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Recap from My Reading at Jason Harrod’s Album Launch

2 Oct

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Do you mind if I tell you about my reading with Jason Harrod, even though it happened a few weeks ago? I know it’s waaaaay overdue but I still want to share it with you because it was a fun event and I was happy to see some of you there.

So I get to Space 38|39 a bit early and, as any bibliophile would do, I spend my time browsing the bookshelves. And look what I spy on the shelves! Do you see it? The original scroll version of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road! Providence, right?!

I actually read the same passage from the book I coauthored with Paul Maher Jr., Burning Furiously Beautiful: The True Story of Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road,” as the one I read with David Amram. Someone recorded it so I may have video in the future to show you from the reading, but in the meantime you can see me reading it with Amram here. I selected this particular passage because Jason had asked me to read something about wrestling with God, and here Paul and I tell about when Kerouac felt God wanted to have a few words with him and paid penance for watching a bullfight. It’s actually a pretty gruesome passage, so I always feel awkward reading it, but I think it’s an important passage. It speaks a lot to the way we try to reconcile our actions to God, and it demonstrates Kerouac’s softer, sensitive side.

I was invited to read a second piece and chose an old personal essay I had written. Jason joked with the audience that most of his songs were about God, girls, and the road, and it fit in perfectly with my writing. My first piece was about Kerouac’s road trip, but my second one was about my own road trip, where I met a woman who talked to me about God. The essay I read was called “Man Cannot Live on Bread Alone,” and it’s an early piece that Burnside Writers Collective published. You can read it here.

I made Jason play guitar as I read, and it was beautiful. I love collaborating with other people, and he’s a super talented musician. You can get Jason Harrod’s new album, Highliner, here.

Paul and Bets also performed, and they were so adorable. They’re this amazingly good-looking couple that look like they should be on TV, and they sang songs that transported us from the grime of New York City to the quaintness of the South. And you guys! They whistled! Oh it was too hipster cute.

Anyway, after the show this woman comes up to me, and starts saying her name and how I may not remember her but…. And I was like of course I remember you! It was a woman I used to work with and whom I actually met with on a regular basis right before the publishing division at the company shut down. She and another woman had been a  blessing on my life in dealing with work and life and the transition with the company, but whom over the course of the past few years I had lost contact with. It was such a surprise and so nice to see her. She had no idea when she came to Jason’s album release that I would even be there, so we were both surprised!

Anyway, New York City is a small world full of wonder. It was a great honor to get to read at Jason’s album release party and to have so many friends show up to support it and to run into a few I wasn’t even expecting to see!

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Burning Furiously Beautiful is now available as an ebook! You can download your copy here.

Redeemer Writers Meet Tonight: Fall Writers Workshop

23 Sep

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I’ll be co-leading a fall writers workshop today with my friends Nana, Maurice, and Jane. Here’s the info:

 

Fall Writers Workshop
Monday, September 23rd, 7PM
Redeemer Offices, 1359 Broadway, 4th Floor, Main Conference Room

The Redeemer Writers Group will be hosting a writing workshop for which we invite you to bring a short piece of writing to be read aloud in small groups for on the spot feedback.

It will be a new thing for us as a group and our hope is that it will not only bond us closer as writers as we “put ourselves out there,” but it will sharpen our respective crafts to the ultimate glory of God.

See You Tonight at the Album Release Party

13 Sep

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Just a reminder that I’ll be reading TONIGHT at Jason Harrod’s album release party!

Here are the essentials:::

When: September 13 @ 7:30pm

Where: IAM (International Art Movement), located at 38 West 39th Street, 3rd Floor, NYC.

Cost: There’s a $10 suggested donation. Wine, beer, and hors d’oeuvres will be available.

Bonus: Musicians Paul and Bets will also be performing.

 

I’ll be reading from Burning Furiously Beautiful: The True Story of Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road,” which I’m coauthoring with prolific biographer Paul Maher Jr.

I’ll also be reading a personal essay about a road trip I took across the country. The essay was published by Burnside Writers Collective, a website founded by Donald Miller (author of Blue Like Jazz) and Jordan Green.

Both of the stories I’ll be sharing about feeling beat, down and out, yet still searching, wrestling, clinging to God.

Hope to see you there!

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Also, save the date: Thursday, September 19, at 6pm, I’ll be in conversation with Tim Z. Hernandez, author of the beautiful book Manana Means Heaven, at La Casa Azul in Spanish Harlem.

I’ll post on that next week, but in the meantime you can find out more in Appearances.

Never Forget

11 Sep

In remembrance of September 11, here is the Church Hopping post I had done on St. Nicholas Church at the World Trade Center.

Clip: A Time to Give Up

5 Sep

Indelible-South-Pole-expedition-388-thumbPhoto of Robert Falcon Scott’s failed exploration via The Smithsonian‘s article “The Doomed South Pole Voyage’s Remaining Photographs,” which states: “Their return trip would become one of the most dismal failures in the annals of polar exploration.”

Burnside published my latest art post in the “A Time to…” series. It’s

A Time to Give Up

 

In case you missed the previous posts in the series. They are:

A Time to Search

A Time to Embrace

A Time to Refrain from Embracing

A Time to Gather Stones

A Time to Scatter Stones

A Time to Dance

A Time to Mourn

A Time to Laugh

A Time to Weep

A Time to Build

A Time to Tear Down

A Time to Plant and a Time to Uproot

Clip: 10 Amazing Topiaries: Pruning Toward Whimsy

27 Aug

The first time I went to Disney World in Florida, I remember being spectacularly impressed by the topiaries. I was in fifth grade. Oh, sure, the rides were fun, and it was exciting to have costumed Mickey and Minnie sign my autograph book, but I was expecting that. What I wasn’t expecting were the small details Disney took to create an enchanted kingdom. Sometimes the most amazing moments in life come in the tiny, unexpected details.

Yet ironically, to become whimsical works of landscape art, these topiaries couldn’t just grow free and wild. They had to be pruned and grow within strict guidelines.

Read the rest of my article and see 10 amazing topiaries here.

Spoiler: Johnny Depp is included.

Clip: A Time to Search

20 Aug

Burnside published my latest art post in the “A Time to…” series. It’s

A Time to Search

 

In case you missed the previous posts in the series. They are:

A Time to Embrace

A Time to Refrain from Embracing

A Time to Gather Stones

A Time to Scatter Stones

A Time to Dance

A Time to Mourn

A Time to Laugh

A Time to Weep

A Time to Build

A Time to Tear Down

A Time to Plant and a Time to Uproot

Clip: The Engagement Room

25 Jul

Rain2Random International. Rain Room. 2012. Photo via

Have you heard about the Rain Room at MoMA? I read a really sweet story about it the other day and blogged about it for Burnside. You can read it here.

Clip: A Time to Gather Stones

3 Jul

Burnside published my art post A Time to Gather Stones.

Happy 161st Birthday, Antoni Gaudi!

25 Jun

Antoni Gaudi, Catalan architect of insanely intricate, bone-like structures, was born on this day in 1852.  When I was backpacking through Europe, I stopped by his La Sagrada Familia.  You can read about it in my Church Hopping column on Burnside Writers Collective.

Gaudi was beaten and imprisoned when he showed up at a demonstration against banning Catalan.  The language is now considered an endangered language.