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: Propaganda

October 22, 2014Creativity, Songleading, Title Pending

Nobody likes propaganda and nobody wants to make it. But what if you’ve got something you really want to say? I don’t think the trick is keep your agendas and ideologies in the back-seat like troublesome children. Instead, learn to make art in which your ideologies and agendas have a place of their own without taking over and dominating your work. … 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

Title Pending: Imitation

October 9, 2014Creativity, Songwriting, Title Pending

Inspiration is a wonderful place to start when making art. But we often move too quickly from being inspired to innovation—making our own thing with (hopefully) our own, unique signature. I believe that imitation is a missing link in much of our artistic development. So, don’t just be inspired by someone’s work. Make it part … 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: Keep Your Encouragements

September 9, 2014Creativity, Songwriting, Title Pending

Over the next few months, I’ll be posting short, video excerpts from Title Pending, the book I’ll release later this year. Title Pending is a look at my creative process and history. It will be available later this year. The above video is a few paragraphs from the book. I hope you find these thoughts helpful in your own … 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

Lacrosse, Joy and When To Quit

August 10, 2014Creativity, Title Pending

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 second installation (the first is here), this one written in response … Read More