All posts filed under: Journal Juice

Creative non-fiction archive.

Journal Juice 12 | A Little Less Alone

It’s amazing the futility creating art in obscurity can be. You’re a virtual unknown with an unproven track record as a creative entity. Sure, you’ve had a dozen or so of your stories published, half that number in poetry published, and at least 50 journalistic articles published, yet still your readership seems ethereal. It may be hyperbolic to say that absolutely no one knows the work you’ve created – the stories you’ve written and had published, the articles you’ve penned and published as well, the music you’ve crafted on your own and shared with an unsuspecting world, only to receive the response of crickets in an empty amphitheater – but that’s exactly what it oftentimes feels like. The whole reason creatives absolutely have to share their creations, even within what’s essentially a vacuum, is not so much about the hope and quest for validation, although that is certainly a strong motivator, but the primary reason is to simply to connect with others, provided an audience is found. Art is about bringing together disparate souls that …

Journal Juice 11 | Little Sister

It was only a year ago, perhaps, that we finally reconnected after so many long years of estrangement, forced and unforced. I was so glad to finally repair the disconnect that wayward siblings tend to create between them over the years. Of all of us kids you were always the wildchild, always anxious and on-the-go, yet clearly motherhood looks good on you. Last summer I swelled with pride when I got to see you in super-mom mode with your kids, those beautiful and fun-loving nieces and nephews of mine.  But you refuse to sit still. And now you’re gone. Again. I’m sorry that I have failed you. I feel that as your big brother, your only brother, I am supposed to protect you from all monsters, real and imagined; chase away unworthy boys when you were younger, veto all unsavory men when you’re older; assure you that you don’t need to accept that which is not good enough for you, show you that you shouldn’t settle for what you do not need, or fall for yours or someone else’s foolish plan. Ultimately, I …

Journal Juice 10 | Burden of Talent

There’s something to be said about the burden of talent. When one believes he has it, right or wrong, he is bound and driven to do something with it. And just like the talent itself, the constant nagging to use it is innate. I can’t watch TV for more than three hours because I get an anxious voice in my head chastising me, saying “You should be in your office creating. Slacker.”  And reading? A few pages in and my mind is saying “Why are you reading another person’s words when you should be writing your own, slacker?” Nevermind the fact that to write well one must read often. Sigh. And while at work?  There’s no bigger conflict of interest for a creative person than having to work any job that isn’t one that allows for an expression of one’s creativity. A creative mind never sleeps.  A creative soul is forever restless. _____________________________________________________ Reading: The Drop by Dennis Lehane, Hard Feelings by Jason Sarrr  

Journal Juice 9 | In Contempt

To make any progress on these various works-in-progress and works-in-revision, I absolutely MUST fall in love again with my own words, instead of holding them and myself in contempt. Once I finish wrapping up some things for others here in April, the month of May will be all about getting back in bed with my own writing with the explicit purpose of producing more literary offspring.

Journal Juice 8 | Inert

There are times when there is so much I need to do – and so much that I truly want to do and accomplish and succeed at – that at the end of the day I find myself having done none of it at all.  No progress made.  Nothing ventured.  Nothing offered.  Nothing gained.  It is as if the very weight of those goals and hopes and dreams – the responsibility of it all and the fear of failure –  they crush me into the earth like excessive gravity, thereby rendering me inert.  This cannot be.  If I am to be progressive I must be in constant motion, always doing, always moving, like a shark.  Sharks keep moving because failing to do so would mean their death.  I am not yet ready to die.  I must remain ravenous, act accordingly and get after it.  Yet I unwittingly allow my trepidation to impede my need to proceed and succeed. Recently LISTENED: “White Walker” by Mastodon, Michael Jackson, Dr. Dre + Snoop Dog

Journal Juice 6 | The Great Retreat

There are days when I am very thankful for the advent of social media and networking. As an info junkie it keeps me informed, and as a sometimes social butterfly I flit from flower to flower a few times a day to achieve a semblance of a social life, which is an activity that happens to be in lieu of more tangible interactions with actual, touchable, acquainted and friendly human beings. However, often I contemplate receding from social media and fully embracing what would be a truly hermitic existence, the company of my nuclear family notwithstanding, of course. To what benefit, one might wonder? Hmm. I can only imagine the amount of writing I could get done. Perhaps some time better spend reading books? Playing my shamefully neglected guitars? Actually sit my restless self down to watch movies, like old times? Catch up on sleep? Study the culinary arts? The most rewarding of all those things, of course, is the writing. While in retreat I could simply create a surrogate reality with my ability to put …

Journal Juice 5 | Identity

I am not who I want to be. Does that mean I am not who I am supposed to be? I do not know. I only know that I am not who I envisioned myself to be according to the fantasies and daydreams from today and yesterday, even going all the way back to my adolescence.  According to my six year old self, I am not the singer I am supposed to be. The ten year old Me barks that I am nowhere near the drummer I am supposed to be. The thirteen year old Me shakes his head because I am not the artist I am supposed to be. The fifteen year old Me screams that I am disappointingly not the guitarist I am supposed to be. How about that nineteen year old Me who professed himself to be a writer? Said he was going to write dozens of novels? The twenty-something Me has a litany of under-achievements I have amassed. Perhaps most egregiously I am not the father my twenty-one year old self …

Journal Juice 4 | Noise

I remain in awe of those – particularly writers, but any creative folk – who can effectively eliminate the Noise with even just a modicum of success. External. And Internal. Noise is generally that thing that imposes itself within the path of the Muse. External Noise is, at least for me, all that goes on around me during creative peak times. Not all of that Noise is bad or even necessarily a hindrance. After all, a great deal of it will in turn inform and service the art of which I am compelled to create. However, going with the general law of averages, to what average does that truly amount? A mere 10% of useful Noise? So what to do with the remaining 90%? That surplus is the struggle. Because we are not manufactured with natural, automatic smart-filters. We must manually, and quite deliberately, apply our filters. The rub, or should I say the fear, is that while filtering we might somehow inadvertently block some of which should be included in the better percentage. Thus, …

Journal Juice 3 | When Words Fail

There are some moments…and days…when nothing you say comes out right and nothing you write reads articulate. In other words, there will be times when your most useful tool fails you. When that happens, should you speak anyway only to at some point find yourself eating your misspoken words? Should you write anyway, knowing that at some point, particularly with the help of a computer and a word processor, that you can erase and rewrite those words, reshape and re-present the core message of what you truly wanted to say originally? Yes, that may very well be the answer. Write. Don’t speak. However, before you write…read. Reading will always better inform the tongue. Reading will always sharpen your pencil and put ink into your pen. Reading will make your fingertips anxious for the tik-tak-tik of the keyboard. When your own words fail, read.