Mango Resistance: A poem from a prompt (10 Minute Sprint)

I’m not as still as you want me to be

Supposedly, I have rage underneath

Come closer,

the surface glides but the shades and the tones they skip

like rocks over the water and dirt cycling into the blades of green

I’m not as smooth as you’d like to believe

lopsided beating heart racing to burst at the gleams

and everybody belongs to the lines and

object to the grooves and oh, so disapprove of my

piously round and

unabashedly scandalous

shaped obstination

curvature, foul and indentured

soulful as fruit on a useful, yet lifeless plank.

j

even Apollo was afraid of the dark sometimes.

Apollo, you froze

as the sunlight of your eyes grew cold

the lyre, smashed across these cobblestone streets of Epidaurus

where you sought sanctuary

when the flowing melodies ceased as water in hard frost, unlike before

the day you remembered this place yielded no crops

in refuge of quiet, inquisitive starlight as you looked up

for once in your life.

Do you mend the sores of your intuition?

Your moral infection, rampant, plaguing the shoe less mendicant

when the bow became the archway to your temple of wax

and the arrow you left behind, atop the mangled olive tree

the one the muses grew bored of pursuing, on your behalf

before you knew if you had anything to give to your son

before you knew of Daphne, and how it would feel to watch her leaves depart her person.

And I recite what I see for when I close my eyes I see fear, instead of the tomorrows hidden in your eyelids.

The city waited for you to rise

and I also waited to see if you could heal yourself, you shining oracle:

be fearless again.

A script is upon us.

It begins! After stumbling for a couple of months on a direction for the script. I got a story backbone I really like and am moving forward with a draft! It felt like this took forever!

Initially, the plan was to do scene cards and create a more straightforward outline for the script. This script, however, is not linear. It is a three pronged narrative that, if executed properly, will have additional points of view supporting or countering the main perspectives. I am super excited because the fun is going to be in the subversion of expectations and leading a reader/viewer in multiple directions.

As an experiment, I recorded my one hour writing session late last night and narrated the process of starting this script. It was super informative for me because it helped me think out loud, and vocalizing so much of these creative thoughts is at the core of many writing setbacks. It’s like we need to materialize an idea before we can actually do something with it!

Given the nature of the script and how many surprises it has in store, I won’t be publishing the videos anytime soon, but it gives me a great idea to start using livestream to document the process or to bring others along with me. I think that would be a lot of fun! For the time being, I’ll focus on this draft!

Much love,

j

Procedure (Break Time Poetry)

In the valley of fluorescence
a narrowing conch
hiding a benevolence
underneath and above and outside of the things that limbed creatures should be doing
outside of myself,
looking down as a figure that knows not how to fly, mostly hover;
translucent
and afraid of what will happen
when the wind picks up
and retrieves
the rubbish
all around.
“Is this my place? Up here,
down below? A few steps to the left, or the right?
Is there policy for this direction forthwith?” No procedure for this.
And in my bedhead,
translucent as well, and loud to the touch,
these fingers,
these broken pointers
can no longer heal or cause
a damn thing.

j

Talent + Discipline Wins. Strike a balance.

Any writer worth a damn knows discipline lies at the core of a solid, fulfilling writing life. I learned this one the hard way.

In college, we had a guest artist teach a few classes in my junior year. It was nice for a theater department in the middle of nowhere to bring professionals for us to get to know more about the craft, since it took a while for the trends to make their way to Wyoming. This individual brought an intense east coast attitude; a straightforwardness I wasn’t used to, and I struggled with it throughout his entire class. I was raised in a small town, I didn’t know how to deal with that level of directness. From the get-go, I thought he was out to get me. Don’t get me wrong, his criticisms in acting class were never out of line. This professor was not a villain, but I saw him as one back then. When I was a kid, I thought anyone asking me to challenge myself was asking me to compromise who I was. I misunderstood often, so I didn’t listen when I should have been. As you can guess, I didn’t do very well in his class. I went to see him at his office and long-story short, he asked me what I wanted to do with my writing, which has always been my primary creative focus. He wanted to know the end goal I had in mind. I told him I wanted to write movies. That’s when he said “I don’t think that’s going to work out for you. Movies and TV, with all their deadlines, that’s not what you’re cut out for. You need time, you need to keep writing plays.”

I didn’t know how to deal with that honesty, so I took it as an attack. Clenching my teeth I left his office and bitched for hours in my head. How dare he pigeonhole me? How dare he know what I can and can’t do? Fuck that guy. I got so offended I forgot to listen to what he was telling me: All those hours in class for an entire semester, and I never showed him what I could do. He could see I was a talented guy. In class he would compliment my performances and my directing instincts, but I was always unprepared, half-assing my assignments, jumping from one distraction to the next. In that office, he wasn’t limiting my prospects or pigeonholing me: He was daring me to do better. To take it to the next level. He saw talent without discipline.

I have never developed my discipline because I relied so heavily on my talent that I didn’t develop the other half of the equation. In the end, it’s hard to be incomplete.

I am playing catch-up. And it’s a beautiful thing.


It was character that got us out of bed, commitment that moved us into action, and discipline that enabled us to follow through.

Zig Ziglar

Then. (What Shaped You?)

& Thinking of Why I Wanted to be an Artist.

What shaped you? I was shaped by tacos, Mexican sweet breads, and stories. For the sake of this post, let’s say stories did most of the heavy lifting.

When I was a boy, I wrote comic strips about robots and time travelers. I saw vehicles lining the base of the rolling hills in the Southwest corner of Wyoming. Interstate I-80. I wondered where they were going, and how each one of those drivers had a story. I pondered on direction and destination often. My childhood of watching interstate travelers zip back and forth is one that fostered a fascination with time and distance, set against a backdrop of western landscapes from bygone eras. It really felt like a place stuck in time while all others moved along.

At the end of the day, I would listen to the highway traffic fleeing into a bold, amber horizon, and only the humming of the road lingered. I listened for more so I could feel whole.

Time and distance influenced my pursuits and worldview because I was in the proper conditions to be shaped by them. I listened so attentively that here we are:

I’m still obsessing over the gulfs between fictional lovers, friends, communities, and all others who push to create distance between the truth and themselves. I write about that.

I’m still lamenting the cruelty and magic of time, and how the craft of capturing those and that which is bound to leave us, is the greatest gift of all. I want to capture that joyfully and honestly.

This is why I listen, and write, and record. Why do you make stuff? What shaped you? Leave a comment or drop me a line! I’d love to hear how you came to be an artist.

j