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From the distance of the car, Springsteen gazes at all the living and happiness. And then: Something in him cracks open. With each passing year, the price of our refusal to do that sorting rises higher and higher. I relied on them wrongly to isolate myself, seal my alienation, cut me off from life, control others, and contain my emotions to a damaging degree. That breakdown sent him into analysis.

It—and the work he did on himself—transformed his life. We ignore our demons, he says, at our peril. This is the work of a man revealing his flaws so that he can inspire us to redeem ourselves. Nearly a decade after that night in Texas, Springsteen is at his home in Los Angeles. It is early morning, and there is a knock on the door: his father. Springsteen invites him in, and he and his father sit at the table. He can only nod. And it was all that I needed. Here in the last days before I was to become a father, my own father was visiting me, to warn me of the mistakes that he had made, and to warn me not to make them with my own children.

He learned that all those nights Doug Springsteen sat alone, brooding, silent, in the dark of that kitchen, he was a man lost. A man who would be diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic. The diagnosis gave Springsteen context to his boyhood.

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But it also gave him a new fear. So we have to watch, in our family. It ran in my family going way before my dad. On the day of the funeral, after the priest finished his prayers at the graveside of the family plot in Freehold, Springsteen sent away the mourners and remained behind with only a few close friends and relatives.

I ask him: Will you be buried there, too? In the family plot in St. Rose of Lima Cemetery? He looks off toward the mirror, pauses. And then comes the short laugh. Will I end up there? Maybe a little in the ocean. Here and there. Is there anything your father never said to you that you wish he had said? Were there any words unspoken?

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Springsteen pauses again and looks back toward his mirror. Because a I know he did. So he showed me he did, on many occasions. And so that was fine. My father was so nonverbal that. Later in his life, the last ten years, he was very visibly emotional. Springsteen goes silent.

That was what I was always running up against. So somewhere inside of me, I still wanted my dad to be my audience. I wanted him to be mine. I wish for further and deeper understanding of who we both were. Springsteen tells me he has found purpose through his children. He is the father of two sons and a daughter: Evan, twenty- eight, works for SiriusXM; Sam, twenty- four, is a firefighter in New Jersey; and Jessica, twenty-six, is an equestrian. He says he promised himself long ago that he would not lose his children the way his father lost him. Much of his struggle to become a good father had to do with the hurt and anger he had to work through.

He credits Scialfa, his wife of twenty-seven years, with inspiring him to be a better man, with saving him. Feeding your children is an act of great intimacy, and I received my rewards: the sounds of forks clattering on breakfast plates, toast popping out of the toaster. And there it is: Bruce, no longer the son of scarcity but rather the father of abundance, reclaiming the kitchen for his family; transforming it from a fortress of darkness and silence into a land of brightness, filled with the sounds of life. Sitting here with me now, talking about his brood, he radiates joy.

A father, proud of his children, grateful. I ask him, considering the current environment, what kinds of conversations he and his family are having around the kitchen table; what it means to be a man in society right now. But what would you say if you had to give advice to someone raising sons today?

Be there. If I have any advice to give, that is it. I mean you have to be fully present in mind, spirit, and body. Just by being present, you guide them. My children are transitioning into adulthood. They are not locked into a s sensibility of manhood, which I had to contend with. Consequently, their attitudes toward women and the world are free of those archetypes, and that frees them to be who they are and have deeper and more meaningful relationships.

They know—and can show—love. And they know how to receive love.

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They know what to do with their problems. They are quite different from my generation. And what about your daughter, who is navigating a world that has had a rebirth of misogyny—do you and Patti talk to her about this? And what do I notice? It seems to me like women today learn a lot quicker. She came with a set of tools that—and I have to credit most of this to Patti, because Patti was just very in tune with all the kids all the time—allowed her to make her way through the world in a very aware way.

That came through Patti.

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Patti was very independent. So she has a roaring independence that has served her very well.

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And that discussion happens implicitly. By your behavior at home and how you treat your partner and what they see. I by no means have been perfect. But if you give a reasonable presentation of yourself, a lot of that occurs implicitly. Springsteen sighs.

It's usually difficult to successfully challenge a will--but it happens.

So what do I say? Thoughtfulness, which is very difficult for a narcissist like myself to deliver on a daily basis. Steadfast, honest, and true. If this is his motto, it also represents the qualities his fans project onto him. These are the values Springsteen seems to embody that create such a bond with his audience.

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Because of this, they believe he knows them. And gives voice to their heartaches, as well as to the better selves they aspire to be. But he has also sought, especially in the second half of his career, to write songs that speak to social and class issues. Yet those words feel like they are about this country right now. Do you think America is worse or better? I think those people legitimately feel under siege.

Their way of life is somehow threatened—is existentially threatened. It continues to be a part of it today. At the time when I wrote those songs, I suppose it was a lot of what I was seeing around me. And they want to destroy the idea of an America for all. Probably number one.

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You are intentionally trying to disenfranchise a large portion of Americans. I mean, you are simply. Which our president was more than happy to play into and to play to. So these are folks who are invested in denying the idea of a united America and an America for all.

And it appears to have a grip. And if you could, I say to him, make one request of citizens in this country right now, what would it be?

Model Karlie Kloss with her father Kurt.

A long silence follows. Springsteen turns back to the mirror and, at the same time, draws both of his booted feet up to the edge of the couch. He resembles a man squatting beside a campfire, watching flames. There seems to be an awful lot of fear. The founding fathers were pretty good at confronting their fears and the fears of the country. We are completely testing that theory at this very moment. That worries me. To go back to your question, what would my wish be?

Let people give each other a chance. In the show, Springsteen plays many moments for laughs. I think about his description of his second breakdown, which descended upon him a few years after he turned sixty. It feels dangerous and brings plenty of unwanted thoughts. Demise and foreboding were all that awaited. It is the writing of a man desperate to escape profound pain. So when I see him, I ask: Have you ever attempted to take your life? Trying to see it.

For a moment, neither one of us says anything. Then I break the silence and ask: Did you think you should be hospitalized? But, unfortunately, it was August. I might have gotten close to that and for brief, brief periods of time. Was it a couple weeks? Was it a month? Was it longer? But it was a very bad spell, and it just came. Once again—DNA. And when you see someone like Anthony Bourdain, can you understand how that happens?

He was like an older son to me. I mentored him. And he got very, very ill. Psalm Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Ezekiel And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh:. Romans For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

New International Version to be made new in the attitude of your minds; New Living Translation Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. English Standard Version and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, Berean Study Bible to be renewed in the spirit of your minds; Berean Literal Bible and to be renewed in the spirit of your mind, New American Standard Bible and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, New King James Version and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, King James Bible And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; Christian Standard Bible to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, Contemporary English Version Let the Spirit change your way of thinking Good News Translation Your hearts and minds must be made completely new, Holman Christian Standard Bible you are being renewed in the spirit of your minds; International Standard Version to be renewed in your mental attitude, NET Bible to be renewed in the spirit of your mind, New Heart English Bible and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, Aramaic Bible in Plain English And you should be made new in the spirit of your minds.

New American Standard and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, Jubilee Bible and be renewed in the spirit of your understanding King James Bible And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; American King James Version And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; American Standard Version and that ye be renewed in the spirit of your mind, Douay-Rheims Bible And be renewed in the spirit of your mind: Darby Bible Translation and being renewed in the spirit of your mind; English Revised Version and that ye be renewed in the spirit of your mind, Webster's Bible Translation And be renewed in the Spirit of your mind; Weymouth New Testament and to get yourselves renewed in the temper of your minds and clothe yourselves World English Bible and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, Young's Literal Translation and to be renewed in the spirit of your mind,.

Romans We therefore were buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may walk in newness of life.