Fun story time. So, once upon a Friday the 11th, I shimmied on up to Seattle to see Anberlin rock El Corazón. And of course my life’s mission has been to meet and chat with the band that has so rocked the course of my existence. I brought my copy of Stephen Christian's The Orphaned Anything's in case I got the chance to meet him–and I didn’t necessarily expect it because of the VIP events the band would likely be doing before the show. Well! Turns out the tour buses were parked right freakin’ next to where I was in line, and I spied the band playing cornhole over by their bus. Cue hysterical heart palpitations. The girl next to me practically pushed me to go forth, grow a pair and actually say hi to them. And so I did! I immediately felt enormously at ease. Christian McAlhaney was the first person I made contact with, and his warm smile was as disarming as anything in the world. I chatted with him, Deon, and Joseph (Nate and Stephen were tossing bean bags like champions), until I finally said to Christian, “Hey, I know this isn’t your book, buuuut, would you mind signing?” Mock-miffed, he immediately declared that Stephen was by no means the real author, proceeding to cross off Stephen’s name and circle his (proudly adding his signature to the side). Territory marked. But that wasn’t good enough for Nate, who trotted up and came out on top by crossing off Christian’s “name” and writing his below. All in all, everyone playfully signed… including Stephen himself, who laughed heartily by the time the beautifully desecrated book came around to him. “You have some really mean friends,” I said–to which he slyly replied, “Well, ‘friends’ is… subjective.” Never take friendship personal, right?

I thanked him and the band, and I didn’t beg for pictures since they were technically supposed to be hanging out with their VIP crew. But they certainly gave me a VIP experience with their hilarious trolling and willingness to connect with some random girl with an enormous soul-crush on their work. They are genuinely great guys with a sense of humor as strong and lively as their rocking sounds. Someday I hope to chat with any of them at much greater length and continue to get to know them and what truly drives them in whatever ways I can. 

Thank you, Anberlin, for always reminding me that there’s more to living than being alive–and helping me to truly live. Through the memories, the sounds, the brilliance of it all.

Also, Nate: great novel, truly. Such a shame Stephen stole your thunder like that. Lead singers… what are they good for, right?