Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 Lessons: Taylor Brown

For the past five years, Taylor Brown and I have collaborated on various projects at CIY. I have come to appreciate his insight and desire to beat up an idea until it comes out presentable on the other side. He’s one of my favorite creative partners. Starting next week, we’ll work together in the same office. I can’t wait.

Few people I know dare to press the envelope like Taylor does. The words he writes are so real, so out there, but also resonate so familiar that you find yourself thinking, I know exactly what you mean. Taylor speaks with emotion, writes with a desire to see truth bubble to the surface and drinks his coffee black. A true Renaissance Man if I ever saw one.

As if that wasn’t enough, Taylor is also one of my favorite singer/songwriters in the biz today. Is that what they call it, Taylor, “the biz”? Cruise over to his website and buy his music now. That place where your ears connect to your heart will thank you. That place, by the way, is known as your neck. Also, be a saint and follow him on twitter. Land Ho! – Eric

The Deck.

After six months on the road, I didn’t know what I wanted. So, naturally, I learned to build a deck. I tore the old one down and dug holes for posts. I raised joists and laid planks. At one point I held a board as my dad swung furiously against it. We needed it to fit in place. I looked out over the Blue Ridge Mountains, breathed deep, and felt the year slipping away. “I’m tired,” I thought. Then Dad smashed his thumb and blood exploded like a grape.

Have seen.

After wringing the blood from my shirt, I picked up Hemingway’s book on bullfighting: “A Death in the Afternoon.” In one chapter, Hemingway dryly discusses the different seating options in a bullring. Suddenly, you hear emotion come to his voice as he states, “If you have plenty of money (and) want not to see but to have seen a bullfight…” And he continues his instructions. I sat there, covered in blood, sweat, and tears realizing I’ve lived my life to “have seen,” not to actually see. I’ve traveled, related, and performed just to be the kind of person who has done it--not to actually be in life.


Self-care seemed the best place to start this life of truly seeing. So I strapped the running shoes on, slapped a knee brace around my leg, ran down my street, threw my fists in the air and yelled, “Adrian.” Then walked the fifty yards back to my house. Thus the turning point from shrugging off my existence to actually nurturing it.


Sitting in my counselor’s office, I nervously crossed and uncrossed my legs.

“What do you do to rest?” He asked.

“I sleep sometimes.”

“Like naps?”

“Oh, not many naps. Just go to bed at night.”

“Yeah, you need to learn to rest when you are awake.”


I’m still learning. I don’t think watching “Walking Dead” counts, but I’m learning to simply be alone and free.

Redemption is a cruel mistress.

I decided I’d rest, run, get healthy. I wasn’t going to “have lived,” but truly live. This all sounds great until you actually do it. Then it sounds miserable. I’ve decided Redemption isn’t as nice as she looks in all her pictures.

The Monster.

Sometime later, I wrote a story about monsters with Eric. Beforehand, he sent me this article. “Above all, and it is the supreme characteristic of every monster who has ever been portrayed in a story, he or she is egocentric. The monster is heartless, totally unable to feel for others…” (Christopher Booker) I tilted my head towards the ceiling, and wailed, “I’m a monster!”


I learned that wailing “I’m a monster” from the room above your sleeping roommates is a hard thing to explain late at night.

Tone made Tea.

So, I went over to Tony’s house. He made me some tea. I told him some dark secrets, hung my head, and said,

“See, Tone, I’m a monster.”

Tony smiled at me and said, “Taylor, I’m glad you are setting goals and stuff, but it seems you’ve forgotten the key ingredient.”

“Crap, what did I forget?”

“The Spirit.”


It seems every year is an endless battle to learn the balance between improvements and grace. To never let yourself give up or burn out. To never let your own improvement be what defines you. Just be. Let God do what God does. Do what you do. And always the two shall meet.

Where else?

Remember Jesus telling the crowds to rip into his flesh and gulp down His blood? The crowd says,

“Never mind, He’s crazy. He’s a crazy man,“ and they take off.

Jesus looks at the disciples and says,

“What about you. You aren’t going to leave too, are you?”

Peter gives a pretty awful answer.

“Where else are we going to go?”

John winces.

“You have the words of life,” Peter says.

I have felt what it means to be tired for various reasons. I’ve scratched my head at Jesus. However, for 2012 I’m opting for this lackluster answer,

“I have found no other place to go.”

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