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  • Writer's pictureSteven Acker

The A File: On a Vertical Train

"We're on a Journey to the Stars on a Vertical Train."

I sometimes reveal too much personal information to people. It has frequently perturbed my executive producer. More than once, he has seen my Facebook posts copied to him and he has scratched his head in wonder: who are these people and why the hell is he writing this?

When I first dove into these perilous artistic waters at his behest, I was living in a musical wilderness named Jackson, Mississippi. I had nobody around to talk with, nobody to work with, nobody to play with. I decided to change that, First thing I did was join some dating sites and that provided a few worthy adventures, but it got soon got tiring. In the summer I decided to take a different approach to enlarge my circle, which he and I discussed at the time. I added interesting new people to my life, some I barely knew and some I'd known forever. They became my first "entourage." No man is an island and I thrive in the company of others. This group included my parents' Sunday school teacher, my ex-AA sponsor, new co-writers and new advisers. I wrote the emails and Facebook posts in question to build my little group.

The other reason was to develop material for my eventual book. I decided early on, when John first signed me, to write this book while on the journey, not later in retrospect. I called my journal The A File: A Songwriter's Story.

I wrote about madness in the midst of madness: The Borderline Psycho-Bitch. The Drunk on Jesus in Alabama Affair. The Virginia Tech Backstabber. I thought these stories would make for a very entertaining chapters in this book. I thought, too,. that the painful experiences would serve to make me a better songwriter and a better man. And they have.

Besides, how can you write colorful songs if you don't live a colorful life?'

Every email message I have ever written and sent to anybody or received from anybody remotely involved in this project since I embarked on this journey on August 30, 2007 is material for the book. A lot of the book will be verbatim email exchanges about the development of the songs, my adjustment to the challenge and the growth that comes with challenges met, the chicks, the struggles, the good, the bad, and the ugly....all supported and connected by an ongoing narrative interspersed throughout the book.

This is why I started writing this journal. Our story--the story of John Hanti and Steven Acker--is a fascinating story. It's unique. In Nashville, everybody's got the same story--The Bluebird Café, Music Row, waiting tables to pay the rent, blah blah blah. But our story is different. Maybe that’s why some people ihang around instead of running away. Because they want to hear the story…a story that’s unfolding right now. Hell, they are the story .

On the other hand, maybe a few are just waiting to watch the train wreck.


There is one key and one key only that will open the door of a New York City publisher and only one possible ending to the story that would sell it---SUCCESS. People love winners. Losers they don't give a shit about.


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