Sharing in the Church of Rock and Roll
By Barbara Quinn
My novel, The Summer Springsteen’s Songs Saved Me, is a tribute to the healing power of Springsteen’s music and much more. In the book a woman, Sofia, leaves her philandering husband and finds solace in the quiet beachside town of Bradley Beach, NJ, once the home of the Boss himself, and currently my home. With the help of new and old friends, a sexy neighbor, and the messages within Springsteen’s lyrics, Sofia learns to accept her dark past so that she can embrace the future. Each chapter of the book is titled with a Springsteen song and that song weaves into the chapter. I spent hours delving into the music and lyrics of the Boss, searching for the right song to convey the messages and themes of the novel. I followed in the footsteps of Bruce and visited a litany of the landmarks of his youth. The book is set in a number of vicinities in Springsteen country. The novel is loved by many, and many who love the story are part of a group of Springsteen fans called the Spring-Nuts who have welcomed me into their midst.
Impressively, the Spring-Nuts know all the lyrics to even the most arcane of Springsteen’s tunes. (Confession: Though I’ve been a fan since Bruce’s first album, I‘m far from knowing most of the lyrics, but aided by my fellow Nuts’ enthusiasm, I’m on a learning tear.) Beyond reciting all the lyrics, quoting appropriate lines at will, and attending numerous concerts, the Spring-Nuts embody much of the deeper meaning of Springsteen’s songs. They gather each year to sing and dance all day to the music of the Boss. But they are not only about this one event or about merely having a good time, though having fun is certainly a driving force in the group activity. On a daily basis, they help one another through tough times. Funds are donated to worthy causes. People allow one another to stay in their homes when visiting Bruce country. They meet for brunch, or to attend Springsteen cover bands, or the performances of the E Street Band members. They gather with fellow Nuts when traveling around the world. They share dreams, cheer successes, and lift one another up when needed. They’re bound together by the heart and soul of Bruce’s music. They believe their faith will be rewarded and that love can prevail no matter what peculiarities and setbacks life throws their way. It’s a pleasure to be a part of this group and to have them enjoy and support my novel. The Boss spreads joy, peace, and most of all hope. His fans share a connection to something greater than any one individual. It’s the church of rock and roll and it is good! I’m proud to be a member and to have written one of the verses in its hymnal. Rock on, Bruce!