1
May 18
Only two days remaining to preorder Letters to Lost Loves via Kickstarter. If we can reach 12k by Tuesday morning, all backers will be mailed a printed photograph from my walk, as well as another free song.
I think we can do it!
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/tysonmotsenbocker/letters-to-lost-loves-lp-and-short-stories

Only two days remaining to preorder Letters to Lost Loves via Kickstarter. If we can reach 12k by Tuesday morning, all backers will be mailed a printed photograph from my walk, as well as another free song.

I think we can do it!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/tysonmotsenbocker/letters-to-lost-loves-lp-and-short-stories


May 06

May 02

2
Apr 29

Wow, you guys are unbelievable. We hit 4k today, and it’s looking like things are going in the right direction. I can’t say thank you enough times. Thank you.

I’m writing this from a little coffee shop in San Francisco. Mike and I spent the morning in Portland yesterday and headed south in the early afternoon. I didn’t know what it would be like, to be back here in the city, the last time I was in the city was after I walked here from San Diego, when I stood at the old fort in the Presidio and looked across the bay and the Golden Gate as the sun went down. We went there this morning, to the place where I finished my walk.

It felt surreal, standing there again, this time in a warm air that was signaling the turning season. The last time I stood there it was in the colder evening wind coming up from below and from all those miles across the bluewater and the Pacific, the coming of winter was then, and now, it’s the summer that comes. I expected it to feel the same way, and myself to feel the same way as I did then, but it’s not the same. It felt more like visiting the set of a film - a film I loved, but somehow when I moved closer I could see the supports behind the facade, as it were.

I read yesterday, an essay on death and dying. The author wrote, in passing, that it is death that makes narcissists of all, great narcissists, because, of course, when the foundations of our world begin to shake we look for the exits, often pushing others out of the way to do so. And, when it is finished, we are looking inward long afterwards, to sort the rubble into categories, to decide who we are to be, now.

These are the things I was thinking as I stood there, how so often the things we intend to do for noble purposes are set to spinning like coke bottles when we aren’t watching, and in the end they are pointing back at us again, when we intended for them to point towards truth or beauty or God or common understanding between man. This record, and this book were always set to point towards these things - to honor my mother and the God she taught me to admire, to show myself that we aren’t so different, that things turn out ok in the end, and the same for us all. When I look away for a moment, it’s spinning towards me again. 

I think, in many ways, it is YOU who keeps me honest. I know you, the people who have helped me to raise 4,000 of your hard earned dollars, you are pledging towards Jeanne, and towards the things I have tried to represent, and hopefully, the broader beauty that will be created from me, in spite of me. I owe this project to you, and much more. 

Thanks,

Tyson


6
Apr 28

Take a swing by my kickstarter page to bring this song into the next form of reality. If you enjoy it, pick up a preorder today.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/tysonmotsenbocker/letters-to-lost-loves-lp-and-short-stories


4
Apr 24

The first show I played in Spokane was at the old Empyrean opening for a metal band. I walked in the old brick storefront and around the back where the venue room was and saw a bunch of guys with face makeup on setting up gear for what looked like a Spinal Tap show. 

During the four years I lived in Spokane the Empyrean was a constant in my life and a place of innumerable memories - it was a place that, in many ways defined art, defined myself and community - but most of all it defined Spokane. When they were unable to raise the funds for a new sprinkler system, the place moved and eventually closed. I went there yesterday and looked in the window. The stage is still there, and the squares on the floor where the speaker mains sat. I walked North past the ramp where the railroaders used to throw Idaho furs down into the tanning room when it was a fur conditioning business, many lifetimes ago, and I drove away. 

I guess part of growing up is learning how to allow the lost things of the past to make new roots and grow, to become new and greater things by digging down into memory and image and rise up again in a new form. A few old friends of mine did that with a beautiful new venue called the Bartlett. It was the first time since the old Empyrean that Spokane felt like I knew it was supposed to feel, which is difficult to describe, but isn’t unlike a family. Such an incredible show. I couldn’t be more grateful. 

I’m so blown away by the support I’ve received from people in my life, with this crazy kickstarter and this tour. We reached 20% of the goal in less that 24 hours, and all of our shows thus far have been so much fun. Thank you, so much.  


6
Apr 22

Kickstarter from Japhy Rider on Vimeo.

Those of you who have been with me on this tumblr have seen a closer side of my past year, with my mom and my music and my walking and walking. This is a product of those things, a new project. It’s huge and scary to me, but I believe in it enormously. 

2
Apr 03

7
Feb 18

Facebook sent me an email today - it said “You’ve been gone, for like, totally forever.”

Not really, but I’m beginning to visualize Facebook as a forty year old woman who speaks like a fourteen year old girl from Lake Oswego. She’s wearing a sweatshirt with the buzzfeed logo on it and smells like mushrooms. I’m expecting facebook, as an entity to slide into the sea and sink to the bottom, and whenever that happens, I won’t be upset.

She’s right though - I haven’t been spending time on the internet like I used to, even the good parts of the internet, like writing on here or, like the old days when I would drink whiskey in the night and google “the winter.” Google image searching “winter” is one of the many good uses of the internet, you see. But it’s not for a lack of writing. I’m writing more than I ever have in my life. I have two notebooks full of thoughts - of the scannings of cafes and the recordings of the little pieces of humanity that I have seen, when I learned how to watch and listen. I’ve just finished the first draft of a book of short stories that I dreamt up while I was walking along the side of the highway - and I have an entire shelf of matte film prints in my room, 3x5’s with white borders in yellow envelopes. It seems curious to me, then, that when Facebook ladygirl emails me, reminding me that I haven’t been “posting enough” - and I go to the status bar or I push the “new tweet” box, I sit there looking at it with nothing to say. 

Because I don’t really have anything to say. 

When I finished my walk, I spent a week in San Francisco. My friends there walked me all over the city and fed me all the thousands of beautiful calories the city has to offer, and I gained most of the weight I’d lost back. I took the train back to San Diego in early December - went directly into the studio to produce an album for a friend of mine and then flew to Spokane for Christmas, where my family and I drove to Canada for Christmas. 

When I came home I hit the road again. A weekend in Mammoth, two weeks in Orange County. I flew to New Mexico and Southern Colorado, playing songs and meeting new friends. My Seattle Seahawks won the Super Bowl, and my closest friends sat beside me in their Denver Broncos hats quietly. I went to Big Bear twice, and today - having just driven down from the town of Lake Arrowhead, I’m waiting to drive into the desert for another show.

It’s a strange life. There are no weekends and I am usually waiting for the next thing to start, but I have been given a gift - it’s the ability to sit present in a place and see it and appreciate it. I never could, before the walk, I was impatient for the next thing, that I was always so sure would be better than the present thing. Today, I wait patiently. I act as an audience. I allow that each moment is worth living inside, because great moments pass away and are lost and bad moments pass away and aren’t so bad anymore.

The pictures I posted here are from the last roll I took. A beautiful winter swell in Cardiff, Colorado and New Mexico and Big Bear the first time.

One of my favorite shots on that roll is one of the worst ones. It’s underexposed and grainy - it’s of two cowboys in a kitchen, one of them explaining something to the other with his hands. I happened upon these two when I was in Colorado, the one doing the explaining is the person responsible for designing the exhaust system for the early Space Shuttles. You can’t see it, but he’s wearing a belt buckle that says “White Sands Space Harbor” and it has the Challenger on it. 

“It took two hundred thousand horsepower of steam to flush the exhaust from those rockets.” He explained it to me, and I pretended to understand. 

The three of us stood in that kitchen for nearly four hours one morning drinking cowboy coffee, which is made out of old grounds and eggshells that you break up with your hand. It was the kind of moment you live for, when you are a traveling person. 

“I had a dog growing up - he could jump over the top of the tailgate in my dad’s 3/4 ton Chevy pickup - and he did, he always did whenever we went anywhere. He didn’t want to get left behind. So when we came out of the house and my dad unlocked the doors with the heavy buttons on the handles that dog would come running out of the woods at a thousand miles per hour and jump clear over the sides of the truckbed. I remember driving, early in the summer with that dog’s ears blowing in the wind - his jowls all flayed like a catfish, pacing back and forth looking for the smell he just found and lost again. And when we stopped at the store he would wait for us to go inside, sitting there politely, and then he’d jump out and crawl under the truck in the shade and watch - he knew he was breaking the rules, but a big black dog, hot in the sun - you can’t blame him.”

We all take a drink at the same time.

“But the funny thing - when we came back out the front of the store, he’d jump right back in the truck, pretend he was always there, sitting the same with his head over the sidewall like a damn gentleman. My dad could always see him jumping in and out and knew he did it.”

“Was your dad angry at the dog?” Steve asked me that - he’s the old cowboy, the rocket scientist. We were talking about dogs.

“No. He liked that the dog was so smart.”

“I would like that too, in a dog.” And he smiled, remembering something in his mind. He stood there not saying anything for a while, and all three of us were remembering dogs we had before in the quiet of the kitchen - and we were strangers only a little while before.


12
Dec 06
It’s incredible how easily I get sick in the car, like everything is flashing past at a thousand miles per hour and every bump in the road and twisting corner feel like chemicals in my stomach rising up through my neck and holding my brain with big red fingers. I’ve been in San Francisco for two days, riding in cars and busses around the city. It all moves so quickly and people are looking forward and forward and deep into a place I can’t see or imagine, right in front of the next footstep, just over the horizon. For thirty some days I’ve imagined the city, and all the places I knew - the Presidio, the Mission, Market Street and the Golden Gate. I stood on the old World War II barracks on the point, looking out towards the Pacific Ocean with the giant arches of the Golden Gate Bridge on my right and nothing seemed real, like I was living inside a projection of what the end would look like. It was as though I was still just sitting inside my own mind, envisioning the slight backwards arch and the cables bending in the sun listening to my feet slap on the concrete in pattern like big black tires - it was where I went when the road went straight. I closed my eyes. I was there already - and this time, maybe I was - only it was much bigger, or maybe, it was much smaller - in a wider radius. 

I walked down the steps that had been notched in the wall of the bunker and over to a bench that sits where the bridge lines up. I saw down the bridge in a straight line like a gun barrel with all the cars floating up and over. There was a man taking photographs, squatting for the angles.

“Hello sir.” I said. He smiles.
“I just needed to tell someone - I just walked here. From San Diego. I had to tell somebody because there’s nobody for me to tell.”

He smiles.

“I’ve been walking for four weeks and there were so many times I didn’t think I could do it, but I did do it, and now I’m here. I walked here. I just needed somebody to tell.”

“I am from Montreal!” He proclaims.
“I speak FRANCAIS!” And he turned and walked down the steps towards the new perspective and the setting sun beyond the arches. 

As I sat in the hospice home with my mother on her last days, she was awake at first. Eventually she slept more and more often until she was only sleeping. She laid back in her bed breathing slowly and when she left us - there were five of us in the room looking at our cell phones in the silence and the glow of a single lamp in the corner. She just stopped breathing.

“I think she’s gone.” My sister said.
“I think so.” My father said.
I didn’t say anything.

We’ve grown accustomed to the reception of endings, final words and poetry, the gasp and will of a dying soldier, the grand finale, the cheers of the audience - but maybe more often the end comes with silence, with the only English words a person from Eastern Canada knows how to speak, with a misunderstanding and an empty space. It isn’t what we expected, but poetry is creation and the moving from one space to another with just the words to say it correctly. There is no eulogy more eloquent than the one my sister gave when she said “I think she’s gone.” There were no words more poignant and elegiac to welcome me in from six hundred miles of road noise and wet nights than someone telling me that they didn’t understand what I was trying to say. 
 I picked up my backpack and walked until I found a bus, and then I got on the bus and that was the end of the time I walked from San Diego to San Francisco.

My friend Joseph met me just outside of Santa Cruz on Thanksgiving, one week ago. We had thanksgiving dinner in a bar in Santa Cruz together, talking about making records and old cameras. My first day out on the road I had discovered that my Minolta SRT 201 had a broken advance lever from the way I had packed it. Joseph brought me a new camera, the same 70’s SRT in all of it’s beautiful familiarity and the old man sitting beside me wanted to talk film with us. The waves were boiling in the first winter swell, big cold waves in blues and greens from the north. We stood at the lighthouse at Steamer Lane and I thought about all the years I’d been coming here to look at the same view in different shades and colors and all the different people I had been in different stages. The crowd was gathered to watch the surfers and the sun going down as I had seen it do every night for the weeks on the road, but somehow it seemed different, like it was further over and across and I was already walking away - but it was as though the sun was still watching me, looking past it’s audience on the cliffs with their cameras and saying “I know that one best” - and when I looked over my shoulder it felt wrong, not sitting. Not watching it go - because every night I had, through Los Angeles, and on and on and on - high above the water in Big Sur when the cars stopped coming, every night the same way. I felt it on my back and there was a sadness there. It was the first farewell.

There’s a house in Santa Cruz that, in many ways is the face of my times there, a constant and a comfort to me during many days on the road, under the redwoods on Mount Hermon. I told Joseph to wait outside and knocked on the door. Voices from inside shouted to come in, and I knew what I would find. Redwood walls, books, a grand piano tucked under some shelves like a children’s fort of blankets - a wood fire in the middle of the room and people. People sitting at a long wooden table under the eaves past the living room - covered in food and glasses with every color of drink. It’s the Burn’s house, the joining of two families and so many more. I invited Joseph inside where my old friend Josh met us smiling with drinks - and as I knew would happen, the end of the evening did not arrive until deep into the following morning. We sat in the living room with guitars - the old grand piano singing out alongside the slow picking of banjos, the muddy thump of Josh’s stand up bass, high glasses and new renditions. Someone delivered a kick drum and a snare into the room and played with wire brushes as everyone sang along with clinking glasses and conversation under the sounds of a full and beautiful time together, all lit by the feeding of the fire, flickering across the rafters.

“I’m sorry about your mom.” - it was Dave Burns when the party was over and everybody was shuffling out the door in their winter coats, he was looking directly at me, white-haired and laugh-lined. I didn’t have much to say, as I don’t when people tell me those words, but I could see the memories in his eyes standing like shadows in the dark - of the last days of his late wife, Josh’s mother - when she was sleeping more and more, taking slow breaths and then none at all. I looked around his house and then back at him. 

“It turns out ok.” I said.
“Yes.” He said. “It does.”

There were eighty more miles from Santa Cruz up the coastline, walking in the fog and the breaking of the waves in explosions on the rocks. Joseph and I found the Pigeon Point lighthouse one night and set flat on our backs looking up in the dark watching the beams spin in the fog. 

“Here you are, spinning in all the love you never found.” I told it, like it was watching across the ocean for something that never came, and there were more thoughts there, about how we are spinning in all the love we never found and the darkness was cold and complete. Joseph left that night, driving with friends back to Los Angeles. I woke up alone in the Eucalyptus again. It felt correct to me, that I would finish alone. 

Two days later I crested the final hill in South San Francisco and saw the whole of the place spread out below, the bridge in the distance, I knew I was almost finished. It was a grief I can’t explain, like somehow everything I wanted was right before me and it wasn’t going to be enough anymore. I sat and wrote this in my yellow book on it’s last pages:

“Today I will sit and try and write a conclusion to this walk. I’m sure I’ll write about Thanksgiving and the lighthouse spinning in all the love it never found. I’ll write about expectations and the end, but I already know that there is still so much left undone, like I only just began to see anything at all. I think that I have come to terms with the fact that she is gone and I’ve forgiven myself for not being around in her final days as much as I wish I would have - but further: I’ve seen myself at my best and worst, I’ve learned, truly, of the great kindness of the God beyond, been able to rest in the experience that he is foremost good, and kind, and the answers will remain veiled by design…

But when I think back over all those miles and footsteps on the side of the highway I only see colors and photographs, the rushing wind and the clatter of motor cars. I feel the sun on my face and the sweat building on my hands and all the greater truths I found along the way are in there somehow tumbling with the tires and shining like the later sun off a single wave below - and I can only describe them how they came to me, on the wings of these things and the feeling that everything turns out ok in the end.”

It’s incredible how easily I get sick in the car, like everything is flashing past at a thousand miles per hour and every bump in the road and twisting corner feel like chemicals in my stomach rising up through my neck and holding my brain with big red fingers. I’ve been in San Francisco for two days, riding in cars and busses around the city. It all moves so quickly and people are looking forward and forward and deep into a place I can’t see or imagine, right in front of the next footstep, just over the horizon. For thirty some days I’ve imagined the city, and all the places I knew - the Presidio, the Mission, Market Street and the Golden Gate. I stood on the old World War II barracks on the point, looking out towards the Pacific Ocean with the giant arches of the Golden Gate Bridge on my right and nothing seemed real, like I was living inside a projection of what the end would look like. It was as though I was still just sitting inside my own mind, envisioning the slight backwards arch and the cables bending in the sun listening to my feet slap on the concrete in pattern like big black tires - it was where I went when the road went straight. I closed my eyes. I was there already - and this time, maybe I was - only it was much bigger, or maybe, it was much smaller - in a wider radius. 

I walked down the steps that had been notched in the wall of the bunker and over to a bench that sits where the bridge lines up. I saw down the bridge in a straight line like a gun barrel with all the cars floating up and over. There was a man taking photographs, squatting for the angles.

“Hello sir.” I said. He smiles.

“I just needed to tell someone - I just walked here. From San Diego. I had to tell somebody because there’s nobody for me to tell.”

He smiles.

“I’ve been walking for four weeks and there were so many times I didn’t think I could do it, but I did do it, and now I’m here. I walked here. I just needed somebody to tell.”

“I am from Montreal!” He proclaims.

“I speak FRANCAIS!” And he turned and walked down the steps towards the new perspective and the setting sun beyond the arches. 

As I sat in the hospice home with my mother on her last days, she was awake at first. Eventually she slept more and more often until she was only sleeping. She laid back in her bed breathing slowly and when she left us - there were five of us in the room looking at our cell phones in the silence and the glow of a single lamp in the corner. She just stopped breathing.

“I think she’s gone.” My sister said.

“I think so.” My father said.

I didn’t say anything.

We’ve grown accustomed to the reception of endings, final words and poetry, the gasp and will of a dying soldier, the grand finale, the cheers of the audience - but maybe more often the end comes with silence, with the only English words a person from Eastern Canada knows how to speak, with a misunderstanding and an empty space. It isn’t what we expected, but poetry is creation and the moving from one space to another with just the words to say it correctly. There is no eulogy more eloquent than the one my sister gave when she said “I think she’s gone.” There were no words more poignant and elegiac to welcome me in from six hundred miles of road noise and wet nights than someone telling me that they didn’t understand what I was trying to say. 

I picked up my backpack and walked until I found a bus, and then I got on the bus and that was the end of the time I walked from San Diego to San Francisco.

My friend Joseph met me just outside of Santa Cruz on Thanksgiving, one week ago. We had thanksgiving dinner in a bar in Santa Cruz together, talking about making records and old cameras. My first day out on the road I had discovered that my Minolta SRT 201 had a broken advance lever from the way I had packed it. Joseph brought me a new camera, the same 70’s SRT in all of it’s beautiful familiarity and the old man sitting beside me wanted to talk film with us. The waves were boiling in the first winter swell, big cold waves in blues and greens from the north. We stood at the lighthouse at Steamer Lane and I thought about all the years I’d been coming here to look at the same view in different shades and colors and all the different people I had been in different stages. The crowd was gathered to watch the surfers and the sun going down as I had seen it do every night for the weeks on the road, but somehow it seemed different, like it was further over and across and I was already walking away - but it was as though the sun was still watching me, looking past it’s audience on the cliffs with their cameras and saying “I know that one best” - and when I looked over my shoulder it felt wrong, not sitting. Not watching it go - because every night I had, through Los Angeles, and on and on and on - high above the water in Big Sur when the cars stopped coming, every night the same way. I felt it on my back and there was a sadness there. It was the first farewell.

There’s a house in Santa Cruz that, in many ways is the face of my times there, a constant and a comfort to me during many days on the road, under the redwoods on Mount Hermon. I told Joseph to wait outside and knocked on the door. Voices from inside shouted to come in, and I knew what I would find. Redwood walls, books, a grand piano tucked under some shelves like a children’s fort of blankets - a wood fire in the middle of the room and people. People sitting at a long wooden table under the eaves past the living room - covered in food and glasses with every color of drink. It’s the Burn’s house, the joining of two families and so many more. I invited Joseph inside where my old friend Josh met us smiling with drinks - and as I knew would happen, the end of the evening did not arrive until deep into the following morning. We sat in the living room with guitars - the old grand piano singing out alongside the slow picking of banjos, the muddy thump of Josh’s stand up bass, high glasses and new renditions. Someone delivered a kick drum and a snare into the room and played with wire brushes as everyone sang along with clinking glasses and conversation under the sounds of a full and beautiful time together, all lit by the feeding of the fire, flickering across the rafters.

“I’m sorry about your mom.” - it was Dave Burns when the party was over and everybody was shuffling out the door in their winter coats, he was looking directly at me, white-haired and laugh-lined. I didn’t have much to say, as I don’t when people tell me those words, but I could see the memories in his eyes standing like shadows in the dark - of the last days of his late wife, Josh’s mother - when she was sleeping more and more, taking slow breaths and then none at all. I looked around his house and then back at him. 

“It turns out ok.” I said.

“Yes.” He said. “It does.”

There were eighty more miles from Santa Cruz up the coastline, walking in the fog and the breaking of the waves in explosions on the rocks. Joseph and I found the Pigeon Point lighthouse one night and set flat on our backs looking up in the dark watching the beams spin in the fog. 

“Here you are, spinning in all the love you never found.” I told it, like it was watching across the ocean for something that never came, and there were more thoughts there, about how we are spinning in all the love we never found and the darkness was cold and complete. Joseph left that night, driving with friends back to Los Angeles. I woke up alone in the Eucalyptus again. It felt correct to me, that I would finish alone. 

Two days later I crested the final hill in South San Francisco and saw the whole of the place spread out below, the bridge in the distance, I knew I was almost finished. It was a grief I can’t explain, like somehow everything I wanted was right before me and it wasn’t going to be enough anymore. I sat and wrote this in my yellow book on it’s last pages:

“Today I will sit and try and write a conclusion to this walk. I’m sure I’ll write about Thanksgiving and the lighthouse spinning in all the love it never found. I’ll write about expectations and the end, but I already know that there is still so much left undone, like I only just began to see anything at all. I think that I have come to terms with the fact that she is gone and I’ve forgiven myself for not being around in her final days as much as I wish I would have - but further: I’ve seen myself at my best and worst, I’ve learned, truly, of the great kindness of the God beyond, been able to rest in the experience that he is foremost good, and kind, and the answers will remain veiled by design…

But when I think back over all those miles and footsteps on the side of the highway I only see colors and photographs, the rushing wind and the clatter of motor cars. I feel the sun on my face and the sweat building on my hands and all the greater truths I found along the way are in there somehow tumbling with the tires and shining like the later sun off a single wave below - and I can only describe them how they came to me, on the wings of these things and the feeling that everything turns out ok in the end.”