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A Letter To My Younger Self, by Norman Brannon

Rock Sound
Rock Sound 9 July 2013 at 11.23

The Texas Is The Reason guitarist, author and truck fighter pens a note to the man he used to be. 

Photo credit: Tim Tronckoe

Hey Norman,

It's 1996, you're 22 years old, and you are in the middle of a really bad breakup. But as bad as it looks now — and it looks bad — I'm here to tell you that Texas is the Reason will probably outlive you. I know it sounds crazy, but in seventeen years you'll be recording those songs you really loved that never came out and you'll be playing to thousands of people around the world who won't let this band die. Some of those people are actually being born right now. I swear to god, I'm not fucking with you.

So the thing is this: Your band will break up and you'll be depressed and directionless for a while — or at least that's what it will seem like at the time. But the reality is that you are about to build a life that's nothing like the life you think you're building. And it's actually pretty great. Like, remember how you dropped out of high school and everyone said you were ruining your life? They were wrong. You'll actually eventually wind up being an author and journalist, earning advanced degrees and teaching at two New York City universities. Heads of English departments everywhere will actually love your unique story of survival. We can both chuckle at that.

You'll also almost die. I'm telling you this because right now you are somewhat obsessed with death. You are obsessed with death and God and existential questions that don't have answers, and somehow, in all of your arrogance, you think that you will crack the code that has dumbfounded millions of people in every epoch. Spoiler alert: You won't! But you will get hit by a tow truck when you're crossing the street one day, and you will wake up after three days, and you will realize that there was nothing you could have done, said, or believed that would have made it any better or easier to die at that moment. All those years of studying ancient scriptures and traveling through India with saintly people will submit to the reality of mortality. You will not situate yourself into the lotus position and chant the pain away, but instead, you will yell, "Fuck you!" at the man who hit you as blood pours down your face — and this, you will soon find out, is the closest thing you've ever had to a spiritual experience.

Which is, perhaps, the lesson you should learn sooner than later: You are primal and of the world, not elevated or supernatural. You hurt, and you will continue to hurt, but the pain will not subside with a blank-check afterlife. It will only surrender to love — which you will eventually find — and since you're wasting so much time in figuring that out, I'm writing this letter to you as a shortcut.

But after that, pick up your guitar and get ready. The final Texas is the Reason tour starts in 2013.

xo Norman

Texas Is The Reason play their last ever shows next month, for the dates click here. Watch out for trucks when crossing the street today, just saying.

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