Before I left for Nashville I had a strange urge… One that I, sadly, often fight.
I wanted to READ something.
Much like traveling, I feel like reading is an integral part of self-growth. But I don’t do nearly as much of it as I should. For one, I lack the time to commit to a book. I spend so much time writing and researching for “work” it seems nonsensical to devote additional time to do it for “pleasure.”
Also, I have a growing addiction to Netflix. It’s a problem.
But there it was: I needed to explore someone else’s mind for awhile. Mine was suffocating, along with my city. Maybe there was a correlation.
I scanned my roommate’s bookshelf with droll curiosity. And then I saw it, among the music theory books and Harry Potter paperbacks: Jewel’s Chasing Down the Dawn.
I knew that book. I’d never read it. But my grandmother who passed away a few years back had bought me a copy for Christmas one year. She didn’t know if I knew who Jewel was (I don’t even think she knew who she was). But there was a horse on the cover, so she thought I’d like it.
Naturally, I never cracked it open. It looked too overwhelming for a fourteen year-old brain. I’m sure my copy is buried in storage or in a box of my things at my parent’s house.
“Have you ever read her book?” I asked my roommate.
She called back from her bedroom. “No, but I’ve always wanted to.”
It seemed an appropriate choice. I was headed to Music City. Jewel was one of my idols. And she always just seemed to know the secrets of the world. Her message and spirit always seemed so clear. And maybe she was just the person to provide the clarity I’d been lacking.
I held the book gingerly as I scanned the other shelves.
“You have two copies. Did you know that?”
“Yeah, one of them belongs to a friend,” she replied.
I had now seen this book three times. It felt like a sign. So it was decided.
Have you ever opened up a book and felt like there was some hidden magic inside just waiting to be unearthed? It’s only happened on a few occasions, but it was almost as if Jewel’s energy was laced between the words on the page.
I’ve always wanted that energy to attach with my writing. It makes it personal. It makes it… living. It’s a conversation between spirits… If that makes any sense.
And as I read, I started to feel things stirring in my soul. Things that hadn’t been awakened for quite some time.
Or maybe I’d just been exposed to too many contact highs in band dressing rooms.
“The endless hotel rooms start to seem even more stale and cold and unfriendly, always smelling like other people and never like my home. Worst of all, the things that most enlighten my life– like writing and reading– can happen only after it’s dark, after everything else has been done. It is ironic and frustrating that writing fuels my career, yet it is now apportioned the least amount of time.”
The reverberations of her words would sit with me for hours. And I’d go back to read another short story as often as I could, hoping a little bit of her magic would rub off on me.
“I started saving every dime I made, as if it was the last money that’d ever come my way. But I also started getting off on adversity. I started wondering just how far a dark horse could go.”
I was beginning to wonder the same thing.
Maybe the answer was just days away.