Letters From A Devastated Artist (3)

“The true artist sees through friends, prayers, doubts and wine.” -Randy Elrod

Dear Friends,

To Sam, thanks so much for opening my eyes, albeit in a raw and shocking way, to the birds and the bees. By pulling out your penis in the back of the school bus in sixth grade and showing it to Suzie saying, “Let’s make a baby”, you were the first to expose the ignorance of my religious teaching. When I promptly blurted out, “that’s not how you make babies, my Mom and Dad told me they prayed for me and that’s how I was born,” the back of the bus grew awkwardly quiet and you hurriedly zipped your pants, and I didn’t really know why, but suddenly I felt like a fool.

To Brad, with one flick of your scissors, you changed my life forever. I had never met anyone like you. You loved music, fashion and hairdressing. Thanks for making me let you totally change my hairstyle and my clothes. It was like some sort of magical makeover. The next day at school for the first time in my life, everyone saw me. Not only did the most popular girl in school ask me if I could give her a ride home, but after seventeen very long years, I felt like a normal person. I still don’t know if  it was good or bad, but I do know I was never the same. You gave me the confidence to audition for Spring Follies and my life and calling as a stage musician began.

To Tom, you taught me how to see. As we backpacked together in the North Georgia mountains, you stopped and pointed out the extraordinary in the most ordinary things. Long before I encountered Thoreau, it was you who taught me the difference between looking and seeing. You helped me doubt my religious teaching in the most healthy of ways. Watching creation dance caused me to question why I was not allowed to do so. Seeing the wonder and freedom in nature caused me to question religious legalism and control. You helped my artistic eyes see that every sunset is tragical, a happy sadness. That its okay to doubt, its okay to be depressed, and its okay to be devastated. That putting words and music and pigment to the utter devastation of life is part of what being an artist is all about. Perhaps the most important part.


Your friend, Randy

11 Responses to “Letters From A Devastated Artist (3)”

  1. Wow, this is beautiful, Randy. It makes me think about the friends who have impacted my own life in unique ways and what i would say to them in a letter like this.

  2. Thanks, Grant. Friends play a huge part in the formation of our lives.

  3. Love this…and I loved hearing more of the stories behind these letters the other night. Thanks for always putting yourself out there. You give others the courage to follow your lead.

  4. Randy,
    Loved this series. A lot. I have no artistic ability in my hands as you do, tho I feel it in my soul, my heart, my eyes. This also brings back the best teachers, the worst, the best and worst friends, the feelings on the playground, the 2 parents who showed their love in such different ways…
    Thank you

  5. Wow, Randy. This really knocked me for a loop today. I have to honestly say I didn't have any friends when I was growing up who impacted me in a positive manner. I had friends who introduced me to pornography and led to an addiction that almost killed me. I spent almost all of my time alone and the wounds took many years to heal. I'm thankful you had good influences in your past & your willingness to share with us.

  6. Ah, Jason. So sad. Someone told me that friends are the family I get to choose. I hope that many positive friends will come into your life now.

  7. Libby Headley March 31, 2010 at 01:45

    Randy… I have to say that you have made me laugh out loud with the first one. Reminds me of the time on my school bus when I was about 12 or 13 and was accused of being a virgin. I ignorantly exclaimed… "no I'm not"! I remember good times with you at FBC… you know where, only about 2 years I suppose. Dinner and movie with Steve Martin and Mary Steenburgen, Parenthood, at your pink house that I thought was the best house I had ever seen. The way you visited and stayed with me while Phil was in surgery for so long. The way you helped me to hit all the notes in an audition for a song in one of our performances. Trying to help all of us country baptists dance a slow waltz. When we moved away I felt that I was leaving the best church I had ever been to and most of it was because of you and Chris. Your sweet daughters. Your solos that brought us to the place of worship before the pastors message. The acapello songs, the competitions… oh, I've got to stop. that was so long ago. Thank you Randy and Chris. You showed us what having a minister and friend really means. Reading your blog brings me back to your influence which I love and miss terribly. Sincerely… Libby


  1. Tweets that mention Letters From A Devastated Artist (3) | RANDY ELROD | Creating Culture | Influencing Influencers -- Topsy.com - March 26, 2010

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Randy Elrod. Randy Elrod said: Finally finished"Letters From A Devastated Artist"(Part 3:Dear Friends)Whew!Tough one.What friend's have changed ur life? http://ow.ly/1r1qq […]

  2. Weekly Recapitulation - March 29, 2010

    […] Letters From A Devastated Artist part 3 by Randy Elrod […]

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