There is nothing tender or genteel in the blues. Instead it is about the pain of being wronged, the frustration of love,  feeling low and broken down with not a dime to spare or a roof over your head. It all gets laid out on the line in a blues song.

As my knowledge of the music increased, so too did my collection of blues albums. Only giving you a short list of my favorites would include names like Mamie Smith, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Robert Johnson, Howlin’ Wolf, Sippie Wallace, Blind Willie McTell, Lightnin’ Hopkins, T-Bone Walker, Clarence ‘Gatemouth’ Brown, Johnny ‘Clyde’ Copeland, Shemekia Copeland, Albert Collins, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Robert Cray, Guitar Shorty. It would also include such seminal performances as Bessie Smith (The Empress Of The Blues) singing Downhearted Blues. The great Muddy Waters belting Mannish Boy and the refrain I’M A MAN. The badass John Lee Hooker doing Boogie Chillen’ and Boom Boom. Then would come ‘The Three Kings’-Albert, Freddie, and B.B. Albert’s soul flavored grooves on songs like Born Under A Bad Sign. Freddie for the guitar wizardry of The Stumble and Hideaway, tunes still challenging guitarists to this day.   B.B. and his guitar Lucille for all these elements combined into a dynamic showman revered around the world.

The name missing from that list is who this post is about however. Not just because he represents a direct link to most of the names listed above, but also because he is just so incredibly talented. One of the  fiercest guitarists out there, who can do more with one single note compared to thousands of would be guitar shredders.  And when he opens his mouth to sing, its like a freight train barreling through, as every hair on the back of your neck stands up. He is of course the sublime Buddy Guy, still going strong at 80 years old as I write this. Carlos Santana once said of him- “He plays one note and you can forget about the rent.” Like a lot of blues musicians his guitar sound can straddle several different styles-straight on Chicago style blues, soul, rock, and even tinges of jazz. Unlike most blues singers, he sings with a rolling sort of style-one moment a full on force of nature, the next tender and heartfelt. His singing and playing always compliment the song, and in a career dating back to the late 1950’s that is really saying something. Most people learn how to do that. For Buddy Guy, it was always there.

Buddy Guy has also influenced a slew of rock guitarists, including the names mentioned above. I can hear Buddy Guy in almost all of the rock guitar ‘gods’.  For the song I have chosen here, ‘Damn Right, I’ve Got The Blues’ you can really understand why. More than that though, you are really getting to that down and dirty blues type of feeling. I know when people poke fun at the blues it usually starts off with someone improvising something pissing them off like, ‘My car died this morning, nuh nuh nuh nuh-nuh, Gonna cost 1000 grand, nuh nuh nuh nuh-nuh, or something to that effect. And its true, some blues songs do come across that way. But when you hear Buddy Guy scream, “YOU’RE DAMN RIGHT I’VE GOT THE BLUES” well dammit…you believe him!

He also keeps you in the song, adding subtle little fills with the guitar, building up force slowly until an explosion of a second solo takes off somewhere into the stratosphere. Then, when most people would play that solo out to the end, Buddy leads them back to the main riff and descends down towards earth with more of a soft plea and a whisper now- ‘damn right, I’ve got the blues. It reminds me of those times when you feel so angry you argue with yourself. First a shout, then maybe a stomp of the feet, and then  subtle realization as you wind up muttering to yourself and skulking away. And that is what the blues does. It musically expresses emotion the way no other music really can. Yes, other music can get the aggression and adrenaline out (punk, metal, etc), but they don’t tap into the nuance the way only blues music can. That is why I listen to it. Well that, and because it frankly just makes you feel cool listening to it!

The photographic equivalent to blues music must surely be a photo taken at night. After all so many blues songs are about night time. From ‘Blues Before Sunrise’ to the title for this post-‘Blues In The Night’, it is a key ingredient. So I wanted to use something that was taken at night time, yet also had that down and dirty kind of feel to it. And of course it had to be in monochrome too! I hope you agree with the photo choice and the song. Now here’s a bonus clip of Buddy doing his thing with a little known outfit called The Rolling Stones. Remember what I said about what happens when he starts singing? Watch this clip and hear for yourself!

Damn Right, I’ve Got The Blues-Written By Buddy Guy

Champagne & Reefer-Written By Muddy Waters

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Self-Portrait-The Third Anniversary Post

It is hard to believe that it has been just about three years since I started this blog. It has given me so much at this point. Engaging conversations and lasting friendships from people all over the world. For me, the blogosphere continues to be the place for the sort of rational discourse we used to engage in with one another and a place still open to ideas. You can make people laugh or cry on these pages. Educate and inform. The other side of that is that I continue to learn so much from so many talented people writing their own blogs.

On each of my anniversaries, or blogoversaries as us bloggers call them, I have tried to do something a little special to mark the occasion. For my first one, I took a trip over the Manhattan Bridge on foot, focusing on the actual sounds of the bridge. For the second, I imagined sitting in the editing room of a film, directing the way the opening shots for a movie in my mind would look. So for this blogoversary, I knew I had to come up with something new yet again. Like many artists, the basis of an idea can be one that lingers around for awhile. The mere wisp of a thought jotted down but not fully realized. Months ago I had such a thought, recorded in my notebook in the hopes that it might see the light of day sometime. Well that time is now, and the idea quite simply is that of a Self-Portrait.

Artists have used this concept for a long time of course. Partly as an exploration of new ideas, and partly as an expression of their state of mind at a given time. My hesitation in using this idea is because from my very first post, I have struggled with this concept of calling myself any sort of artist in comparison with so many other talented individuals. Yes I know people respond to my photographs, as they have over time for my writing. But I never have been able to comfortably sell myself on the idea. Part of the dilemma is because this venture is not just one thing. It is not just a writing blog, or a photography blog. In my mind it is something else entirely and undefinable in some ways, and it is up to me to make it work. But rather than making a case for this by citing examples, I imagined instead a letter, written to the younger ‘me’ by the older ‘me’. Guiding me towards this path I am on now, which feels so right to me. Which makes me feel like I have a valid contribution. That makes me feel like an artist.

At the bottom of the letter are a few self-portraits taken with my camera on a timer setting. By way of the selfie, the one thing not lacking in our society today are self-portraits of course. But instead of the smiling, ‘Hey look at me in front of (insert place of interest)’ type, with arm stretched out,  I played around with some different expressions while the camera snapped away and I thought about the words I have written.

Dear Robert,

I am writing this letter to you from the future to tell you about…well, you! See, although much will change in this crazy old world of ours as you will soon find out, there are many more things that stay the same. Sure, things may go by a different name, or be smaller and faster than they once were, but we still need and thrive on them in my time. So I want to be sure you understand that the things that make you who you are, despite what others may say about them, is important. In fact, it is probably the most important thing to realize as you get older. In other words, do not ever give in to self-doubt or embarrassment about the things you have enjoyed at any time in your life. I know you feel a little aimless now that you are a young man. Feeling lost because you don’t know what you want to do while around you others may be telling you what you should be doing or have it figured out for themselves. Those people truly are doing it with the best of intentions and concern for you, but they probably do not really know what is going on in your head. I’m going to warn you…there may be a few lean years. You may feel like you are happy and content, but looking back you will regret things. But that’s okay. Don’t let those feelings get to you because I promise you, your time will come.

I’m here to tell you that every experience, every childhood memory, every discussion, every argument, every baseball game you ever watch, every TV show you sit staring at,  every concert you ever go to, every book you will ever read, every job you will ever have, every country you ever travel in, every mile that passes by in every car you ever sit in matters. You see young Robert, these are the experiences and memories you will use in the future to do some unique and special things. To use a phrase from poker (which I am sorry to say you will never master), they will allow you to go ‘all in’. It may feel like a meandering and circuitous path now, but all those things have a connection for you. Why? Because YOU chose them!

When you were growing up do you remember how you relished in the fantasy world you built in your mind, playing with toy cars and building little toy buildings? You would beam with pride as you imagined your designs to be unique and creative. I’m here to tell you that its okay if you kept those toys out later than most other kids did. Do you remember when you would pore over maps, tracing the world with your finger-East to West, North to South? You dreamed about the people that lived in those far away places-what they looked like, what  they ate, what the culture was like. Despite the usual schoolyard scoffing at such pursuits, I will tell you that you will remain fascinated by such things and your unique understanding and perspective will be shared in time. What’s more is that people will respond to your thoughts in a positive way. So those feelings you have now of no one listening to you will disappear.

Do you remember when you would drive for hours on a day off, staving off  loneliness because you had few friends? You would roll the windows down and crank the stereo, singing badly (which I’m sorry to say never got better) along with every word, listening to the nuances of every instrument. The music became your friends, but don’t worry, you will make some great ones in the future. I promise you. Do you remember spending hours in record stores, exploring every bit of music you could get your hands on? Switching between styles from Dublin to Delhi to the Delta and excitedly clutching a rare treasure from the racks as if it were an ancient artifact? All of that will be time well spent, believe me.  Do you remember your first trip to Ireland in 1983, when you snapped your own photos on the families trusty old Kodak Ektralite camera? How about two years later when you were in Switzerland, Germany and France? The truth is, you had a pretty good eye for photography way back then. You just did not realize it yet. But again, that’s okay…you will realize it one day.

Do you remember all the tales of adventure you read, wishing it was you on Tintin’s escapades, crossing Antarctica with Shackleton, or climbing Everest with Sir Edmund Hilary? Do you recall sailing with Captain Aubrey around Cape Horn, riding the rails with Woody Guthrie, or rocketing into space with the astronauts in the pages of a book? Do you remember having cocktails at the Drones Club with Bertie Wooster, or solving a mystery with Hercule Poirot? Can you remember crushing a 3/2 fastball with Joe DiMaggio or striking out Ted Williams? Or standing on a battlefield directing the action while all around you was chaos? How about that phase when you were fascinated with how things were built and you read about skyscrapers and cathedrals, bridges and infastructure? See kiddo, just like with the music you explored you found a lot of things to interest you. Some people might become so engrossed with one particular topic that they spend their entire lives studying it. Yours is a different approach, so don’t feel bad about exploring anything you can get your hands on, be it technical manual or a comic book. It will all come together.

I also want to tell you to not let other people bring you down with the labels they will put on you for your pursuits. Shy, loner, introvert, anti-social, whatever it is.  Quite frankly, those who put those labels on you have their own problems, so don’t think for a second that all is so rosy in their worlds. I don’t want to reveal too much, but you will find your way around most of these issues from someone very special. Oh damn, I said too much! Well, you’ll just have to take my word for it that it will happen one day and you will be very happy.  But more importantly, here is the thing. You will find a way to get all these seemingly disparate elements out in a way that is uniquely Robert. A way that has never quite been done before. It will happen when you decide that after many years, you are not content to keep all those elements trapped inside your head. It will happen when you realize that you have had inside you for a long time, a gift to share with people. It will reveal itself to you gradually, and it will not always be easy. But it will be worth it, I promise you.

I can say this, all these years later, because I know what you always wanted to be. I know the thoughts you had-the outside looking in feel you had when it came to anything creative. You yearned for it for years. You wanted to write, to make art, to be a photographer, to be a musician. It may not all happen, or it may still come in stages, but that secret you kept hidden inside you for years will be revealed one day. And when it happens Robert, I want you to hold your head high and say proudly-‘I’m an artist’. You will no longer say my stuff is not good enough. Or its only a hobby. Or I have no formal training. None of that matters. You have thoughts and ideas. You will find ways to share those things with the world in YOUR own way. You will find a way to join those fractured thoughts into something your own. You have a talent, believe me! Will it make you rich? Will it make you famous? You will have to experience that on your own. What I can tell you is that once you hold your head up high and say those words, you will truly feel like you are an artist because what you do IS art.

 Just remember-stay who you are. You will make mistakes, but you will also do a lot of good things. Keep going.

Yours Truly From The Future, Robert Patrick Doyle-Artist

P.S. I know you have watched a lot of sci-fi in your day, and no doubt remember those story lines  where a character goes into the future or the past, and is warned to beware of their actions so as not to upset the space-time continuum. Well all I can say is, it is true, but I checked with my buddy Neil DeGrasse Tyson about this just now and he said that I can at least tell you this with no fear of harming humanity. Once you get to that realization about yourself, then it is time to get cracking on that book Robert!

 

Now I’m sure you have been wondering where the song has been in this post.  Despite having this idea I struggled until the eleventh hour to find the right sort of song. I was beginning to worry but then the other day while coming home from work I put an album on by Irish singer Jack Lukeman (aka Jack L) called Broken Songs. When the song You Can’t Get Bitter came on I knew it was the right fit for this post. But rather than spend another 2000 words going on about yet another one of my favorite singers, I will let you figure out for yourselves why I chose it!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cX5U8dnRLH8

Thank you to all of you who continue to read and comment on my posts.  I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again-as long as there are photographs to take, and new songs to hear, this project will continue!

You Can’t Get Bitter-Written By Jack Lukeman

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All Photographs By Robert P. Doyle

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