Big Stars

Let me tell you the story of the last few days.

CHAPTER ONE starts with a news story about libraries lending out various kinds of items other than books.  One of the items mentioned in the news feature was part of a program that two of my dear friends organized and initiated.  I was over the moon to not only see libraries in the news but to see them in the news for sharing unique things with their community.  However, my mood soured when I saw that one of the items that my dear friends helped get in libraries being proudly displayed by someone with no connection to the original project.  Even worse was that there was no mention of who was the catalyst for the amazing project.

CHAPTER TWO finds me at home with my family.  While lying down with my son Aero while he napped, I decided at the urging of my big sister Heather McCormack to finally watch Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me.  I had a previous flirtation with Big Star back in 2012 where I got an idea of their backstory but it really didn’t hit me how important this band was until I saw the film.  They had created such a beautiful sound that I have long been in love with but I didn’t realize it until now.  Big Star never got the proper credit they deserved while they were still around.  Now, three out of the four original memebers of the band have passed into another plane of existence.  Will they ever know just how important that the sounds they made are?  I don’t know.  That’s for another post.  I noticed a similarity between the article about libraries lending out various kinds of items other than books and the story of Big Star: two stories about people and ideas ahead of their time, not getting proper credit in the moment.

CHAPTER THREE is where we cue the music, specifically I Am The Cosmos by Chris Bell (formerly of Big Star).

See, I had always thought “ALEX CHILTON” when I thought of Big Star.  He was the one behind the Big Star album Third/Sister Lovers that I’ve heard so much about.  I was very wrong.  The moment I first heard the opening lines of I Am The Cosmos I had a moment just like the moment I had when I made the connection between the article about libraries lending out various kinds of items other than books and the story of Big Star: THREE stories about people and ideas ahead of their time, not getting proper credit in the moment.  Chris Bell was Big Star.

It was one of my great friends, one of the friends mentioned above in the article about libraries lending out various kinds of items other than books, that first told me about Chris Bell.  I have no idea of the date, but I know it was a “hey, you think Third/Sister Lovers is good? Check this out.”  He then proceeded to play me something from Chris Bell’s solo album.  I was too “but, but, but BIG STAR THIRD/SISTER LOVERS ALEX CHILTON” to even notice Chris Bell at the moment.  Another moment that was happening before it needed to happen.

CHAPTER FOUR happened this morning while in the shower. I noticed all of these similarities between the events of the last few days and the theme of folks not getting their proper credit in their own time all the while I Am The Cosmos played on my iPhone on repeat.

Every night I tell myself,
“I am the cosmos,
I am the wind”
But that don’t get you back again

I knew that I had to write this post as soon as possible.  I had to put these thoughts out into the world.  I knew it would be a risk to post it on this blog since it was out there and not dealing with libraries.  So after I helped my wife Haley put our kids to bed, I began to type and I didn’t stop typing until the end of what you read here.  What is it I am trying to do?  I strongly believe that when you put something out into the world with a specific purpose, it will have that desired effect on the world.  It will make the positive change you want it to make.

The change?  That those who bring amazing things into the world get the love and good vibes that they deserve while they are all still with us.  This is very important to me.  This has always been very important to me.  This will continue to be very important to me.

With all of that said, I give love and thanks to Kirsten Cappy and Michael Whittaker, two dear friends who live on Earth right  now and are responsible for putting some amazing things out into the world and bringing a lot of joy to their community.


  1. What a tribute to those who do things just for their love and caring for people and want nothing in return but to make the world a better place.

  2. Yes. Give credit where credit is due. Celebrate other people when you share their ideas and visions. Thanks Justin

  3. Justin, could you get me in touch with Michael Wittaker. He was the librarian at Reiche School in Portland when I had a reading program there. Saw him occasionally when he moved to the main branch, but lost touch when he left. My name is Paul E. Conley. I believe he knew my daughter, Caitlin, and possibly my son Paul. You may send him my address.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s