WHY

me and roger
Me and my favorite word in the world.

The video below is wobbly, and the sound is bad, but it’s beautiful. It’s video taken the night a thunder storm knocked out the power in venue where Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers were scheduled to play, so they played in the parking lot. They are the band I followed for almost 20 years. I stopped counting the shows I saw a long time ago, but it was certainly more than a thousand.  In a recent interview, when I was asked what my favorite word was, I said, “Roger.”  Of course, the next question was, “Why?”

People often ask me why I love Roger so much, and I can never explain it.  I don’t really want to.  If I could cut open my soul and show you the part of me he woke up, you’d understand.  He, and this music, saved me.  I found him when I was 28, a small, scared, clinically depressed girl on the verge of suicide.  Magic happened to me when I found him, magic that only happens once in a lifetime.  Maybe sometimes never in a lifetime.  I got lucky, baby, when I found him.

For decades, I followed him around, letting his music wash over me and make me something new.  I saw the world.  I wrote my heart while sitting at rest stops and in airports and in dive bars waiting for him to take the stage (and finally sold some of my writings).

me thank you momma shrine
I was on my way to a Roger show when I got a call from  my agent saying I had sold my first novel, Beauty of the Broken. I happened to be right by a sign that pointed me to a shrine to the Virgin Mary, so I stopped to say thank you.  This is me saying thank you that day.

I saw heaven.  And yes, I saw hell too, and I kinda feel like after all these years, I know the difference.  And he still falls solidly on the heaven side of my soul map, even after all I’ve seen.  He is still the brightest thing I’ve ever known.

cropped-tawni-worshipping-roger.jpg
Me at a Roger show.  People made fun of me all the time for the way I lost myself at his shows.  I didn’t give a shit.  Sometimes, when you are saving your soul, you gotta do what you gotta do, never mind the rotten tomatoes being catapulted your way.  (In other news, I’m about as white as white can be.  This is the only dance move I know.  Ok, I can also do the funky chicken.  But only after a few glasses of wine.) 

And people get all mad when I say that he saved me, and they say, “No, YOU saved you.”  No, not really.  You have no idea.  You mean well.  You don’t want me to give my power away like that.  I am a strong woman, but it took something outside of me to save me. I was too far gone.  Sure, it’s brave to stand alone, but I think it’s even braver to admit your weakness, and ask for help, and I did that, and then, I found him.  It took heaven shot straight into my veins, via the medium of this man’s music, to bring an almost-dead girl back to life.  Sometimes, things that are bigger than us, outside of ourselves, save us.  That’s what makes the world so beautiful.  We are not islands.  We are not alone.  Sometimes people touch us and heal us.  Sometimes people sing us back to life.

And true magic, the kind that can break you open and make you what you were born to be, can find you when you walk into a church. But sometimes, your church comes to you, dressed up as something mundane, and the only way you recognize it is it burns your heart like nothing ever has before or will again.  If you are smart, you follow it, and you melt into it, like a worm melting into a cocoon, and finally, years later, you emerge, the goo have you having coalesced into something impossible, a flighted thing, a miraculous creature with wings.

He was my cocoon.  And my wings.  That’s why.  And I would still take a mother fucking bullet for him any day of the week.  And if you have something ugly to say about him, just don’t say it to me.

“Had I not know the darkness, I could not love the light.  Were it not for gravity, there would be no flight. Had I not lost the path, I would never find my way.  Equal parts my heart I gave to bloom and to decay.  With a rattle and a grind, I find I’m back at my favorite part.  Well, I may not be your kind if your kind is faint of heart.  When the world is sick and tired, and it’s begging you to fall apart, we may be hanging by a thread, but now we’re state of the art.”–Roger Clyne, “State of the Art”

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