I remember the first time I heard term “the Artist’s Curse”. It was my son Mateo, who was in conversation with an other musician about the reality of having the need to create and share, above all else. This is what I know: writers write, painters paint, dancers dancers, poets ‘poet’, singers sing, musicians play, and Lyft driving preachers get to hear the stories of those who bear the curse, and share both their joy and pain.
The Choreographer: it was Monday afternoon and I thought why not turn on my Lyft app on my day off. I had given a ride to a person from my neighborhood, who works in the industrial area north of I-70. My next ping came from 40th and York Street, which I thought was an odd place to pick someone up. He was standing just on the other side of the airport train tracks, he hopped in my car and we headed to a hotel downtown. As we drove he said “I have to go back to the hotel and pick up my luggage which I forgot, and then head to the airport”. I told him I had the whole afternoon and it would be fine and that I would get him out to the airport on time to catch his flight. This provided well over an hour of conversation. He was in town interviewing for a job in the tech field. I asked him if he enjoyed that and he said “It’s OK, what I really love is choreography”. We ended up having a marvelous conversation about his passion for dance. I told him about my friend Jim, who teaches screen writing in LA, who gave these words of advice to my son Mateo, “People don’t fail out here, they just give up”. This opened up a 20 minute conversation about his plan for not giving up. Thanks, Jim.
The Musician: I picked him up this past Friday night in the Highlands and gave him a ride down to the Cherry Creek area. He told me his story of working an ok job for Amazon because, “I have a little boy that I adore who needs a home and everything that comes with it.” We were listening to classic vinyl on XM radio and he told me that he has over 2000 vinyl records. He began to tell me that he’s a musician who’s only in his early 30s but loves the music of the late 60s to 70s. His knowledge was remarkable and then the Eric Clapton and the Cream song “Sunshine of Your Love” came on. I turned the volume up to 30 for about five minutes.
I told him that song came out in 1967, the year I graduated from high school. We listened to the Ginger Baker drum riff in the middle and found it again an absolutely stunning performance. He also shared about the tension between his love of performing music as a guitarist, singer, and
percussionist. I shared the same story with him that I had with the choreographer artist – …..don’t fail, they just give up. We pulled up in front of the Cherry Cricket, he hopped out, looked at me and said, “no giving up”!
So now back to Jim, who is a 1971 Graduate of Phillips University (me too) and is the principle writer for — Netflix’s Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings, the streamer’s upcoming anthology series inspired by Parton’s music, TVLine has learned.
Onward and Upward, Mark
The eight-episode project will showcase “the stories, memories and
inspirations behind Parton’s most beloved songs,” with each hour-long
installment featuring a different cast and storyline. Jim followed his
own advice and “never gave up”.