My friend Nancy Tyler (Board moderator as well), sent me an old relic this morning along with some kind words.
It reminded me of a ritual. Before I signed a record deal, before I worked at a church, before I worked for a music publisher, I was an intern for tat music publisher. A big-time writer guy named Brian White wrote in the office next to mine and pulled up a chair often to make me laugh – and dispense wisdom, often by accident.
Sometimes he’d pull an old CCM Magazine* off the archive shelf, for instance, and flip through it telling stories about the faces on the cover and in the ads – and asking the same question over and over again. “Where are they now?”
Every face was the golden boy or girl of the moment many years ago or just last year, the big winner at the Dove Awards, the ASCAP writer of the year, on tour with so-and-so, the next big thing. “Where are they now?” Brian asked. And sometimes he knew the answer. He’s selling real estate. She’s teaching school. He moved to Argentina to be a missionary. She’s got six kids now – lovin’ life.
I learned from Brian not to put much stock in the kind predictions media casts for an artist’s future, not to value myself only because a journalist values me, and that everything in life comes to pass – everything. Especially magazine covers. As Wes Cunningham once sang before losing his record deal, “Paper gets old and brittle and yellow with time, and all of these memories just like old magazines must lose their shine.”
From time to time I come across a website or email asking me “Where are you now?” They wonder why I fell “off the planet.” I kindly bring them up to speed on my life these days, letting them know that I’ve not fallen off the planet; I’ve only fallen off their news stand. I’m still here, with three kids and a wife, better facial hair and less expensive clothes and the gray left uncolored. And no braces. I’m still touring year round, ten shows a month, selling CDs every weekend, singing and speaking and writing and releasing kids from poverty. Thanks for asking.
And thanks for the trek back to 2001, Nancy.