Now Is When We Work

“If I’ve learned anything in my shaky life as an artist, it’s that you must stop talking and spinning and whining and start making your thing today. Pick up a camera. Pick up an easel. Open your laptop and turn off your Internet connection while you write. Find a starting point. Ignore the voices. Ignore the critics. Reward yourself for having ideas by valuing them enough to believe in them.”-Shane Nickerson

This. No one will do it unless we do.  It’s our job, those of us who chose the arts, or were chosen by them. It’s our calling. So easy to get caught up, wasting time, worrying. Instead, how about we make things? Create – on our own, or in groups.  Long term projects that require lots of planning, and short term spur of the moment things. You want to encourage some kind of social change? Go for it. You want to entertain, make people laugh or cry? Get it done.  Do both. Do something more than that. But stop waiting. This is it – this is all the time we have, use it!  Use it to connect people. We are in the arts to serve people: to make their time here, all our time here, better, deeper, richer. Make LIFE more than just the days on the calendar. Our world is shaped by our actions, and our connections to the people around us: make them count. 

Life goals

How beautifully leaves grow old. How full of light and color are their last days.

-John Burroughs

I love this quote. It’s inspirational.  Of course, the wonderful part of it is that none of us really know when our last days will be… so we should probably try and make sure all of our days are full of light and color, don’t you think? 

Sunday Quotes: What Comes Next Is Up To Us. 

Princes & Kings
Isn’t it strange how princes and kings, 

and clowns that caper in sawdust rings,

and common people, like you and me,

are builders for eternity?

Each is given a list of rules;

a shapeless mass; a bag of tools.

And each must fashion, ere life is flown,

A stumbling block, or a Stepping-Stone.

-R. Lee Sharpe

This world of ours… must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be, instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect. 

-Dwight D. Eisenhower

We must become bigger than we have been: more courageous, greater in spirit, larger in outlook. We must become members of a new race, overcoming petty prejudice, owing our ultimate allegiance not to nations but to our fellow men within the human community. 

-Haile Selassie

Quotes: Compassion

These seem pretty relevant to our current political and social discussions… And to life in general…

I truly believe that compassion provides the basis of human survival. – Dalai Lama


sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it

Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Wisdom, compassion, and courage are the three universally recognized moral qualities of men.  –  Confucius

I think the purpose of life is to be useful, to be responsible, to be honourable, to be compassionate. It is, after all, to matter: to count, to stand for something, to have made some difference that you lived at all.  – Leo C. Rosten

The world must never again confuse compassion for weakness.  – Steve Rogers, Captain America


Why are you here?

I like this thought from Dan Pearce – Abstract textured background


What’s the point?  What’s the reason?  To help my kids have a good life?  To help my wife do the same?  To make theatre and help people laugh, or cry, or reflect on their life and feel not alone?  To enjoy life and try to be a force for positivity?  I feel like these are the things I’m supposed to be doing… but too often  I find myself NOT doing them.  Too often I get caught up in my own ego, or fears, or the negativity of someone else, or my own laziness. or distract-ability (is that a word?  Go with it.)   Lately I’ve been lucky – it’s been easy to come to work and celebrate that I get to run a regional theatre, and I’ve had some wonderful QFT (Quality Family Time!) to remind me what’s important, to keep me focused.

Still, this last month has been an interesting one – the Facebook features “Memories” and “Timehop” have brought up LOTS of the “Team Tony” photos because it was 2 years ago now that I was waking up from a coma, and a lot of people were getting their t-shirts and posting them.  Seeing all the flashback-posts is wonderful, and heart-warming, and also a little emotional because of all that went on, and all that is still going on.  They also help remind me how lucky my family is to have had all that support, and that this life is pretty fleeting, and we have just one chance to make the most of it… hence the Dan Pearce quote!    Of course, thinking back to all of that, and of how lucky I am to be here today, AND of the quote above, it makes me wonder if those things are enough… what else can I be doing? What else SHOULD I be doing?  I guess I have more questioning to do, as Dan Pearce suggests.  🙂

Oh – also, because of those Facebook features, I’m finding a bunch of photos I never saw before!  I’ve added a bunch of new pics to the Team Tony page on my site, and done a few other tweaks to the site.  Check it out, let me know what you think!

And today – take a minute to look around and count some blessings.



Come then, and let us pass a leisure hour in storytelling, and our story shall be the education of our heroes. -Plato

“Don’t make me think for myself! Don’t make me feel something! Tell me WHAT to think! Tell me WHAT to feel! Don’t make me ask QUESTIONS and explore the answer!”

Sad.  I get sad when this is the response to things.  Especially things I’ve made, or that other storyteller friends have made.  Sad, and frustrated.  In today’s world, the ability – or interest? – in THINKING and exploring something seems to be fading away.   So many people seem to be looking to get the easy answer:  “Tell me how to feel!”

Listen, I love a nice, simple, clear-as-day episode of Matlock as much as anybody… I’ll happily sit and laugh my way through an episode of Three’s Company… but not everything should be that simple.  Not everything CAN be that simple.  They’ll yell – the people who shun imagination and critical thinking, they’ll complain – but we can’t give in, those of us who are artists and storytellers, we can’t give in and allow everything to be dumbed down and oversimplified.  There is room for all sorts of storytelling – and we can’t allow the people who want every moment of life to be spelled out in snack-sized sound bites to take away our ability to SAVOR NOT KNOWING.  To revel in asking the question.  To go home at the end of the night NOT having everything laid out in a mindlessly digestible form, but having some things left unanswered rattling around in our brains, forcing us to analyze them using our imagination, our own sense of curiosity and wonder, our own life experience.  It’s from THIS that we understand our life, and the world around us: From the sharing of moments and ideas, and reflecting on them, discussing them.  NOT from having ideas explained and answers handed to us, but having ideas presented and the questions asked!

One way teaches us to be thinkers.  The other teaches us to be nothing but consumers.

Storytelling reveals meaning without committing the error of defining it.
-Hannah Arendt

Storytelling is ultimately a creative act of pattern recognition. Through characters, plot and setting, a writer creates places where previously invisible truths become visible. Or the storyteller posits a series of dots that the reader can connect.
— Douglas Coupland

 The purpose of a storyteller is not to tell you how to think, but to give you questions to think upon.
— Brandon Sanderson