Melvyn’s Clock … February 6, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Melvyn's CloskI would characterize an adventure as being a disaster that swerves to safety just short of crashing into the brick wall, where all occupants walk away, relieved.

Such was the decision on my part, to take three of my sons, my daughter-in-law, my partner, Janet and myself to Phoenix, Arizona, back in 2008, to make a movie called Melvyn’s Clock.

What can I tell you about Melvyn’s Clock? It was a screenplay I wrote: Hitchcock collides with M. Knight Shyamalan, who surprises Stephen King on a dark road to pitch Death of a Salesman, culminating with some “blades” from Saw. More easily explained, it was an exhilarating mystery.

What was equally as mysterious was the concept of renting a three-bedroom condo for the amazingly low price of $1000 a month, and sticking my adult children in an enclosed area with their former father, caretaker and disciplinarian.

I thought it was amazing.

What made it amazing was that we arrived in town not knowing anybody, needing to make connections using only our talent, art, amiability and generosity. At the end of two months, we not only had a movie, but also held a premiere in Tempe that was packed. And even though the gentleman who played the part of Melvyn–the old man who walked through his town each day, interacting with people–yes, even though our actor regularly explained to folks that he was not really old enough to play the part, because he was still young and virile–the results were quite dazzling. Press coverage, television interviews, and after the premiere, there were even a couple of parodies made and released on the Internet–one called Melvyn’s Mock and an X-rated version called Melvyn’s Cock. (You’re not really successful until somebody makes fun of you…)

So when I arrived back in Phoenix just a couple of days ago, I thought about that adventure. I wondered if the same connection could be made through creativity. Is it possible, in a society which has become more jaded, to arrive in a community and generate the kind of empathy and faith among people which causes magnificent things to be produced?

I don’t know. But I think to merely have the debate–to discourage oneself without trying–is even worse than failing at the attempt.

So I’m back in Phoenix, to see what spark can be made to light a fire of possibility. This time I don’t have Melvyn’s Clock; nor do I have my sons and daughter-in-law with me.

But I do believe if we start attempting what others insist is impossible, we will open the door once again to the idea that faith with works is very much alive.

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Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about scheduling SpiriTed in 2014.

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

Hurt, Heal, Praise … June 29, 2013

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dancersThe most difficult road to take to achieve humility is the highway of humiliation. Yet for some reason, it’s the most popular.

Many years ago, I wrote a musical called Mountain. Humbly I offer to you that the composition was really quite good. I had some friends in Columbus, Ohio, who let me use their studio very reasonably and we put together the music for the production. In the process of doing so, we stirred up a lot of interest in the community. So when it was announced that a two night premiere would be held,  tickets sold quickly and we realized we were going to have a hit.

Our job? To come up with a cast who could perform the piece and portray the material adequately. We selected our individual members but failed to consider that most of the young folk we had placed in the roles had grown up believing that dancing was “of the devil,” and the rest of them were just hellish dancers.

The musical required some choreography. Even though the music itself came off very well, and the acting was sufficient, the instructors we selected to teach our entourage how to do live stage movement were far too advanced and left our fledgling foot-flyers completely confounded.

So on opening night, the portion of the show that required choreography was an absolute disaster, leading one observer to refer to it as “collisionography.”

Unfortunately, the theater was nearly packed. I was embarrassed. I was humiliated. I was young, impetuous and unfortunately, too quick to want to give up.

But from somewhere down deep in the bottom of my socks, I found the faith to get up the next morning, realize we had another premiere to do, and instead of being angry or frustrated, took the cast and worked on simplifying the dance portion of the show.

We were all hurt.

Life is not a journey of avoiding hurt, but rather, a continual odyssey to be healed.

The only way my cast was going to be healed was by believing they could actually find something to do onstage that was within their grasp, and that they could have another opportunity to prove their ability.

The second night was fantastic–night and day difference. Unfortunately, the crowd had shrunk due to the bad reports about the faltering footwork. We didn’t care. We had been hurt the night before and it was time to heal. And heal we did.

Our confidence soared and we went out on a tour to twenty-five cities, getting better and better each night–because our healing turned into praise.

I will never forget that experience. It is a constant reminder that being hurt has absolutely zilch nobility or value unless you immediately set a process in motion to be healed. All healing is then confirmed by the presence of praise.

We have to learn this in our society:

  • Hurt people are determined to hurt. They don’t mean to–they just duplicate what’s inside themselves out to others.
  • Healed people seek healing.
  • And people of praise are always looking for reasons to praise.

So the next time you get in a  mood and think there’s nothing that’s any good anymore, take a moment and trace back in your life to find that unhealed hurt. You will be surprised at how much brighter the world looks when you have shed some light … on your own pain.

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

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 Jonathots, Jr.!

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Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about personal appearances or scheduling an event

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