Jack,

There was a hard-shell guitar case in the back of every car I rode in since I was born, and sometimes I would crawl inside the empty ones to go to sleep but I don't remember that. I thought it was weird that everyone's lives weren't full of music like mine was, when I found that out and about how I learned how to make a few chords before I figured out sentences, but all that stuff is on video.

There was stuff we were supposed to say and stuff we weren't to the people always asking us questions like I knew I wasn't supposed to say about finding the book in Brad's backpack about explosives or how Clyde was sick all the time and acted crazy, but I was supposed to say that I loved music and we were a good family and no one was ever mad, and I hated it.

We were pretty happy, usually, but when things went wrong or something was strange, my parents would try their best to control it and that's why we used fake names at the hospitals when Clyde started getting sick or when I tried to kill myself or when Avery was puking again. I think Uncle Jim gave them to us, but I don't remember.

I think sometimes and I get scared of the fact that I get depressed because I take after my dad. He used to be really angry sometimes, but he was always happy when there was music, so maybe we played it so much to keep him calm. He loves music, and I think sometimes it's the only thing he feels like is good in his life unconditionally.

When I came home Brad said a bunch of bad things about him, and I know he was sometimes short with my mom, but once the boys got famous, I guess he calmed down because he didn't want to put that in jeopardy. He's not a great disciplinarian maybe but he took a leaf out of the book of Joe Jackson and at least found something to smile about when the cameras were pointed at us. In some ways, the boys getting famous and touring meant that life was really different for the younger kids, and I know that they wouldn't have moved out so young and left us there if we weren't safe. Clyde used to say that things were worse before I was born, but I only remember him losing his temper when I was little.

I was thinking about the music I remember growing up with and how my dad loved Cream and the Marshall Tucker Band. I went looking for stuff about that in the files Dean put together, but it's weird because I guess my brothers didn't really grow up with my parents as their parents, and I'm trying to figure out where that leaves me, I guess. The first song I remember hearing probably wasn't actually the first one but it was Heard It in a Love Song and my mom and dad were singing it at a barbecue with a lot of people and my dad's boss was there and that was a big deal so I had to comb my hair, and I wore a shirt of Clyde's that was too big but it was the only thing we had that was clean because my mom had been fighting all day with someone on the phone.

When I was 10, I remember I ran into Adam reading in the den on Christmas, and I asked him what he was doing because I liked him a lot because he was so much older and quiet and being around him felt good, and he said he was reading about why we were all the way we were. I said what's that mean, and he said he wants to control things and have perfect order in our house because he's the oldest and feels the most like it was his home also, and that Brad likes to create chaos because it makes him feel safe to watch others manage him, and Clyde likes to promote harmony by finding ways to bridge gaps in contrary points of view or something, and I remember I said hey, what about me, Adam? And he looked at me a long time and said that I'm the way I am because sometimes God does nice things too and that was all. I remembered that for a long time, and it made me feel special like it was always going to go ok for me because God was so nice and I told people that for years without really thinking about what it meant until I came back home and I told Adam I remembered that and he cried.

It makes sense to me that the boys are so close, and maybe even that they're in love because they were alone in a weird world on their own, I mean this one but also the music industry because nothing is real there and it's full of people who want to make you into things they've always wanted to be themselves. I know when they were left alone, they were really left alone, and I didn’t really know how they felt being moved around or made to perform or packaged until I started doing it. It takes things out of you as much as it gives other things back, and pretty soon, you can feel like performing is your shadow and you're trying to outrun in or feed it maybe.

It's funny, I kind of rambled, but I guess I wanted to tell you what I'm thinking about Julian.

I missed you last night,
Joshua

Comment