Discipline = Madness

Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary transcribed for internet - Telegraph

“Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work.” -Gustave Flaubert

No one wants to be around a person who’s crazy, out of control, consumed by passion, narcissistic, foul-mouthed, violent, quick-triggered, arrogant, single-minded,…well, you get the drift.

But man, we do love seeing those people on stage and screen. Or reading about them in novels. At least some of the time.

Put another way…get your sh*t together in life. Have your sh*t together as a producer. That way, you can be out of control in your art.

Get Specific.

Producing is taste and tenacity. You find something you absolutely love and decide you have to put it out to the world.

How do you develop taste?

You get specific.

How do you get specific?

Consume as much art as you possibly can. Figure out what moves you. What you value. What you cherish. What you’re willing to stand behind and say to others, “Hey this is something I found, and I think it’s worth your time.”

Do that over and over and over.

It takes guts. It requires vulnerability. Because you open yourself to judgment.

But here’s the thing, by doing this, you will cultivate your own, specific taste. And find the others who share that taste. The tribe. The 1,000 True Fans who inspire you to make your art.

With that in mind, here are the links again to my two Fellow Traveler posts. They detail what I loved enough to share in January and February.

https://thevsstudio.blog/2020/02/29/bonus-post-bonus-post-fellow-traveler-newsletter-vol-1-january-2020/

https://thevsstudio.blog/2020/03/28/bonus-post-bonus-post-fellow-traveler-newsletter-vol-2-february-2020/

Enjoy! And I look forward to your “picks.”

Bonus Post! Bonus Post! “Fellow Traveler” Newsletter Vol. 2 – February, 2020

Welcome Fellow Travelers. Below are my February picks. Thanks in advance for reading. I look forward to your feedback and any of your own picks!

Here goes…

FILMS

  1. The Sound Of Fury. One of the bleakest film noirs ever made. Lloyd Bridges is sublime as a bad guy. Makes you wonder why he didn’t get more great roles in film. And the haunting ending will absolutely shock and awe.
  2. The Apartment. Gets better and better with each viewing. Jack Lemmon is my favorite actor and he’s in top form here. Fred MacMurray, cast way against type, oozes creep. But it’s Shirley Maclaine’s magnetic, vulnerable and heartbreaking performance that steals the show. You can see why she became a star. Even the way she pushes elevator buttons is riveting.
  3. Bill Cunningham: New York. This 2010 documentary about the street, fashion photographer is sure to inspire. Anyone can lead an artistic life if they want it bad enough. My favorite line…”If you don’t take money, they can’t tell you what to do, kid.”

BOOKS

  1. Tao Te Ching: Translation by Stephen Mitchell. Hands down, the definitive translation. He manages to make the timeless wisdom contained in the Tao super accessible to anyone.
  2. Loving What Is by Byron Katie. I stumbled upon this book while researching more on Stephen Mitchell. They’re a married couple. “The Work”, which consists of asking yourself four questions in any situation, is powerful, actionable advice.

ARTICLES

  1. Year of the Monkey: Patti Smith on Dreams, Loss, Love, and Mending the Broken Realities of Life by Maria Popova. So many beautiful passages from the book are spotlighted and discussed here.
  2. May Sarton on the Cure for Despair and Solitude as the Seedbed of Self-Discovery by Maria Popova. The dance between divine discontent and creative fulfillment as carried out by the poet, novelist, essayist, and diarist May Sarton.

PLAYS

  1. American Son by Christopher Demos-Brown. Though it has some flaws, this play is propulsive with great characters and a phenomenal premise. You can see why it attracted star talent to both the cast and producing team. (Thank you Ingrid for recommending.)

PODCASTS

  1. Naval Ravikant on “The Joe Rogan Experience.” Angel investor and modern day philosopher, Naval dispenses tons of practical wisdom and advice over a wide array of topics. Long, but worth every second as well as a repeat listen or two. Get your notebook out.
  2. Mark Duplass on “10,000 No’s With Matthew Del Negro” From 2018 but it still holds up. Mark never disappoints. What are you waiting for? Go make your art.

MUSIC

  1. All things VAN MORRISON. Astral Weeks would be in the discussion for my “If you were stranded on a desert island and could only bring one album…” I’ve easily listened to it over 100 times. Be sure to also listen to the albums St. Dominic’s Preview, Moondance, and His Band And His Street Choir. Turn the lights off, grab your headphones,, sip some whiskey and settle in.

P.S. – Why the name “Fellow Traveler”?…We’re all traveling on our own artistic journey. The journey to find and manifest the art we’re passionate about. Let’s travel together.

HERE

Kilroy Blank Template - Imgflip

It doesn’t matter…

…Why we got here.

…How we got here.

…Whose fault it was that we’re here.

…What we could have done to prevent us from getting here.

…Whether it gets worse from here.

None of that helps.

The only thing that matters right now is we’re here.

Let’s accept that with clear eyes and full hearts.

Okay, now we’re HERE…

…Let’s do everything we can, day in, day out, to make HERE a little bit better for everyone else.

The Magic Focusing Question

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“What is the ONE thing you could do right now such that by doing it, everything else would be easier or unnecessary?”

– Gary Keller, author of The ONE Thing

Apply that question to all aspects of your life. Health, Family, Art, Work, Finances, Service, Fun, Etc…

Apply that to your current states and feelings.

Distracted? Stop and ask the question. You’ll get present and connect back to your intention.

Overwhelmed? Stop and ask. You’ll simplify your task list.

Uninspired? Stop and ask. You’ll imagine and create something awesome.

Lazy? Stop and ask. You’ll go for a long walk or run.

Scared? Stop and ask. You’ll find strength, courage and a desire to help others.

Intention Is The Antidote

Time is your most precious asset. Everyone’s vying for it. Especially the media right now. For more on this, read here.

Guard your time with your life.

How?

Be intentional. Ask yourself…”What do I need to do right now (especially self-care)? What change do I want to make? What art do I want to create? Who do I want to help? How do I want to serve?”

Write your intentions down.

If you go down unexpected rabbit holes of time, stop, take a breath, check in with your feelings, and look at your list. You’ve got important work to do. Get after it!

Throw Your Cap Over The Wall

The word decision is derived from the Latin word, decidere, which means “to cut off.”

When you decide to do something, you cut off all other options. That’s it. You’re all in.

To quote the Irish writer, Frank O’Connor, you “throw your cap over the wall.”

Right now. Make some decisions.

Decide we’re all gonna get through this and come out stronger.

Decide to connect.

Decide to make your art.

Decide to learn something new.

Decide to be generous.

Decide to make peace with uncertainty.

Decide to make change happen.

Throw your cap over the wall. Narrow your focus. Cut off all fear and doubt. You got this.

Searching For Certainty

Choose not to be harmed and you won’t feel harmed. Don’t feel harmed and you haven’t been.” -Marcus Aurelius

Stop searching for certainty outside yourself. It’s not some ethereal thing.

Certainty comes from within. From your own power to choose.

Choose connection.

Choose strength.

Choose resiliency.

Choose flexibility.

Choose generosity.

Choose optimism.

Choose to make your art.

You can be certain that you chose wisely.

Berryman

John-Berryman

Was reminded today of the stunning poem, Berryman, by the Pulitzer Prize & National Book Award winning poet, W.S. Merwin. Merwin was a seventeen-year-old freshman enrolled in John Berryman’s creative writing class at Princeton. A lifetime bond was forged.

It’s incredible advice to any artist. I encourage you to read it again and again. The last two verses especially resonate.

I had hardly begun to read
I asked how can you ever be sure
that what you write is really
any good at all and he said you can’t

you can’t you can never be sure
you die without knowing
whether anything you wrote was any good
if you have to be sure don’t write

Stop wondering. Go make your art.