Saturday, May 14, 2011

Follow the Sound of Your Calling

“Everybody’s life has lines in it…chapter marks. Everybody’s life has chapter marks. Some people’s chapter marks in their life…some of them are really good.  Some of them remind you of a time when everything went really well or some of them remind you of a time when it didn’t go well or maybe it didn’t go well at first and then changed you and things went even better than they were before.  And there was a line in my life when I was 19 years old when I said to my guitar, almost literally “you know better than me. And therefore, I’m going to follow you wherever you take me” and I’m going to trust this guitar.  And I’m gonna trust this guitar.  I’m gonna trust this guitar.
And if that takes me to sleeping on a pool table, or if that takes me into a bout of loneliness I never saw coming…well, I’m gonna still do that because I think I have a calling.  And I know…and I know… and I know …that I traded certain things as a human being, I know that I did.  there are certain parts of my brain that will never be the same, certain parts of my brain that are now converted to being able to do things on this level, that are at the expense of being able to do things on a somewhat of a more docile human level.
But I know…but I know…that is the very making of a calling! Callings are not perfect.  When you have a calling, you have to give a lot up to follow the calling.  That’s why it’s called a calling…BECAUSE THE SOUND COMES FROM FAR AWAY!
And you have to follow the sound of your calling. And it’s one of the hardest things in the world to do.  It’s the reason the world is full of really talented people who didn’t go try it, and that’s okay. But to the people who hear the ringing of the bell of the calling…that sound that they have to follow, you will have to give up certain parts of your life.  And yes, I have given up certain parts of my life to follow this sound and I have found a beautiful thing in it.
On a night like tonight, I need to thank you, for making this journey feel so unbelievable and so unbelievably worth the trip and the getting lost and the found and the lost and the found on the way to figuring out what my true calling is.  I would never ever ever ever trade this back again for the rest of my life.  I love this all, thanks to you.
Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you” - John Mayer, 3/12/10 - Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio
Back in March 2010, when I heard this, I drove to work with tears streaming down my face.  I had an idea for a book which I thought could be my best work…if I decided to write it.  Then I heard this.  I know I can write and I know I have a calling to change lives through words.  I’ve just been to scared to act on it, to make the sacrifices that following it would require to follow that calling.
I credit John Mayer for alot of things that have happened in my life.  His music takes my mind to where it needs to be.  But this wasn’t music…this was a message.  I wasn’t there that night, but I felt like he was talking to me.
A month later, I started writing Untitled* and yesterday I finished it.  While this may not be the book that changes people’s lives, it is the first step.  Writing this book was difficult because for the first time, I made the sacrifices that needed to be made, I gave up the things I needed to in order to follow the “ringing of the bell of the calling”.
Was it worth it?  No matter what happens, yes.  It was.

Friday, May 13, 2011

My Love Affair with Music

I'll start this post off by reiterating that I am not a musician.  I am an author.  The only musical experience I have is the six years I spent playing the trombone in Jr. High School and High School.

However, that doesn't change the fact that music is more important to me than almost anything.  It's the source of inspiration behind every word that I put on paper.  My love affair with music is the reason that I decided to become an author.

Like writing, music is my lifeline.  I'd die without it.

One of my favorite movies is Brown Sugar.  Whenever I hear the opening line "When did you fall in love with hip-hop?" I grin.

My love affair with music began at a very young age.  I was born in 1979...I'm definitely a proud card carrying member of the MTV generation.  I remember when the M stood for music. 

In my house, music was always playing, especially on Saturday mornings.  My mother filled our little apartment with the sounds of Levert, Frankie Beverly & Maze, Zapp & Roger, Marvin, Freddie...all the great R & B singers.

As I got older, not only did my mother's taste in music influence me, but I began to develop my own like and dislikes.  I went through phases...R&B, hip-hop, pop, rock, blues, jazz.  At 15, I discovered Jimi Hendrix and life as I knew it changed forever.

It was if someone had turned down the volume of everything around me.  Prince was the first guitarist that I loved.  He made me fall in love with the melodic and beautiful sounds of the electric guitar.  I was so entranced by the sounds that came from that instrument, I had to hear more.  Who else did that?  I needed to know.  That is how I discovered Jimi.  Once his music became a staple in my life, it opened the door to a whole new world of music for me.

Untitled* is the product of my love affair with music.  I thought it would be an incredible experience to write a book about a musician and the struggles he would encounter as he made the music that I love.  I was right.  It definitely was an incredible experience.  I've learned so much about the "behind the scenes" effort it takes to become a successful musician. 

Which of course, makes me appreciate it even more.  Writing this book only deepened my already immense love for music.  In honor of the artist was my main inspiration behind this story, here are my 2 favorite songs.  Enjoy!