I haven’t kept up with the blog these past few months. Heck, I think it’s been longer. I’ve been busy with family, work, and my role as the chair of a folk music festival of all things. The latter consumed much of my time and energy this last year culminating in a whirlwind, amazing, one-day event in La Crosse, Wisconsin on August 27th
I was fortunate to spend ten months working closely with a small group of volunteers as we dove deep into the past, present, and future of the festival. I learned so much about sponsorships, grant writing, social media, ticket sales, budgeting, merchandise, festival layout, booking musicians, and generally just working with other people during times of stress. It was a lot. But it was a wonderful experience.
But this post isn’t about the festival. This post is about stealing, which I'm suggesting you do. Read more to learn why.
I knew when I took the position of festival chair, I wouldn’t be able to write or create as much art. I wouldn’t be able to play as many gigs as I usually do. Every Tuesday night would be booked with zoom meetings. I wouldn’t be able to participate in the songwriting contest like I have for many years. I would be just too busy.
Busy-ness comes in many forms for us and ebbs and flows with the seasons of life depending on priorities. As the festival is taking a deep breath and the leaves begin to change, I find a sudden urge to do all the things I love. Write, carve, hike, fly fish, play, sing, read to my children, build campfires, and go on bike rides.
But we can’t simply wait for life to stop so we can create, right? When inspiration crashes into your bedroom window, you must seize it. Life isn’t going to get unbusy. The things that fight for your time and attention just change as the revolving door spins. So creativity comes down to stolen moments.
During the busy year, I was still able to write, and slowly pursue a few things for my family and me by stealing little moments from time to time. Late night walks. Moments in the car recording a melody. Saturday mornings, flipping pancakes, writing at the coffee table with coffee while my son and daughter watched cartoons.
During all seasons, we balance how we give ourselves away with the moments we keep tucked away. Sometimes it is just good to have a reminder: it's okay to steal time for yourself. Maybe it's sitting on a doorstep in the dark while the moon rises. Maybe it's in a bathroom stall over a lunch break flipping through a news feed. Maybe it is a short bike ride in the afternoon. Steal those moments. Pocket a couple for yourself to write or rest or pray or whatever. Thievery is a fun word, so don’t be afraid to use it.
If you’re wondering what else I’ve been up to, I do have a few updates for you.
1. My next novel is in the editing phases with my new publisher, Unsolicited Press. It is set for release early 2024. I can’t wait to share more with you, but for now, all I will say is it is about how we use time.
2. My novel “The Man in the Pines,” a reimagination of Paul Bunyan continues to do well. I find myself frequently having to drop off more copies at our local shops around town. Thank you sooo much for enjoying this book with me.
3. I’m continuing to write music, and hope to have a few new songs to share online with you sometime over the next year.
4. Printing: I’ve got a few woodblock prints I’ve made to sell at my shows. I love this art form and hope you can see a few in person someday. Until then, follow the links on this page to listen on bandcamp or spotify or wherever.
5. Upcoming gigs: I'm playing tomorrow at Midwest Music Fest. I’m hoping to start booking a few winter shows at Mt La Crosse Ski Hill and you can catch me intermittently busking around town or at sporadic songwriting events.
Happy September! Go find an apple orchard and get ready to pick some pumpkins!