Here’s just one of the hundreds of recent articles about Taylor online:
Of course I start spinning this little glimpse of Taylor’s formative years into a YA novel. But it also makes me wonder about how all of us in creative professions get the bright idea that we can produce as well as consume art. Taylor reportedly declared upon hearing Otis Redding when he was 12 that this would be his life’s work--singing and writing his own soul music, not listening to it. I’ll bet Taylor had role models in his life who sang and wrote rather than just listening.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Brad Hicks fondly recalls the time he and wife Linda settled down for dinner at a small Mexican restaurant in Birmingham years ago and spied a curiously familiar face on stage with the band.
That lanky frame and thick mop of hair, the way the young man jerked around as he coaxed sweet melodies from his mouth harp -- the mysterious musician could only be their son, Taylor, who was supposed to be at home.
"Linda looked up and said, 'Well, there's Taylor,' " Brad Hicks reminisced recently from the family's home in the Birmingham suburb of Hoover. "When he was 15 or 16 he would sneak into bars and play harmonica."
My role model was my grandmother, from whom I borrowed my pen name (her maiden name was Echols). She wrote stories about growing up during the Depression here in Birmingham. She also painted--not very realistically, I’ll admit, but with the most beautifully mixed colors.
Everyone in my family was proud of my creative grandmother. But I also knew her as a loving elderly lady who let us play in the sandbox with her sterling spoons and could cook nothing well except shrimp salad and dessert. (I inherited her culinary skills...all two of them.) She was a real person, and she produced works of art as well as consuming them. It never occurred to me that I couldn’t.
Think about it. Do you have friends who write you hilarious e-mails? You suggest that they write a novel, and they say, “I could never do that!” But you know they’re as smart and hard-working as you are. What sets you apart?