Dear Josh Ritter,
As I sit, streaming The Beast in its Tracks on NPR a few days before I’ll add it to my own iTunes playlist, I find myself feeling all light and melty. I type at my keyboard, editing the words of others while your words spin out at me through the speakers on my laptop and I sway along and hum to the songs I don’t yet know.
The first time I saw you, my own romance was still in its early years. You opened for a quirky folk singer, and you stole the show. In a small, rustic, New England coffeehouse, Sweetie and I sat on folding chairs in the back row, and you stood on a tiny stage, only a few dozen feet away, playing your old, beat-up guitar. You grinned and you chatted and you were so clearly having the time of your life.
I love your words. The structure of your words. The rhythm of your words. The lyricism of your words. The truth in your words.
It has been years since that first coffeehouse show, and I’ve seen you several other times. (Seven? Eight?) Sometimes with a band, sometimes solo, sometimes in an intimate setting, sometimes in a true theater, you always take the stage with a smile, exuding your own love with every touch to your guitar strings, every note pulleyed up from your lungs.
I listen to your music and my skin tingles. My breathing becomes rapid and raspy. My body warms from the inside out.
If love inspires, pushing away the disbelief … if it leaves me bigger than I was before, my heart expanding with abandon, filling up with newness, wonder, optimism, hope… If love makes me want to be better than I am, better than I thought I could be, then the way your music makes me feel is nothing less.
Simply and yet not simple at all, your art and artistry and music and poetry propel me to love deeper. And to become more brave in the doing.
Finally, I’ve managed to compose my own Love Letter. Tomorrow, I’ll reveal the winner of Love it Up.
Thanks for your patience! And if you haven’t yet read all of the entries, I urge you to do so. There’s a lot of love out there. Find many of the Love It Up contenders here and three more in the recent guest posts right here on Momalom (including a post by our mom!).