My son Austin Alexander performed his original song “A Recipe for Love” during the book signing for my story in “Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Miracle of Love” at Barnes & Noble on June 16, 2018. Click on the arrow above to watch.
The story behind the song is something good
“What if I write a story and you write a song and we take my words and your music to a big bookstore and invite friends and strangers to read and listen to our artistic pieces?” It is as if I had asked my son this very question in one of our many lunchtime chats and he had replied, “Yes, let’s do that.” So I wrote and submitted and he wrote and recorded and then I got published and he performed at my book signing at Barnes and Noble on June 16.
It did happen as if we had planned for it, but in reality, we never set out to share an afternoon selling my words as he sang his. Instead, we have been meeting occasionally for a couple of years in one of several cafes located midway between our two office buildings to encourage one another to keep pursuing our creative dreams.
It was during one of these times that I told him that one of my essays had been accepted for publication in Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Miracle of Love. He was the only person I shared my happy news with and he kept it a secret until the editor informed me the book was on its way to the printer and then I began blasting the news far and wide.
Just before the book came out, we met for lunch and I told him that a Denver bookstore would be hosting a book signing. I asked if he would bring his guitar and perform “Better Together” by Jack Johnson, a song and artist he’d gotten me hooked on years ago. He said he’d play, but not that song. I said okay and that I trusted him to choose what he felt would be best for the occasion, though I did walk away wondering, Why not one of my all-time favorite songs?
Days later he sent me a text with a link to a song called “A Recipe for Love” and told me to give it a listen. “Perfect,” I replied after I heard it. The lyrics went better together with the love story I’d written than I could’ve imagined. Although the recording was of him singing it, I asked him whose song it was, thinking he had discovered another artist’s music that would fit well with my story. My temporary lapse of sanity was met with a “haha” from him in a text message, followed by, “It’s mine. I just wrote it.”
Of course he did. That’s why it was perfect. A song with “recipe” in its title is spot-on for a book with “chicken soup” in its name. A song that starts, “A long time ago is when I first met you…” is a great match for a story that begins with “The first time I remember meeting him…” And a song written and performed by a son at his mom’s book signing is the perfect consequence for all of the times where they dared to speak their dreams out loud.
The next time we have lunch, we’ll keep talking about our creative passions and prodding each other on even if the words and music seemed to have dried up. “Keep writing,” I’m sure to say as much to myself as to him. He is likely to reply, if not out loud, in a thought that we both share, “Yes, let’s do that.”
So we will and then we’ll just see what happens next. Experience tells me it’s sure to be something good.