October 17


How Pearl Jam Saved My Life


I’m so excited to be here and when Spence asked me to join the blog, I was THRILLED! A blog about writing AND music? Um, sign me up! So for my inaugural post most probably thought I’d blog about the Foo Fighters.

Most would be wrong.

Before I loved my beloved boys, I had a deeper love for a different group of boys. An amazing band that I can’t imagine my life without–Pearl Jam. They got me through one of the hardest times in my life. It’s safe to say they saved my life. After losing my dad to suicide when I was sixteen, I didn’t have a way to express myself, to talk about what was happening inside me. I was stuck in this small body but I had all these big feelings, all these… emotions building up with no way to escape. I think that’s why I write YA, something about that age just feels comfortable to me. I remember sitting in my room just playing Pearl Jam’s TEN over and over. Back then, my favorite song was Jeremy. Something about the WAY Eddie sang that song just spoke to me, made me feel something inside. Now, my ultimate favorite song on that album is Black.

I could write an entire post on Black. The lyrics. MAN. These are my favorite, the ones that touch me most deeply.

And now my bitter hands chafe beneath the clouds
Of what was everything?

And now my bitter hands cradle broken glass
Of what was everything

I know someday you’ll have a beautiful life, I know you’ll be a star
In somebody else’s sky, but why, why, why
Can’t it be, can’t it be mine

You can watch the 1992 unplugged version below. It’s incredible. You can SEE the emotion in Eddie.

There was something about Eddie’s lyrics that spoke to me, that made me want to express myself for the first time, free the emotional beast inside me.

So I did.

I wrote my first poem about my dad. It was called “No Rain” and it was corny as hell, but it made me feel ALIVE for the first time. Writing is what I needed to do to get out all those pent-up emotions about losing him, to purge everything else going on in my life out of me. It was the first time I felt like I let go, like I could write something down without any judgment, any criticism, without my own mind getting in the way. I wrote with my heart. And it was amazing. I cried, I scribbled out words and edited the crap out of that stupid poem, but it did the job.

Music helped me BE a writer.

To this day, I don’t know which I love more, writing or music. It’s a good thing I don’t have to choose. My love for Pearl Jam continued after that and still does to this day. I remain a loyal fan who adores the band, who adores Eddie and his perfect voice. Eddie was quoted saying something in the movie Pearl Jam Twenty that just makes sense to me.

“And you know, maybe by talking about things that may be a little darker or more on the negative side of our existence, by dealing with them maybe that’s where I find my happiness.” –  Eddie Vedder.

I grew up, but never forgot what that album, what those lyrics did to help me. So now whenever I want to reach that deep place to write an emotional scene or when I’m just missing someone or feel like life is swallowing me whole, I listen to music, to Pearl Jam, and remember how thankful I am to have found my voice.