Noteworthy 1.2.20

Back after a hiatus, here’s a few interesting links this year:

A great write up of the state of our artistic economy in Wyoming. It’s incredible how resilient and resourceful the creative community is in our state. I am awed by the talent in Wyoming and inspired by their determination and spirit!

A bit of insight about Herman Melville’s later years as a poet. I had no idea!

This is a great throwback read on one of my favorite performances of all time. The great Vincent D’Onofrio’s timeless role in Men In Black. He absolutely destroys that part in the Eggar suit!

Hope you are all having a marvelous 2020! Make art, make haste!

j

Monday

I come out of my cave all

snug blanketed

to meet a world

smiling hostile at times.

Hostile because of its indifference

not because it’s out to get me.

I caution you to look both ways:

and ensure you are wearing enough padding to handle the onslaught, as all of us adjust to the workweek.

Be well, friends.

j

P.S. The padding is the love you have to offer.

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

Blades (10 minute sprint)

MAY: On this winter day, the ice blades bobbed up and down Lake Michigan, shuffling against one another like uncomfortable cousins cramming into a couch at a reunion. The pier was bitter and slippery, but I had to be there for the sake of Tera. She had been over due to rise by eight years or so. So much waiting done on these frozen over planks that I forgot time could actually pass. The days have felt the same to me. Trapped in the ritual of 6 o’clock. Though I get to grab the big jacket in winter instead of my Lions cap in summer, it all still feels the same. Even the seasons become lukewarm changes to the fairly constant weather in my head. It’s hard to take in. Not even the anticipation is worth remembering. Is this what happens when you lose your spark? Is this it? Not for me. Not for us. When we read the story you made in Mrs. Taylor’s class, complete with abstract renditions of waves that billowed more so than crashed, you said you belonged there. You knew exactly where you were going. And I am proud of you for wanting to discover the underwater kingdom you dreamed so much about. My Tera. My spark. I still see you working on your coordination as you ride your silver bicycle, as you stumble when you dance at seven years of age. But you are fifteen now. Instead of practicing your balance you practice speed as your tail gains muscle and you cut through the water with a grace I’ve only seen above.

My daughter. My long gone spark. I miss you terribly. But I can’t wait to see you rise again.


Felt good to have a writing sprint after such a long while. This one was prompted by this article about a frozen Lake Michigan…

Be well. Make art, make haste.

j

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

The Creative Drive Podcast is back. Let’s go!

Hi folks,

It’s been quite a few months since I’ve been at this solo podcasting thing. Here’s a vibrant moment of clarity about why things don’t pan out, and what the gameplan is moving forward with this creative life of writing and recording. All good things!.

Much love,

j