Following Bruce. Why?

In 1975, Born to Run came into my life. It rocked my world. This post is an attempt to explain what Bruce has meant to me—and why I’m following his tour and blogging about it.

I was 12 years old. Just starting 7th grade. My older brother gave the album to my older sister for her birthday. She was 20, and distracted, so once I borrowed it, I never gave it back.

From the first time I put him on my record player, Bruce’s lyrics spoke to my heart and hit deep in my gut. They brought me into contact with something that lingered just beneath the surface of my awareness, a longing that I hadn’t yet fully recognized.

Late nights in my room, the rest of the house dark and quiet, I huddled close to the record player and lifted the needle back to the beginning of Thunder Road again and again. I sang along in a whisper. Desire pulsed in my veins. Oh…I wanted to be Mary. To roll down the window and let the wind blow back my hair. To leave this town full of losers behind. To pull out of here and win.

The songs on Born to Run and, later, Darkness on the Edge of Town, strongly influenced my developing worldview and brought into sharp focus the life I wanted to live. Bruce did not give me my belief systems or my dreams. But somehow, he nailed them in his records. The lyrics and the music worked together on a mysterious level to bring me to my knees and to the top of the mountain, simultaneously.

So…flash forward to 2014. I am 50 years old. Much of my life, until recently, fell short of the dreams and longings of those nights by the record player. Bruce receded into the background. Embers of the longing for a life worth living smoldered on beneath the surface of my daily life, but I hardly realized it.

Then one day a few years ago, I woke up one morning and said, “No more! I’m living my life from my heart from now on.” As you can imagine, this is a story of it’s own and I won’t go into details here and now. But it led me to this moment where all that matters is listening more and more clearly to the path that life calls me to, and following it. I realize that the stories on Bruce’s albums speak to me because they are metaphors of the struggle in every person’s heart.

The only other thing I’ll say here is that what is most potent is that I am an artist in my heart, a creator. We ALL are. And the biggest self-betrayal that I lived all these years was not creating. So, I’m following Bruce’s tour to be inspired. And I’m blogging about it in words, photos and (hopefully) video, in order to inspire others.

So, here we go. Bruce inspires me because…

  • he is a role model for me of how to be true to myself and my own artistic vision
  • he represents the artist inside of me
  • his music gives expression to my longing to live my dreams
  • his music articulates the dilemma of not living our dreams – of being stuck in a life we never wanted and longing to BUST OUT and find that place in the sun