Happy April!

Best month of the year, if you ask me. Daffodils and hyacinths are blooming in the garden, and I am feeling SO creatively present.

If I haven’t made it clear in recent writings, I’m really focusing on trusting myself, lately. It’s the thrust behind pretty much all of the strings I’m pulling on in this little era.

For the first time in my 35 years (almost 36 #birthdaymonth), I’m building a regular habit of asking myself what I want—what actually sounds good, interesting, satisfying, etc. And as often as I have the energy and courage for those things, I’m going for them!

I’m learning more all the time (don’t worry, I’m taking down all of the important data so I can make music about it in the near-ish future 👀), and as per usual, I’m finding wonderful guidance in the words of my Artifice guests.

Joey’s lesson is one of presence, of awareness. I LOVED hearing him talk about the resilience he built through multiple childhood/teen injuries—forcing him to give up his first love (gymnastics), and later setting him on the lacrosse bench for an entire season. Joey talks about staying creatively engaged throughout these challenges, learning and growing all the while.

He says, “there really is beauty and safety in change, and being able to pivot. If you find yourself in something you don’t like, you can always change.”

It’s well said! And very true. I am finding more and more that even when ill-suited circumstances are NOT changeable, there is always something I can change in myself to give myself a little more freedom. I find myself communicating more boldly and directly, and discovering side quests and alternate routes, really anytime I look for them. I’m learning to see more options.

It was pretty emotionally intense interviewing my uncle Evan (my mom’s younger brother). Of course, family trauma weighs heavily on me. It’s all very vulnerable. But I’m SO glad I reached out to invite Evan to be a guest, and I’m so glad he agreed to talk with me.

If I’m being honest, even this feels like one of those “alternate routes” I referenced two paragraphs up. I’m just doing my best to send out love and creative problem solving wherever I can think to do it. I’m hopeful about what might grow where these seeds are planted.

Evan and I talked a lot about which activities deserve the term, “art.” It’s a perennial subject, particularly in discussions with artisans who operate outside institutional fine arts, as Evan does, beautifully.

Recently, I’m feeling more and more confident that what I’m personally after is a feeling. It’s an idea I cannot get out of my head. It’s a condition of my mind and body. And increasingly, I feel very confident using the word “art” for anything that gives me this feeling. Really, anything that gives me this feeling.

Lately, a lot of the trust I’m building with myself is honoring that feeling—stopping to listen to it, asking myself what the feeling is pointing toward, or how it might be related to my other projects. I’m finding this exercise exhilarating!

If you’ve been following along with me for a while, you’ll know that I’ve been puzzled about the nature of medium for a good while now.

Of course, we colloquially think of medium as whatever the artist ultimately produces (music, prose, pastries, sculpture). But when I consider my personal experience, as well as words shared by the 189 artists I’ve interviewed to date, I can’t help but feel skeptical.

Sure, some of what we’re doing is necessarily defined by a physical space, muscle development/conditioning, or physical materials and equipment, but none of these feels sufficient when, for example, any number of musicians may create dramatically unique works (even in the same “genre,” even with the same training, even on the same instrument, etc.), and may have dramatically unique experiences with the creative process, with execution, with inspiration, with every last facet.

Alternately, a painter and a poet may describe their process and experience as nearly identical, despite an enormous discrepancy in materials, in physical action, and so on.

I love the way Viet brings this idea to life as he talks about visualization being, perhaps, his first and most essential medium.

Viet is known primarily as a chef. But before there is a teaspoon of anything involved, Viet is visualizing. He’s imagining the menu, the plating, the colors, etc. before recipe-building begins, before any cooking happens.

He imagines that he could have taken a completely different path as a hair stylist, and would be satisfied in much the same way. Again, for Viet, this is about visualization—looking at a person, picturing what shapes/colors/textures would work for this particular face.

Even in bass fishing (a favorite hobby), he visualizes the bait on the hook, dancing as wormlike as possible, luring the fish with an intuitive performance.

Visualization is the through-line. From my perspective, if visualization isn’t THE medium, it’s certainly A medium.

For me…I don’t know.

I know I love patterns. I love to find connections where they are unexpected. I love executing on a project—creating the baby steps that will connect A to B and leave me with a finished work. I love beauty. I love layers of beauty, lots of intricacy. I love whatever ignites my curiosity.

And I think I’m just trying to see what happens if I follow more of those paths, rather than only the avenues that connect cleanly with my existing musical projects. It feels like those alternate routes are begging for my focus in a radical way.

And as Viet sums up beautifully, “there’s nothing more tragic than to turn away from something that you’re truly meant to do.”

So, I’m doing my best to give those somethings my all, messy as the discovery process may be.

Enjoy Aries season, darlings! 🔥🌷



P.S. A springtime bedhead.

Alternate Routes