Tuesday, September 21, 2010

how to make me smile.

i have many favorite things...

that make me smile
that make me feel good
that make me think,
that make me see beauty in a different way.

and i'd like to share a few of them with you.
pay it forward.


Ray LaMontagne.

if you already know his music,
i'm so glad!
if not, then i am so excited to be the first person to introduce him to you.
i discovered Ray's music back in 2004.
i had downloaded a live show of a female singer-songwriter 
that i really liked, and during a break in songs she reminded the audience
about how amazing the performer before her was.
and the way she talked about him made me search him out immediately.
at this point, he only had a demo and some of the songs were
out there on the interwebs, if you searched hard enough.
so i collected a cd of about 6 of his songs and very quickly
fell for his writing style, his raspy soft voice, his sadness...
his hope.

i found out that he had spent his young adult life working in a shoe factory
in Maine, 65 hour weeks, struggling to find peace in his life.
One morning in '99 he was woken up by the sound of the radio
instead of the normal high pitched alarm sound.
the voice that came out mesmerized him.
the words woke something inside of him.
he had never heard this kind of music.
it was steven stills 'tree top flyer'.
he quit his job, bought a guitar, and set his mind on
becoming a singer-sonwriter.
a few years later he put out a demo,
which i stumbled upon,
and then later put out his first album on RCA.
a couple weeks ago he put out his 4th album.

i strongly recommend you start with his work in order.
it's like meeting someone for the first time
and hearing where he started and where he is now,
is a beautiful journey.
he is such a talented, soulful writer and singer,
i am pleased to introduce you to Ray LaMontagne.

his first album was called Trouble.

go there first. 
and then feel thankful that there are three more!


 another favorite of mine is postSecret.com

In December 2003, Frank Warren took his first trip to Paris, France. 
That night he checked into a hotel in the Latin Quarter. 
While he slept he had an extraordinary dream that would change his life
and eventually lead him to the PostSecret project.

"My first day in Paris I had purchased three 
Antoine de Saint-Expery's "Little Prince" postcards from a small shop near my hotel. 
When I got to my hotel room and prepared for bed,
I placed the cards in the nightstand drawer and went to sleep. 
During the night, I had a lucid dream in which I was aware that I was in my own dream. 
I found myself in my hotel room. In my dream I opened my nightstand drawer,
and examined the three "Little Prince" postcards. 


"Each one had been altered with messages written on their backs. 
The first message read, 
"unrecognized evidence, from forgotten journeys, unknowingly rediscovered," 
the second message was about a
"reluctant oracle" postcard art project 
and the last message 
I could not understand at the time."

"When I awoke, I removed the actual postcards from the drawer 
and tried to recreate them 
so they would appear like the ones I had seen during my dream. 
What I did not know 
was that those three remade Little Prince postcards 
would be the first work of a trilogy of postcards that would consume my life 
and set me on an unimaginable journey."

 "In January 2004, I started the "reluctant oracle" project. 
Every Sunday, I created an released a new work to be discovered. 
They were discovered by people serendipitously. 
The story found local, national and international media coverage.

The last message from "reluctant oracle" bore the message, 
"You will find your answers in the secrets of strangers." 

The next Sunday the PostSecret began. 

Frank Warren randomly left and mailed 500 of these
out into the world.
and then waited.
and a few days later they started coming back.
with art work and collages and photos...
and secrets.
and then they started coming in faster and quicker.
and then postsecret.com started.

and every sunday Frank posts 10-20 secrets 
that loosely relate to a common theme.

my sunday morning are spent with a cup of coffee, 
the dogs, the Red Cat, 
and postSecret.com.

the postcards are inspirational to those who read them, 
have healing powers for those who write them, 
give hope to people who identify with a stranger's secret, 
and create an anonymous community of acceptance.

Since it's creation, PostSecret has given back to the community
with generous donations to Hopeline, a suicide hotline,
college events, and art installations. 
when art and life can intermingle so nicely and beautifuly
in the large haunted house of life,
it helps me hold out hope for humanity.


Brian Andreas.

she said she usually cried at least once
each day not because she was sad,
but because
the world was
so beautiful and
life was so short.

Brian Andreas set out to ask people to share stories
about their experience of being alive, 
using the Internet of the early 1990s.
Of this experiment, he wrote:
"Hall of Whispers takes its name from an ancient Babylonian myth of a specially constructed room in one of the ziggurats (stepped pyramids) where a whisper would stay alive forever. I have an image of the electronic networks whispering ceaselessly with the voices of our times.
In a turbulent world, it is easy to lose sight of the small beauties and
moments of grace
that occur constantly around us.
I wanted Hall of Whispers to give voice to that side of ourselves
that recognizes that this is
as much a time of renewal
as it is a time of decay.
Using the then-infantile Internet, Andreas ultimately gathered 
more than 4,000 stories from around the world.
Andreas went out into his backyard and pulled a board from the fence 
and began to play with the boards and place little stories and some color onto them. 
Soon, shaped as 'people,' they began to sell.
Of the results of the Hall of Whispers and the fence-board experiments, 
it was eventually written that 
"he discovered the StoryPeople waiting to be carved 
out of rough barn board, 
painted in bright colors, 
and hand-lettered with their individual stories."
He "gives voice to the vision of the child 
and the unsophisticated 
in books that listen to unnamed 'StoryPeople,' 
who express themselves through hand-stamped print, as if epigrammatically."

Of his work, Andreas says,
"I like art that admits to being a part of life. 
The moments I have with my friends and family are really all that I need. 
I like to take them and weave them into stories 
that are filled with laughter and music and lunacy. 
And they are mostly true, but I'm not telling which parts. . .
I have a real quirky view of the world."
I received my first Brian Andreas print in 1999 from a good friend.
I have since given them as gifts to many of the important people in my life.
There is a story out there for everyone..
usually many.
some humorous, 
some uplifting,
some profound.

readers, i'm pleased to introduce you to Brian Andreas.
i hope that you have found a new favorite in one or more
of mine.
i would love to hear any of your favorites you'd like to share.
leave a comment!



  1. this is my favorite place on the interwebs.

    and my brian andreas hangs in my bedroom.

    thanks, sj


  2. thanks pop!
    are my favorite.


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