12.16.21 | December intentions and the scarcity of shit-giving.

Gather round. Posting journal entries again! And featuring a new musical performance by Cruz+Jonez!

Backyard sunrise 12.15.21. They are a dime-a-dozen in the old west, but this ain’t about the money.

Hi there,

I have a journal, I guess I should use it right? I have some last minute goals for December. Sixteen days is more than enough time to chase that arts magic.

  • My main priority this month is my one man show. I have 13 good pages and tons of notes. I’m aiming for 45 but I’m pretty sure I know where I’m heading now. Head on over to this page for the video updates and upcoming music samples…
  • Which leads me to the music. Since I got the Arturia MiniLab II earlier this year, I have been working on demos, samples, and other bits of music to figure out the machine. It is a wild ride. It’s a fascinating machine and paired with Ableton, music-making has yielded much needed joy this year. I have incorporated some of these things into my Creative Drive episode production. I have also recorded new music and re-recorded old songs of mine. I have enough for an album. It’s clumsy and far from perfect, but a great building block for the next set of songwriting ideas for 2022. I hope to mix and master these 11-20 tracks and release an album by end of year. We’ll see.
  • This last one is a long-shot, but I have been looking at my old film, The Tumble: In Pieces, and I want to touch up a few things and re-release it in black and white. One of my biggest issues on that project were the color correction and the relentless Wyoming wind making cameos left and right. I think I’ve come a long way in sound production in the last seven years, so I hope to make one final pass at this thing and share a polished version. By end of year? Unlikely, but worth pushing for. I can get it done, but I also want to spend time with the fam and sleep before the new year.

I don’t know why I tell you this.

Truth is, these passion projects, these collaborations, this output: They don’t really matter to anyone but me. Maybe they matter a little to my collaborators. Mostly, they matter only to me. I don’t write this to be bleak or induce sadness. I just want you to know that if you are in the arts, if you have a compulsion to make stuff and share your perspective through a creative pursuit, you have to do the best you can with what you have. Sometimes that is just you doing your thing until the audience comes around. Embrace it. Own your commitment to your art. Own your beautiful artistic delusions and turn them into something before they become toxic. Don’t wait for anyone to champion you or wait for the perfect conditions. Nobody gives a shit. And that is wonderfully okay.

One of my favorite song lyrics come from John Lennon’s Nobody Loves You When You’re Down and Out, where he says, “Everybody’s hollerin’ ’bout their own birthday…” I love the defeat in the line. The song indulges in its own dejection and I have been known to be a sad sack. That’s more fun than to the point, but that line stuck with me and eventually inspired The Tumble, my 2014 web series. And now, that sentiment makes more sense than it did back then. Everybody’s hollerin’. About fiercely lived lives, hotshot careers, oversharing in the collective scream called internet. These days, we build up importance and emergency where there is none. We excite easily. We worship productivity and all else (people included) are inconsequential. It’s human nature, I suppose. But the key here (at least for me), is to fixate not on our problems or goals or ambitions, but on the absurdity of the world we live in. I observe that all-encompassing impermanence as a daily mantra and it is so tremendously liberating to me. I now forgo panic and choose clarity. I surrender to time and surrender to the world as is, not how I want it to be. And as Robert Frost would say, about the thing making all the difference or something…

I guess I should tell you where all this comes from: check out this reading. Oliver Burkeman has managed to articulate what I have been feeling all this time. Hearing his work for the first time was an affirmation. It gave me self-belief and a sense of wonder like never before.

And so, whether the audience comes now or later or never, that is not the point anymore. Here in the now, here in the brief time you have, just do this: Make something that is deeply true and driven by how you see the world. Make your art joyfully, and strengthen your magnet. Do so by doing. The connectivity will follow. You don’t need anyone else to begin. Just your wild spirit, and the drive to create. The rest follows. And if some things don’t work out, that’s cool too. When the ashes of our bodies are scattered, they will know we made some real, serious noise, and we did it exactly how we wanted. Embrace a love for the present, and reject futility.

So there you have it: I’m working on intentions versus expectations. I’m not going to beat myself up for what I am creating or how I am going about it. The reality of this whole enterprise is that nothing I make will matter to you more than it will matter to me. Always and forever. And to be honest about that dynamic is an honest and beautiful, liberating thing. I’m taking complete ownership of my life through love and possibility. I know it sounds like it, but I’m not starting a cult. So for the time being, divert your shit-giving from the wells of apathy and move forward with love instead. Perhaps this is too much stoicism or cosmic indifference, but I have never felt this optimistic about life and craft on a weekday.

I wish you the best this month. And I hope whatever you are working brings you joy or solace or something like it.

Talk soon and much love,

j

Also, check out the latest song Dust and I worked on. Good times at Speer Studio!

Check out the track here: https://songwhip.com/cruzandjonez/see-it-through

2 Comments

  1. Love the message of making something. It’s something we all need to do, whether or not we’re ‘creative’. For some it’s going to be woodwork, for others—like me—it’s writing. I enjoyed this. And awesome music too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. J. Alejandro says:

      Hey Stuart, thanks so much for taking the time to read and listen, I truly appreciate it! We must do the best we can with what we have and keep our spirits nourished, all the best to you in this new year!

      j

      Like

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