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

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!

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

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