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 …

This gallery contains 1 photo.

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 EPISODE 162 : THE TRICKS AND TREATS OF HORROR

This week, Alex and Chris prepare for Halloween by celebrating fiction and film moments that scared them and then discussing the techniques and/or elements that made those moments work. With excerpts read and film moments recounted from:

Salems Lot, The Shinning, Stephen King, Richard Matheson, I Am Legend, “Under Her Black Wings: Women of Horror Anthology,” Burnt Offering, Grave of the Vampire, “The Aztec,” Carmen Baca, “Sarah Smiles,” Christy Aldridge. 

Click here to hear.

Have any recommendations, questions, or suggestions for this episode topics?

Then please leave them in our comments section.  Or write to us at:  TTDSOnAir@gmail.com

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 #155: How Certain Stories Can Touch The Soul.

This TELL THE DAMN STORY podcast inspired by #chadwickboseman and is devoted to telling stories that touch us deeply.  Stories in books, films and TV shows can simply entertain.  But quite often one story can get to us, and stay with us forever.
This episode co-host Alex Simmons, guest Omar Holman and I discuss stories that have stayed with us.  We also share a slew of written comments by #WaltSimonson, #MichaelWright, and others, as they add to a celebration of tales.
You are sure to find a favorite and some new things to track down in episode #155.
*By the way, is there a story that for some reason, you’ve never forgotten?  Please write down the name here in the comment section.  You can even add 1 or 2 sentences telling us a little about it.
Or leave any writing questions, challenges, or solutions you may have?
Or write to us at:  TTDSOnAir@gmail.com

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 #154: The Dignity of Chadwick Boseman, The Healing Grace of Creativity

In this episode Alex and Chris talk about loss and gain, and carrying on.
First they they take a moment to eulogize the loss of acting artistry with the passing of Chadwick Boseman (portrayed Black Panther, Jackie Robinson, and more).   Then they answer more questions about about all things dealing with the challenges of creative writing.  It’s the power of words, whether performed or written.  It’s sadness lifted by the arts once again.
“…Not all human beings are made up of the worst of our traits, habits, and instincts. We are a product of what we believe, what we practice, and what we do…”
Got a few questions of your own?  Send them in, or drop them in the comments.
Or write to us at:  TTDSOnAir@gmail.com

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 #153: Seven Plus Top Tips For Besting The Beast of Writing

Hey, hey, Hey!  This episode Alex and Chris dip into our new email Q-Bag (Q = Questions) and answer a few of the the questions you listeners sent in. They range from tackling writer’s block to getting trapped in the “mushy middle” of a daunting storyline.  So grab something to write with and write on, then sit, click, and listen.

Click here to hear.

By the way, in the spirit of a writer’s community, how do you tackle some of these writing challenges?  What works for you that might work for others?

Got a few questions of your own?  Send them in, or drop them in the comments.

Or write to us at:  TTDSOnAir@gmail.com

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 #152: Can You Survive Night of the Living Contracts?

This week on TTDS, Alex and Chris explore the creatures called Contracts, including how to tell confident agreements from the ones that eat your brain and your rights.   They share how to handle contract elements that make you uncomfortable; why anger, frustration, sarcasm, attitude, and ultimatums don’t work, and calm professionalism is always better, even if you lose the gig.

So take notes.  Because whether your goals are aimed at the independents or main stream publishers, you’ll face them. It will be a time when you’ll need to know how much of your rights they’ll want, and what you’re willing to give up, or lose.
Send in your questions and suggestions regarding this topics.  We’ll discuss them on our next show. Or respond in our social media.
Want to see samples of simple basic Agreements?  Email us at:  TTDSOnAir@gmail.com and we’ll send along a sample or two.

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 #149 – 151: MIA

Greetings!

To all of you who may have been wondering why I haven’t posted the last three episodes of this podcast series … well, it’s because I couldn’t.

For some a yet unexplained reason, the new BLOCK EDIT feature went “rogue” on me. It kept (and still is) displaying error messages when I’ve tried to input, upload, or save anything.  The message does not explain the error. It gives no path for exploring, reporting, or fixing.

Since I can save or display any part of the problem or message, I’ve been unable to have someone look into it. This has been going on now for 3 weeks.

So, I’m using this classic form to write this explanation, and I’m asking for any advise you might be able to offer.

Thank you in advance.

Sincerely,
Alex Simmons

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Tell The Damn Story #147: HOW TO TELL THE DAMN STORY SUMMER SERIES (Part 2) – Getting The Work Done

The Boys Are Back in Town!

This week, Alex and Chris are back with Part 2 of their month-long workshop, the “HOW TO TELL THE DAMN STORY SUMMER SERIES.”   

Pop culture king Caseen Gaines and spoken word poet and children’s book creator Toney Jackson have returned.  This time they’ll discuss getting the BUTTS in the SEATS!  How to get down and get the work done.

Remember this series takes up episodes 146, 147, 148, and 149, creating an opportunity for us to use episode 150 as StoryFest (the three-sectioned, weekend long interview clips package). That would be a cool way to celebrate this milestone.

Click here to hear.

Want to be more a part of this?  Send in your methods for nurturing inspiration.  Where do you find it?  What do you do with it?

Have any questions, or suggestions for episode topics?Leave your thoughts in our comments section.  Or write to us at:  TTDSOnAir@gmail.com

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 #146: How To Tell The Damn Story Summer Writing Series – Part One

This week, Alex and Chris launch a month-long workshop, the “HOW TO TELL THE DAMN STORY SUMMER SERIES.”  Each week in July, we will join with special guests to focus on a different aspect of the creative process. 

This episode features non-fiction pop culture king Caseen Gaines and spoken word poet and children’s book creator Toney Jackson to explore inspiration.  We’ll discus where it comes from, how to work with it, respect it, and keep it flowing so you can Tell Your Damn Story! 

Click here to hear.

By the way, this series takes up episodes 146, 147, 148, and 149, creating an opportunity for us to use episode 150 as StoryFest (the three-sectioned, weekend long interview clips package). That would be a cool way to celebrate this milestone. What do you think?

Leave your thoughts in our comments section. Or write to us at:  TTDSOnAir@gmail.com

* Want to be more a part of this? Send in your methods for nurturing inspiration. Where do you find it? What do you do with it?

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Tell The Damn Story #145: TTDS PRESENTS “BLACKJACK: ONLY SECONDS LEFT TO LIVE” and More …

This week, Alex and Chris present a Blackjack story created by Tim Fielder in the furious wake of Charlottesville, back in 2017.

Fate worked against us publishing it at the time, and during each subsequent horrific racist tragedy. But George Floyd changed that. We can no longer let Tim’s tale remain just among us.

So we came up with a way to share this emotional, daring story. We tell its backstory, and then we present Blackjack: Only Seconds Left to Live as an unrehearsed audio experience.

The tie-in to present day will be obvious, and our discussion afterwards connects many elements that convinced us that now is the time to share this tale. And we have much more coming.

Click here to hear.

And don’t forget to leave your thoughts in our comments section. Or write to us at: TTDSOnAir@gmail.com

Tim Fielder
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 #144: WHAT “IFFING” TWILIGHT ZONE SEASON TWO

Looks like it’s … Day of the Bearded Men.

And no, we’re not PC cursing in the title.  

Alex and Chris enjoy a fun and intriguing episode of Tell The Damn Story with special guest pop culture author, Caseen Gaines ( @caseengaines ), speculating about the upcoming season 2 of #twilghtzone.

We show and use our respect for @jordanpeele as a springboard to play “what if” about themes, issues and storylines using episode titles as prompts. 

Come share some big fun, a wide range of topics, some good laughs, and an occasional deep thought, all aimed at psyching fans up for Season Two of THE TWILIGHT ZONE. (Cue the eerie music.)

Click here to hear.

Have a thought about this episode? Sure you do. So leave a message in our Comments section.

Or send an email to:  TTDSOnAir@gmail.com

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