What Bruce Springsteen taught me about writing

Persistence, heart and passion are essential to creating memorable prose that will move your readers. Take it from this legendary rock star.

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My love for Bruce Springsteen began on a bus from Cleveland to Chicago.

I sat down next to a young guy wearing a polo shirt and khaki pants who was headed to the Windy City to catch a Springsteen show and return the same night on the midnight bus to Cleveland.

He asked if I had any Springsteen music on my phone. I did.

He asked if I’d seen him in concert. I hadn’t.

Without hesitation, he offered me his extra ticket to that night’s show. “Anyone with Bruce on their phone needs to experience him live,” he said. “Trust me.”

I protested the entire four-hour trip, but to no avail. He handed me the ticket when we stepped off the bus, and he walked away, hoping I’d show.

I did.

I walked into the United Center for the first time, standing on the wooden floor that Michael Jordan made famous. I teetered with as much anticipation as a little kid about to take his first lick of ice cream.

I could not have prepared myself for what happened in those next three hours.

It was a revival, it was time suspended, it was electrifying and freeing. It was a thesaurus full of “laissez les bon temps rouler” synonyms. It can’t be explained, only experienced.

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