Mind the Art

Salutations.

It’s been over a year since I posted thoughts, ideas, or press in this particular digital storefront window.

I haven’t been creatively dry during that time – more like adrift, periodically bobbing into project shores, and then floating back out to sea.

stormyseasI blame a heavy storm of negativity for my limited activity. Negative thoughts, people, and actions on a global scale.

It’s hard to create joy and laughter when you see an almost endless stream of tears around the world. And for me, constantly using ANGER and OUTRAGE as inspirational fuel is much like powering a family camper with nitro, or playing handball with C4.

So I step back a bit, float, contemplate, or … sometimes for too long … close the shutters.

Not productive. Not self-sustaining. Not the way I wish to meet each day.

So, I’m back.

True I will not post on a daily basis because – as I said in a post some time ago – I enjoy the doing of things. And when you’re busy participating in life, you don’t always have time to comment on same.

Still, I’ll do my best.

Jeremy BritThe late actor, Jeremy Britt once told me that at certain times in his life he’d “felt like an empty vessel.” And in order to both portray a certain role, and to just live, he had to “fill it up” with elements of life.

I believe that may be true for all of us. Certainly it is for me.

To create art, one must live life. So as I am fond of saying to friends, family, and students … go forth and be brilliant.

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KID REPORTERS & THE SUICIDAL SEAMAN! Part 3 of …

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NEVER UNDERESTIMATE A CHILD’S CAPACITY TO COMPREHEND I have to agree with The Carpenters (old singing duo) about “Rainy Days and Mondays.”  They do have a downer slant to them.  At least that’s what I felt that drizzly Monday in … Continue reading

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Tell The Damn Story #108: TO FEED THE BEAST

Every writer of any success will tell aspiring creatives to read constantly, so today Chris and Alex explore the ecstasy that is reading — with special guest … “the goddess” Tina Ryan!

Click here to hear!

*During the show I sent out a note to folks asking what they like to read. Below are some of the replies:

Genre: Science Fiction, fantasy and urban fantasy, mystery, historical fiction, horror, modern detectives (Lehane), comics, and non fiction.

Authors: Christopher Moore-Fool, Lamb, Sacre Bleu, Ladit, Lawrence Block, Loren Estleman, JIm Butcher, Kelly McCullough, Eliot Pattison, Lois McMaster Bujold, Jennifer Robertson …

Titles: Moby Dick, New Stan Lee Biography

Want to add some?

PLEASE leave your questions or comments in our Comments Section below. Or write us at: TTDSOnAir@gmail.com

Alex Simmons, Alex Simmons, writer/speaker, consultant with his InkPot Award. Chris Ryan, Author of mysteries, children’s books, screenplays and novels
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Tell The Damn Story #107: Heroic Journeys … Identity, Discovery, Damage, Recovery

While attending the 2019 New York Comic Con, Alex had an opportunity to conduct a group interview with four, intelligent, creative, and caring people … Tamara Robertson (chemical & biomolecular engineer and co-host of Mythbusters Jr.) , Dr. Travis Langley (author/senior editor/psychologist), Dr. Janine Scarlet (psychologist/author), and Dustin McGuinnis (musician/podcaster).

And though Chris was not able to be there, and though there were some sound issues, we ask that you bear with us because the insight, experiences and information shared is well worth it.

Click here to hear.

And as usual, PLEASE leave your questions or comments in our Comments Section below. Or write us at: TTDSOnAir@gmail.com We especially want to hear your thoughts on this one.
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Tell The Damn Story #106: Deadly Ink Roundup, The Rookies

Chris finds Alex in the grip of a horrible villain (especially for podcasters) and must recruit a trio of authors from the Deadly Ink Writers Conference, conducting first-time interviews with each. He finds the scribes sincere and interesting and worth working past all audio challenges. Give them a chance; they have great stories to tell…. and they saved Alex this week!

Click here to hear.

Please leave your questions or comments in our Comments Section below. Or write us at: TTDSOnAir@gmail.com

Alex Simmons, Alex Simmons, writer/speaker, consultant with his InkPot Award. Chris Ryan, Author of mysteries, children’s books, screenplays and novels
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Tell The Damn Story #105: Out of the Darkness … Demons, An Interview With Author David F. Walker

Alex and Chris Skype across America for a brave and inspiring conversation with the great author, David F. Walker (Luke Cage, Shaft, CyBorg, Bitter Roots, etc.).  While we start with his early work on Luke Cage and Iron Fist progressing to his new projects like Bitter Roots, this episode mostly focuses on David’s harrowing battle with crushing depression and methods he uses to claw his way out of the abyss. Don’t miss this one, folks.Please leave your questions or comments in our Comments Section below. Or write us at: TTDSOnAir@gmail.comPS: During the episode I couldn’t remember the name of a certain comic strip. It was “For Better, Or For Worse.” Why’d that subject come up? Listen and you will see.

Click here to hear.

Comments Section below. Or write us at: TTDSOnAir@gmail.com

PS: During the episode I couldn’t remember the name of a certain comic strip. It was “For Better, Or For Worse.” Why’d that subject come up? Listen and you will see.

Alex Simmons, Alex Simmons, writer/speaker, consultant with his InkPot Award. Chris Ryan, Author of mysteries, children’s books, screenplays and novels
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Tell The Damn Story #104: Goin’ Deep, From Creative Heart to Business Head

Alex and Chris take a break from the  Deadly Ink Mystery Conference interviews this week to delve deep into that treacherous path that takes us from being a creative to a business person. They discuss the self-knowledge one needs to deal with editors and producers and publishers who say they “get it” and but may not and explore the importance knowing the difference between being editorially flexible so you can sell the work and committing the sin of selling out the work.  

Click here to hear.

Please leave your questions or comments in our Comments Section below. Or write us at: TTDSOnAir@gmail.com

Alex Simmons, Alex Simmons, writer/speaker, consultant with his InkPot Award. Chris Ryan, Author of mysteries, children’s books, screenplays and novels
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Tell The Damn Story #103: It’s the Quiet Ones You Have To Watch Out For

Alex and Chris talk about how creatives’ personality and early influences shaped them into writers you might not expect from hearing them, like the gentle-voiced Victoria Weisfeld who has seen her inventive, precise mysteries published in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, among other places. Our interview with Victoria (Vicky) is the highlight of this episode, and she offers great insight into her process and tips for aspiring writers. Enjoy!

Click here to hear.


Please leave your questions or comments in our Comments Section below. Or write us at: TTDSOnAir@gmail.com

Alex Simmons, Alex Simmons, writer/speaker, consultant with his InkPot Award. Chris Ryan, Author of mysteries, children’s books, screenplays and novels
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Simmons Says … Fight The Fire?

A while back I tested out a sort of journal blog/podcast that I called Simmons Says. It was my way of doing a daily, or every other daily, expressing of my thoughts or questions about life, art family, or whatever.

But I found journaling, at the same time I was writing fiction or doing other writing jobs, became second or third priority, and eventually I gave it up.

And though I enjoy the Tell The Damn Story podcast series I’m doing with my friend Chris Ryan (we’re up to episode 103), I find there are times when I have a thought that I want to share that is not necessarily Chris’s or anyone else’s.  

So I decided to resurrect the old S.S Mindship periodically and plop it here. 

Yesterday I posted a question in my Instagram Story.  It was based on this adage … 

Suppose you come home and find someone has set fire to your house and is running away.  Do you chase the fire starter, or do you fight the fire?

I’ve heard a few people say they’d go after the arsonist. Others said they’d fight the flames. And some had no answer at all.  

My Insta-Poll came back 7 to 1 in favor of fighting the fire.

So why’d I ask in the first place?

I keep hearing from people who are angry about certain political decisions, or about the way a certain race/religion/or gender is mistreated.  Of course we have a right to be angry about that.

But it seems we spend a great deal of time ranting about, or resenting the individuals that have done us wrong.  Boiling in the pot, so-to-speak. Yet much like politicians and their verbal barbs and finger pointing, or campaign promises, I don’t hear enough plans, ideas, or solutions to deal with the problems..

I hear the pain and the suffering. I hear the anger.  But I don’t hear enough about the remedies, or even the efforts to find the cures. Is it because bad news sells? Or is it something more?

Like the old adage, if you chase the arsonist your house burns down. You lose precious possessions and memories … quite possibly you’ll lose a life.

Don’t get me wrong.  Discussion, even debate is necessary. But it should be constructive, with an eye towards resolving, not in-flamming.

Most of us know all too well what’s wrong.

I feel, and it’s just my opinion, that more of our energy, strength, determination, passion, and intelligence  would better serve us by focusing on solutions not accusations — solving the problem, fighting the fire, instead of chasing the arsonist. 

Put simpler still, fix the problem not the blame.

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