"...our aim is not to control others but to be such masters of our mind and body that all we have to do is control our own mind and all of our negative emotions are banished. Anger, despondency, hatred, a lack of desire to do things are all replaced by mental strength and stability." Shifu Yan Lei
Oh my God, 2017 sucked for me. After mounting frustrations and bouts with depression, I decided to quit Munook, or at least treat it as a hobby, in Jan of 2017. I then spent the first 9 months of this year going to “culinary home school” in order to open a restaurant instead. Well, as fate would have it, the restaurant didn’t work either. Another story for another day. There is actually a blog post about it here.
Looking at the pile of ash around me that was my life, I had to really ask myself what it is that I want. I decided that life is short, unpredictable, & not to be wasted on pursuing things that only please others. I decided to turn my sights back to Munook.
Never in my life as an artist have I EVER pursued the world of major labels or any type of music opportunities within a corporate structure. It always seemed like “selling out to the man” or something that would bastardize my self expression. I’ve now decided that perhaps it could help. I cannot do all of this by myself anymore. So, I am now adamantly pursuing contacts and help within “the machine” that I’ve been avoiding my entire life. I’m also getting very close to finishing the new album.
It feels like I’m starting all over again. I don’t believe in coincidence. All of this needed to occur in this fashion. I needed the 9 month hiatus. I needed the pain. I needed the humility. I am more focused now and I am very excited about the future. I love you all very much, unless of course you are a blatant asshole. In that case, I’m sorry you are hurt inside but gtfo of my life until you can find some peace.
To quote Lao Tzu, “Beautiful words are not truthful & truthful words are not beautiful.” I hate to make another post like this but I caught wind of some very unfortunate news recently. I suppose I’ll preface the information by saying that Munook represents more than just me. Anytime someone helps or involves themselves in the forward movement of this project, they become a part of Munook. Unfortunately, the more people that integrate themselves into it, the harder it is for me to remember everybody. However, early on, when it was really hard for me to get people to consider my music, I DISTINCTLY recall who helped. The initial wave of people who reached out did so because they wanted to see it grow; their impact on me was immeasurable. One place in particular where that happened was the Florence/Muscle Shoals Area, & integral to that growth was Jason Flynn.
He was a professor at UNA & led kids on the path of film making. After being pointed in his direction by the Alabama Film Office, I sent an email asking for his help in creating visuals for my album. He responded w/ a phone call almost immediately. He was happy to talk to me, excited about the music, & eager to help. I was floored by how receptive he was. He went on to turn my album into a part of his curriculum for that semester by having his students create visual representations for each song. He kept me closely involved in the process & treated me with respect & honor. I’m still humbled. It’s so rare to find that in the creative industry, unfortunately. The videos can be seen here.
Jason personally took on the song “Breaching”, as it intrigued him the most & was the one video I actually had a “direction” for. It’s a song that deals with some personal experiences & I always hesitate to divulge details in fear of being ostracized. Surprisingly, he kindly listened to me, considered my words, & researched everything I sent him. I’m still baffled. He metaphorically went with me to Zeta Reticuli to try his best to understand the situation & song. The final product was viewed & approved by the John E. Mack Institute & published on their Facebook page. Within the realm of that subject matter, that was a big deal to me! The video is available for viewing below.
After the class finished the project, he put together a live showing of the films for his class & the campus & requested his students attend one of my concerts. I received press & connections immediately afterwards & still have fans in the area to this day. All of that from a guy who just wanted to help. To have that kind of support right off the bat from a stranger is tremendous! He became a part of Munook.
Tragically, he died on October 18th. He took his own life. I don’t know the details, but apparently he struggled with grief & depression. Jarring to say the least. Jason’s spirit will live on in my mind as a part of Munook. Through his kindness & supportive efforts, he gave me the confidence to push forward in the face of opposition, which is priceless in the creative world. If you are grieving, nothing I can say will help that. If you are contemplating suicide, know this; there are people who love & need you. A good friend of mine lost his mother to suicide. He once told me, “Don’t joke about it & don’t ever do it. It’s selfish & effects more people than just you.” I realize that these are all dismal topics but again, as Lao Tzu said, “Beautiful words are not truthful & truthful words are not beautiful.” Hang in there, friends. Live to see the silver lining. We all ride the waves of happy & sad, you’re not alone. Stay strong. To the rest of us successfully navigating these waves, give a listening ear & be kind. Everyone you meet is carrying a heavy load. R.I.P., Mr. Flyyn