The Writer’s Lens – Interview 14: EG Graves, “A Mistaken Identity”

A Mistaken Identity

That’s the name of Eric “EG” Graves’ upcoming play, which will be featured at the Breen Performing Arts Center in Cleveland, OH on Saturday, March 23, 2019. I was fortunate to chat with Mr. Graves prior to the release and get his thoughts on playwriting and how he came to become a playwright himself.

My interview with EG expands upon the story of the man behind the play and what inspired him to call it what he did (A Mistaken Identity). And as I discovered while interviewing Mr. Graves, one does not require a degree in performing arts, creativity or even writing to do something like this. Yet what one does require is a vision, a purpose, and some persistence.

Tickets for A Mistaken Identity can be found on Eventbrite.

Interviews, Interviews, Interviews….

In addition to providing dialogue on storytelling, I do interviews here on The Writer’s Lens.

If you prefer, audio, then check out the discussions that are happening here. I have conversations with all sorts of folks: artists, playwrights, filmmakers, other writers…among others.

And if you’re an audio AND a video junkie, then you can see myself and other smiling faces here. The same cast of characters applies here too.

Proceed with caution, but always proceed.

Till next time,

J.C.L.

My Video Interview with David Ramos

#ICYMI, I did an interview with fellow self-published author, David Ramos recently.

David is extraordinarily talented at building a platform and has the scars to prove it.

You can find the full audio on Podbean, but it’s also on YouTube (for all you visual peeps out there).

David Ramos

 

The Writer’s Lens – Interview 11: Loren Reash-Henz, “Does Music Tell Stories? And How Do We Value Art?”

Does music tell a story? This was a question I posed as the primer for my next interview with fellow creative, poet, and voice teacher, Mr. Loren Reash-Henz.

Loren Reash-Henz

Loren and I connected at a book signing last year and as I’ve come to find out, Loren has a real penchant for all things music –  teaching, theory, its roots, and its expression. In this conversation, Loren and I sit down to talk about all things music and writing. And how we are all striving to be original and authentic, but oftentimes, we get mixed up on what this can look like. I found this to be a fun and engaging dialogue that opens up a lot of boxes on what we think creativity and art do for a person’s soul. And, ultimately, for our culture.

Loren also works for Apollo’s Fire, a baroque orchestra, here in Cleveland, OH. You can find out more about them here.

The Writer’s Lens – Interview 10: Willie Scott, aka FOLD

When it comes to using the term, “creative”, I’m still a newbie. I happen to think I’m creative (I’m a writer, after all) so tying creative and writer together isn’t a problem. When it comes to other creative types, I – like many others – tend to recognize someone for a single gift: making a craft, making music, writing, etc. These all make up the “creative” part of our persona. But is that all we are made for? Just one facet of creativity? For sometimes we encounter someone who is not only creative in one area, but in several different venues too.

Cue the guest of my next interview: Willie Scott, aka FOLD. (click here for the interview)

Producer Matlock (left) and Willie, “IAMFOLD” (right)

Willie is a return guest on The Writer’s Lens and in addition to being one-half of Better Than Blended and co-founder of TKI Publishing, Willie is also a recording artist. He truly puts the idea of putting one’s creative interests to work while simultaneously debunking the notion that we have to be so singularly focused on one aspect of our creativity, thus starving our other creative outlets. So in this interview, I explore with Willie all the dynamics that come with being an entrepreneur, a creative writer, a father, and a husband.

This was a fun interview for Willie and me and I think you’ll find it equally enjoyable.

For more on Willie and his music, you can check out these links below:

Better Than Blended – WebsiteFacebookInstagram

TKI Publishing – WebsiteFacebook

Matlock and FOLD – Facebook

YouTube
Matlock and FOLD – “Favor
Matlock and FOLD – “ICIT – In Christ I Trust
Matlock and FOLD – “Turn up

The Writer’s Lens – A “Best Of” Interview Compilation

To bring in the new year here’s something a little different from The Writer’s Lens. This episode deals entirely with soundbites from each of my various interviews. And though there are plenty of other good nuggets from the full interviews, these clips were pieced together around a common theme: what’s it like to be a creative who is looking to hone his or her voice and garner an audience.

Perhaps this is something you are looking to hone in 2019? And beyond. These voices – and other guests I plan to have on this program – will be speaking into these areas so stay tuned in 2019 for more! And stay up to date by subscribing to The Writer’s Lens.

Links to the full interviews: 

YouTube Channel (audio and video)

Podcast Channel (audio only)

 

Guests on The Writer’s Lens 

– Willie and Rachel Scott, Co-founders of Better Than Blended and TKI Publishing

– Darrick Dean, Fantasy author; Among The Shadows

– Daniel Luketic, Entrepreneur

– Dr. Robert Snyder, Author of various children’s books, war veteran, and speaker

– Brent Mclaughlin, Writer

– Immanuel Mullen, Co-founder at TheStoryIs

– Colleen Ward, Owner at Colleen Ward Studio

– Brian Del Turco, Jesus Smart: The PodcastSubstanceTV, and owner at LifeVoiceQuest

– Kay Smith, Content creator and art teacher

 

 

The Writer’s Lens – Interview 09: Kay Smith, How Can Faith And Art Work Together?

In case you missed it, I was fortunate to interview a fellow #CleCreative this past week, Kay Smith, where we primarily talked about the pressures of motherhood, work, and creative pursuits. Below is a link to the video interview on #YouTube as well as a short description about Kay and her work. Enjoy!

Kay Smith worked for 13 years at a reputable marketing firm in Cleveland, OH. And though she loved her work, Kay began to feel something tugging her in a new direction. A tug strong enough to make her consider leaving her established career behind and start anew – in art education.

But, it wasn’t a completely foreign space. Kay had always held a strong interest in art, even as a little girl. And with some proper coaching and encouragement early in life, she fostered that passion.

Kay is a wife and mother of four children so leaving a steady job was not an easy feat. In this interview, I talk with Kay about her transition from her corporate office space to her new office space. And how her faith in God has enabled her to discover what it is that makes us all creative; how we can cultivate that creative spark; and ultimately use our gifts to help others.

For more on Kay, you can check out the links below:
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/k.smith.art
Website: http://www.katherinesmithstudio.com

 

 

“Our memories aren’t perfect.” – Brent McLaughlin, writer

In my latest interview, I posed a question to my friend, Brent McLaughlin, what it was like to journal on a regular basis. Aside from giving our thoughts a place to rest, Brent summed up his experience like so: it’s a means to look into where I’ve been; where I’ve come from. Because as he put it, “our memories aren’t perfect.”

I couldn’t have agreed more with that statement.

I’ve never been good at keeping a journal. I make time for reading in the morning. I make time for writing the next chapter of my book. But, when it comes to decompressing my thoughts in a journal form, I just don’t do it. And as of late, I wish I did.

Rushing from one thing to the next in life can make us feel like hamsters on a wheel. Most of us are good at setting goals. We look at our resources. We set our parameters – and we go for it. Yet we don’t always know how or what brought us there once we make it (if we even do). I believe if we took more time to reflect on what it was that got us through, we might appreciate our accomplishments more. We may slow down more. We may even enjoy our lives more.

Because, again, our memories aren’t always perfect. And we need those little reminders as often as we can get them.

“How old are veterans anyway? I wanted to change that perspective.” – Dr. Robert Snyder, author of “What is a Veteran, Anyway?”

Veterans’ Day has come and passed. Yet, I am reminded of a great conversation I had with a veteran – and author – who was kind enough to let me interview him. On both fronts: being an author and being a veteran.

Dr. Robert Snyder is a professor, author, and former Iraqi war veteran whom I had the pleasure of meeting at a book signing back in October. He was covered from head to toe in military garb, and when I asked what he’d written a book about, I was (somewhat) surprised to find that he’d penned a children’s book. Its title was What is a Veteran, Anyway? And after some conversation, I asked him to appear in an interview for my podcast, The Writer’s Lens. When he agreed, we were able to dig deeper into the inspiration behind his book.

Turns out, Dr. Snyder had a vision for teaching young people about war veterans – a concept I found as intriguing as his rationale for doing it (and I’ll paraphrase): “When you think about a war veteran, you may visualize someone well into his or her’s later years. But, not all veterans are like that.”

In addition to that, Dr. Snyder hopes to educate others on what a family may experience when one’s parent is overseas. I can say I’ve never had that experience as neither of my parents served in the military. But, I have had the experience of family (my eldest brother) and friends / acquaintances being in active duty. The strain of these circumstances can be relationship-threatening both abroad and back on home soil. Dr. Snyder tackles these bigger concepts in picturesque form that isn’t too gritty and isn’t too “child-like” either. His work has earned him the distinction of being the 2017 winner of the Notable Social Studies Trade Book award for young people and a rather rigorous tour schedule (see his photos from recent events here). 

To see my full interview with Dr. Snyder, you can hop on to YouTube. Or, if you’d rather audio over my smiling face, you can find the audio-only version on iTunes or going here.

You can also find Dr. Snyder on Facebook and Instagram.

 

“…often their last book and their first book are different. They’ve changed.” – Darrick Dean, author of Among the Shadows

My freshman year of high school was a landmark in my life. I started the year with dyed blond hair. I ended it with brown. I started with no experience playing varsity sports. I ended it as our baseball team’s starting shortstop. I started with no braces and ended it with a consultation that would lead to braces (again).  Lastly, I started with no girlfriend…and wait, I ended without one too.

Okay, so it wasn’t a complete landmark experience. But, there was plenty happening that year.

My friends, and especially my family, noticed the changes I was going through the most. Especially when it came to my outward appearance. I shot up about five inches. It was a much-needed growth spurt. For the majority of guys in my eighth-grade class had apparently been taking horse pills during the summer break. So I needed to grow. And thanks to father time, I’d been given the chance to do so.

But, I’d also changed on the inside. I’d gotten more confident. I made decisions faster. I prioritized things. I even broke some rules that year. I stayed out later with friends. I took risks. And though it was uncomfortable at times, I was beginning to navigate who I was as a young adult.

Yet, I did my best to stay grounded. I liked doing things outside the norm. But, I didn’t want to lose who I was as a person. Yes, I wanted to become more independent; more

Writing is often seen as an outward expression of inner workings. The things that make us tick, boiling to the surface and out. How we feel about our world and what we think it ought to look like according to us. Ernest Hemmingway once said about writing, “All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” And there you have it – minus the blood.

When I interviewed Darrick Dean, a fellow author, he and I were discussing how writers cand change over time. How even the most seasoned scribes like Stephen King can sometimes change their habits. How writers can alter their styles and even deviate from their core content (see my first book vs. my last).

And though this can be true of the writing world, I don’t tend to stress about it. Style can change; much like a teenager in high school. The only thing I do want to concentrate on is my message; the themes I am engaging. The feelings I am leaving with my readers. This is something I want to have some consistency in. For I believe any great writer knows his words will outlast his lifetime. That he will be regarded (and remembered) by the messages he left behind.

In my case, I can look back and see how I’ve changed; some ways more drastically than others. Yet, I must be aware that this is all part of the process. Finding a voice. Owning it. And being cognizant of how to utilize it. Every writer ought to be aware of this; every good writer, that is.

Because even if you aren’t recognizing every little change in you, your readers most certainly are.