Noteworthy 8.16.19

Hello Void,

Yes, I’m talking to you, that elusive folks in this realm where our digital thoughts and media and memories go float until someone stumbles into them. At first, the notion of calling the internet a Void is to deem it a dark and cold place, but I don’t think that, really. I go back and forth, but mostly, my overall opinion is that the internet is a place where the positive connections will outweigh the negative. This is why I’m here, taking the time to share a few links and things, in hopes that it will spark something to us back to our creative ways.

  1. My wife gifted me a couple of books for our anniversary and I couldn’t be happier to get started on them. I just wrapped up Austin Kleon’s superb reference for artists Steal Like an Artist. If you need a kick up the rear to get going, this is as good as it’s going to get. What a playful, inspiring read!
  2. I love comedians. I love them as practitioners, bohemians, and all of their flawed, weird hilarity. Here’s an interesting conversation between Ricky Gervais and Sam Harris, discussing the nature of all things comedy, social media, and the state of the world.
  3. I’ve shared this before, but it makes my heart soar. My brother-in-law introduced us to this Shakey Graves song when our son was a baby, and I recall playing it on those late nights when scant sleep and long days turned life upside down. My baby would dance and sway back and forth clumsily and gift us a smile. And nothing made me smile a deep smile of pride from my bones and belly and heart than that little memory.

I kind of like sharing three things. It’s short and sweet, and I’m all about saving time. Madd and I will get to podcasting this weekend, hangout with our dear friends who are here from out of town, and of course, the quest to write the latest project is underway. Using Austin Kleon’s calendar advice, I’m going to continue working on my short stories, as well as the children’s play due at the end of September for the Casper Children’s Theater. I’ll keep you posted.

It’s Friday, and burnout is our refrain as we welcome the weekend. Take care of yourself. I’ll try too.

j

Noteworthy 8.10.19

Hello folks,

I have been trying to get this out for the last few days and I finally made it to the blog! Get to your recliner, relax, and enjoy some of the latest web findings to get us back to our creativity!

  1. We lost Toni Morrison this week. In her honor, let’s take a look at this superb advice on failure.
  2. Elliott Smith’s birthday was on August 6th. A light we lost much too soon but will leave behind some incomparable songs. I leave you with one of my favorite moments captured on video: Elliot as the first guest on the ill-fated Jon Brion Show, what a timeless artifact for us to enjoy now. Thank you Elliott.
  3. This week in Mississippi, an image of a little girl broke my heart. Hundreds of illegal immigrants now detained, have no idea what is to happen to their children or who will care for them. I saw my child in that photo and I simply could not bear it anymore. May our children never know this trauma and suffering this helpless little girl is going through. I never thought I would see this cruelty in our country. We cannot continue to do this. We are better than this.
  4. Yes it’s been a shitty week, but for the time being, let’s bask in the wholesome awesomeness that is Gullermo being a badass mentor for all of us.

Please take care of yourselves tonight. Embraced your loved ones. Be well, friends.

j

If you don’t feel so good about this entire week, just enjoy your cumbia! Happy Weekend!

Noteworthy 8.2.19

Hi there! Here’s a few awesome links to wind down this hectic week:

  1. I caught this one long ago when I was in one of my editing late nights, so I thought I would share this now. This is a lovely conversation between George Saunders and Jeff Tweedy that inspires like no other. It made me want to pick up a pen and start unraveling story. Great wisdom from two masters.
  2. The Working Songwriter is a podcast from musician Joe Pug. I had the great pleasure of seeing him live at the Oyster Ridge Music Festival and he just blew me away. His craft and presence as he delivered such beautiful songs left a good dent in my heart. A truly memorable time was had! I’ll be checking the backlog of his podcast episodes, in which he interviews fellow songwriters and discuss the craft of songwriting.
  3. Regarding the Steppenwolf revival of True West, the most influential play of my playwriting life. I would have killed to see this play in the flesh on that Chicago stage in 1982.
  4. This year, working on getting my poetry back on track has been a priority. Starting with the basics as I get to know how I can work in the medium and what I can do to get better, and more resilient. Here’s a little recap I found of Pablo Neruda I liked.

And I leave you with a great tune that hit VH1 when I was growing up, obsessed with music videos. Also, a 90s RDJ starring in a peculiar, one shot video. Have a great weekend, friends.

j

Noteworthy 7.19.19

Friday night and my remedy of choice is tequila and grapefruit juice. While it’s been a busy, intense week, I’m equal parts fulfilled and relieved. The next two days off will be chock-full of yard work, house work, creative work, and always family time (which is the ultimate remedy).

  1. So here’s a fun writing exercise that will get the cobwebs out of your brain. I’m trying this one myself as soon as I can! Emoji Storytelling!
  2. This NoFilmSchool article on Jon Favreau was a light treat in the middle of the week. I truly respect his work ethic and progression from humble beginnings as an improv guy to one of the best directors working today. The path of a complete, collaborative artist.
  3. As I commit to poetry more and more this summer, I am humbled by the learning process, as well as the unforgiving, but ever rewarding journey of creative growth. I have a long way to go. For now, let’s marvel at someone who really knows what he’s doing, Mr. Billy Collins. His understated and inviting work really inspires me to do better. If you haven’t already, enjoy his reading of “The Lanyard.”
  4. Thank you Thom for putting out the outstanding solo album, Anima. If you haven’t had a chance, please check out the sublime and kickass one reeler on Netflix by the excellent Paul Thomas Anderson and Thom. This is the type of work we need right now and the hope of the music film medium lives to another day!
  5. The week has been scored by Sufjan Stevens’ masterpiece, Carrie & Lowell. The melancholy in my writing and journaling has found its soundtrack. This is such a jewel of a confessional album, that the grief and catharsis of such an honest work just spills into your own life and you can’t help but accept that communal heartbreak. Love every second of it and have had it on repeat nonstop.

Happy weekend, friends. Be well and make art, make haste.

j

Noteworthy 7.12.19

Happy Friday folks! Heading into the weekend with some links to look forward to!

  1. Let’s start off with these breathtaking award winning images from the Audubon Photography Awards. It’s a nice change of pace to immerse into such beautifully crafted photos during the workweek. Definitely will be on my mind for a while.
  2. Shoutout to playwright Dana Lynn Formby, who shares with us her award winning play  “Johnny 10 Beers’ Daughter,” thanks to The American Playbook Podcast. I got to meet Dana at a playwriting conference and she is just a great soul and fellow Wyomingite, so I’ll be listening this weekend: So should you! 
  3. NPR broke my heart this morning with this article about service members living in fear of their family members getting deported. Men and Women who commit to serving this country should not have to worry about coming back to an empty home due to deportation. Surely, there must be more pressing matters for our nation than to hunt down the Navy officer’s Amá, or abuela. 
  4. My friend Rebecca shared this piece about dancers and the massive obstacles to becoming a professional dancer. I nodded through most of it as I felt it made sense to us playwrights, filmmakers, or any creative folk pursuing some kind of career in our day and age. It talks of a few ways to make inroads, and keeping your chin up.
  5. This week we lost a major creative light in the world. Mr. João Gilberto passed on, leaving a legacy of work that shaped the timeless and spellbinding sound that is bossa nova. I’m hoping to write at length about his work in due time, but for now, I’d just like to write that his songs helped me cope with some difficult times of transition and growth, and I could not be more grateful for the magic he brought to us. I could share the whole of Chega de Saudade, a work that guided me to better spirits, productive writing spells, and optimism when I worked at the cemetery. Instead, I will leave you with his rendition of Jobim’s perennial masterpiece Aguas de Março. I have listened to this track at least twice a week for the last six years. There is so much hope and possibility and introspection in his rendition of the song that it breaks my heart and puts it back together too. Rest in peace, Senhor. Thank you for the new sound.

Anyway, here’s a picture of Oscar licking the inside of this container. Happy weekend friends.

Make art, make haste.

j

Noteworthy Links

This song has been stuck in my head all week. Welcome to Throwback Country.

Hope America’s birthday weekend is going well for you all! Just wanted to share a few links I found illuminating and/or interesting. Also, having them here will be useful to check out later. Thanks for stopping by!

1. The Daily is becoming my go to podcast for current events and general discontent. This episode of the detention center in Clint, TX about made my blood boil. Not the best way to start the week, but no way to avoid it anymore. No matter the circumstance, we are talking about children: Toddlers, babies, young lives forever broken for the sake of politics.
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/01/podcasts/the-daily/migrant-children-border-detention-clint-texas.html

2. This one just makes me so thrilled to be working on a brand new, poetry-based iteration of my Creative Drive podcast. Oh how much fun would it be!

https://www.npr.org/2019/06/29/737073800/podcasts-are-providing-a-new-way-into-poetry

3. And this New Yorker article just turns me into a pendulum of love and hate for Instagram. I’m conflicted and I’m afraid I don’t know if IG is doing poetry good or if it even matters. Social media makes me fairly existential, if you haven’t noticed…

https://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/yrsa-daley-ward-breaks-out-of-the-instapoetry-pack-with-her-memoir-the-terrible

4. Late into Wednesday night, I had the 90s classic “Barely Breathing” on repeat and still going strong. I wondered what had been of Duncan Sheik outside of Spring Awakening. He always struck me as an incredible talent, but on a whim, I went down the youtube rabbit hole and found this performance, which really highlights his work as a songwriter of the highest caliber. Hope you enjoy as much as I did.

5. Lastly, I found this story illuminating on what’s happening to our neighbors in Gillette. About six hundred employees went in to work Monday morning and were sent home. I’ve been pondering this the entire week and I hope we can come together as a state-wide community and help any way we can. 

https://www.wyomingpublicmedia.org/post/meltdown-started-coal-bankruptcy-dramatically-unfolds?fbclid=IwAR2hF_srkH3_Ab13EQoQurJknnTAaaJNe2XX7KRfdjCqUprh5LGbe1XrySQ#stream/0

Hope to stay up and work on something. I’ll keep you posted!

j