The Power of Images, and Words

April 16, 2024
This day 17 years ago dawned beautiful in Houston, the day after my final show of the weekend ready to start my four-day self scheduled/imposed writer's retreat out on the bluebonnet-carpeted meadows of central Texas. I was desperate to finish a few more songs before heading into the studio the next month to record Something Worth Standing For.

And of course, I got in the van and turned on the radio and heard about the horrors that had just unfolded back home in Virginia. I spent most of the next three days nearly completely isolated, and frankly lost as hell, trying to figure out how I could possibly find something to write about. I walked, I drove, I paced the floor, I turned the TV on and off again.

On the fourth day the images from a book I'd been enjoying over the weekend finally started bringing me back to ground, and maybe with a way to say something - anything - that might help me make sense out of the senselessness of what happened in Blacksburg. Those images of moments frozen in time, out of time, helped reconnect me bit by bit to the beauty and bigness of a world far more than mere mortal me and my heartbreak.

This is the poem that came from it. I rarely tell the backstory, because it's still hard, and so many more random acts of murderous senselessness have happened since. But I will always be grateful for the words that came to help pull me out of the pit. And I am grateful and humbled that for many people this is one of their very favorites of my songs.

On this beautiful redbud spring day of remembrance here in Virginia, it's all I have to offer.

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