Meditations on Soul and Back Roads and Ethos

Life is complicated – there are lots of facets. But riding under all of them – or as a blanket over them – is ethos. Ethos is what makes your life yours – it’s how you give it flair, and vibe, and aesthetic. It’s style and signature and voice. What’s yours? Driving a sporty old SUV in the dark, in a light rain, with my windows partway down, down lonely back roads with Chris Stapleton…

Fiction #2: Annapolis

She sat in a diner on Main Street and ate French fries with her fingers and wrapped her shawl around her shoulders and looked out at the rain. The waitress -- a thin-faced woman named Mary -- had to talk to her twice to get her attention. Called her "hon." Brought her a tall glass of cool water. She sipped the water and tasted the bay and looked out at the rain, listened to the…

Fiction #1: 1943

He left in the pale dawn, without saying goodbye. The dirt road glittered under the rising sun, covered with thin dew, enough to sparkle but not enough to weigh down the dust. He walked up the hill. A thin figure in a shift stood in the upstairs window and watched him go, fingers holding his last kiss to her lips, tears burning her eyes. The farmhand with the mangled fingers stood in the barn doorway…

Don’t Tell People About Your Creative Projects

Your creativity is something sacred. Steven Pressfield says it's a gift from the muses. Other people say it's the voice of God. Wherever it comes from, it's holy, and it's fragile; push it too hard and it might break. I used to talk about my creative projects a lot. They lit me up -- I was on fire with excitement. I was always looking to explain them to someone. But when I started talking about…

On Bob Dylan and Creating an American Voice

"Behind every beautiful thing, there's some kind of pain." -- Bob Dylan Some artists are special. They open their mouths to speak and you can feel the universe resonating within their bones. You can hear the longing of thousands riding on their voices. You listen to their words and you see a mirror image of your deepest self. They are conduits, through which the pulse of the world rises up and is articulated. These greatest…

Trust the Process

There is a force that exists, and it's called genius. Genius. It's what moves artists, inspires thinkers, drives inventors, feeds the ones that shift the world. There are people who are good at what they do -- skilled, adept, well-studied, even talented -- and then there is genius. Genius is the speaker who can enthrall the minds and hearts and ears of thousands. Genius is the artist who creates sculptures and novels and tall buildings…

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