Wednesday, September 1, 2010


It's just after 11:00pm and as James Taylor's "Copperline" seeps into the relative silence of my parent's quite house in Saint Cloud, I'm filled with a particular nostalgia tonight.

You see, James Taylor is both reminiscent and significant in my life. There were trips to the family cabin, where he came through the tape deck of my dad's old Mazda pickup. Then there were the family vacations; roadtrips to the Black Hills when my then three-year-old brother wouldn't smile for a single photo. After my father finally bribed him with skittles and a few bucks, we clambored into our white Voyaguer mini-van toward Colorado. In later days as our vehicles upgraded and held CD players, we each had the chance on family trips to choose our own music: After Weird Al Yancovick, Brent introduced us to Dave Matthews Band, Mom had an infinite love for Celine Dion and George Winston, and I, for a while was all over the pop charts. But Dad--whether real or just inflated in my memory--always represented James Taylor.

Then, slowly, as Anna joined the family, we heard "Sweet Baby James" play live in St. Paul. Brent bought a fifty-dollar concert t-shirt he never wore, and we've always mocked him for it. Tonight, I plugged "October Road" into Dad's 4-Runner as he, my mother and I took a trip to Barnes and Noble for a cup of coffee. Opening the window, transitional fall air feathered my face as I closed my eyes and let my nose become stuffy. Not only is this particular bookstore where I was first employed, it represents a whole world for me: the one in which I write. Where I become inspired by new prose and old friends between pages. And frankly, at few other times than now, have I been as compelled to write: living on the threshold of a huge change.

I guess what I'm getting at is that I never quite imagined it'd be this hard to pick up and leave my family again for the country and the person I fell in love with.

Moving anew is thrilling, but it's terrifying too. But that's where James Taylor comes in. I'll just have to fall backward toward my childhood in these next weeks and, "Shower the people I love with love; Show them the way that I feel." Because, "Things are going to turn out fine if I only will, shower the people I love with love."

Corny, but true.