By Zachary Fenell
Garth Brooks, Brooks & Dunn, and Shane Michael Taylor. Any country music fan will easily recognize the names Garth Brooks and Brooks & Dunn. However, the third name will have you asking "Who is Shane Michael Taylor?" Living This Rodeo answers this exact question. In short Shane Michael Taylor is an inspiration. For a more comprehensive answer keep reading.
Born with a severe case of cerebral palsy, a neurological disorder which hinders body movement, Shane Michael Taylor faced extraordinary adversity growing up. These challenges ranged from self-confidence issues relating to using a wheelchair to obstacles caused by poor fine motor skills. For example, in Chapter 4 of Living This Rodeo Taylor reveals his inability to type the traditional way. Instead, he pecks at the keyboard with his nose.
A goal Taylor hopes to accomplish with Living This Rodeo involves providing inspiration for others. The conversational tone the audio book carries helps to accomplish this goal. Instead of a commanding voice telling you what you should and shouldn't do, Living This Rodeo connects with you as an equal, opening you to accept the book's messages more warmly. For instance, Taylor says in Chapter 8 "Being jealous or resentful of others is a complete waste of time, thoughts, and energy." These words describe a lesson Taylor learns rather than a governing commandment told to you.
The most effective parts of Living This Rodeo also happen to be the most revealing parts. In Chapter 7 Taylor discloses his struggles with self-confidence and dating caused by his cerebral palsy to illustrate the power of negative self talk. As an adolescent Taylor feared confronting girls he liked because he didn't think the girls would want a guy in a wheelchair. Even if a girl did go for him, he remained cautious out of fear an involuntary muscle spasm would cause him to accidentally hit the girl. These negative self images robbed the girls of having the opportunity of deciding whether or not they wanted to date Shane.
Within Chapter 18 Taylor shares the negative feelings he experienced after his mother passed away. Guilt-wrenched because he felt like his mother gave up the opportunity to live her life in order to take care of him and his brother, Shane entertains the idea of suicide. Realizing how important he is to his father and brother as well as how other people have gone through worse than him, Taylor triumphs over the suicidal notions. To the average person, hearing how Taylor considers himself fortunate despite the cerebral palsy related adversity he faces has to be a pity-sobering experience.
On a personal level for Shane Michael Taylor, Living This Rodeo will foreshadow publicity to come with I Will Stand, a country music album containing music written by Taylor. Living This Rodeo previews I Will Stand with the single "Living This Rodeo," an empowering anthem. If the single is any accurate indication, I Will Stand will stand strong. As far as the Living This Rodeo audio book goes, the book will inevitably motivate many.