1. A city in central Tennessee, the state capital
2. A river in the east central U.S.
3. Country music
4. The country music industry
1. The Robert Altman movie that changed my life.

The movie came out in June of 1975. A few weeks later, I was visiting my brother and sister-in-law on a farm outside Knoxville. We went into town to the stately old Tennessee Theatre to see the movie Nashville. Two hours and forty minutes later, we looked at each other in a daze and unanimously agreed to stay for the next showing.

This was a movie like no other. A fractured kaleidoscope of colliding lives. I was aghast, amazed, and shocked by the total experience. Plus, I was passionately in love with the singer of my soul, Keith Carradine. “I’m Easy” (please excuse the video’s Eastern European subtitles) was the song he wrote just for me — certainly not for Lily Tomlin. He won an Oscar for Best Original Song, of course.

That one song said it all. Everything my 13-year-old heart imagined it might want to say, some day, to someone. As an awkward freshman in high school, I didn’t attract too many looks. But that didn’t matter because Keith Carradine was the love of my heart, the sharer of my soul. Every single word he sang came straight from me. That was me. “I’m easy.” In the best purest way.

What endures? Robert Altman. The genius of Robert Altman. Long after I realized Keith and I were not destined to be, I revere Altman and thank my lucky bones he has been making his art during this time in which I am also lucky enough to be alive.