Chapter 1: The Music is Swarming
Listen to this Excerpt: Soulacoaster – The Music is Swarming
Since the day of my birth, I feel like my soul has been on some kind of roller coaster—with all of the ups and downs, twists and turns, laughing and screaming, smiling and crying. Sometimes I ask myself, When will this ride stop? Or will it ever stop?
Before you go on this Soulacoaster with me, though, there is one thing I have to say: No matter what speed it goes, how high it soars, or how low it drops—hold on. Even as I worked on this book, the music was swarming—pushing, inspiring, and challenging me. And I let it; I always accept the challenge. From my earliest memories to last night’s recording session, music has been my life’s mission and my greatest passion. I feel like God has placed a lifetime of melodies inside me and that’s a wonderful thing, but unfortunately a great gift can come with a great price and a helluva responsibility. I call my gift a beautiful disease.
When I’m working on one song, it seems like I’m always interrupted by another song that’s knocking—sometimes banging—at the door of my soul. There are times I feel like a radio station with all the channels blasting at once. I often get smothered by songs and lyrics, smothered by ideas about musical pieces and how they mix and match. They’re like jigsaw puzzles. As soon as I put one together, I’m on to the next. My mind is always moving fast and furious; it won’t let me rest until all the pieces of the song fit together.
When I was a kid, I found out that I couldn’t read or write like other kids. I would worry myself sick that something was wrong with me and that my disability would trap me. When the music started flowing through me, at first I was overwhelmed and worried. Why was I hearing so many songs? Musical phrasings, lyrics, and song structures were fully formed in my head long before I could understand what these things really were. Even when somebody said that I had a special gift, as a little kid I was scared that it would drive me crazy.
It took me a lot of time, effort, energy—and a lot of God’s grace—to learn to recognize the gift for what it was and harness it, even as I struggled in other ways. I’ve got a leash on my music now and I can walk it. It’s not running wild anymore—I can walk it wherever I want it to go.
This book is like my music: It’s not just stray melodies. It comes to me late at night—certain scenes, voices, and memories appear unexpectedly—things that made me proud and things that are still hard for me to even think about.
My life is like a mansion with lots of rooms. Some of those rooms are well lit, with bright, joyfully colored party lights and full of happiness. Other rooms are dark. And some of the doors to those rooms have never even been cracked open. Well now, I’m opening those doors. And I’m inviting you in.