Reading of Séan McCann’s One Good Reason–PART 3

I had a damn good cry with it
A note Aragon tucked into McCann’s laptop before his first sober overseas tour

This is Part 3 (of 3) of my “live blogging” my experience reading One Good Reason: A Memoir of Addiction and Recovery, Music and Love by Séan McCann and Andrea Aragon. 

Premise: Things come to a head, reckoning comes, followed by sobriety, truth speaking and the healing process.

Reading Speed: Still quick, both authors write directly and write well.

Format: Pdf on my laptop.

Accompanying Music: McCann’s solo songs “Stronger” and “Take Off My Armour,” perfect songs for recovery.

Show-stopping quotations:

From McCann:

I didn’t know a single chord, but I was determined to learn how to play it and now I know all three chords.

and

I was on a bus with ten of my closest friends but I had never felt more isolated and alone.

and

By the end of my second year as a “mental health advocate,” I had accumulated so many corporate logos I began to feel like a NASCAR driver.

and

The Catholic Church has done an excellent job of protecting its many ordained pedophiles while the international justice system has consistently failed to defend and support millions of victims of sexual abuse.

From Aragon:

Yet, I always figured they’d have each other’s backs if and when the chips were down. I assumed that with a lot of our “friends,” but time and time again I was proven wrong.

and

Although I’ve lived with two in my lifetime, I will never profess to know how to get through life with an alcoholic.

Insights:

Alcohol is such a weird part of Newfoundland culture, and East Coast and Canadian culture in general. It’s the drug that’s okay to abuse–up to a point. If you cross the line it’s your own fault. As McCann notes, it’s so acceptable, it’s part of the brand. Come party with us. (See also: New Orleans and Los Vegas.) Get-drunk-off-your-ass destinations.

One Good Reason is not a deep dive into Great Big Sea. Either McCann didn’t want to gossip, or he had bigger and more personal issues he wanted to stay with. Or perhaps it was self-preservation–it’s weird how people are still shocked and appalled that a band breaks up after 20 years. They should try being in a bus with the same people for 20 years, so if they don’t quit.

A good part of his story involves, I think, finding himself as an artist rather just a performer. The songs he’s created post-GBS are much more personal, his “battle songs,” cries from his heart. They resonate with other addicts and victims of abuse.

Aragon’s take on their relationship, and relationships in general, is really interesting. She says loyalty isn’t a natural value of hers, yet she is fiercely loyal to McCann. Still, she says if it ends, it ends, that their mutual happiness, and honesty, is ultimately what matters. She’s in it because of love, but also because they have found a way to make it work. They chose to stay.

The simple telling of this book encases great complexity of theme including trauma, love, family, parenthood, addiction, mental health issues, recovery, and music. I had a damn good cry with it.

Written By

Chris Benjamin is the author of three award-winning, critically-acclaimed books: Indian School Road: Legacies of the Shubenacadie Residential School; Eco-Innovators: Sustainability in Atlantic Canada and Drive-by Saviours; as well as several short stories in anthologies and journals.

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