When I moved back to my hometown almost twenty years ago now, I fell in with a group of artists. They were primarily musicians and, in time, they became good friends. I began to shoot music. Each of them has taught me something, some have taught me a lot about what it means to create art. Mostly they taught me that you have to be willing to work your ass off whether or not anyone gives a damn. Which is most often the case. It’s mind boggling what some have managed to accomplish. Two started a music festival with little more than a vision, a dedication to hard work and a couple of credit cards. They ran it ten years, filled hotels, and brought in bands from all over the world. Some have gone onto play in bands which have met with great critical national acclaim, if not financial reward. Others write: fiction, non-fiction and more than a few are poets. Several publish their own poetry magazine. Several run their own small publishing company. Some teach and some belly dance. That we have collectively managed to survive our occasional acts of stupidity is a testament to either good fortune or proof that God does protect mad men drunks and fools. Sometimes life intervenes and we don’t get together often enough. Sometimes we do. And when we can get together, I never think about what we have or haven’t accomplished, I just think that I’m happy to be able to call these talented people friends. I think that I'm grateful for Thursday night.