Parade Day

The parade started at 10am and I thought I would get to sleep in. No parent with a young child gets to sleep in. This is my burden to bear and I accepted it as I woke earlier than I wanted to for a day I wasn’t prepared for.

I decided yesterday I would take today off for the local Parade Day. I figured it would be a great opportunity to spend quality time with my son and get to do the things we didn’t get to do last weekend.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, I struggle with being present. I have a conceptual, scatterbrained mind that takes me decades into the future, then to the lessons I keep forgetting, then to next weekend, then to what’s in front of me. I need to look into that. But for the time being, I have condensed my goal for self-betterment into a concise, attainable focus:

Be present at least once a day. Don’t wander, get out of your head. Enjoy what’s in front of you.

Be present. My son deserves that from me. Typing this as the day comes to an end, I’m feeling pretty good about our outings. In spite of the parking availability, we made it just as the parade was getting underway. Second Street was lined with families and their eager children with their hands hungry for candy and handouts and they littered the edges of a road suddenly too small for parade floats. Then came the local clubs and real estate teams and other floats by organizations of influence and goodwill in our city, and the joy was palpable and bright on a breezy morning. We got sprayed by the water soakers, we got more tootsie rolls than we could handle, and even a little jump rope for my son to practice his hopping. I hadn’t even considered leaving, but after a solid forty five minutes, my boy was ready to go exploring downtown. Hoping to remain in the moment, I opted to let him lead for a little while. 

He examined the splash pad downtown. He hopped around and asked for a lollipop from his parade loot. He said he wanted to sit down and relax so we went into the coffee shop for some shade and a snack. 

We counted the candy spoils and sat enjoying our drinks and our shared chocolate chip cookie. And I didn’t think about anything else. 

These days are a luxury. This is why I opt to take something from them because I know they are few and far between. In those moments when we rise to the surface, and gasp for air before plunging back into the depths of adulthood, I think there is time to evaluate what is good about our pursuits, and why it’s important to stay the course. We must seize the opportunity to look at what’s in front of us, and grant ourselves the clarity to be moved and to be truthful about how things are actually going for us.

I’m lucky because I get to have moments of reflection more and more. I get to pause when others simply cannot. But it didn’t use to be that way. Just two short years ago, I was gasping for air every single day. My pursuits were not aligning with the person I wanted to be and I was investing my time and energy into something that wasn’t compatible with my life anymore. I remember feeling suffocated and directionless and joyless. With those bitter memories faintly echoing in my heart, I am reminded to take nothing for granted. So go forth, enjoy your families, let your commitment to the now grant you the clarity you’re looking for, and joy will come. 

I hope you get a parade day yourself very soon. You deserve that.

j

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.

My short podcast reaching its final form!

Hello Creatives,

My schedule is still busy but I’m starting to find my groove. I started recording this version of my short podcast a few weeks ago but I figured it’s time I get it on the blog! It’s taken some time to find what works, but this will be a great experiment to pursue. the ingredients were there: My desire to document and share my creative mistakes, the travails of a working class person, the time management or lack-there-of, the search for creative discipline. It sounds awesome but it’s not quite there yet. I am incredibly hopeful I can continue to learn and grow thanks to this creative exercise.

The show is CREATIVE DRIVE, a short pod recorded in my car during my commute to and from work. It’s brief, lo-fi, and an honest commentary about how to stay creatively fulfilled. We working class creatives find time, no matter what. So here we go!

Make art, make haste.

-Jaime Alejandro

Listen to Creative Drive on Anchor!

creativedrivetrack (2)
Temporary artwork until I can polish the perfect design!

Progreso 5

Progreso 5. Trying to capture the tension between man and the land. I didn’t think it would make sense to share this on Instagram. I like it here instead.

Make art, make haste.

-Jaime Alejandro

Trying to do better.

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I have been working on my photography, lugging my GH4 around, trying to work with the tools I already have. This was from a walk we took on 8/21/18, I’m so grateful for my family as they put up with me and the damn camera. More to come.

Hi all,

I am consolidating the content, so you’ll be seeing more of the stuff from Instagram making its way over here, like the photo featured above. I’m still wrapping up some videography and currently refining the Idlewind gameplan on my breaks at work. This has been a long transition. Most of this summer was a daily battle against routine problems, and because I didn’t want my posts to become redundant, I stopped writing. I focused on the writing prompts and ignored the other impulses to keep the blog and podcast going. I blamed lack of time and blamed my other responsibilities. As the summer winds down, I have come to realize that there is no excuse for lack of discipline. If you want to reach your goals, you must be disciplined. This is my downfall: I am not disciplined. At all.

This has always made my life difficult. I know some of you out there may feel this way and feel like the world doesn’t understand us. Why am I always running out of time? Why am I not learning fast enough? Why does this happen to me? Let’s face it: That problem is an internal one, not external. It’s taken me way too long to come to terms with this. My lack of organization, lack of discipline, lack of commitment has left me in a stagnant state. And I have brought this upon myself. Luckily, I am a human being, and I can choose to learn from my mistakes. Over time, I feel I have matured enough that I’ve cleaned up my act in my adult life. I try my best to maintain a schedule, to be reliable and stay disciplined in my daily life. Now, the only area lacking discipline is of course, the writing. When I was younger I would rely on the jolt of creative energy to strike me and guide me to the end of the writing process. I would ride the lightning bolt. This is all well and good until you run out of lightning bolts. You can’t live on that shit. You have to create lightning storms.

In college, we had a guest artist visit our school and we had the opportunity to work with said professional. This individual brought that east coast attitude, a straightforwardness that I wasn’t used to. I was raised in a small town in Wyoming, I didn’t know how to deal with that level of directness. Don’t get me wrong, his criticisms in acting class were not out of line. This professor was not a villain, but I saw him as one, because when I was a kid, I thought anyone asking me to change was asking me to compromise who I was. So I didn’t listen when I should have been. As you can guess, I didn’t do very well in his class. I went to see him at his office and long-story short, he asked me what I wanted to do with my writing, he wanted to know the end goal. I told him I wanted to write movies. That’s when he said “I don’t think that’s going to work out for you. Movies and TV, with all their deadlines, that’s not what you’re cut out for. You need time, you need to keep writing plays.”

I didn’t know how to deal with that honesty, so I took it as an attack. Clenching my teeth I left his office and bitched for hours in my head. How dare he pigeonhole me? How dare he know what I can and can’t do? Fuck that guy. I got so offended I forgot to listen to what he was telling me: All those hours in class for an entire semester, and I never showed him what I could do. He could see I was a talented guy. In class he would compliment my performances and my directing instincts, but I was always unprepared, half-assing my assignments, jumping from one distraction to the next. In that office, he wasn’t limiting my prospects or pigeonholing me: He was daring me to do better. To take it to the next level. He saw talent without discipline.

Any writer worth a damn knows discipline lies at the core of a solid, fulfilling writing life. I’ve never had that because I relied so heavily on my talent that I didn’t develop the other half of the equation. And now I am playing catch-up. Instead of developing good writing habits and focusing on those I distracted myself for most of the summer. I told myself my video work was getting in the way, or that work was rough or (insert dad responsibility here_____________________). That’s no way to live.

So I say enough with the distractions and excuses: I got so hung up on generating content and how to distribute it that I stopped writing for me. I’m putting the phone down for a minute because I have a problem wasting time online (am I alone on this one?) I’m planning to set a time to write daily, even if it’s just a few minutes. My wife bought me a new notebook and I am grateful for that. I’m all out of excuses, friends. I stopped thinking about the things I care about and want to say. Please don’t make the same mistake. Focus, be an adult about what you have to do. Write for yourself first. Write honestly and from your gut. Share it with those you love and those you don’t know. Let it out. This is what I want to do as well.

As the night came to a close, and I finished the last of this rant, the internet led me to Todd Solondz. I was reminded of an artist whose art consistently divides but reminds us that there should always be a place for the kind of work that man is creating. And there is room in the world for your work too. And mine as well.

I leave you with this brief interview with Todd about his work. Enjoy! 10 questions for Todd Solondz

It’s a little after midnight as I write this. It’s already Monday. But I’m ready to do better.

Make art, make haste.

-Jaime Alejandro

Everything changes. And that’s ok.

Momentum swells and recedes at a moment’s notice. So much has changed in the last month that I’ve had to recalibrate my commitment to the blog and the Idlewind collective endeavors. Today I started a full time position working as an office assistant– It’s a really wonderful thing for my family and I, and you know what? It’s also a wonderful thing for my creativity:

If I really want to stay creative, I will make it happen. If I don’t care for it, something else will take its place. But I can’t let that happen, I consider this a great challenge. The time is now to put my beliefs about creativity and storytelling and willpower to the test. And I couldn’t be more excited!

As you know we have the Addendum podcast, now streaming everywhere! I find this super exciting because I’m lining up some great interviews with great friends who are working class creatives striving to make great work. And of course, contact me if you’re a creative with a day job making art!

I’ll be sharing some daily commentary on my Anchor account as well, which will be more on the fly recordings about my creative progress to complement the Addendum interviews.

Oh, and there will be more bite sized content coming your way. Stay tuned, and if you have any tips on how I’m gonna get through it, please pass them on. The next chapter begins now…

Make art. Make haste.

-Jaime Alejandro

No outline today. Progress!

There’s been very little activity this week, but what I did put together is documented on the ramblings at Addendum.

I’m trying to be less precious about every little recording I make. Every word I write. It’s less of a problem for me when I’m writing, but the process of recording audio is so dear to me that it’s been super difficult to me to get on the Anchor app every few days and just ramble. Ever since I started the Addendum recordings, my defense mechanism has been outlines and notes. It’s like my inner monologue is reminding me that if I am going to document my every little thought like an idiot, at least be organized about it. Today I made my first recordings without an outline. Progress!

Addendum is starting to feel as laid back as I originally intended it to be. So that’s pretty neat. If you wanna hear the ramblings of a creative with a dayjob, or you need a prompt about a wedding ring, check it out!

Make Art. Make haste!

-Jaime Alejandro

Will transparency yield more creativity?

I’m trying to be more transparent about my process and who I am. Not just to the outside world, but to myself. Sometimes, the default choice is to keep an opinion to myself, keep quiet. It has served me well a few times, but the healthier option is to be more open and find that eagerness to communicate. I believe if I’m honest with myself, that honesty will reflect on the page or any other creative goal.

This is what it’s all about: not just refining your voice, but find the decibels that work for you. Currently, the recordings on Addendum have been incredibly helpful in gauging where I stand on this journey. The Anchor app is probably my favorite thing in the world right now. It’s so versatile and fun, and the format really challenges me in the best way. I’m trying to record as often as possible, voicing my approach on writing, as well as work/life balance. I have a long way to go, but it’s a tremendous feeling to reach out into the nebulous internet and advocate for something that is so important to me: the fight to stay creative and positive in a world that seems unwelcoming.

Most of the time, these ideas and notions just collect dust in my head and eventually fade. Unvoiced and unfulfilled. I don’t want that to become my default setting. Starting these recordings is allowing me to see through pessimism, and is helping me get back to that purest love for the creative process! What I am getting at is this: please don’t have any reservations about starting that next story, that poem, that podcast, that short film, that song that you have had in your heart for ages. To bring positive creative energy into the world is scary, but it’s something the world needs now more than ever.

As for me, I’ll be ready to start doing interviews for the proper show, The Talking Text Podcast, most likely next week. Wish me luck!

Make art. Make haste.

-Jaime Alejandro.

Visit my novice ramblings at https://anchor.fm/addendum?at=2423609

Inspiration from Elliott.

Been thinking a lot about Elliott Smith lately, how he has been a tremendous influence on my writings and how he has been the soundtrack to most of my teenage and adult life.  I’m working up some notes for the next Addendum segment, and found this video link. I find it so beneficial to see what the creators from other mediums are doing and how they arrange their ideas into a cohesive expression. No matter how he did it, Elliott was an incredible talent that we lost much too soon.

This performance is a great example of just how insane his playing was. Yes, he was a phenomenal songwriter, but his guitar playing was just as good. Tomorrow Tomorrow, the first track was super influential when I was writing some movies in college.

These tracks always filled me with profound sadness, and by the time the song ends, I am left with awe. This is the gold standard for me. Thank you Elliott.

Make art. Make haste.

-Jaime Alejandro