I’ve wanted to write a book since I read Jurassic Park in the fourth grade. It was the thing that replaced the teddy bear (His name was Blue Bear) I took everywhere. I took that ratty little book everywhere I went. Read it four or five times that summer, I remember imaging my name on a book cover and how that made me feel. On my own creative journey, there was something larger that happened to me about five years later.
I know it wasn’t release day but it was a few weeks later. My sister had ballet class and the only way to get my mom to bring me to Strawberries (the precursor to the current FYE) was to tag along. I can vividly remember sitting in the back of my mom’s minivan fighting with that fucking plastic wrap, discman in my lap. I can call back that memory and I often do. I remember being hit by that smell, the new CD smell of:
Linkin Park’s debut Hybrid Theory released October 24th 2000
My sister had ballet class at this ladies house, across the street was this little pond. I am still there, still right in that car looking out at the pond, seeing the moon glisten from above onto the murky water, hearing the first notes of Papercut. (Important records have important memorable opening notes, see Taproot’s Gift)
It’s like a whirlwind in my head.
I didn’t understand what I was feeling for the duration of that album or what it was I was feeling whenever I’d listen to it from that point onward but I learned what it was a few years ago.
It’s a call. Deep inside of me I could feel it but couldn’t put it into words until I was really creating things. Even from that young age of 13 I wanted to make things and make people feel how I felt when I listened to that album. Part of it is about being heard but it’s more than that. For most of my life I’ve felt alone, completely alone and I’ve never really known how to express that. LP showed me I wasn’t alone and I didn’t need to worry about finding the words. In a way, it was like they were saying they have my back. And that’s the other side of it, I don’t just want to make things so people don’t feel alone. I want to make things and make people feel things because I fucking owe it to everyone that has helped me. I owe LP. I owe it to my fourth grade teacher. I owe it to friends and family I’ve lost. Even if it’s just one person. If I can make something that helps just one person then that’s it. I’ve done it. Debt paid.
I remember sitting there listening and feeling weightless. Everything I held onto and didn’t know what to do with was gone. It all lifted away. I was clean. I was real. I wasn’t what was wrong. I was okay.
I had a fairly troubled youth. Some of it was definitely my own doing, my own creation but I know at least early on it was in response to the things I kept inside. Because you learn by example and that was my example. But everything changed for the better, internally, when I found music. I couldn’t say the things that troubled my mind. The music said it for me.
In my teens, I started writing poetry and rap lyrics. Without Linkin Park I don’t think I’d be writing. At least not the way I do. Any time I hear Mike’s voice I get chills. I’m fairly certain there’s an alternate timeline where I’m rapping. Though I know I wouldn’t last long in that life. I’d be like…
This was incredibly hard to write. But not because it’s a sad memory, it’s a memory that stays. I call upon it a lot. When I have a bad writing day or I don’t feel like I’m doing anything. You know, when the doubt really creeps in. I put Linkin Park on. I may be writing prose but I’ve learned from music. I learned about passion and pacing from music. It will always inspire me.
I remember I had a poster of Chester in my bedroom, it was a pin-up from Hit Parader magazine. And it just so happens, I had one of Chris Cornell next to him. I suppose reunions are usually tear-filled.
“We’re holding onto something that’s invisible there.”