Some nights are for new edits, and learning to reach out.

I’ve been working on a dance project in collaboration with Wyoming Dance Arts based on this creative prompt of mine:

I worked with three of the WDA dancers and we created a piece based on the restrictions of the space. We spoke a lot about theme and how they could internalize it so we could produce some site-specific choreography. It was a very fruitful, impromptu shoot and I’m still going on the high of that interaction. It’s the best kind of collaboration because the dancers really owned their performances and committed to the idea behind the video. I appreciate their creative trust tremendously.

Still from the new project: Narrow (Variations)

I had to put this on the back-burner due to the Oyster Ridge Music Festival Deadlines I had to follow, but every chance I got this fall, I worked away at a rough cut for the first video. Oh I forgot to mention, this project will be designed to be edited a handful of ways in order to produce three main pieces and several little snippets for social media. I want to see how much of it sticks and what doesn’t, so by the end of the year, I hope to have most of it wrapped up. So much for free time!

So once I had a reasonable cut, I sent it over to one of our collaborators and she not only shared some outstanding feedback, but reminded me of this very important lesson: Don’t be afraid to reach out.

Still from the new project: Narrow (Variations)

I sat with my rough draft for about a month because I didn’t know what to do with it. The editing brain went stale and I couldn’t see what needed to happen next. Yes, it was a reasonable draft, but upon getting a fresh set of eyes to look at it, I was able to stand back and observe the piece for what it really was. Because of that, I went home and re-edited the first piece all over again. And it is a much better cut now: Leaner, yet patient and specific.

I would have kept the old cut and chiseled away at shit had I not taken it upon myself to ask for help when my creativity needed it the most. Don’t hesitate to reach out and communicate, and I’ll try to do the same.

Much love,

j

Ten Minute Directives.

I’m at lunch and I have ten minutes left. What can I do to make creative progress? I’ve been speaking openly about my creative failures, lack of organization, and artistic aimlessness on my podcast to get a good sense of how to confront it. It’s been fun. So far, my life is starting to become a series of rigid directives in an effort to whip myself into organizational and goal-oriented shape. My goal is to work on my self-care. my creativity, and community output. This is what I got so far:

  • Every Sunday, I will define my weekly goals into achievable directives.
  • Do. Make. Execute. Even if it’s shit, just get in the rhythm of producing instead of pondering.

I’ll talk about the self-care sometime soon, but in terms of creativity and community outreach, there’s a lot you can do in ten minutes. This, I am certain of! The problem is I daydream too much. I tend to posit and keep it all in my head. I must get the word out, I must think out loud, in order to find what will work for me. I hope laying this process out in the open will help you stray readers out there who may be struggling to juggle life, work, and creativity like me. I’m noticing a sea change: Since I’ve been bullet journaling, I’ve been able to take a look at my days and notice how much time I waste during my weekdays. The usual excuse is that I’m too tired from work, or some unforeseen errand came up and now the day is ruined and all is futile because we creative folks are dramatic. Yes, this has been my whiny state of mind for a while now. The hard truth is that all of that time does not go into work or quality time with family either: It ends up washed down the drain on Reddit, reading someone else’s opinions and journeys. There’s a fine balance to be had, and honestly, I am doing awful at it. It’s unacceptable. So in the weeks and months of recent introspection, I forced myself to see what my days actually look like: Where is all this time going? So here I have another experimental plan of attack to attempt in the coming weeks: Use ten minutes on your break to communicate your passion for the arts, reach out to collaborators, and advocate for your creative process every day of the week.

  • 10 Minute Writing Sprint (Poem, Flash Fiction, Monologue, Notes for that BIG Novel, etc.)
  • Share a new Creative Prompt on IG
  • Write a Blog Post (Noteworthy Links from the web, creative status report, posts like this one!)
  • Record the Creative Drive Podcast (~15 mins at lunchtime but still counts).
  • Give shoutouts to artists you care about on your social media platforms.

So much to do. If we look closely, there’s enough time, even for a working class creative. Let’s see how this pans out.

j

Do.

Just checking in to let you all know I’ll be podcasting tomorrow at lunch about what’s working, and a lesson in passing on art through the generations.

However, as I wait for a few clips to download from my cloud, I look back on today with pride as a great example of what I haven’t been doing in recent years: Today was a day of effort and productivity, even if I don’t see it right now.

  • Made it through work today. Will go back to my priority list and solve some problems and paperwork. I will do better tomorrow.
  • Spent some time coloring with my son tonight, and he has chosen to keep my red pen as his own. I am proud.
  • Made time to read.
  • Made time to journal.
  • Recorded with Madd and edited this week’s great episode of Our Kid’s Asleep about Disney Plus and Schitt’s Creek.

I’m making a point of not staying up late more than once a week, if necessary. This is my freebie night, I can do some video editing on my latest collaboration with Wyoming Dance Arts and call it a night. There is more time to be found. Just do.

Be well this week, and I’ll post soon.

Much love,

j

Mystery Project, coming soon.

Less is More (and a rescued novel idea!)

The last two weeks I’ve been working on outlining the children’s play, and after some discussion, I’m ready to hash out the working draft so the director can have a strong starting point. It’s going to be a blast and a rush to get it done ASAP!

Yes, Nanowrimo is halfway over. This month, my hope was to work on a playwriting project I’ve been musing on for a few years. As I’ve been outlining this children’s play to finish in the next few days, some characters I had almost forgotten came to see me in the form of a song. These were young folks that came to me in a dream and became a story idea for a novel tentatively titled, Ethersong.

My son and I had a Gorillaz concert playing on Youtube while we were hanging out this weekend, and they started performing a song of theirs I hadn’t heard before: Souk Eye. Suddenly, a switch flicked me back on! I have a deep deep fascination for mood and tone, and music has been the flickering light that guides me into the proper paths of a terrain before dawn. Years ago, I had written the beginning, lightly outlined my way to the middle and to a solid ending, only to find I had no idea how I felt about the whole thing. I was unsure of my relationship with these characters and how their world would be presented. I was uncertain of the execution. I notice my uncertainty comes strictly from being rusty at writing. I’ve been out of it for a long time. And so I sought out the song and listened to it at least twenty times in the last 24 hours. Sweet percussion, melancholy, an aching incompleteness. What the Portuguese have gloriously named Saudade. The profound longing.

While I don’t know that I will be able to finish it during Nanowrimo, I’m committing to make this the next big project I work on moving forward. I recorded a podcast episode for Creative Drive confessing much of my shortcomings in recent years, and the excuses I have made for my lack of passion for life. I’ll probably share it this coming week. Suffice it to say at this time, there is no reason to withhold that which brings you complete joy. It’s unreasonable to create work that brings no value to your life and does not fuel your purpose in life. I am finally starting at square one. I am falling face first into my passion again, and it feels wonderful. Keep making art, no matter where you are, no matter what your station in life is. Much love,

j