Grieta (from Prompt 18)

At Rise: Mauricio hiding in a hole in the desert, behind the brush.

Mauricio: Sometimes, it’s easier this way. Whether to enjoy my sand head buried in darkness. Whether I accept my blind eyes as they make believe that I’m no longer here. I pray that here has become there. Is it okay to think this way? Is it okay to regret this? In the sand, I camouflage myself along the wedges of dirt and sage. I blend as a praying mantis in the soil.

I am a large mantid. Mantids, I think that is the scientific name. Not so easy to hide sometimes.

In Arenal, we would sit at night and the glow of the volcano would make its way to us. We never felt the heat, but we believed we did. A phantom comfort when there wasn’t much to eat. As human beings, it is easy to aspire to the impossible. It is an insult to keep your thoughts and dreams as low to the ground as your shoes. A friend of a friend of a friend says he can get you through the border on a cold night in Juarez. Then second cousin Martin will come from Odessa to drive you in his pick up like dusty luggage left in the sun. He’s legal, he can get by okay. All you have to do is get to El Paso.

Jacinto, my Papa, went first, with the family savings, and he left on the back of Manolito’s maroon minivan at dawn on the second of October. He never knew hugs or his way around one, but he tried that day. He wrapped his arms around me much too tightly and said that he would send for me. His tone flat and distant as if he had already taken off for the United States days ago. El Norte called and he answered. He swam the gutters of six borders and I heard his voice once again. For months, we wondered if he had enough to eat along the way, or if his shoes were holding on, or if he drowned in the big river. My mother was so proud she found his shoes at the flea market two weeks before he left. Barely used boots fit for a long hike at just ten colones! She smiled toothlessly, hiding her sorrow. For years she held that pain of distance and finally he sent for Mama and my sister, to join him in this place called Wichita. So far up North I think you can wave hello to the elves in the winter time. They found their way and that was seven years ago. And I waited in the house with two rooms by the big tree where the tall grass begins. With Abuela Mariella.

She is gone too, you know? She left not long ago.

In the tall grass, there was a praying mantis that would sit still at the sight of me. And we had a staring contest every day after school. I thought it looked me closely and waited for me to make my move to destroy it. But it never flinched. Maybe it didn’t know any better, and hoped the closer the danger, the closer the food. It is a dumb insect after all…

Did you mean to send for me too, Papa? Did you expect me to walk this path like you did? Did you want me to do this on my own?

He hides behind the brush again as headlights approach.

Sometimes, it’s easier this way.

Lights Out.

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

Happy Monday, From Late Sunday.

Wrapping up a little promo for the amazing and fast approaching Oyster Ridge Music Festival! I can’t wait to head there this weekend!

Yes, it’s late, but there are times one must go the extra mile and offer something to the cause. I just wrapped up on this quick promo a few minutes ago, since the festival is just four days away, every little bit helps to keep spreading the word! Oyster Ridge has given me so much in the last few years, and it does so much for the Wyoming arts community that it’s only right I try to bring as much awareness to this festival as possible. Producing web content for the festival has given me so much reward and joy, I can’t help but think of this project year-round. I’ll try to document a bit as I go, but as the festival takes hold, it’s hard to do anything but record and enjoy. Four more days!


In podcast world, Madd and I got back to podcasting on Saturday and should have a new episode this week as well. I had a big editing stumble the last few weeks, so I apologize to our dear friends who came on for episode 20. That episode will be coming out in the coming days! We cover some great movies and have a good time goofing around. For now, checkout the last episode we published, it might be one of our best yet:


On a personal note, I learned a lot this weekend. Sometimes irrational or poorly timed goals lead to a frenzy of time wasted, and energy spent on the wrong things. I tend to follow this pattern often, but a conversation this weekend led me to a helpful observation: It’s tough to get out of your head. Tough to see things from a vantage point other than your own. More importantly, it’s tough to meet the needs of friends and family if you aren’t actively listening. On my best days, I can be a great listener. Attentive and caring, generous. I have fallen short of that standard because thinking about myself and my distractions is more important. It sounds awful as I think this thought and lay it on display for all to see. This is however, the truth. I carry with me what I call, The Delusion: A powerful, intoxicating drug that drives me to fixate on a specific creative project because if I don’t finish it, a part of me will cease to exist. Rinse and repeat. Sadly, I’ve held this thinking for a long time, and its volatile nature has mangled my more healthy behaviors of relationship building and communicating. I firmly believe there is a healthier balance to be found between my creative pursuits and the relationships I hold dear: They must enrich and nurture each other. The secret is in clarity and communication.

I am vowing to be present, to actively listen, and to be proactive in my own life by making choices. I am rejecting complacency and embracing love and selflessness. I don’t know what the hell that means yet, but alas, this is a late night work in progress. Now the work begins.

I hope you had a good weekend too.

j

“Such great heights.”
Check out my original writing prompts on Instagram #icprompts!

In Progress on a Busy Day

Check out #icprompts on Instagram. I’m sharing some of my photos as prompts. Coming soon to Idleblog too!

Percussion & Repetition x 11.

The formula to something ritualistic and guttural? I don’t know for sure, but I’ve had these phrases stuck in my head for a while. I used to record and experiment plenty with sound, but I haven’t had the chance recently. I do want to lay some tracks down for a few song ideas which are going to become a narrative. I should add, most of the work I do recording demos revolves around creating a story-based songs. I love that feeling of telling a tale that unfolds like rain drops collecting as a puddle; constant, rhythmic and somewhat unfiltered. This concept I’m tinkering with may be an offshoot of a demo album I recorded long ago, called Headphone Music for Nowhere People. It feels similar, perhaps it’s because I hear electric guitar and noise which feels like it belongs in a post-apocalypse, like in that old album.

The Flood, from Headphone Music for Nowhere People (2009)

I’ve thought about recording it on my lunch hour, since I have to go home and see how the cats are doing. Recording demos is really the last thing I should be doing so it doesn’t help to try to cram it in right now. I should probably reserve my lunch time for self care and time to pause momentarily. I’m troubled by my inability to slow down. I can’t blame the coffee either. The mind just wants to race and commit every spare thought to developing a story. Perhaps I need to convince myself once again, that writing and recording is my therapy, and one that yields continuous joy.

I’ll keep you posted,

j

All

All of these beautiful people

All of these people that walked the earth

And the salt of our tongue, resisted

The hall of demons in afterbirth

All of these people that walked the earth

All of these people that walked the earth

And did the Shaman run to the fire?

All of these people that walked the earth

And did the hollow gram of desire

Find you the consequence of your worth?

All of these people that walked the earth

All of these people that walked the earth

You find me not in the short carousel

You find me spiraling down the well

With all these people that walked the earth

Your dream as common as prairie dirt

And I am certain it’s what we deserve

All of these people that walked the earth

All of these people that walked the earth

All of these people that walked the earth

Prompt Time!

Time to get the Instagram prompts over to the blog! Check them out if you are in need of of a little spark to jumpstart your creativity. Let’s see how this goes!

“How is it that everything changed when you came down?”

#makeartmakehaste

To-Do List on a Late Monday Night

  1. Meal prep: Chicken in the slow cooker.
  2. Pack for out of town work trip.
  3. Scoop the catboxes.
  4. Record & upload short Creative Drive episode.
  5. Gratitude Journal/Writing

My son’s about to fall asleep. I’m taking a breather before I get going on the tasks at hand. Not all Mondays are created equal, and this one has been a bear to tackle. So here I am, bruised and slightly mauled by the workday, but I get to come home to a quiet place full of gratitude and comfort. Please make sure you do this: Find your moments of warmth, let go momentarily in the embrace of a loved one, a delicious meal or a dick joke from a dumbass friend. The medicine for the daily bear attack is in the morsels of joy you collect in the forest. So when you nourish yourself and emerge from the wilderness, you’ll find peace in the fact you have survived, and have fought fiercely. You have given it your all, and the wild did not claim you.

In the little moments of clarity before sleep leads me to my pillow, I aim to breathe easy, find gratitude, and complete the items listed above.

Update 1/29: Wasn’t able meal prep, but I’ll do that when I get back.

No matter where you are, no matter what your station is, find the good. Work on your to-dos. Create beautiful art when you can, and go easy on yourself.

Make art, make haste.

j

Hiding from the Bear called Monday.

Revamped Creative Drive kicks off in 2019!

My 2019 days have been filled with upward stumbles in the creative department and good cheer. I hope the rest of the year follows this trend!

We’ll see about getting a new logo, this’ll do for now!

I had the pleasure of revamping my tentative podcast experiment known as Creative Drive into a proper podcast production with the help of my awesome wife, Maddie! It’s so nice to be able to find something that we can do together that’s not only fun to do, but a good opportunity to learn as we go. So far, we have two episodes to our credit and it feels right. Creative Drive started to sate the need to document and produce content on the regular. As we come upon the one year anniversary of this podcast experiment, I wanted to start investing more time and energy into something that I know will yield a positive message for us, and for anyone listening. In a nutshell, this iteration of the show will still cover my trial and error process of maintaining a decent work/life/creativity balance, as well as a brief conversation with Maddie on book and other content recommendations. I’ll still be doing some mini pep talks for working class creatives as well, all packaged in a short pod under thirty minutes. we have a lot to learn, but I couldn’t be more pleased with the first two episodes.

Yep, that’s it: Our living room setup Saturday night when we talked about gratitude journals and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. We had such a blast! It’s not much, but we have to start somewhere!
Now that I’m not forcing my gear to handle 4K video, I can actually work on my laptop and enjoy editing these shows. Just puts a smile on my face.

Coming from the exhausting nature of wedding videography, I am cautiously building new routines and I don’t want to overwork myself. It’s not about that right now. I don’t want to bite more than I can chew, I want this new goal to grow organically. It’s taken us so long to get into a comfortable work/life balance, the last thing I want to do is have the podcast or any new project upset the order of things. Let’s ease the creativity into the mix and we’ll go from there.

There’s never been a better time to do this. So here I am, trying to make this shit work. It’s not much, but the little increments inspire me to do more. I am free but overwhelmed, tired but leaping with joy, longing and aiming. Most of all, I’m desperately trying to be here, in the present, loving every goddamn second. It’s late and I have to get up early.

Don’t forget to get started on your happiness. We got this.

Much love,

j

Listen to Creative Drive on iTunes

Listen to Creative Drive on Google Podcasts

Listen to Creative Drive on Spotify

For all other options, check out our page on Anchor!