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  • Writer's pictureSteven Acker

The A File: Empaths and Savants

I have been writing a book about this entire adventure since the day John H first called me on August 30, 2007. I have been writing it with email messages and journals. I may be grandiose, I may be crazy, but I seriously believe that this book, when complete, will tell an incredible story with universal (and commercial) appeal.

Two things have been said about me in the last five years that may explain who and what Steve Acker is and why he does the things he does: 1) Steve is an Empath, and 2) Steve is a Savant.

An empath is a person who has extraordinary empathy with other people’s emotions and feelings. Bill Clinton once famously said “I feel your pain.” Well….I do. I feel other people’s pain. I feel other people’s joy. I feel other people’s anger. I feel other people’s hatred. I feel other people’s love. It’s almost like that kid in the Bruce Willis movie—“I see dead people.” Not always (I can be equally insensitive to other people’s feelings, too, you would probably agree), but often enough. I see things and feel things other people don’t see or feel. And while most people who are not outright sociopaths have normal empathy with others, I really do believe that my empathic powers are beyond the ordinary. And throughout my life I have tangibly expressed these feelings in word and song and in the way I play.

LAW, was one of the best live bands ever (ask Roger Daltrey if you don’t believe me) because I somehow attracted a collection of players and singers who musically expressed themselves with the same energy and power that I had from the first time I ever set foot on a stage in the 8th grade. This collective power was, on stage, downright amazing and for seven years LAW was one of the biggest draws in almost every geographic region we covered. Our empathy with our audiences was simply amazing.

NOW ON TO THE SECOND THING: Steve is a savant.

John H once said that. It was a very interesting statement and I’ve been thinking about it. This is my analysis of that statement:

First, I would add one word to that appellation, if it indeed applies--Prodigious. Wikipedia defines and describes a prodigious savant:

A prodigious savant is someone with a skill level equivalent to that of a prodigy, regardless of any cognitive disability. The most common trait of prodigious savants is their seemingly limitless mnemonic skills, with many having photographic memories. Prodigious savants are extremely rare, with fewer than one hundred noted in more than a century of literature on the subject. Treffert estimates that fewer than fifty or so such individuals are alive today.

So while there may be some truth to this idea that Steve is a savant, I kinda doubt that I am THAT rare! BUT, in essence, I get it. I understand.

“You are own worst enemy,” John H tells me. I must concur.

I’ve been saying this about myself for years—half genius, half lunatic. Half good, half bad, half happy, half sad, half beautiful-half ugly, Hell, I’m half everything. Half Yankee-half Southern , half conservative-half liberal, half right brained-half left. And you wonder why Steve is so friggin’ neurotic?!

The trick, for me, has always been to harness and channel the genius, the good, the happy, the beautiful, and the productive, and make it work, while minimizing as far as possible the madness. Take the Cannoli, leave the gun. I get it.

So let it be written, so let it be done….(that’s kind of a running in-joke between John H and myself).


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