To quote the late, great American writer, David Foster Wallace: “Whatever you get paid attention for is never what you think is most important about yourself.”
It’s easy to list things important to me — faith, family, friends, etc. — but essential attributes about myself are not something I’ve given much thought to.
Surely, after I attempt to introduce myself here, those who already know me might wonder why I left out something obvious. Chalk it up to brevity of wit and absence of mind.
I am Daniel Allen Taylor, youngest of three, married and a Christian. I have two godly parents, Mark and Teresa, and an older brother and sister named Andy and Lyndsay, respectively.
Being from Tennessee, I thought I lived in the South until I moved to Albertville. This city is different than my hometown in ways that aren’t yet clear enough to verbalize.
My welcome has been nothing short of warm and friendly, a rumored hallmark of small towns that I’m happy to learn is true here.
My wife, Stephanie, and I moved here in August from Greenville, South Carolina — the town where we met and did most of our dating till we tied the knot in 2015 in Eight Mile, Alabama.
She teaches physical education at Albertville Middle School in addition to coaching. I write for The Reporter, covering Crossville, Geraldine, the Marshall County Board of Education and whatever other news comes my way.
Writing is the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do, career and art wise. I wrote for my college paper at East Tennessee State University, for Laurens, a small city in South Carolina, and for a popular news website.
I’ve tried to do other things, but writing has always been nagging in the back of my mind like a deformed infant dragging itself after me, as author Don DeLillo put it. He was talking about writing novels, in particular, which I also want to do someday (read: as soon as I can force myself to sit and care for that crawling child).
My childhood was a semi-bucolic mix of midsized metro and suburban country at the tail end of the free-range era, when kids not only liked to play outside but could do so without fear of kidnap or distraction by cell phone.
I’d wade in a run-off creek near my grandparents’ house, catching crawdads and frogs, or play tackle football in my friend’s backyard.
My mamaw would make me gallons of pink lemonade and my papaw would give me Indian-rug burns and tell me jokes while he smoked. To this day, my mind dashes back to my childhood whenever I smell cigarettes.
I didn’t really become self-conscious until high school, but I feel like I’m only now becoming self-aware — aware of the consequences of my choices and actions; of life in general.
That’s why I’ve recently taken particular comfort in Romans 8:28. Moving here was a big step for my wife and me. A scary one for many reasons. But wringing my hands trying to discern God’s will was a deepening rut.
I still don’t know if moving here was the “right” decision, but I know God can use me anywhere. That’s what I think is important about me.
Daniel Taylor is a staff writer for The Reporter. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.