The March

Women marched.

Children marched.

Men marched.

Black, white, brown, yellow, straight, gay, transgender people marched.

At first I thought it was kind of hollow.

Because from where I stood at the time, the marches looked unfocused, with no clear actionable message. There was no way forward, only a massive celebratory acknowledgement of all that is wrong and all that should be right.

Acknowledgement is a lot like awareness. It’s not enough, and when I saw the headlines the next day, I muttered something under my breath about how we needed steps forward. Not signs.

And that’s where I was wrong.

Those people did take steps forward.

They took millions of steps, together.

Steps in the shape of dreams.

My own journey began with the same kind of dreams. Back then, writing songs for my bedroom walls brought beautiful images of connection, what-ifs, maybes, and somedays. And the chase was on.

Fifteen years later, I lost those dreams, an identity, and a best friend, all in the same summer. A letter arrived, I wrote a song for the sender, and I had to come to terms with the idea that this small step out of my own loss, this tiny act of service, was enough. No Grammy, no platinum-selling album, no sold-out arenas. Just one song, for one person.

It was all I really knew how to do.

But I wasn’t dreaming for myself anymore. I was doing something for someone else, and it helped. So I kept writing songs for other people about their stories, and each song was a small step forward.

Until something magical happened:

So if those folks who filled the streets last week want to turn their first steps of dreaming into the next steps of doing, I’m in.

Something magical may happen.

Where The Streets Have No Name

My favorite band was touring behind my favorite album. I couldn’t drive yet, but my best friend’s sister could. She bought the tickets and we fought LA traffic to get to the stadium, barely in time.

They opened a parking lot right next to the entry gates just as we pulled up. Things were going our way.

Until my best friend’s sister started crying.

She’d forgotten the tickets. We didn’t try to make her feel better, because she didn’t deserve it. We were 14 years-old, riding teen angst and testosterone and insecurity, and this band was going to take us to our spiritual home.

Not anymore.

I heard a psssssssst coming from the other side of the chainlink fence surrounding the stadium and turned around to see some guy in a parka waving his hand at me. A parka? I thought. But whatever, I had nothing to lose.

I approached him and he didn’t say a word. He just bent down, shoved a paper bag under the fence, and took off.

I opened the bag and peered in.


In under a minute we were turning into one of the tunnels. The lights in the stadium went out, a deafening roar rose to the heavens, and I asked somebody in a security jacket where we were supposed to go.

She looked at one of the tickets, raised her eyebrows, and said follow me. And we did, running through the dark, the Edge’s guitar signaling the beginning of ‘Where The Streets Have No Name.’ The security lady pointed us down an aisle and I couldn’t tell where we were in the stadium, because everybody around us was standing on their seats, the aisles were full of people, and at 14, I was even shorter than I am now.

But something felt different.

I stood on my seat just as the stage exploded with light and heard the words I want to run I want to hide I want to tear down the walls that hold me inside.

Except I didn’t hear the words through the speakers. I heard the words from Bono.

Twenty feet away.

U2 is playing The Joshua Tree in its entirety on tour this summer, celebrating the 30th anniversary of what many consider one of the greatest albums ever. I read some thoughts about the upcoming tour from a respected blogger guy named Bob Lefsetz, who as far as I can tell hasn’t created much in his life aside from opinions. Mr. Lefsetz challenged U2’s decision, alluding to the risk of becoming a ‘nostalgia’ act. He called their artistry into question and wrote that U2 should be like Ed Sheeran, doing what everybody else is doing these days: focusing on the impermanent, releasing singles instead of albums, streams instead of song collections.

Maybe’s he right. What do I know.

But if nostalgia means hope and promise and the reminder of how beautiful being alive can be, give me all the nostalgia you got.

I’m in.