By Taylor Swift for ELLE UK
My favourite kinds of books to read are the ones that do more than just tell you a story. They do more than just set the scene or paint the picture. The writing I love the most
places you into that story, that room, that rain soaked kiss. You can smell the air, hear the sounds, and feel your heart race as the character’s does. It’s something F. Scott Fitzgerald did so
well, to describe a scene so gorgeously interwoven with rich emotional revelations, that you yourself have escaped from your own life for a moment.
I’m highly biased, but I think that the way music can transport you back to a long forgotten memory is the closest sensation we have to traveling in time. To this day, when I hear "Cowboy Take Me
Away” by the Dixie Chicks, I instantly recall the feeling of being twelve years old, sitting in a little wood paneled room in my family home in Pennsylvania. I’m clutching a guitar and learning
to play the chords and sing the words at the same time, rehearsing for a gig at a coffee house.
When I hear “I Write Sins Not Tragedies’” by Panic! At The Disco, I’m transported back to being sixteen and driving down the streets of Hendersonville, Tennessee, with my best friend Abigail,
euphorically screaming the lyrics. When I hear “How to Save a Life” by The Fray, “Breathe (2AM)” by Anna Nalick, or “The Story” by Brandi Carlile, I immediately flashback to being seventeen and
on tour for months on end. When I’d get a day at home in between long stretches on the road sharing a van with my band and crew, I would spend my rare nights off painting alone with candles lit
in my room -- just being alone with those songs (Those are all from the Grey’s Anatomy soundtrack. My commitment to that show truly knows no bounds). I’m convinced that “You Learn” by Alanis
Morissette, “Put Your Records On” by Corinne Bailey Rae and “Why” by Annie Lennox have actually healed my heart after bad breakups or let downs.
I love writing songs because I love preserving memories, like putting a picture frame around a feeling you once had. I like to use nostalgia as inspiration when I’m writing songs for the same
reason I like to take photographs. I like to be able to remember the extremely good and extremely bad times. I want to remember the colour of the sweater, the temperature of the air, the creak of
the floorboards, the time on the clock when your heart was stolen or shattered or healed or claimed forever.