So you’re cruising along, minding your own business when BOOM!!! a great idea hits you. You are panicking a little bit, but tell yourself it’s okay, you’ll remember this incredible idea later. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve done this and then by the afternoon am scratching my head wondering what it was I was trying to remember.
So I’ve been practicing this new thing of just stopping and getting it down any way that I can. If it’s an idea for lyrics then I might jot it down in a little notebook. If it’s a music idea then I grab my little Crackberry and use the voice notes application to get it recorded. It doesn’t have to be fancy, it just has to work. This little clip was an idea that I had one day, a basic concept for a song.
After I went back and listened to it, I didn’t like the tone that the song was bringing across. I wanted to go the route of celebrating the idea of a relationship, not bashing a non-existent girlfriend for playing with my heart. So I tweaked it, then bounced the idea off of my roommate, who helped me put some final polish on the chords and give some punch to the idea of the song. And with that “The Spark” was born.
Jeremy Johnson – The Spark
So get that great idea down, ’cause you never know what it could turn into.
[photo by]:Cameron Russell
I love moving to a new place and getting plugged into a great community. For me community is the combination of my church family, the neighborhood I live in, the people I work with and the friends that I make in all my favorite local spots and in between.
I’ve moved around a lot. But something that I have noticed is that I always spend about the first year getting a feel for the city and the culture of the folks that live there, and then I start diving in and making a whole bunch of friends. It’s random.. but it is something that I’m actually trying to short cut this time.
It is always a little awkward making that move from spectator to participator, but I am a people person at heart, so it drives me nuts when I don’t have a solid community around me. One of the things that I love to do is have people over to the house and share a meal. There’s something about eating food that helps people set aside their defenses and just be themselves. I love it. And I am going to start doing it again.
What is one simple thing that you like to do to build relationships with the people around you?
[photo by]: D Sharon Pruitt
So this project has already been pretty awesome. I’ve been kicked in the pants by some great friends. (Beki Gangi and Stephen Elliot). They’ve been incredible in support and encouragement to move forward. I’ve been really excited and pumped about putting together these posts and sharing them with you.
This is the first musical post. Not musical like ‘The Sound of Music’ kind of musical. I’m talking about doing some rough recording and sharing that with you all. This song is a newer one called Biloxi Bound.
Jeremy Johnson – Biloxi Bound
Dad and Mom got married when they were pretty young. Dad joined the Air Force and they ended up having to make a quick move from Texas to Mississippi. It was a funny story about how they packed everything into their little yellow Gremlin, drove down to Mississippi and only found one place in the town that they could stay temporarily because there was some sort of big event happening. It ended up being the grimiest place (READ: Cockroach infested) in someone’s basement that they randomly met on the side of the road on their way out of town.
They moved everything in the dark and fell asleep on the sunken mattress. Tink, their little dog, ended up chewing on the critters all night. But it was their adventure, and they look back on it with smiles and laughter now. I just wanted to capture that story in music.
[photo by]: Clyde Robinson
So.. this is awesome. I had talked to Stephen Elliot on the phone the other day just asking him some questions about some practical next steps for me as I am looking to start making some changes in the direction that I want to go. He had some practical advice about doing something small on a consistent basis. So I thought up a little game, challenge to work through in the next 6 week.
I’m calling it the 30P Challenge. Why are you calling it the 30P Challenge, you ask? 30P stands for 30 posts (blog posts). Done. Question answered and problem solved. Why don’t you just do 30 posts in 30 days? Well … I could.. but I like to follow a couple of principles that I think are healthy:
- God rested one day out the week of doing probably some of the most creative and challenging work. I figure if God thinks it’s a good idea to take a break from something every week, then I probably should too.
- And I am giving myself an extra day every week in case the inevitables of life creep in and squish the ability to pull it off. So I give myself a little bit of cushion and prep time, as well as take some of the pressure off of it being a performance driven thing.
I’m really doing this whole exercise to practice decision making, creating a plan of action and moving on it. I’m trying to break the pattern of not sharing things until I feel like I have them perfectly done and just start treating everything as practice.
Here’s the great part about this: The man, Stephen Elliot himself, has decided to do this challenge with me! So you can check out the things that he is working on in his creative world up in DC on his website. It’s nice to not be doing this whole thing on my own. Now I have someone to kick me in the pants if I start slacking!
And here we go.
There is a tendency in life to play the “if.. then” game. We look at our current circumstances and situations and tell ourselves “If I only X then I could start doing Y”. Substitute in just about anything in X and Y and you have the formula for failure that most of us follow.
This really is a convenient excuse not to do anything. Most cultures tend to call that laziness. Squirm in your chair all you want but it really is true, and the first step in fixing it is admitting the problem.
“My name is Jeremy Johnson, and up to this day I have often procrastinated.” Phew.. I feel better admitting that.
BUT, here’s the beautiful thing. It doesn’t have to stay the same. You and I actually have the choice to change the pattern of the way that we have been doing things. I know I get pretty frustrated sometimes when I start thinking about where I want to be in music and life. I often look towards the stories of other people who have made it, but wind up getting frustrated because I feel there is a huge gap between where I am and where I want to be. And I think that frustration is just the reminder that I am not actually doing anything to change the current circumstances.
That’s really what blogging is for me. It’s a start in the positive direction. I have been struggling with posting new content to my website and getting frustrated because I don’t have it all perfect before I try to get it out to people. I talked with one of my friend’s, and really someone that I look up to in terms of business, Stephen Elliot. I was talking to him about the struggle that I have been having of not being consistent with creating new content. He gave me a little challenge.
He challenged me to take the next 30 days and start posting something, anything, regularly to my blog. It’s going to be simple. A lot of me processing where I am at, and hopefully also starting to post some new material that I have been working on and will continue to work on as time goes on. For me, this is a chance to start a good habit of actually posting new content to my blog on a regular basis. I’ll probably take a day or two off every week. But I am aiming at creating a new habit of blogging in the next month.
What is one habit that you would like to get started on?
[photo by]: pasukaru76
How bad does it have to get before you are ready to make a change?
This is an ugly question that stares you in the face after you have a conversation with a friend. There’s nothing that quite reveals your heart in your current circumstances than when you have that open an honest conversation about where you are at with someone that cares about you and loves you right where you are at. You get to see how you truly feel about things.
I was on the verge of tears. And seeing her face looked back at me in pity, I knew that this was not the best situation that I have ever been in. In fact it’s the worst. But when you isolate yourself from genuine community you have the ability to lie to yourself about how bad things really are. I realized the power of face to face conversation tonight. When you can’t hide your expressions on the other end of a phone, you have the face the reality of seeing what they see.
This is the worst it’s been, ever. I can’t sugar coat that. I can’t explain it away. It’s the hardest time I think that I’ve gone through in my life so far. I live in a crappy place. It’s literally falling apart. And I am working two part time jobs that don’t help me cover all my bills. I have had to reach out to my parents to help me with money to be able to live every month*. This is not an okay situation. It’s time to put a stake in the ground and recognize when it’s bad. This means war.
There is a parable in the Bible that talks about the son that took his inheritance from his Father, went to a far off land, wasted everything, and then ended up in the worst situation that he has ever been in. He was envious of what the pigs were eating and didn’t have anything to eat himself. It sucked. But here is the hope in that story. Here is MY hope in that story. When he finally came to his senses, he realized that he could go home to the Father’s house.
I think tonight is the starting point to coming to my senses. I’m tired of living in the filth and making excuses for it. Justifying it, explaining it away. No Mas, kiddos.
*I’m not looking for your sympathy, just spilling my guts and getting a reality check.