Tag Archives: Burnside Writers Collective

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.

Clip: 8 Contemporary Syrian Artists to Know

20 Sep

With devastating allegations that the Syrian government was responsible for chemical attacks on more than three hundred of its own citizens this past August and nightly news reports detailing the atrocities of civil war, the world casts its collective eye on Syria. Political pundits and laymen alike argue whether the US should step in and take military action.

Syria is more than a land of strife. Its capital, Damascus, is reportedly the oldest continuously inhabited city in the entire world.

From the bible, we know Damascus as the place where Paul was converted to Christianity. By the nineteenth century, Syria significantly contributed to the literature of the Arab world. Today, Damascus has an influential music scene. Syria’s contemporary art speaks to this rich culture as well as its atrocities.

Art preserves history. It is a visual lens through which we can better understand the socio-political milieus that have gone before us and that we live through today. Artists are particularly tuned into the world around them. They interpret what they see through paintings, photography, sculpture, cartoons, and collage, and in turn we may come to understand issues pertaining to religion, the economy, gender, and power through their civilian eyes. Their images may reach us in ways that words—particularly that of news reports—cannot.

Read more of my art post “8 Contemporary Syrian Artists to Know” on Burnside Writers Collective.

See You Tonight at the Album Release Party

13 Sep

Harrod

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: One Subject Many Ways: The Sunflower

6 Aug

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I’m currently enjoying art critic Martin Gayford‘s The Yellow House: Van Gogh, Gauguin, and Nine Turbulent Weeks in Arles. Published in 2009 by Hachette, the well-researched book tells the story of how the artists ended up living in a house together in the south of France and how their time together influenced their work. It’s a great read for anyone interested in artists’ collaborations.

Both Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gauguin painted sunflowers, but today we remember van Gogh’s still lifes better. It got me thinking about how even though van Gogh’s name seems synonymous with sunflowers, so many other artists throughout history have also painted this captivating flower.

Read more and see painting selections at Burnside Writers Collective.

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 Embrace … Or Not

19 Jul

Forgot to mention that Burnside published two of my art posts:

A Time to Embrace

A Time to Refrain from Embracing

 

In case you missed them:

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