This is one of my favorite pictures of you. In it, you are pretending to be a branch, and that is a wonderful thing to pretend to be. I have to tell you that it is safe to say after all our years together that you are probably my all-time favorite musician (and possibly my favorite person, barring, naturally, my family and the very small collection of dear others that I keep in a jar).
I remember the first time that I saw you, I was maybe 12. I was just sitting in my nightie, and I changed the television to PBS and there you were...maybe on Austin City Limits (I can't really figure out what program you must've been on). I had never heard a sound like your voice, and I decided you were probably really a bear in a human suit. I remembered your bear voice but forgot about the rest until I was a full-fledged teenager, and I discovered you and was under your spell immediately, this time for forever. And that brings us up to date. It has taken me a very long time to procure most of your very enormous catalogue of records (especially considering how poor I was for the first 6 or 7 years I was in your thrall), but I now have most of them. My favorite songs are your sad songs, and my favorite albums are Alice (surprise, surprise), and Rain Dogs (again, surprise), but I love them all in some way, even the ones that are harder to listen to. But I also like your wacky songs. I love your stories, and I love your self-mythologizing. I loved it when you said on that NPR interview a long time ago that you always wished to be an old man, even when you were a boy. I love your amazing brain.
I suppose I'm just thinking about you a lot right now, because I am going to see something in a few months that I never expected to see, which is you. Live and in person and in my favorite Atlanta venue.
Thank you for bothering to come here, and not just blessing misfits in Tokyo or Manhattan this time. I raced on the ticket website to get good seats just when the clock struck ten, and I fared well.
I love you, you ragamuffin & will see you soon.
Emily, a Gun Street Girl Always
PS: In other news, we are back safe and sound from the land of Ben Franklin.