I know armchair social media experts are taking bets on what the next major monthly catastrophe will be. Godzilla? Alien invasions? But, I want to offer hope. We’ve been in tight spots before and we made it through. By God’s grace, we’re going to do it again!
So, say a friendly hello to your neighbor and offer two big thumbs up to whomever you meet. (This is probably better than a smile nowadays!) Let’s all make an effort to rejuvenate the atmosphere surrounding us with some much needed positivity.
And, if you think you may need a chillaxing theme song to hum aloud while busy about all of that? I’ve got you covered! Here ya’ go!
Recording my newest album hit an unexpected snag. All of the songs were written. All of the instruments were recorded, and then, boom. Upper respiratory infection. Vocals were not happening. Like, for awhile. I’ve been shut down for a month and a half. 😦
The good news? I’m getting better. I’m probably going to restart tracking vocals this week. But, what do you do when you can’t be musically creative?
You be creative any way you can.
In the downtime, I’ve started a novel, worked on producing a board game, and started playing with my church’s praise and worship band. These things have helped me to not lose my mind while I have been unable to work on The Lesson of I.
Be creative any way you can.
The concept is golden. I can’t divulge much, because you will gradually uncover these things as the book progresses – and I don’t want to ruin that! (Should you actually ever read it, that is.) I have never actually completed a novel, so I am hesitant to promise its release. But, so far, so good. I’ve had a lot of help.
This tutorial from Dan Harmon was incredibly eye opening on how the magic of storytelling is accomplished. Some PG-13 language warning, by the way. I mean, I knew some simple concepts, like all story is conflict. Otherwise, it’s “happily ever after.” But Harmon takes this all a step or two farther. This chart above, he claims, isn’t just how to write a good story. It is the very definition of a story. In other words, without it, it is almost impossible to even recognize something as a story. Fascinating.
All story is conflict, otherwise it’s “happily ever after.”
I’ve also been aided tremendously from the Better Novel Project and YouTube channels, like this one. If writing a novel is an unfulfilled dream of yours, I encourage you to go for it. There has never been more resources readily available to assist you.
The Board Game
Around the year 2000, I designed a medieval era warfare board game named Castle Valley. I repurposed some old Stratego game pieces, gathered a plethora of colored dice and sketched out a game map of a 20×20 grid onto yellow construction paper. I even laminated it! I typed up the rules in Microsoft Word and played several heated games with my wonderful wifey. I know everyone believes their ideas and creations are great, but I truly think this game is amazing and deserves a wider audience. That being said, I put the project on the back burner back then and promised myself eventually I’d seek out a way to publish the game. That hadn’t happened until recently.
Around a month ago, my son Logan discovered the bag of repurposed Stratego pieces and asked me about them. This has evolved into a lengthy father/son odyssey determined to bring Castle Valley back to life. We have: designed 3D pieces for computer games and printing, tweaked gameplay, rewrote the rule book. Logan has even sourced out the materials we need to produce all of the components needed at home.
I’ve never successfully produced a board game, either. But, I am confident this project possesses every possibility for success. As a bonus, it has been a wonderful shared experience with my son. Look for additional news in the future on this, as well!
The Praise and Worship Band
It had been a few years since being on stage in any capacity. It is easy to forget the thrill of interacting with fellow musicians. I had missed it all. The camaraderie and hanging out backstage, the fun of learning new songs, the “live” experience of being “in the arena.” It’s good times.
I had been assisting in the sound booth, where my experience was most needed. However, a sudden lack of church guitarists necessitated at least a temporary change of responsibility.
Our church does the Hillsong, Bethel, Elevation stuff – as well as some originals. It’s simplistic, but also a great open canvas you can paint upon. I’ve enjoyed it, for sure!
Don’t Stop Being Creative!
When you hit a stop sign, ignore it.
When you hit a stop sign, ignore it. If you can’t break through, detour into something else! Don’t stop learning and improving yourself. Whether or not you reach your “goal,” or destination, you’re going to have more fun on the journey than the people who opted out!
I’ve recently hit over 1,200 paid streams on Pandora. Listen to the hottest single right here!
I thought you might like to get an early look at some stills from the upcoming video series detailing the making of The Lesson of I.
As I previously mentioned, this 12-part weekly series will culminate in the release of the new album. As of right now, that is still looking like late summer – which means the video series should begin early summer. In other words, REALLY SOON!
I feel like I get a lot better at these things after the first video or so, so hang in there with me once we get rolling. It is, as my wife and kids put it, weirdly hypnotically interesting. Aww yiss, I will draw you in…
Weirdly hypnotically interesting – Important people
I also have some cool stuff cooking for the next 6 videos to really kick it up a notch or two. I’m excited about that, as well. Oh yeah, and did I mention I am somehow actually recording an album in the middle of all of this?
Good times. It feels like you are all there with me this go around, even if you aren’t quite aware of it yet. Your presence has added an excitement to the process which has been new and inspiring for me. I believe that shared synergy will be more than evident in the final recordings.
So, thank you in advance. I don’t want to do this without you – so, don’t miss it!
A congratulations is in order for my wife, Lora Bratton, who has successfully navigated the legal hurdles standing in the way of forming her non-profit organization.
She lives out Galations 6:9, the scripture where it says, “be not weary in well doing.” As long as I have known her, she has always had her hand toward making the world better for someone less fortunate. Now, she has her own organization to grow and lead for that purpose.
Our children and I are happy to have the opportunity to serve alongside Lora as we fulfill the mission to bring resources, empowerment, and purpose to the neglected by demonstrating the love of Jesus Christ through hope, education, and the arts.
I hope you find a moment to visit the website, take a look at what we are doing, and consider partnering with us as we minister to some of the communities and neighborhoods that need it the most!