jmax journal

here we go

2024 6 9

it's nice day today. a nice day, and nice day.

i have been doing quite a bit of work lately in a variety of ways. actual work at my job, work cleaning my house, work on home improvement projects, work on stage. today i will work in rehearsal and work as a bartender. i will work to write and prepare for writers room meetings. i will work to change and feed and clothe and play with my daughter.

2024 6 8

i saw i saw the tv glow two days ago. kind of obsessed. feels like this movie came out at only the exact precise right time i was meant to see it. i feel a strange sense of calm understanding about myself and my life. still mostly a disfigured non-euclidian geometric structure of knotted strands pulling and snaking in and out like so many fatelines squirming wriggling and writhing their way out of nonexistence. brain bad. but many moments of enormous gratitude for this i have.

it's funny that i almost always inevitably come back to the same yearning of "i want to make a movie." not just a movie, a real movie. a feature. a film distributed in movie theaters. a good movie. been that way since i was much younger. but it feels more possible now. i wrote a musical. i could write a movie. hard part would be the production. hard but not impossible. i still don't have the idea but i will get there. i have faith without expectation.

things will happen in time.

2024 6 2

i hate my self but i love my life

2024 5 31

I'm happy to leave in northeast ohio

2024 5 26

doing a table read for my musical today. i hope it goes well. it's embarassing to pour your full self into something and then show it to people. it's embarassing to expose your naked ego to people who might not understand, at least not in the way you want them to understand. it's embarassing to have written a musical in the first place. but what else am I gonna do here? might as well give it all of me while I still can.

anyway. it's in God's hands now. i guess it always has been. just gotta pray it goes well enough to get picked up and produced. and then next stop Broadway baby

2024 5 23

i tend to be at such a loss these days. adrift. unsure. spilling coffee on myself. i keep scrolling through instagram and twitter and facebook and feeling this strange sense of cold connection. there are times when i legitimately feel closer to friends because i interact with them online. but 90% of the time i feel distance and desire. it's very motivating but not very guiding. it inspires me but it does so by tearing me down. because what i really want is to be cool. to be seen and understood as cool. i think that's really what i want right now. but that want is so influenced by what i see on instagram. but im so afraid that if i leave, i will:

1. never be seen/understood

2. miss out on cool art

3. disconnect

it's stupid. the problem is if i leave instagram nothing will replace that sense of connection (even though the connection is based on ego flagellation).

this shouldn't matter to me as much as it does. peeling back the layers, i only get to be in one place at a time. and usually those places are good. i think i should let go. but i am so afraid.

i think about it a lot in terms of creativity. if i leave the internet, i will only have my own surroundings and real life with which to connect. so if i write a song or a play or make a short film or something, it will not be influenced by the cultural currency of our time. it will not be aware of the collective societal moment. it will not have all the backing of those who have worked much harder than me to build much greater things than me. how will it compete?

why does it need to compete? what's the point of creating anything? what do i actually want? everything. nothing.

maybe i should look inward instead of outward. there's more data in a blade of grass than there is in twenty minutes of instagram stories. maybe there's enough for me there. maybe in my own perception.

maybe I'll get back into imprinting nonsense onto the porrous void of flounder. it's a strange sort of connection here. so intimate but entirely detached. it's better than the algorithms though.

maybe I'll be back soon.

2024 3 14

i love my daughter so much

2024 2 14

Valentines day and ash Wednesday combo. major guilt day

im giving up the social media for lent so i will probably be spending more time on the flounder

struggle city population me

how many stars would there have to be in the sky for it to look like the stars were the sky and the spaces between them were black stars

disappointed to report that reading ulysses has influenced my writing 😔

thinking I should get back into the report of the week

2024 2 9

very strange to me that i dislike musical theater so much, and yet. i am writing a musical

2024 2 3

i miss ray romano

2024 2 2

my theory is that we're all stuck in time loops all the time. we just don't remember

to me, a flat fifth is synonymous with cinema

everything in life is diegetic

and everything is just part of some bigger thing

2024 1 31

writing a musical is easy. writing a good musical is hard

2024 1 27

i definitely do not deserve to exist but it's fine

2024 1 23

i'm fading away like marty mcfly. complete immolation of self. becoming nobody. also rewatching Nathan For You and it's really good. I kind of would like to nonexist and just rewatch television shows without having to be anything else. ego still getting in the way though

2024 1 22

i would rather hate myself and be great than love myself and be mid

2024 1 18

happy birthday alioop

2024 1 13

lately i have been realizing that watching movies i don't enjoy, or even movies that are bad, is not a waste of time at all. kind of good to watch movies that suck, or movies that are "good" but still suck. if you say "that's two hours of my life I'm never going to get back" about a movie, well guess what, the same is true for every two hours of your life that has ever existed. it's all gone, it's already been gone, and now you're here.

any experience is valuable even if it is not enjoyable or productive. and also it doesn't matter because it's gone now anyway

2023 12 30

lately i have been feeling immense shame. heaps and heaps of shame. so much embarrassment from any social interaction whatsoever. I am so stupid and so angry and simply so embarassing as a person that I just want to slam my own face into a wall. I am so self-conscious. and I care so much! it feels like it's been a lot more lately, though I'm not sure why. I keep thinking everyone I see is judging me. I don't want to be seen anymore. just wanna watch tv and eat stouffers lasagna and chocolate covered graham crackers and drink beer and milk and never leave the house again.

not sure how to deal with deserved shame. justified shame. like I feel like I am supposed to feel bad. it's right and correct for me to feel bad. but I don't like it :(

my friend has said that the opposite of shame is connection. maybe I'm feeling disconnected. I feel like there should be some magical combination of words or a song I could sing that would finally make people understand me to the degree that they love me full heartedly. that's too much to ask. I just want to share my anguish so I don't feel so alone in it.

really I can't complain because everything in my life is good, and all the relationships that matter are good, and I am loved and connected in many ways. idk. just feeling very embarrassed lately. hope it goes away soon.

2023 12 25

Merry Christmas

2023 10 30

not a great day for me ego-wise. i had kind of concluded that the only me that exists is the me in the present moment. that feels true because it's the only thing for which i have any evidence. but i don't think it's actually true. or at least it doesn't feel true at all. it feels like there is so much more than now. now feels insignificant. now doesn't feel like enough. as much as my actual experience may be entirely atemporal, i have to believe in the long view. the whole lifetime perspective. and as much as I think my actual experience can be divorced from my physical, mental, emotional "self" as it were, I have to be here for all of it. I have to be me for all of it. maybe there is truly physically no self, but I'm still me. gotta be me. kinda sucks sometimes. self-worth tied to actual worth. extrinsic worth is all there is. no self.

funny that I write more the worse I feel. I guess I need it more. to escape myself by expelling myself from myself. trying to be ego-less is quite a challenge. but it's all what I am given. nothing can be earned. success and failure are equally undeserved. you just get what you get. you do your best, and what happens happens. I think I can make myself believe that. it's like schrodingers cat. loser and winner. nothing but chance. everything is given.

the things I tell myself when I feel sadness and shame. it would be wonderful to be insensitive, but alas. I care. I care too much. shouldn't matter but it does. same old stuff. I'll be fine. for now I'm sad. I'll get over it. got other things going.

always good to have another project in the works to soften the blow of abject failure. next time will be different. next time will be better. maybe. hopefully

2023 9 19

today feels bad. it's difficult for me to understand why. i'm pretty sure it's because of work. and general lack of creative fulfillment. it's hard to have time for creative acts when i live with a baby. and i am sometimes responsible for the care of the baby.

george gershwin is dead. he died a long time ago. he wrote rhapsody in blue and now he's dead. he would have been dead either way. he could have died without having written rhapsody in blue. but he wrote rhapsody in blue, and then he died. rhapsody in blue is on spotify now. i can listen to it any time. i'm listening to it right now, in fact. he's dead, but i'm listening to it. he's not going to get .3 cents for it though. he's not going to know. maybe he knew once, but he doesn't know now. he doesn't know anything anymore. he's dead.

i have been trying to practice love without comparison. stupidly enough, this stems from a tweet about someone saying cleveland isn't the best city in ohio. at first i was defensive. because cleveland frickin RULES. it's the best. but then i thought about it a little more. yes, i love cleveland. cincinnatti is also cool too though, even though i can never spell it. and columbus seems pretty fine. and i know there are "real" cities like new york or los angeles or chicago or detroit or kyoto or dubai or dublin or paris or all those other places. and those places might be "better" than cleveland. but, really, they aren't better. they're just different. i can love cleveland without ranking it. without comparing it. without saying it's "better" than anything else. it's just exactly what it is. and i love it. i'm trying to apply that to my own life. my stupid house with mismatched hand-me-down furniture. my non-michelin-star favorite restaurants. my poor sense of fashion. all my weaknesses, really. i'm trying to love my life without comparing it to anyone else's. i'm not in japan and i don't have thousands of instagram followers and i'm not playing shows constantly and i don't have a fancy house and i'm not beloved by all. but i can love my life without thinking about what it's not. i just have to think about what it is. really, it's all there is for me. there's nothing else. this is it.


2023 9 11

went to church yesterday. been a while since I'd been. it alleviated some of my guilt. but now I have guilt about supporting the church. still good for me I think.

I may have been wrong about desire. it's kind of awful to want things. it would be better to be happy I think. I'm jealous of everyone who can play the piano. I wonder if my daughter will learn to play the piano. I wonder if she'll yearn how I yearn for meaning and love and joy. I wonder if she'll learn to speak French. I wonder if she'll have friends.

I feel like such a failure when I abandon ideas for projects. I also feel like a failure when I complete projects and release them. I feel like a failure when I don't work on any projects at all. I feel too ambitious. I feel lonely.

There's a kids book called Bug Hotel that we have on our bookshelf. reminds me of the person on here named bugleague. I really like their poetry and their name and their explanation for their name. I want to write good poetry. I want to have an impact.

A lot of my drive to create things has very little to do with the actual creation of things. I really want to take part in the creative process, but mostly, I want success. I would rather have success than creative fulfillment I think. it's the exact wrong mindset to have, and the worst possible way to live, but when I dig up what's buried in my honest parts that's what's there. I'd rather make something sucky that people like than make something great that people ignore. My own taste doesn't matter all that much. I just want extrinsic acclaim and esteem and adoration.

it's really funny that I haven't grown up at all. I thought I would outgrow all this, but ive been this way for years now. this is the core of my being. this desire for fame and fortune. maybe I should work on accepting the fact that I will never accept the fact that I will never be famous. that would be cool. every journal I've ever had just turns into "I want to be famous so baaadddd I want everyone to adore meeeeeee" and it feels so childish. it's always the next scheme that might go viral and make me feel good about myself. maybe I have turned the corner. maybe I will finally give into it. I don't know.

At least one new thing is that I have a new snappy catchphrase: faith without expectation. to believe wholeheartedly that one day my entire life will make sense and I will feel fulfilled and find meaning, without actually expecting it to happen at any point in time. without telling myself I need it now. just continuing forward with the certainty of meaning, without any evidence of that meaning. faith without expectation.

faith without expectation.

2023 9 7

the good thing about bad things is that they're actually good

2023 9 7 (real)

today was pretty good. pretty good day at school. the kids are all obsessed with candy but I think they seem engaged enough. always fun to see the weird websites they end up making. always happy to see them as people first and students second. spent way too much at target. I am helplessly addicted to junk food. it makes me happy. maybe happiness is the ultimate meaning in the universe. here's to feeling good all the time, as Kramer would say.

my job is so stupid. I love it. but I spent one hour making powerpoint slides with a snake falling asleep. all basically for naught. no one will ever really appreciate the effort I put into this stuff. but I hope that some part of their subconscious recognizes it in some way. I think it's worth it.

it is interesting that you *pay* attention and *spend* time. time is on a reverse direct deposit plan. gets taken from you automatically, constantly. attention still requires the physical check. gotta have some intentionality there. Attention demands its bounty. but it's easy to slip-n-slide through life without giving any attention to anything. and then you're down and that's it. to pay attention, faith, is to be present. life will pass, but will you have lived? not to say, will you have adventured or taken risks or done interesting things or lived to the fullest. will you have experienced your life with as much attention as you could have given it?

in dead pets society they say "seize the day" meaning go out and do something remarkable. make something of your life. but I think of it differently. I think it means, pay attention to the day. pay attention to every little bit. take it all in. live in it, whatever your life may be. even if you're just sitting on your couch watching reality TV and eating oreos and nutter butters and ice cream sandwiches and fudge rounds (which is exactly what I did today). your life is not any less valid. it deserves your attention. I try to tell this to myself.

the baby is sleeping. i hope she will have beautiful experiences. moreso than her father. but whatever, i hope she pays attention.

2023 9 6

hosting a game night. fun thing we did was ask people what tabs they had open on the web browser on their phone. could be a good getfor for an improv scene.

I like when I can see her breathing on the monitor. I do not like when she starts to wiggle and fuss. I like when she sleeps peacefully. I keep hearing things in the white noise. it sounds like people talking or singing from across an ocean. I don't know if it counts as auditory hallucination or not.

I like to have woken up early but I don't like waking up early.

2023 9 5

interesting that it's possible for labor day to fall on 9/5. that would be the perfect day to sing "9 to 5" by Dolly Parton

2023 9 3

they should make a building that's a piano. a big piano like from the movie Big, only bigger and rotated. only the black keys should make sound. and anyone should be able to play in some yet to be determined way. piano

2023 9 1

I haven't been posting anything of value. I haven't been creating anything, really. I wrote a blog post for work. It has yet to be published. I've been slogging my way through Ulysses, which feels like its own strange act of creation. Trying to connect with my dead dad who loved James Joyce and Carl Jung. Trying to remember him so I can share him with my daughter. Trying to alchemate some sort of acorporeal homunculus. I wonder what happens when we die. Better yet, I wonder what's happening now, when we're alive. "We" meaning me, in this moment, and you. We're both alive, at least now for me and now for you. Strange.

There is no antonym for the worst "exist" in the English language. No one verb that means "not be." I guess it makes sense, because it's not an action. It's the antithesis of action. It's specifically non-action. I still think there should be a word for it though. Made up words used to be such a big part of my life. I think they're going to be very important in the future.

My daughter is ten weeks, one day, four hours, and three minutes old right now (approximately). She's sleeping, but requires constant attention. If her binky falls out of her mouth she freaks out. She's not very good at holding onto it.

I'm going to work on concision with these posts. It's September now. The first September of my child's life. The only September of 2023. This is it.

2023 8 27

I think I'm going to start posting things i would have tweeted on tiktok. or I can just post things I already tweeted. who even cares. it'll be fine.

2023 8 26

i like how marge's hair on the simpsons is tall