Find It in Your Heart

Taylor Kopp

Hi Friends,

I haven’t posted here in…more than two years! What?!

During that time, so much has happened. In May of 2018, Dave retired from Penguin Random House and we moved from New York City to Portland, Oregon to be near our grown kids. Dave is freelancing part-time, and I’m finally writing again, after losing the ability for a long time due to… well, that’s a story for another time.

I apologize to all of you who have tried to contact me or attempted gain access to this site but found it set to private. It’s not that I’ve been posting to a select group, I just haven’t been writing here.

I really do miss that part of my life, interacting with so many of you, and I’m thinking about restarting the conversation soon with more and different. I continue to heal physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

But friends, I’m posting today because I just couldn’t not. My stepson Taylor is releasing his first ever album today. It’s titled “Found.” I am so proud of him, not just for his vocal and instrumental gifts but who he is as a person. Oh, you guys! He is just the best. kind. of. human.

The album, as you’ll discover, was partly inspired by Noah, and the theme of that loss runs heavily through it. Taylor writes, “The songs on the record exist somewhere in the place between the death of my brother, and my need to carve out a bigger life. When my brother died in 2015 I realized I couldn’t waste any more time.  I saw with this intense clarity that I needed to focus on what’s real.  For me that’s music, and being in the woods, and human connection.”

Noah and Taylor were 10 and 11 respectively when Dave and I began to date. From the get-go, they recognized each other and became like two peas in a pod. Two brothers on the couch in equally stinky socks who spent hours playing video games and talking sports, in particular, the Trail Blazers.

As they got older, Noah and Taylor increasingly bonded around their shared love of music. In high school, Taylor played saxophone and Noah played bass. Eventually, they both played guitar and other instruments, too. They roomed together at college for a while. Now and then, they jammed together.

Noah and Taylor

As they grew into young men, our sons separately dreamed of making music their vocation but couldn’t see a way to swing it while still paying the bills. In fact, a couple months before he died, Noah cut back his hours at work, hoping to jumpstart the music thing.

Then the worst happened, and you already know about that. Taylor was devastated, of course. But in the next few years, Taylor processed a lot of his sorrow through music—listening to it, and ultimately, writing it. Eventually, he decided he was done dodging his dream, done letting fear of failure get in the way of pursuing his love of music in a serious way. He quit his safe job and flourishing career at Columbia Sportswear to devote himself full-time to his music.

Taylor began playing at open-mics around Portland, developed an audience, booked gigs (on hold for now—thank you–not!–Covid-19), and recorded this album.

2020_VINYL RENDER_feb27-compressedIf you like American roots music, singer/songwriter-style, it will blow your mind. If that’s not your genre, it might still blow your mind. He’s that good. 

One song on the album is specifically about Noah. You’ll hear Taylor playing the saxophone, piano and guitar on this song. It’s incredibly haunting. With his permission, here are the lyrics.

You came to me
in a dream I had
And you said,
Brother, what have I done to us?

Man, I got lost
trying to find my mind.
And when I found it,
It had all turned to dust.

Well, I tried to so hard
To be a better man.
Please tell Mother
she did all she could do.

And if you could find it in your heart
To see the man I was
And not the demon
I left behind for you.

I’m so grateful that Taylor has found it in his heart to remember the man Noah really was, and is helping others do that, too. Thank you, Taylor.

Check out on “Found” on Spotify, Bandcamp, or wherever you listen to music online. It’s also available on vinyl! Click here for all your listening/buying options–and a link to his super cool music video.

(And listen, I promise I won’t wait so long to talk again. Big hugs and be well.)

Miracles and Tragedies

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[March 27, 2017]

Friends, I’m writing to tell you about a new  project with a sad backstory.

When I first got sober in 2007, by far the best part was the opportunity it gave me to share the good news of recovery with others—which led to my blog, Sober Boots. For more than three years, I wrote about topics I hoped would help addicts and those who love them on the spiritual path of recovery. I also wrote a memoir, Sober Mercies (Hachette 2012).

As many of you know, my oldest son Noah was, like me, an alcoholic. When at 26 he moved to Colorado Springs to get sober like Mom, it seemed nothing short of a miracle. For the next five years, we enjoyed being in recovery together and living in the same town. Noah was brilliant, funny, a gifted musician, and dearly loved by many.  Always a big fan of my writing, he generously gave me permission to write about him where our stories overlapped.

On October 31st, 2015, we lost Noah in a terrible tragedy. Through a combination of terrible choices—including going off his bipolar medshe suffered a manic episode so severe that he had a complete psychotic break. He walked out his door one morning and shot the first three people he saw. He died in the ensuing shootout with police.

I’m not ready to talk more about that heart-shattering story yet, but I wrote a single post a few months after happened, letting readers know. I was so grateful for the loving response; but I also realized I had made myself vulnerable to feedback that was hurtful. At that point, I turned the blog off or “private.”

Since then, I’ve received a constant flow of requests for permission to view the blog. Some were previous followers who wanted to reread a particular post. Others had read my memoir, Sober Mercies: How Love Caught Up With a Christian Drunk—and they wanted more. The question became: How do I free up the blog for new directions while still retaining the best of the recovery posts as a resource? That’s where the idea for a compilation was born. My talented friend Skylar Call painted the cover art. My sister Katherine spearheaded the project, working endless hours compiling and editing it (she knew I couldn’t bear to do it myself), and I’m so thankful to her for her hard work!

The book is a selection of the best posts from the Sober Boots blog over the course of three years, from 2012 to 2015. Some of them include Noah. Since his death I have struggled with my own sobriety. I am no one’s hero. But I hope the words I wrote during those years of happiness and hope can continue to help those on the difficult path of recovery.

Thank you for all the prayers and kind thoughts so many have sent my way during this dark time. Every word has mattered, and all that love is helping me to heal, I hope. Grief is long and at times seems unending. But God is greater than my grief. This I believe, and it has to be enough.

Best wishes,


PS/Addendum:  I feel I have to warn you that the book in its current iteration has quite a few typos and errors. I hope to release a new, edited version soon in case you want to wait. I’m writing this note in October, 2021, but unsure when I’ll get to it.