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For Taylor

A few nights ago, I went to see someone fulfill a dream that had been in the works for 23 years. The show was called “Mirabel Sings the Blue – At Last”, and it was just as it described. Mirabel had a dream to sing. 23 years later, she fulfilled that dream, finally letting go of the fear which had held her back for so long. The venue was intimate, and the crowd was small, all friends and family who love her. She sang her ass off, and she was really, really good.

I met Mirabel in the bathroom before the show. We had never met, but I introduced myself to her, and told her how much I admire her for conquering her fear and doing what she had always wanted. She told me the story about how she got there, and encouraged me to put my own fears aside and follow my heart.

And it made me think about Taylor.

On May 14, 2009, we went for a walk, and ended up at a downtown bar that was featuring several local musicians. The first one up was Taylor Mitchell. An 18-year-old guitar player/song writer/folk singer who knocked our socks off. She wasn’t doing anything complicated. Simple songs with simple melodies. She seemed to understand what Neil Diamond said: All you need to write a song is three chords and the truth.

I sat there watching her and thought, in a rare moment of fearlessness and clarity, I can do that. If she can do it, I can do it. I will. I asked the bartender for a piece of paper and wrote on it, right there while she was singing:

At The Silver Dollar

May 14, 2009: Taylor Mitchell

May 14, 2010: Anne Shirley

I spoke to Taylor and her mom after the show. I bought Taylor’s CD (which had been released less than 2 months before), and left the bar feeling excited about what I was committing to do. I went home and hung that piece of paper on the refrigerator, and then on the lamp on my desk, where I would see it, and always remember this young girl, how she inspired me, and a moment where I was totally fearless. A moment where I really believed that I could do it.

On October 27, 2009, Taylor was killed by two coyotes while hiking on the Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia. She was on an East Cost tour to support her album, and had taken that morning to hike through what is without a doubt one of the most beautiful places in the world. The attack was one of those crazy random events that just makes you shake your head, because it is so far out in left field it is almost unimaginable.

This amazingly talented young artist is gone.

Mirabel waited 23 years fulfill her hearts desire.

You never know. Don’t wait.

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