Especially you, Erik. Black Garden was one of the first dreams/goals I've ever had in my life, and even now, it doesn't feel right playing a damn thing without hearing your spin on it first. Kicking around ideas with you was always something I looked forward to, even if it was terrible and I knew it was, I'd throw it out there just to pass it back and forth (insert some STD joke here) with you.
I want to thank all of you who knew, supported, and encouraged Black Garden, and even more specificially, Erik and myself. That support and encouragement is something I will never, EVER, forget. I started out as a shitty musician, but I still dreamed, and I still felt the music, and nobody here stepped on that, ever. Erik, I lack the God-given talent that you have, my friend, so stick with it. You're fucking brilliant, man. You really are. You have all those great ideas, so when you get done reading this, get the fuck up, walk over, and pick up your guitar. Write another incredible tune, and try not to let all that fame go to your head, haha. You'll be great, man. Just stick with it. Dig deep, and stick with it. It's your dream, and dreams are something that nobody can ever take from you. I also know you have the capacity and the talent and the absolute drive, when you dig deep, to take those dreams and turn them into actual realizations, man. Fucking do it.
I wanted very much to succeed, and play music until the day I die. Music is the only thing that has ever given me any kind of comfort, or solace, or outlet, in my entire life. I was, and will always be, nothing, without my music and what it means to me. It's simply everything.
Raina, you're the man, babe. You're a wonderful lady, and no shit, I love you. Take care of yourself, doll.
Lefty, keep your chin up. Bad shit happens to us all, and you're living fucking proof of what it means to pick yourself back up again. Just keep grinning through the gunsmoke, and at the end of it all, remember that yesterday's box score is just that- yesterday's. That's where it belongs. You're a stand-up man, I'm pretty sure you know it.
Lisa, you're an incredible lady. Kind of like the Don around here, but more feminine. Still able to kick ass at a moment's notice, though. We all love you, dear, you're like the Den Mother of the Staind boards...only you don't discourage alcohol and shit.
Harrison, you son of a bitch. You're still gay. But we all love you anyway.
There are a lot of people here from the old board I didn't mention, but you're all wonderful people, united by the common love of a single band, whose music is not only literally life saving to a lot of people, but inspirational, as well. Staind is the fucking reason I picked up a guitar in the first place.
You guys may all be wondering why the fuck I'm writing this (I'm Nova, by the way), and I guess maybe it won't be as big a deal to everyone else as it is to me. A couple days ago marked the anniversary of 9/11, something that makes me weep tears of absolute fucking rage every time I see footage or hear phone calls recorded on that day. I have not forgotten, and I will damn sure never forgive the murder of 3,000 innocent people by the Muslim extremists on that day. Don't think I'm racist, I'm not. I have sat down and eaten at a Muslim family's table. One of my best friends is Muslim, even. I can say that overall, they are kind, compassionate, conservative, hard-working, intelligent people. I refuse to judge an entire people based on the actions of a few radicals. I would be sincerely disappointed in anyone if they did so.
I'm enlisting in the Army under the MOS 18X, which is basically an opportunity to try out for Special Forces. My GT score on the ASVAB was 123, so I know I qualify intellectually, and as for the physical part...Well, to put it bluntly, I'm a fucking beast. I can run a mile in seven minutes (which is a bit slow, but I haven't run in years), and can knock out fifty-eight push ups a minute and around sixty sit ups a minute. Yes, it is a combat job. Yes, I will most likely be deployed somewhere in the Middle East. No, I am not afraid.
I'm signing my contract in about two weeks, and until I actually ship out for basic, I'll try to stop by and say heyo once in a while. After that, though, I don't know if I'll really get the opportunity to ever try and contact any of you again. The way I see it, I'm young, intelligent, and incredibly fit, and there are people I care about enough to want to do whatever it takes to make sure that they are living in a better world than they did yesterday. So I will. Whatever it takes.
I wanted to write this letter to let you all know that somewhere, sometime, you each did something monumental for me. Even if it wasn't that big. Occasionally, it was even as simple as validating my feelings as a human being. That...that's something that can't go unappreciated. So, I wanted to say thank you, to all of you, and that it's been an absolute blast knowing you. You're all great people.
Erik, keep at it, man. You're gonna be a fucking star.
See you 'round.
Kyle from the Garden.
P.S.- Add me on facebook if you feel up to it. I'd love to get letters while I'm in basic, and I think facebook would be the easiest way to let people know the address to send them to. Search for Kyle Lowry, I'm the tool in the white shirt on the beach.