Once upon a time, I was pensive. Though my husband and children were all pony-rided out and exhausted from finding coins in truckloads full of corn and other activities from the small town festival I love, I was hungry for more. (I.e., I wanted another funnel cake). So I went uptown (downtown?) by myself and stood way in the back for the performance taking place on the bandstand.
His name was Brett James. I’d never heard of him, which says nothing about his level of fame I assure you. He was from the area; I think Mom may even have lived near his grandmother or something? (Feel free to fill in there, Mom.) And he was first and foremost a songwriter. That night he sang for us “a little song” he’d written recently that would be released next spring by Kenny Chesney. I remember thinking it was such a fun song, sort of laid back but very happy. “When the sun goes down,” it began, “We’ll be groovin’. When the sun goes down, we’ll be feelin’ all right.”* I love the memory of scarfing a funnel cake while groovin with Brett James at the Knox County Corn Festival to that song. And you know why?
Because a few months later, I heard it on the radio. And it wasn’t just Kenny Chesney singing it, but this edgy, rocky dude called Uncle Kracker as well. And then I heard it again at a store and again on television, and I quickly realized the song was not just a song, but a hit, and I had seen it performed live by the songwriter at the Corn Fest.
In that moment I felt that I had seen it for real. The dream, lived out right in front of me. From a man and his guitar, to the page, to the small town festival, to the big-name label, to the radio and number one on the Billboard Hot 100 for weeks. I love that song now, because it made me feel a part of something, and it made me believe.
And it’s happening again. You may notice sometimes a friendly voice in the comments section of my blog, a girl by the name of Sarah. She started stopping by a while back and shared my love for all things Hollywood (or some things Hollywood anyway, like Johnny Depp). And soon I discovered we also shared a pursuit for publication.
And now she’s getting published! Published, published, published. As in, a book on the shelves and a second one in the works, because it was a two-book deal. TWO BOOKS.** I’m crazy excited for her. We’ve shared emails about our writer angst, our anxiety over how long it would take to actually get in to the party that is publication, and so much more. And now she’s in, and she’s sharing every step with me and taking the time to read and take notes on what I write (all while going to school). And I feel like it’s Kenny Chesney on the radio all over again, proving to me that the page can become the dream.
So go now, GO, and read the blurb about her book, ALL THESE LIVES, so that when it hits the shelves next year, you can say you heard about it when, you can BUY it, and you can believe in the magic too.
*P.S. For my less-than-adoring country [non] fans, I know you’ll have heard of this other little song Brett James wrote, which might make the magic more magical for you. He’s also responsible for a certain American Idol’s fast track to awards and glory with his song, Jesus, Take the Wheel.
**P.P.S See Sarah’s other books here!