Title Pending: You Want To Be Critiqued

November 6, 2014Creativity, Songwriting, Title Pending

Mid-way through that songwriter retreat, one of the other contributing artists shared a story that, in my estimation, clearly detailed the danger of expecting niceness rather than seeking critique. Upon arrival, one of the participants whose song he had critiqued approached him, infuriated. Student: “I don’t understand the feedback you gave me.” Teacher: “Let’s take … Read More

Title Pending: A Few Thoughts On Cliche

October 30, 2014Creativity, Songwriting, Title Pending

Theologian Walter Brueggemann’s “Hopeful Imagination” is a poetically-charged call to abandon dead words (cliché). In this essay he writes: “Predictable language is a measure of a deadened relationship in which address is reduced to slogan.” The use of cliché can be reflective of a tragic disconnect be- tween an artist and her subject. What may … Read More

Title Pending: Maturity Is Not About Arrival

October 16, 2014Creativity, Songwriting, Title Pending

In a scene I find both challenging and encouraging, Irving Stone depicts Vincent Van Gogh conversing passionately with his brother, Theo concerning his personal creative development. Pacing the floor wildly, breaking glasses and trashing his own hard-earned work as he rants: Vincent: “Must I give up? Am I through? It looks that way, doesn’t it? Theo: … Read More

Lauryn Hill And Love For An Audience

October 13, 2014Title Pending

This past summer, Lauryn Hill showed up late to a show in Chicago. Someone in the crowd made note of it during her performance. She responded that she didn’t “owe” him anything and that, instead she “did this for love.” The encounter stirred up some very interesting conversation about the relationship between an artist and … Read More

Title Pending: Make Bad Art

September 25, 2014Creativity, Songwriting, Title Pending

Tennis star Andre Agassi initially learned to play the game from his dad. Legend has it that, during those early lessons, Emmanuel Agassi (who had been an Olympic athlete himself) encouraged the young Andre to worry less about the accuracy of his strokes and instead, hit the ball as hard as he could. Someday, he … Read More

Title Pending: Have Something To Say? Say It All

August 18, 2014Uncategorized

Later this year, I’ll release a short book I’m calling “Title Pending: Things I Think About When I Make Stuff.” Between now and then, I’m posting previews of the book here at this blog and elsewhere, like the Art House America blog or On Pop Theology.  Below is the third installation (the first is here, the second here). I don’t believe, at … Read More

Robin Williams, Inspiration and Depression

August 11, 2014Creativity, Fatherhood

Here is something true: If it weren’t for the work of Robin Williams and Steve Martin, I’d most likely not have taken the stage. I loved music as a listener and like the idea of making it personally, but what Robin Williams did from stage moved people. His comedy captured listeners and his stories inspired. Very … Read More