Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Tuesday Tribute - TRAIN


Yeah, they don’t need any pimping from me, but 61 Train songs are on my writing play list. Train is music to write by, what can I say?

Train photo
(Jimmy Stafford, Pat Monahan, Scott Underwood)

So from the Meet Virginia to Drops of Jupiter, She’s on Fire, to Brick by Brick – Train’s every album has something that squeezes my heart and makes me work harder.

Train, Train

I think I’ve written about the song Drops of Jupiter more than once, how I used to lay on my living room floor, head next to the speakers, and crank the volume so high that I could almost feel the song in my blood. It was like mainlining Train. It was comfort and hope when I needed comfort and hope more than anything. I think the song is actually Pat’s tribute to his mother, but for me it’s always been soothing balm for a cherished friend I lost. I was raw with grief when the song came out as a single, and there it was, proof that letting go wasn’t going to kill me, even if love = pain sometimes.

Train Drops of Jupiter

One song that never got enough attention was She’s on Fire. Not just that it’s a good song, but there’s a spoken exclamation that I accepted as a total kick-ass life lesson: It’s not just a daydream if you decide to make it your life.

Read that again: It’s not just a daydream if you decide to make it your life.
Do you need to read it again? Because if you do, I’ll wait.

Train My Private Nation

I had some dark days. We all have them, right? And mine certainly aren’t darker than anyone else’s, but just like anyone, when I try and fail over and over again, sometimes I want to quit trying.

I wrote and re-wrote DeVante’s Children twenty times, maybe more. I sent it out to 35 agents and publishers. I kissed the envelope before sending my “baby” out into the big, big world.
Hokey? Yep. And totally true.

Train Alive At Last

Writers who send out a manuscript to an agent or two, then decide to self-publish on Amazon or Smashwords have NO IDEA how much rejection those of us in the old school went through  when traditional publishing or expensive vanity publishing were the only options.

Seriously.

Despair. I can’t tell you the level of despair and hopelessness I had sunk to when I heard that shout, in the middle of the song:

It’s not just a daydream if you decide to make it your life.

I borrowed that line and used it as a signature all over the place (always, of course, giving credit to Train), and it reminded me that writers write. So I made an effort to stop whining and write the next book. And guess what? It finally happened for me.

And not only did it happen, but I realized that I was growing in my craft, and I was now finally able to produce manuscripts worthy of publication. It took a long time.

Train For Me, it's You

I’ve seen Train in concert a couple of times in Minnesota. And the most amazing thing happened… complete and total bliss,  because Train sounds as amazing and fabulous live as they sound in their mixed and produced recordings. I think singer Pat was getting sick when I saw them at State Theater, and he still gave 100% of his voice to the audience.

Train Save Me San Francisco

And on the Save Me, San Francisco Tour at First Avenue, Pat hushed the whole crowd and sang without a microphone – and WE COULD HEAR HIM.

Okay, not well, but dang! I read or heard an interview during that tour where one Jimmy or Scott said that length and number of tour dates depends on how well the singer’s voice holds out, and their tours are grueling because Pat’s voice just doesn’t give out.

Thank you, Train, for inspiration x 1,000 and 10 years.

You guys rock my heart.

Pat Last of Seven

Want to know more? Go to Train’s official site.
Follow @Train on Twitter.
Train on MySpace

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