SLAP! It's time.

Now that Facebook has permanently become an adhered part of the American culture, I grow increasingly tired of reading bad grammar.  It's so bad that people have begun creating memes with bad grammar and punctuation.  I want to slap the people who post them, but they aren't the likely culprits who created the meme.  However, they DID post it on their timeline, so that's about as irritating.

Slap!  I slap you.

This has nothing to do with the true purpose of this entry, but the purpose reminded me of what sparked this decision -- in part, Facebook.  I don't dislike Facebook, but I see how it can be a time waster.  it's also somewhat disturbing and depressing to read all about the things my friends are doing that I'm not.  And granted, I don't like hiking outdoors.  I'm not in Hollywood or New York, so I don't have a reel with examples of my acting chops or a set of headshots to show off.  And I'm not in a band, so I don't have any links to original music that I can share with the people I care about most.

It's that last one that really gets me pissed off.

I'm a musician by default.  I always have been.  Music has been like my DNA -- from a very young age, it was something I couldn't get away from.  I remember hearing "Shine A Little Love" by Electric Light Orchestra on the radio and being amazed at the combination of sounds, and I wondered how I could make that happen.  I knew, instinctively, that it would be something I would want to do.

Years later, when I was first living on my own, I began to write music.  Mostly lyrics, but still, I was writing, and there was a period of time when I was prolific to a near-insane degree.  At one point, I decided that I would try writing at least one song per week for as long as I could manage.  I ended up doing it for 12 weeks, and there were several weeks during that period that I cranked out 2 or 3 songs.  Granted, I wrote a lot of crap during that time, but I also crafted some gems, some great ideas that weren't as developed as they could be, and a few songs of worship that came from an honest place instead of pandering to a lowest common denominator type of approach.  I loved that time.

I had always intended to do something with the music that I'd written, but I didn't know how.  I was horrible with money, was in deep debt, and didn't have a decent enough computer to do any audio editing or even audio capture. So I didn't really know what to do.  I wasn't proficient in piano, and the only keyboard I had was a crappy plastic Casio with built-in speakers -- definitely not professional grade.  Also, I purchased a guitar, but it was bare bones acoustic without a pickup, and I never really did anything to learn how to play.  So I didn't really know what to do, and for years, I used that as an excuse not to do anything.  I knew that I really wanted to get my songs out there, to flesh them out fully, put them on tape, and perform them for the public.  I simply had no idea how to get any of it done.

Slap!


Earlier this year, I finally decided that the fact that I didn't know HOW to do it wasn't a good enough excuse anymore.  I didn't want to let one more year go by before I tried to get the music I'd written out into the public.  I felt I had something unique to say, and I knew people would be inspired when they heard it.  So in February 2013, I began painstakingly going over the music I'd written, looking to see if any of it could be considered good enough for a recorded project.  I also submitted about 16 lyric pieces to the worship leader at my church to see if any of them were bits he felt could be used for corporate worship.  He told me last week that he really likes a lot of what I submitted, and we decided that we should just schedule some time that we can sit down and make something out of it.  Our normal schedules are already so tight -- he already works 50-60 hours a week doing his job and taking care of a new baby, and I work 40 hours and then 15-30 hours a week at a part time job.  Time is a luxury we don't have, but if we're going to make this machine run, we have to start it.

Slap!

As far as my other songs, I have gone through all of the ones I've deemed worthy enough either for immediate recording or for developing into a better song, and I've started making lists of what kinds of albums I could make.  I've split apart the first phase of this new chapter into 4 parts -- 4 albums, each with a specific focus -- and I'm going to have to whittle down the list to a more manageable size.  I've talked with people about the costs involved in recording, mastering, duplication, and live performance.  I've been studying successful stories about people lauching projects on Kickstarter and IndieGoGo, and also looking at the ones that failed and why they failed.  I'm looking at how social media has become an important tool in getting the word out about your brand.  And I've been soaking up teachings about how to Make Stuff Happen.

I recently downloaded an audiobook for free by Jon Acuff, founder of the website Stuff Christians Like, and author of the book by the same name.  His second book, "Quitter: Closing the Gap Between Your Dream Job and Your Day Job", was released as an audiobook for free last week on NoiseTrade.com, and I immediately downloaded it.  Because of my part-time job, I am on the road a lot, and I had to drive over 2 hours each way for two days in a row this past weekend.  It gave me plenty of time to listen to the audiobook, and I finished it on Sunday.  I found it extraordinarily refreshing, extremely encouraging, and completely relateable to me.  It also stoked the fire.

Don't get me wrong (is anybody really getting me wrong?) -- the book didn't start something in me that hadn't been brewing, and it certainly wasn't the only thing that got my fire up.  As I said earlier, it was February when I started going through my music, and I even found one or two songs that I'd completely forgotten that I'd written -- and they were great!  Slap!  But I've been hearing this same thing in teachings from several people since January, and for me to hear it and not do anything in response is terrible.  It's a slap in the face of decent common sense, and I think, a middle finger right in God's face.  Why do I feel that way?  Because God gave me this gift.  He blessed me with this talent.  He hardwired me with an ability to do what I do and make it seem effortless (sometimes it appears effortless to other people, and sometimes it feels effortless to me), and He commissioned me to go into the world and make disciples of all men.

Slap!

That last one is really the deciding factor.  And I was faced with the question every Christian must answer for themselves: "How do I make disciples?"  For me, it's simple.  I do what I love.  I may not be able to pastor a church, to lead a big tent revival, or to even be a guest speaker at TED or another conference on creativity.  But  I can write music.  I can sing.  I can tell stories and make people laugh.  I can put the passion for what I do into every aspect of creating, writing, and performing.  And if those disciples start out as someone who was simply being moved by what they've heard me looking into his heart and soul to see if he has everything he needs in order to make his life complete, even if he finds out he doesn't, then that's a start.

Christopher Titus, in his comedy show "Neverlution", quoted George Orwell, saying, "Every joke is a tiny revolution."  If you've never seen his comedy, Christopher Titus really takes this message to heart, and if you've ever felt like the world around you is crumbling, you really need to check out his stuff.  He takes dysfunctional to a whole new level, and I wouldn't wish the stuff that he went through in his life on anyone.  But his point of view matches mine -- in order to do something about what you see around you, you have to be willing to do something that no one else is doing.  You CAN'T adhere to the status quo anymore and expect things to get better for you.  I will warn you, he uses some salty language (one of my favorite phrases these days), so definitely don't listen to it at work.  But you should probably check it out.

He's working in his chosen medium, and he does an outstanding job.  And if, after watching one of his comedy shows, you don't feel a little charged up, you have no soul.  That's because he is PASSIONATE about what he does and what he says. 

So am I.  I haven't gotten to the point where my passion has come to fruition yet, but I'm getting there.  It's GOING to happen.  And people will be affected.

Slap!

Do you feel it yet?


There Is No Box.
Zach

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