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My Buckhannon columnist Tyler Hall / Photo courtesy Tyler Hall

Dear Neighbor: My name is Tyler Hall, and I’d like to introduce myself to you

BUCKHANNON – Recently, I was afforded the opportunity to write for My Buckhannon. The prospect of being able to write interest pieces and have a voice piqued my interest. And even though most of my writing up to that point had dealt with fiction and fantasy, I plowed forward trying to deliver stories that I would enjoy.

Then it was brought to my attention that many people might not know who I am, or why I have any interest in the subjects I write about now and will, perhaps, write about in the future – music, gaming, public service, literature and more. And with the column title, “Dear Neighbor,” it only feels proper to have an introduction, so let this article suffice for said introduction.

Hello, readers. My name is Tyler Hall and I’m a Buckhannon native. I grew up and went to school here. I captained the Buckhannon-Upshur High School Soccer team, ran track, and played guitar in the Jazz Band. I’ve always had a penchant for competition and enjoyed the feeling of constantly bettering myself. Early in my life, those characteristics served me well in school. Getting good grades was never as hard as navigating the subtleties of social situations, but even so, I left Buckhannon as part of a wonderful group of friends.

Having graduated in 2010, I set my sights towards the Windy City of Chicago. By this point I’d developed an amateur’s understanding of guitar and music theory and could see no other goal than making music my life. Growing up listening to my father’s music had cultivated a special love for Blues and Jazz music. So naturally, I set my sights on Chicago and New Orleans, hoping to experience the remnants of a music whose popularity had waned.

After doing some shallow research, I decided to attend DePaul University, but after having finished a year’s worth of work at the university, I felt as though something was missing. I returned to West Virginia a year later, still studying through WVU while I scouted for yet another school I could transfer to. Eventually, I was led back to the Windy City to attend the Columbia College of Chicago, a private college that specializes in creative arts, liberal arts and media disciplines and is positioned centrally within Chicago’s Cultural Mile.

It was at Columbia where I would find the same passion for music among my cohorts that I, myself, harbored. The student body was fevered with opportunity and creativity and in turn, created a campus where artists regularly linked up on projects and furthered their craft. Moreover, I truly began to take part in and relish the amenities of a big city and open myself to the myriad cultures surrounding me. As I write this, thinking back upon those years, I find I was at a prime moment in my life. My goals and aspirations were being fed through the school and the extracurricular activities that I participated in.

It was around the summer of my junior year when a love interest struck me so blindingly that I became in thrall to the idea of a relationship. Unfortunately, the significant other remained in West Virginia. Now, I’m a firm believer love can outlast distance, but times were rough. I was driving back and forth from Chicago to West Virginia – eight-and-a-half hours one way – trying to keep both dreams afloat while maintaining the same level of discipline with art.

Tyler Hall, pictured here sharing a laugh with his friend, Chris Skinner.

However, this proved impossible, and both dreams began to show signs of fracturing. I did what any insane man would do and moved back to West Virginia, finishing school through online means while I tried to repair a failing relationship. Once all was said and done and the smoke settled, I found myself alone in West Virginia without love or the community that had fostered my musical passion. To say I was lost would be quite the understatement.

No longer could I envision the goals in my mind nor any way of achieving such an idea. So, with a broken heart and head, I plowed through the next few years in an ugly fashion that I will admit I’m not proud of. However, even through the darkest moments of those harrowing years, the old friends and family I had grown up with kept me alive and somewhat connected. My gratitude to those people shall forever remain deep and incomprehensible.

Today, as I write this and think back upon the good and bad, I’m left with a smile. To say I’m back to my “old self” would be a lie, but I can only hope that what I continue to move toward is a better me. A me that the “old Tyler” would have never envisioned because he didn’t know the darkness he’d have to wade through. A me who not only sees the dream but also the pragmatic steps necessary to achieving a modicum of the success I desired. So, I continue to push forward, trying each day to take steps towards the arts again.

“Dear neighbor,” I’m Tyler Hall. An adult who still dreams like a kid and one who wishes the best for each and everyone of you.

Tyler Hall is a Buckhannon local whose enthusiastic interests include, but are not limited to music, gaming, public service and literature.

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