Joshua Gordon

My photo
Guelph, Ontario, Canada
I live in Guelph - an artsy, tree hugging university town in Ontario. I work hard to be a creative and innovative influence in the places I find myself. Most of the time that looks like networking with other creatives, researching, or filling up my sketchbook / journal with ideas.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Learning from Others

I've been doing a ton of research on social media lately (work related), and I've come across some pretty wild stuff... nothing compares, however to first hand experience with a company that's doing something right - case in point: zamzar.com

zamzar.com is a file conversion website that I use all the time. However, for some reason, as I attempted (again and again and again) to convert a .flv file to .mov, zamzar dropped the ball. again and again and again. Finally - feeling very frustrated - i tweeted:

JHenryGordon (3:45 pm): anyone know a good .flv file converter? zamzar has been failing me all day.

what happened 15 minutes later really surprised me.

Zamzar (4:00 pm): @JHenryGordon What's wrong? Email us at support@zamzar.com

I didn't even know zamzar was on Twitter! They must have twitter-alerted themselves, the sneaky guys... Talk about brand management.

In honour of zamzar's on-the-ball-ness, I have compiled a Top 10 list (from this article)

Top 10 Uses for Twitter for Small Business Owners

  1. Ask people for their opinions - and listen to them.
  2. Show a human face
  3. Talk about why you do what you do
  4. Find guest bloggers for your blog
  5. Get our of your marketing shell and be yourself
  6. Tweet about products just arriving or hot food just out of the oven
  7. Livetweet events
  8. Pass on interesting links or posts
  9. Tweet when you do something cool
  10. Be excited about your week

Well, there you have it!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Rules for a Great Presentation

So, I've been spending a lot of time lately building presentations - typically for my boss. Now, I'm being called upon more and more lately to deliver those presentations to a wider audience... (I know, I know, 3 or 4 people isn't exactly a 'wide' audience - but it's a lot bigger than 1).

Nonetheless, this is great stuff:

Monday, March 22, 2010

Excuses, by The Morning Benders




I stumbled across this gem via Kate Miss. She's got scads of brilliant finds on her blog. I strongly recommend a peek over there.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Fridge Magnet Poetry

she is my vision
like mists over a lake, shining in the sun
like the still moment when music stops playing
or delicate rose petals on bare skin

her love is like the spring wind, driving a storm at sea
The spray blows and rain pounds the rocks.
I want to swim.

Monday, March 1, 2010

More pictures of the babe.



Piper's first snowman...

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Birthing the Create Network

I just got an email from someone who'd heard about the small group I'm facilitating (Create). Essentially, they want to run a similar group in their church, and are hoping I can help out with that.

This makes me so excited because firstly, I'm passionate about creativity - and playing a role in others learning to become more creative sparks something incredible inside me. Secondly, I'm a natural visionary, and I've always had a sweet vision of Create turning into an awesome network of small groups with a podcast and sweet website and conferences and art galas and workshops - somebody stop me, I'm starting to sweat!!

So yah. I'm pretty thrilled right now.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Update Time

Well, everyone, the drought is over. Like honest to goodness big drops of splashing rain. No, no, no, Josh hasn't started blogging regularly again.

:(

I wish.

Nope, it's far far better than that. Josh has a job! A for realsy I'm actually using some of what I studied and am very excited about it kind of job! Haha!! I want to dance around the apartment, and I think I shall.

I am now employed as a Research and Program Analyst. Pretty much it goes like this,
C.O.O.: "Hey Josh, I want to know about starting up a new program for (insert program x here)."
Josh: Sure boss.

Josh opens his MACBOOK PRO THAT WORK GOT ME!!! and begins to research. He then draws up a proposal and delivers a freaking awesome presentation.


So, the story goes that Josh randomly emailed the Chief Operating Officer and asked to meet with him. In the email, Josh regaled said COO with tales of his own comparative awesomeness. Said COO, after a second interview (and a very compelling 10 minute powerpoint presentation by Josh), decides to create a job for him.

That's right, readers. It's custom made, for me.

Dancing, Dancing, Dancing!

- Josh

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Create Guelph

Last night was the second Create Guelph meeting. In all honesty, I've been very nervous about how the group would go. I wondered how the nine different members would gel - especially considering the wide age range (10 yrs - 26 yrs). After the first two meetings, though, I'm getting more and more excited. People are really buying into this!

It's incredibly stimulating; I'd recommend being a part of a group like this to anyone.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

And then the rains came...

'kay, so remember the story in the Old testament when God said it wasn't going to rain, and all of the land was plunged into the driest of famines? And then the prophet of God prayed, and it rained? That's what it feels like right now for me.

When Sarah and I moved from Calgary, AB to Guelph, ON, we both believed that God was leading us.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Madonna and Child

video

That's my family. I love 'em.

- Josh

Genesis: In the beginning

So, recently, I've taken the volunteer position of Director of the Creative Department at Elora Road Christian Fellowship. Which is great. As are sentence fragments. However, the Creative Department did not exist until just a few weeks ago. I've been crazy busy starting to build a creative framework here at ERCF. It's very exhausting but incredibly exciting. I love it. I really really love it (that's for you, Larry). These are some of my thoughts:

In the beginning...

In the beginning... what a great way to start a story - our Story. In the beginning...

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. In the beginning, God unfolded an epic storyline of betrayal and restitution, sorrow and love, sacrifice and forgiveness. In the beginning, God initiated a compelling dance with humanity, an intimate and beautiful movement, a sweeping thrill of restoration. In the beginning, God made for Himself a Bride, perfect and without blemish, and held nothing back in His relentless pursuit of her. In the beginning.

That 'beginning' so long ago is central to our expression of faith. In it, we recognize our role in the unfolding Story; like our Father, we hold nothing back, using every resource at our disposal in order to fulfill our Commission. Genesis is the name of the Creative Department of ERCF. It is about creativity and innovation. It's about regular people creating the extra-ordinary. It is devoted to the telling of the Story.

Want to join it?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Creative Experiment #1: I Love Lamp


I consider myself a creative person, but in my creative circles I'm mostly known as the guy with lots of ideas or the guys who likes to write.. Historically, I typically left other areas of artistic expression to others (like Freek, Shawn, Liz, Jesse, Sara, etc...).

Well, I've decided to start branching out, just to try stuff. So, here's my first ever painting... it's called I Love Lamp.



I immediately apologize to other better painters (Freek). I didn't mean to step on your toes just now, but I'm trying to get the red paint out from under my fingernails and I didn't see where I was walking...

- Josh

Saturday, November 7, 2009

This one's for you, Shawn!

While trolling the internet one morning, Josh came across a new band called Pomplamoose. Intrigued by their DIY/'embrace the amateur' approach to music, he investigated further, and was hooked.

This one's for you, Shawn:


video

The streetlamp, the coliseum, and me

Friday, November 6, 2009

My Next Creative Project...

My next Creative Project is going to be a painting. I've built the frame and stretched the canvas already (inspired by good friend Freek and good friend Jesse of VDBFineart.com), and I plan on painting upon the canvas some derivitave of the following images from my notebook:


Sunday, November 1, 2009

My List of New Things

1. New Pad - Sarah and I moved into a 3 bdrm basement apartment. We helped the landlord install laminate flooring, and are looking forward to painting and being totally unpacked!!
2.New Church - well, this isn't totally true. We've been attending ERCF for a while, but especially now that we've moved closer, it is quickly becoming a place where we feel very welcomed and are excited to take the things we've learned at Oakpark and apply them!
3. New Job - I've been working at Starbucks for the last two months, and hugely enjoyed it. I absolutely thrived on interacting with so many different faces in a day - and , incidentally, discovered that I'm really good at selling overpriced pastries to people! On the whole, I did very well, and was up for a promotion. However, it's impossible to provide for your family on a Starbucks income. I've been rehired by a former employer - Duimering Concrete Forming, based in Guelph. I used to build foundations with DCF back in the day. I didn't really like it very much then, and I don't really love it now either. Or even like it. However, the pay boost has allowed us to move into our New Pad (see #1) which, for the meantime is worth it! I'm still rabidly searching for a replacement job.
4. New Hobby - At ERCF, I' ve been 'commissioned' to start a creative planning team. The pastor (my dad) has asked me to brainstorm ideas and implement an organizational structure that is sustainable. It's a fascinating challenge, and I love spending time setting up this framework!
5. TO BE CONTINUED...

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Reach

This is a project I did for an artists' discussion group that I facilitate. The weekly theme was 'Reach'. This little stop motion pic is what I came up with...


video

Yeah, the photo work could be better, but this was a quick job - and the point of the exercise was to be creative, not to be perfect!

I kind of like it...

- Josh

Exceptional Blogging

Well, the, um 6 weeks since my last post have been unbelievably busy. The only reason I'm able to post now is because I'm confined to my house. I'm unable to work or anything because I'm slogging through an attack of flu-like symptoms including fever, nausea, congestion. Can anyone say H1N1? The only reason I haven't gotten to the doctor is because apparently everyone else here in Guelph is suffering through exactly the same thing as me. How 'bout than, eh? I'm participating in a pandemic!! It's always cool to be part of something bigger than yourself, right?

Anyways, on to today's business: Another installment of Exceptional Blogging! It's short and sweet but for some reason, I really enjoy it. Coming straight from "Can You Hear the Sound of Laughter..." courtesy of ~M.

"i woke my parents up in the middle of the night to let them know that my lsat results had arrived, three days early.

and the news is so very, very good. like, hyperbolicly good.

i suspect they've forgiven me for the rude awakening."

Thanks, ~M!

Till next time!

- Josh

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

TAMLAT Soundtrack Contest

video

you like that, TAMLAT? The Account of My Life and Times?

Anyway, I recorded a quick video of myself journaling at (insert coffee shop name here). I can't think of a song that would go well with it.

Any suggestions?

- Josh

Friday, August 7, 2009

Exceptional Blogging

It seems that lately I'm all about starting up blog series. I'm doing another one. It's all about Exceptional Blogging. I often come across a blog post that I really resonate with/wish I wrote/just plain dig. Here is the first installment of EB, straight from Shawn:

An open letter to scrubs...
Dear Young Person sitting in the passenger seat of a moderately customized Honda Civic,

What's the matter with you? I'm just walking down the street after 14 hours at work on a Saturday allowing the anthemic melodrama of Angels and Airwaves to give me the little bit of energy I need to make it home. Why do you feel the need to stick your head out your window and yellat me? What makes you think that I care about your misguided musings upon my sexual preference? Where are you getting your information from anyways? It's not like I got all tarted up for the walk home. Plus, I'm wearing headphones, I can't actually hear you. You just sound like yelling. Let me cut to the chase here. I'm not that much older than you. I still know how to have fun, and I still appreciate some good ol' fashioned juvenile mischief. But what you are doing is not fun or good ol' fashioned juvenile mischief. It's annoying. Stop it.Please, in the future, keep your head in the car and your thoughts to yourself.

Nobody actually likes being startled and nobody cares what you think.

Sincerely,
Shawn


One of my favourite things about this post is its tone. Shawn's laidback candor is the perfect vehicle for expressing frustration that I can definitely identify with. One of my favourite types of humour is intelligent and witty and subtle. Shawn's got it nailed down here.

Great post, Shawn! You win a prize. Kate has it for you.

- Josh

Thursday, August 6, 2009

You watched THAT movie?! and LIKED it?!

I am inspired in this moment by a recent facebook post by my good friend Shawn. Hence, I begin a series of posts about movies I've seen and enjoyed, despite their possession of all the earmarks of lameness. Buckle thine seatbelts, gang.

The Movie:

Pathfinder - 2007, starring Karl Urban (of Star Trek and Lord of the Rings fame )

Here's what the critics had to say:

"Bombastic action rescues monotonous Pathfinder."
- Boston Globe

Both 'monotonous' and 'bombastic' in the same sentence! That's reason enought to watch, right?

"...a bizarre, bloody adventure movie..."
- Chicago Tribune

Who doesn't love bizarre and/or bloody andventure movies?

"...ridiculous..."
- New York Post

Yep. It was.

"All grunting, all goring, the witless action flick Pathfinder has little to recommend it..."
-New York Times

This one's my fave. 'grunting and goring' - brilliant. 'witless action flick'. Mmm, the words go down so smoothly!


That one's in the books. Please don't think less of me!

- Josh


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Dear BurlingtonGreen...

Dear BurlingtonGreen,

My name is Josh and I have a confession to make. I think I'm a fraud. I'm not completely sure, but I probably shouldn't be allowed to volunteer for an environmental community group such as yourself. I'm pretty sure I don't have what it takes, and when I get down to really thinking about it, I'm not even sure I want to.

Granted, when I first contemplated the whole “sustainability/environmentalism” movement a few years ago, I was fascinated – couldn't take my mind off it. Suddenly, everywhere I looked, I saw friends buying locally grown organic food, or boycotting certain clothing companies. Some people even went vegetarian. I watched from a distance with rapt attention. In the face of what were certainly sweeping life changes, I was horrified and inexplicably intrigued rolled together into one mess of confusing emotion. I couldn't look away; my captivation was eerily similar to the feeling you get at the 'bats' exhibit at your local museum or while watching PlanetEarth footage of a killer whale hunting seals.

The more I thought about it, though, the more impressed I became. My friends' devotion to 'living green' was both inspiring and contagious. I decided to give it a shot. My wife and I started buying from a local organic market, began to aggressively recycle, evangelize our other 'unbelieving' friends, and in a moment of heady fervour, I somehow concluded that I should try vegetarianism. That's where the downhill slide began.

I'm just going to be blunt about what happened next. I took on way too much way too soon. I hated not eating meat, and contemplating the onset of the summer barbecue season with the knowledge I could not participate ferociously eroded my resolve. Next, I started to hate not being allowed to buy coffee from Starbucks. I resented not being allowed to buy clothes that I liked because of where they came from. I hated having to pay almost double the price for locally grown food. I hated being 'green' because to me, being green meant depriving myself of stuff I liked – or paying hand over fist for its 'green' equivalent.

I'm acknowledge that this isn't exactly something you brag about, but today now that the smoke's cleared, I've only got a fraction of the motivation that I once had. That's my confession. I've lost my edge.

I wish I didn't struggle like this, I wish I the fortitude to stick with the 'sustainable' lifestyle. I wish I was doing my part. Instead, here I am, back at what feels like square one.

I'm sorry, BurlingtonGreen, but I can only take on one small lifechange at a time. Past experience dictates that I re-learn what it means to live an environmentally responsible life. I'm back in the proverbial saddle, it's true, but it's one baby step at a time for me. I'll probably never become an 'environmental warrior-machine' but please know I truly want to do my part to leave a better world for my kids. Just be patient with me.

Oh, and thanks. Thanks for walking me through this.

Sincerely,

Josh Gordon

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Shoot Yourself in the Foot Day.

All right. I've decided that today is hot-button topic day, also known as Shoot Yourself in the Foot Day. For your information, SYITF day is whenever I decide it is and there may or may not be recurring SYITF days to follow.

I'm not totally sure of where I stand on homosexuality. As a Christian, I know that many of my fellow believers state that the Bible is extremely clear on this issue, and I understand where they are coming from. There are numerous verses that do speak with great clarity to this issue. However, I am also aware that during the American Civil War, many Christians also said that the Bible clearly condoned human slavery. Scripture can be twisted and misunderstood, especially because of fear. I'm not so quick to jump on the Christian 'condemnation bandwagon'.

That being said, I earnestly desire to follow God with both my life and my belief system. I also firmly believe in applying the full strength of my mental capability to the issues that I encounter. So:

Thought #1
Gary Thomas wrote a fantastic book called Sacred Marriage. The central tenet of his work is that God intended for marriage to make us more holy, not more happy. Marriage's purpose is first and foremost to make us more Christlike. Through our spouse, God reveals to us the areas of our lives that need to change. As we learn to love, to live with anothers best interests placed ahead of our own, we grow.

Though #2
A while ago, I saw part of an Oprah episode. It was an accident, I promise. Anyway, Oprah was interviewing a woman who'd been straight her entire life. She went through a divorce in her early 40's, and in the wake of her disillusionment, decided to experiment with a same-sex relationship. I watched as she told Oprah how incredible it was to be with another woman. She talked of the intuitive understanding she had for for her partner. She glowingly described the intimacy they shared that grew intrinsically from their shared womanhood. She said she knew she was born a lesbian because none of her straight relationships were ever this easy. A thought suddenly flashed into my mind: Of course same-sex relationships are easy. They're both women, and they automatically understand one another in ways that a man never could. I was, quite honestly, extremely surprised by that thought. Immediately on its heels, though, came another.

Thought #3
I wonder if the potential for spiritual and personal growth in same-sex relationships gets short circuited. In my experience with my wife, I've had to learn to completely overhaul my thinking process. Sexuality is a perfect example. I am definitely visually oriented. Sarah definitely is not - if she was, she probably wouldn't have married me. I am definitely not emotionally oriented. Sarah definitely is. In our sex life, I try to the best of my ability to meet Sarah's emotional needs. She in turn, works to adjust to me. Through this conflict-readjustment process, Sarah and I sacrifice our natural way of thinking - our default settings, if you will - in order to more fully love each other.

Wrap Up
Because I love Sarah, I force myself to learn and do things that don't come naturally to me - so I can fulfill Sarah's unique needs as a woman . Because Sarah loves me, she also works hard to change her mindset in order to complement me as a man. I believe that because of this re-orientation I've become a better husband, and I am more like Christ.I suggest that healthy male-female relationships inspire spiritual and personal growth that is unmatched.

There, I've just shot myself in the foot.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Track 3

This track had a noticeably darker tint to it - all nightmares and bloodshot eyes and loneliness and staining fear. I loved the minor-esque tone to the verses; it set up the smooth quasi-resolution that the bridgy/chorus thing brought. The song feels like someone running scared through a tunnel and suddenly bursting upon a quiet reassuring circle of light round a lamp post.

I think one of my favourite moments in this song is 'woven dreams unmade/ promise me you'll stay til morning breaks.' I immediately imagine the relief of a comforting presence in the midst of a difficult night. I think the powerful thing about this song is that someone is ushering you through the dark nightmares, facing the terror alongside you. For me, that message is stronger and more potent than, say, being completely 'delivered' from the struggle.

maybe my interpretation is too dramatic and campy... whatever, the song is brilliant.


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Times of Sadness

As reported in the Guelph Mercury, a 14 year old girl was killed today in a freak accident

Isabel Warren

As reported in the Guelph Mercury, Isabel Warren, a 14 year old girl, was killed today. While using the washroom at a baseball field during gym class, one of the walls crumbled, collapsing on her. She was rushed to hospital where she died.

Isabel was an accomplished diver and had a truly beautiful spirit. I can say this because my in-laws and I had the pleasure having dinner with her a few weeks ago. After the evening concluded, we all remarked to one another the gentle spirit and genuine friendship that she exuded. Though I only knew her for an hour at most, Isabel left a distinct impression on me.

Death has always unnerved humanity, especially when it takes the young and promising. At times like this, my spirit is quiet. I wonder why I feel so vacant inside. At times like this, trite Hallmark comments like "she's in a better place' fall empty and hollow , the words crumbling to dust at my feet.

When life is long and good, then death is a reward, a doorway to heaven. But when the life snuffed out was barely 15 years long, death is a harsh taunt, a cruel cheat, a dark commentary on the fragility of our existence.

I really liked you a lot, Isabel.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Piper Sarah Grace Gordon


Hey people... So, some big news: I'm officially a Dad!

As of 2:36 pm on June 8th, I am a father. My daughter was born weighing in at 7 lbs, 12 oz. She is named Piper Sarah Grace Gordon. Sarah and I could not be more proud!!! Here are a couple of pictures.








Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Piper Sarah Grace Gordon

Here, long lost blogger friends, is a news-report for y'all.


My daughter (holy cow!) hours after her birth. Her name is Piper Sarah Grace Gordon, and she is absolutely awesome. For you baby nerds out there, Piper was born at 2:46 pm on June 8th, 2009. Her birth weight was 7 lbs, 12 oz (3.5somethingsomething kg). She's 21 inches long, and has a fantastic sucking reflex - not my words. Piper was delivered with the expert aid of the fine fine women at Hamilton Midwives: Shirin and Shannon, you are both really really good people to have in a delivery room.


Yes, Josh DID cry when he first heard Piper first wailing at the heavens. And Josh DID watch the entire thing. I'm very proud of me.






Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Track 2

I LOVE your description of the new day dawning: crimson swarming midnight sky... love it! You've deftly captured one of creation's most fantastic displays of grandeur: 'I dare you not to smile wide'. This song has a special presence... it's a call to worship. You have very clearly shown beauty: 'you say you try to live where you treasure lies, but where have you been' is an arresting jolt of a question. this song is very spiritual - but it didn't seem that way to me at first. in some ways, this is the hardest hitting song on the demo. 'with your eyes half closed you stumble round on holy ground'. again, it didn't hit me until i'd listened to it a few times; its like a wake up call: "you think you've got it, people, but you're missing the point!" kind of like that. :)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Track 1

track 1 - 'adrianna'

everyone has woken from a dream and been haunted by its memory. not many people though, have the ability to capture that experience as exquisitely as you have. i can see adrianna clearly in my mind, a beautiful young girl in desperate need of understanding. i especially appreciate how you've re created the longing to reach into adrianna's life to be the one to hold her. we weep because we can't.

i could say this for every song you've written: intensely lyrical and highly emotional.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Welcome to the fold, JerryBerry

Well, team, I'd love for you all to read something I ripped from the BRAND NEW blog of a great friend of mine. His name is JerryBerry, and he has the lyrical skills of a bard. JerryBerry, I salute you and I welcome you to the blogosphere.

Everyone go look at his blog - but first, a pleasant diversion, courtesy of JerryBerry:

The Sea Lion's Mane

The sea lions mane puts all others to shame,
Licking his chest like a hot yellow flame,
It blows throught the wind in a furious rage,
Smelling of spices, a rich scented sage.

Genius, I tell you!! Read the rest of it HERE.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Though stressful and sodden with worry...

Well, Sar and I have been living in Ontario for 9 nine days now, and it feels like we're beginning to get over the exhaustion accrued during the last month. However, being on the other side of a cross-country move carries with it an entirely new host of hurdles. As could be imagined, we're facing some pretty significant decisions over here.

The most pressing issues facing us at this time are work (for Josh), a baby coming in 3-4 weeks, and figuring out living arrangements. Needless to say, there's a little bit of anxious in the air right now.

I had an awesome chat with my Dad about all this stuff and throughout the course of our conversation I was brought back to a central truth that for some reason hasn't been so central in my thought processes. I've re-realized how important faith is. What or how I feel don't ever change that fact that God knows exactly where I'm going to work. He knows exactly where I'm going to live, He knows exactly how the baby stuff is going to pan out, and (to quote a letter I wrote to my wife), He knows exactly how the hell we're going to pay for it all.

Though stressful and sodden with worry, this part of our life is a blessing. We are being put through a testing period. The quality and strength of our faith and marriage is being increased. It's painful and hurts like the dickens for sure, but Sarah and I are beginning to understand that it's in such cramped times that we are purified.



Haha, I said 'dickens'!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Reviewing Hammers

I have always loved hammers and today I will prove to the world the extent of my passion.

Hammers have been around for eons,

Monday, April 27, 2009

Diaries of an Alpha Male: Vol 1

To the untrained civilian eye, a cursory examination of me would turn up the expected biographical information: Joshua Gordon, 24 years old, married with his first baby on the way, family oriented man, x# of pounds, etc, etc... However, a much more perceptive eye could see the intensity and turbulent strength simmering below the mild yet engaging personality. On the outside, I could be a face in the crowd, as nameless as the next nine to fiver. Inside, however, lurks a tiger: pulsing bands of feline power.

I was selected at birth to perform. Factors outside my control have corralled my potential, sculpting destiny itself towards a goal. Today, my life's course follows the contours of Purpose. Since my first tottering steps, I've have been crafted into a perfect machine. I exist to fulfill a role as grandiose as any ever offered to a member of humanity. I am Joshua Gordon. I am twenty four years old and I am an older brother.

The Gordon Clan consists of figurehead-Dad and figurehead-Mom, older sister Liz, Me, six more boys, and finally, youngest sister Christel. That's nine kids, eleven Gordons total. (no twins or triplets... yes, they're all from the same marriage.)I've known for as long as I've been able to know anything that my role as the oldest boy is fraught with steep responsibility.

As a result, I acquired the merceneric mindset and cutthroat instincts of a predator early on in my childhood. My role as the oldest brother required – nay – demanded this of me. As brothers, we lived with an unspoken and unwritten code: outside the safety of home, we were a team, a tight-knit fraternity. We stamped our fraternal legacy with bruises upon unwitting would-be assailants.

As the oldest, it fell to me to serve as leader, a position I undertook with a sense of gravity and gritty determination. Not surprisingly, I felt the full weight of the Gordon brother's silent code. Thus, in order to best carry the mantel of protector and mentor to my siblings, I worked tirelessly to develop my skill.

At my peak, honed to a razor's edge, I bristled with finely tuned senses and blazing reflexes. However, the adage “you lose what you don't use” hung heavy in my mind and out of necessity, I turned to my brethren for practice... which leads us to the second half of our unwritten rule: inside the house, it's every brother for himself.

The battles that raged through the shared bedrooms, two bathrooms, and into the kitchen saw us exercise a relentlessly innovative guerrilla style warfare. We became masters of drawing from our environment; we built arsenals of wooden spoons, couch cushions, and mom's weighty feather pillows. We realized that creativity and the continuing evolution of battle stratagem was crucial to take the others by surprise and ultimately seal our own victory.

This renegade willingness to think and visualize outside of the confines of normal thought lent us the ability to discern a multitude of purposes for any household item. A can of air-freshener, for example, while a useful for masking bathroom smells, also served as rudimentary pepper spray. A handful of Lego scattered on the carpet while in full flight was debilitating to anyone in pursuit, eliciting howls of pain and delaying the chaser for two seconds at least. Socks could become especially effective weapons with minimal effort: roll the left one into a tight ball, dampen it under a bathroom faucet, and stuff to the bottom of the right sock.. The resultant club worked as an incredibly capable medium range weapon, especially when wielded in the confines of a hallway chase.

Naturally, throughout all of our battles, I was the perennial champion. I utilized an intense strategic regimen that revolved around an intimate knowledge of the landscape of our home. I immersed myself in the natural flow of traffic; I memorized the placement of couches and chairs; I understood the sock-to-slipperiness ratio of the kitchen linoleum (an invaluable asset);I knew all the sight-lines. And, I had a secret weapon. If ever I sensed the landscape of power shifting away from me, it took no time and only a little luck to pull out the big guns, my greatest and most potent skill: the ability to charm Mom and Dad.

Most of the time, our battles existed apart from either parent's influence, but with some imagination and significant emotional investment on my part, it was not at all atypical for an offender to be relegated to his bedroom for at least a ten minute time out. While this tactic did by its very nature bring with it levels of resentment from the other boys, it was effective. It bears mentioning that my record (and crowning glory) would undoubtedly be the forty-five minute grounding administered to younger brother Nathan for the shampoo-grenade incident.

All in all, I remain fully convinced that my lengthy dominance of my brethren is largely due to a two-pronged approach: my physical and intellectual/mental strength of presence in my family. It was exactly this multi-faceted plan of attack brought to bear in the perpetual in-house struggle that cemented my position as the Protector, the Mentor, and ultimately, the Don of the Gordon Brethren.

Time has passed, however, and I have moved out of the house and now have a family of my own. I live quietly , incognito, drawing as little attention to myself and my abilities as possible. I move through life, silent and watchful, the lurking tiger within always alert. My days as a renegade guerrilla warrior are over, but The General has come home.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

regarding hidden meaning

n the last 6 months, there are a few pieces of writing that i am especially proud of. Now, when i composed this, i felt as though i was on a lark (to borrow a colloquialism of yesteryear), spinning a yarn from thin air (i just did it again - the colloquialism thing). I wanted to write something that took the reader by surprise. I envisioned a poem that created some pretty clear imagery before completely re-adjusting itself. I feel as though that goal was accomplished to a certain extent.

however, i didn't at all expect to write something that was as revealing of its author as this one is. my friend Shawn once said that often, we're the last ones to see what our art says about us. and i think i agree. this poem leaves me reeling in some ways. what started out as a cool image of a dark forbidding castle has turned into an intense (and intimidating) look at what's happening in my own soul.

is it okay to be a little bit nervous about showing people this? 'cause i am.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

a vision of my future

Dear Readers,

I am a budding writer in the thick of both developing my voice and searching out my purpose in this craft. I'm encountering some very heavy questions, not the least of these to do with finding success in today's 'writing climate'.

I am both daunted by and skeptical of the prospect of getting involved with the writing industry as it exists today: the publishing industry's landscape has been completely re-sculpted. Within publishing, sales and manuscript acquisitions are down. Magazine and newspaper subscriptions are at an all time low, and online bookstores are virtually gutting conventional booksellers' business. In addition, the recent onset of a global recession has further crippled the industry, which now finds itself hobbling into an increasingly dismal scenario.

Writers such as myself are on the 'hinge-point' of a culture. We face the challenge of aspiring to make a living through an industry that seems to be on its last legs. Our desired profession must, on pain of non-existence, adapt to not only the viral nature of the internet, but also to faltering book sales and the displacement of reading as entertainment. My generation must be relentlessly creative in the face of mounting odds: we must innovate to save our future.

But I am only one person. I have ideas and passions, but one man is not a movement. My world is aching for hopeful discussion, for a new take on this messy realism. I am hungry for partners and compatriots to wrestle through all of this with me.

  1. How can new writers get their work into the hands of the public – and support themselves at the same time?

  2. Is it feasible for writers to collaborate with artists and sell a joint product (ie: book with a soundtrack CD in the jacket, or a series of paintings accompanied by short stories, etc...)?

  3. How can writers maximize the potential of natural 'gathering places' like coffee-shops or pubs?

  4. What, if anything, is wrong with with the current structure of the publishing industry?

  5. What's more important for a writer: getting one's name 'out there' or signing a book deal?


Well, that's the tip of the iceberg. I hope this is something you're able to dialogue with me about.

Sincerely,

- Josh


Saturday, April 4, 2009

yah, we're moving, so...

hey friends!

um, just so y'all are aware, my wife and i are moving in 3 weeks or so, so i probably won't be all that active for the next month...

if you have questions, feel free to email me at: josh.gordon1985@gmail.com.

thanks!

- josh

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Dear OakPark

Dear OakPark,

It's Josh Gordon here. I wanted to let you know that this April is our first anniversary - marking a whole 12 months of fantastic time spent together!! It's true. Since first stumbling across this church (via Worship Pastor Shawn) one year ago, Sarah and I have been completely smitten with y'all. You are beautiful, you smashing-group-of-people you.

That's why it's crushing to face the reality of leaving. As a lot of you people out the OakPark universe are finding out, Sarah and I are moving to Ontario in the first week of May. This decision for us is tinted with regret - and broad strokes of exitement. You see, the primary impetus for this decision is the impending birth of our first child (due June 10th). Our families live in Ontario, and we believe that it's best for us to be closer to them during this next stage of our lives. We're thrilled to be able to interact with both sides of our families - but we're crushed to leave.

And so, in honour of our time together, I've decided to celebrate our first anniversary with a look back over the last 52 Sundays. I've compiled a 'top ten list' of things that I personally have come to love about this church family. It's a shame to have to condense the long list down to ten, but somehow 'Josh's Top 432' doesn't have quite the same ring to it...

Anyways, y'all, here it goes:

Josh's Favourite Things about Oak Park Church of Christ
  1. CREATE (my small group)
  2. playing bass for worship band
  3. 'Art in the Park'
  4. gettting lost in post-church conversation
  5. the awesome intro-video for 'sermon on the mount' series
  6. shawn's blog
  7. www.mypark.ca
  8. Frake's worship paintings
  9. the sunday coffee :)
  10. the colour of the new stucco
While this is by no means an exhaustive list, it does highlight a few of the things that have come to mean a lot to me this past year. OakPark, you're so amazing. You are beautiful, and have so much to look forward to.

Our romance was far too brief; please believe me when I say that it's not you, it's me.

Sincerely,

Josh Gordon


Friday, March 20, 2009

it's about my wife...

I just want everyone to know what a fascinating and beautiful wife I
have. sarah, i'm in love with you!

for sarah

sarah, my muse, my dove and my breath

without thine sweet friendship

i'd languish near death.

if you had said "NO!" when i asked for thine hand

a sadder fellow than me

you'd not find in this land

oh yes, indeed! perish the thought!

that a lonely and unfinished life

was my lot!

but thou savest mine days with a sweet lovely "YES!"

(after both mom and dad

our intentions did bless)

and then at long last, we set us a date:

june twenty third:

"forever best mates"

and then at the hip our two lives were joined

voila! encroyable!

sweet romance! (oing oing)

and still (to this minute) truest lovers we are:

our matrimonial bliss

raises the bar

in september oh-eight God said, 'hey, maybe

it'd be super swell

to give 'em a baby!

and now, sarah sweetie, it's clear that thine womb

is our baby gordon's

very first room!

so for rich or for poor, for joy or for fuss

a cute little munchkin

you're building for us!


ooh, boy, do i love her...


- josh

--
http://thelifeandtimesofjoshua.blogspot.com

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

baby update!


so, those of you who/whom(?) aren't yet aware will find out (via this post) that my wife and i are neck deep into our first pregnancy. (okay, actually picturing that image is kind of gross. ewww) aanyways, we had an ultrasound today and i've got pictures!! our kid is awesome. i can already tell. 

yes, we did find out the probable gender of the child... if you want to know, you can email me. or  comment on this blog and leave your email address. or whatever. so, it also appears that sarah's low lying placenta  is no longer low lying! hooray!!! if you want to know why i am especially happy about that, comment. or email. 

during the ultrasound, our child yawned alot of  times. like four times. apparently that's a lot  (according to Robyn, our super nice ultrasound techie).innat great? i think so... 

usually, the question people ask at this point is "have you guys thought about names?" i typically respond by saying that we have a name picked out already. now, oddly enough, lately a few of the 'dark horse' names have been performing really well. in fact, i'm almost inclined to think our predetermined selection may be challenged. 


we'll see...


Saturday, March 14, 2009

dammit, another reason to stop trying...

i found this somewhat disheartening interview with robert elwood burns, a published author with a varied (and impressive) career involving the american peace corps, working as an economic consultant for the world bank, advising several developing nations on transportation strategy, and work as an insider in the publishing industry. here, he comments on the process of getting a fiction manuscript published:


"In 2004 it is estimated that 195,000 books were published. That is the good news. The bad news is that the vast bulk of these were non-fiction. Of the fiction that is published only a handful of best-sellers turn a profit and provide a living for the writer. The rest sell only a few thousand copies and lose money. This increasingly winner-take-all phenomenon is reflected in the evolution of the industry: In 1980 there were seventy-nine publishers in Manhattan. Twenty years later there were five, of which three were owned by giant media corporations. The survivors are bottom line operations that view the novel as a commodity – not a work of art. They have cut their costs by outsourcing editorial services to freelance editors here and in India, thereby avoiding the health care and pension costs of permanent staff. Limited marketing resources have been placed on a few likely winners. They have stopped reviewing unsolicited proposals and depend on freelance agents to screen them. Every aspiring author has to find an agent first. Agents, in turn, hire new graduates (or undergraduates) at minimum wages to screen proposals. Turnover is high, and overflowing in trays can be emptied by placing a preprinted rejection note in the self-addressed stamped envelope the writer has to provide -- not unlike the Chinese policy of charging the family of an executed enemy of the state for the bullet that ends his life."

if ever there was a need for creativity and innovation to break into a potential field of work, this is it... but heck, i'm creative and innovative, right?

right?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

i find inspiration...

... in the pages of "World Changing: a user's guide to the 21st century".

a lot of people are surprised by my growing fascination with and investment into the burgeoning 'green culture' that is slowly taking root across the globe. i'd say that purchasing the aforementioned book (on sale for 12.99 through Pages in Kensington) was one of the decisions that started me on a journey that has seen me go vegetarian, switch to buying organically, and research the companies i buy from to make sure they're ethical in their business practices.

who knew this could happen to josh gordon? not me, that's for damn sure.

anyways, this 600 page compilation of essays, articles, and innumerable resources (lists of books, mags, websites, etc...) is not only great reading, but it's also absolutely packed with hopeful insights into creating a sustainable world. i love it. i've actually read right through front to back (which astonishes me), and through each of the 9 sections i found myself engaged critically, creatively, and intellectually. here's a quick paragraph I found particularly compelling int the "stuff: future of food" section:

"In the past half century, farming has, for the most part, been transformed from the sort of family enterprise depicted in children's books into full blown industrial resource extraction. Preserving the world's soils and the biological diversity of the crops is key to maintaining healthy global ecosystems, curbing poverty, and ensuring a peaceful future for billions of people. Possible solutions abound. Instead of turning the soil every year, we can grow perennial plants that need no tilling. Instead of growing square miles of one kind of corn, we can assemble a whole community of crops based on native plants that can support each other. In other words, we can build a farm the way nature would."

for some reason, after reading that i get all excited - and i'm not a farming kind of guy!

I think that what makes me excited is being a part of actually changing something. being a small piece of a larger 'movement' is immensely satisfying. as my life changes, my world changes - and that is making all the difference.

- josh

Saturday, February 28, 2009

plays well with others...

i've just recently begun yet another project: this time with a friend of mine who's been wanting to write a musical. though musicals aren't exactly the thing that i wake up to do every morning, i decided to work on the script. i figure that i want to be a better writer and my friend wants to become a better songwriter, so it makes sense all around. now, as fun as it feels right now to start this, i'm also beginning to feel some, erm... trepidation.

now,i get very excited when working with other like minded artists: when someone else is as excited as i am, the ideas flow thick and fast. I'm also a verbal thinker, so i get the coolest thoughts when i'm in discussion with others.

all that being said, it's also the most draining to spend time with someone who isn't on the same page - someone who isn't thinking along the same lines as i am. it seems that working with others is not only the thing that is the most thrilling but also the most difficult and full of drudgery.

plays well with others? i'd like to think i do, but i'm still figuring it out...

Friday, February 27, 2009

fiction: in my last, long corridor

"shut up! shut up! shut the hell up!" there was no other way. i knew it - and i'm damn sure he knew it. "i don't care! shut up!" this whole world - my whole world - was in a long and painful tail spin. this would make it go away. "shut up! this has to happen!"

even at this very second, as i look out over a sparkling nightscape, as the neon lights of nightlife glare coldly, he won't give in. "shut up! shut up! you gave up control a long time ago. i'm making this decision!" i can't even believe this! it's almost hilarious! i can feel the wind on my cheeks, in my hair, and he won't shut up! i can see the rippling reflections in the bay and the moon shines over head, my own personal guard, my escort down this last long corridor, and he! ugh!

"this is right! shut up and listen! you know this is right!"i knew it was right. he pretty damn well knew it too. i can see cars streaming on the highway below me, red and yellow lights streaking; i feel the cold steel cables at my back and he won't shut up! even as this girder shakes because of the behemoth semis roaring overhead, he will not be quiet. "leave me alone! it's my decision! it's the only way! this is all that is left for me to do! please, just let me finish this in peace!"

he. will. not. shut. up!

i raise my voice and scream into the traffic and wind: "shut up and leave me alone! let me die on my own terms! this is me right now!" anger burns inside against him. he put me here. he put me in this place. he got me here! he left me no choice!

i'm out of breath and i suddenly realize that i'm crying: tears flow down my face. "please... just... go away." turmoil churns inside now, and despite my thin shirt i hardly notice the cold of the girders or feel the hard edged rivets through my aging tennis shoes. "this isn't my fault. this is your fault. i'm doing you a favour." the words bounce around under the overpass, ricocheting from girder to girder while midnight traffic rushes beneath me. "you know i'm right..." despair chokes me, a hard lumping ache of it at the back of my throat.

no! the only thing that can keep the despair at bay is anger, and it comes again, a full rushing tide of it. "you did this! i hate you!! i hate you! i hate the decisions you made, i hate the lies you told and i hate hate hate - you!!!" my throat burns. it's ragged from screaming in this cold, but i don't care because it serves him right. he deserves this. he deserves every ounce of this misery.


Thursday, February 26, 2009

In the Hall of Stone

In the Hall of Stone and chiseled rock

Ghostly spirits stir the air

Haunting whispers, bitter words

Forget! Abandon! Forsake! Despair!


In the Hall of Stone and twisted plots

A cunning tyrant rules and schemes

Dark eyes, red rimmed with greed and lust

Dark heart consumed by darker dreams


In the Hall of Stone and stinking rot

Legends weep and heroes die

Deeds gather rust as chains corrode

And names fade thin in dungeon night


In the Hall of Stone where I am lost

I curse my shackled legs and wrists

Then steel dissolves in inky rain

And a pen rewrites deliverance


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

when life is quiet, i don't like it because the only sounds are the ones that i make.
talking to your echo is only fun for so long.
i wish i had that job.
i wish i had that skill.
i wish i accomplished that goal.
i wish i was real.

when the words words won't come out

ii sometimes think i don't have things to say. which, combined with sickness, a general feeling of dumpiness, and overall lack of desire towards anything, contributes heavily to extensive periods of non-involvement with 'the blogosphere'.

it's true that i haven't blogged for... 14 days. it's also true that i haven't read other blogs for about that long. it is ALSO true that in the past 14 days, well, longer than that really, i've been entrenched in a very grey time. life seems to be just meandering along - which is cool when stuff's interesting- but right now, i feel very bored. life's meandering through a really bored place. and that sucks.

i'm increasingly reminded, though, that a lot of control does lie within my own fingers (cue scene from Willow: "which finger is the most powerful?"). my grey landscape does not have to be that way. i can quite easily continue to monger up ideas and stories and songs and feelings - i need to be much more conscientous about the whole thing.

oh well.

p.s. do you know that sometimes i title a blog first, then write based on the title? it's sort of silly, like buying a gift based on what the wrapping paper looks like.

- josh

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

at long, long last, more scattered thoughts that are kind of related

ok, there's dust on my computer keys. it's been a very very long time...

today, i feel very strange - which is not unusual these days. by now, a lot of people know that my wife and I are moving back to ontario (this decision was motivated chiefly because of the impending birth of our child - june 10th, actually). However, there are have been some unexpected 'ramifications' to such a life change that I have been struggling to cope with. here's one of them:

I have been, for the past few weeks, caught in a 'quasi-slump', a time of anxious introspection. It's funny - they say that the three largest stressors in life are having a child, moving, and looking for a new job. ha. ha. I'm going through all of these things at one time.

the job thing scares me the most; to be honest, i'm not at all afraid of not getting a job. i'm petrified of being forced into getting a job that i hate, just to have a job. in 'these economic times' the prospect of job hunting is not necessarily a happy one. at the same time, though, i've always been inspired by the blank canvas - a new landscape just waiting for the installation of my new life.

eek.

Monday, January 19, 2009

re: into the woods

for those of you who don't know, the small-group that i'm a part of through church has been pursuing the rights to the popular musical "into the woods". we're planning on producing the show with proceeds going to a charity of our choice. can i just say right now that it's been an uphill battle? it has.

and now, we're in a place of decision. here's an email i sent out:

hey guys;

so, money issues aside (HOLY CRAP!!), i think we're going to have a tough time being ready for a mid-April show dates if we still have to wait to a) send the contract in (fax it probably), b) get the materials from MTI. that's probably 2-3 weeks minimum, right? that's Consideration A.


also, if we do the show do we HAVE to do both acts? can we just do act 1? 'Cause the contract says pretty explicitly that we can't delete any part of the play. That makes me feel like if we sign the contract, we'd be forced to do both. that's Consideration B.


this is a huge thing with pretty hefty commitments - that's not just time i'm talking about either. if Oakpark covers the costs for us and the show (heaven forbid) bombs, we'd all have to commit to paying back. that's Consideration C.



At the same time, though, how proud of ourselves would we be if we actually pulled it off? It'd be frickin amazing! how huge of a testament to our small group and to CREATE Productions. I'm already proud to have you guys as my closest friends, but multiply my current pride by a gazillion and that's probably what we'd ALL feel. I'll be honest, team, most of me is queezy and scared, but the artist inside is like, 'what the hell! we can only fail - and that wouldn't be the end of the world! Lets do it!'


I'm breathless for this chance, guys! we're awesome and i think if we all pulled together we could do a masterful job! when are we going to have another opportunity like this? If we go out on a limb and place ourselves in a space where we really really need God, i'm confident that he will come through.



let's hit the next level as friends and artists. Let's kick the shit out of 'into the woods'.


- josh



p.s. i'm still scared.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

re: ~m's comment on 'my soap box: living in a self help era and why its the worst'

please, ~m, a soap box is not the place for balanced and/or thoughtful discussion. please do not require me to spend time and energy bolstering the stance i have taken here.

geez.

- josh

ps. i know i said i wanted to have a discussion, but venting is only satisfying when no one disagrees.

i thought you'd be waaay more sensitive.

- josh

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

reality check #1: the ultrasound


They say that this picture is a child at 20 weeks... kind of like OUR child right now. unfortunately,we weren't able to get a cd of pictures of the ultrasound but, as the husband responsible, i got to sit in. and it was awesome.

through the sometimes disorienting blur of white and black dots, i suddenly came face to face with the biggest reality check of my life. i watched a little baby move and kick. holy wowsers.

i saw the little heart beating. and i watched the little child hiccup.

i was surprised; the child was actually fully stretched out, not curled up like i expected it to be. i think that the most impactful moment was seeing its toes. i always knew that little babies had toes, but just seeing them on the ultrasound screen was, i don't know... wow.

if it sounds like i'm rambling and my thoughts are scrambled, it's 'cause they are and i'm sort of overwhelmed.

- josh

my friends inspire... self reflection and twinges of guilt.

(in response to 'timeless', a post by ~m)

oh my gosh, yes, i remember those nights; they're especially cold in my memory, ~m.

and yes, it's incredibly easy to waste time. with my job, i find i have lots and lots and lots of free time during the day when the guys are at their programs. I wish i had stacks upon stacks of writing to point to as evidence of my free hours, but alas and alack. i have nothing. i have spent far too much time making just one more peanut butter and banana sandwich, watching just one more episode of friends or 24, or checking my email just one more time.

its ridiculous to think that there are coffee shops and bookstores and awesome websites and fantastic stories out there - all waiting to be discovered and i let them dissolve into shadowy half-realities. at the expense of what?

um... well, i had a really good peanut butter and banana sandwich the other day...

crap.

Monday, January 12, 2009

update

sarah's first ultrasound is today and yes, we're going to find out the gender of our child.

everybody guess!!!

my soap box: living in a self-help era and why it's the worst

can we talk for a few moments about our generation? can we spend some time in genial discourse? would it be fine to delve together into the mysterious shadowed folds of our culture?

i would like that.

to begin our time together, i've prepared a few statements. they are inspired in part by pastor steve, and in part by random chats i've had with others in my life, from both near and far.

firstly, we have a fascination with 'experts telling us how we don't need experts'. ie: "if you read my book, you'll discover why you won't need other experts telling you how to build a deck/marinate a steak/lose weight/write a book, etc..." this is also known as self help.

secondly, self help books erode what little community we manage to cobble together in our individualistic and ego-centric society. if we allow ourselves to be constantly directed inward to find the resources we need, we withdraw from those around us.

thirdly, self-aholics (not my phrase) will always focus on themselves and put minimal energy into understanding others. their passions and their latest projects and their problems with boys/girls/inadequacy/busyness/insert topic here will always take precedence over the issues of others. even when others are talking, self-aholics are not paying full attention. rather, they are formulating their own responses to what is being said.

pant, pant.

i'm done.


ok.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

prayer retreat journaling

tonite is the strength you need. fire. orange tongues of heat. frenetic whirling figures. chaos.

these were the images i left on my page before trying to sleep. i tossed all nite, waking every few hours. when i awoke,i felt battered and worn. as the sun rose into the blue, i still moved under a perpetual grey sky of uncertainty.

but then, dawn broke and rays of brilliant clarity and golden heaven sent insight illumined me and i saw what i needed to do.

i walk in peace.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

inside myself

in the still of my heart, I heard weeping. it was soft, an otherworldly whimper. the whispered sobs filled me, not with their sounds, but with their substance. an inexplicable tearing began, slow and painful, fibres of me separating. in the ripping, i felt sorrow and anxiety. i quieted the welling emotion and relegated it to my darkness.

while the world revolved around me, i moved with it. i carried the sobs and the tears and the brokenness inside. as time drew me forward, I followed.

re: how i praise, by shawn b

hmmm.

like you shawn, my spirit comes alive in new ways during worship 'space'. for me, the music and reverent atmosphere open room inside my spirit. in those moments, my 'inner sanctum' is prepared for what god wants to do.

god has used other media to do this as well: staring at certain paintings (someone tell frake he's awesome), conversations that convict and inspire, friends that build one another up (create, you know who you are), and certain mini albums.


...but nothing else draws me to god's heart as quickly as listening to my wife pray.

Monday, January 5, 2009

prayer retreat journaling #1

after a xmas break like i've experienced and all of the emotion and the breakneck pace of my internal processing, I find myself in a confused and wandering place.

i'm at a crossroads that feels like less of a crossroads and more of a maze. a truly dizzying array of options, choices, and pressing decisions whirl at torrid speeds in my mind. i've not been this lost in so long and part of me desperately hopes this week will quiet the incessant buzzing.

and yet, despite all of my anxiety and confusion, there is an island of peace. I feel it in my core, a tiny world of quiet, existing timelessly, regardless of the noise outside.

I cling to This. It is my Anchor and Guiding Star.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

my recent mind life

i've been in a strange new state of mind for a few weeks now. my mind has been on a constant simmer, ideas and thoughts intersecting neatly one with the next. its too much for me to record in the context of a few paragraphs, but i seem to run into inspiring people and events and conversations every day. at coffee with a close friend, i commented on this - and also on how absent minded i've been lately. the response was not what i expected: perhaps your mind has allocated all resources to creativity; there is nothing left for the silly humdrum (my paraphrase). an encouraging idea! it makes me feel like i'm all scatter-brained artist!

and that's just so cool!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

four runners pt 1

mourning doves stir
as the sun gilds the pines
in the high mountain's shadow
darkness aligns

dawn is brittle
and its light struggles, frail
around the base of the pines
black mists prevail

yet through the thick
from the deep forest's bound
from the eastern horizon
trickles a sound

black mists shrink back
the sound joins into light
in the dark of the pine trees
four shapes gain sight

Monday, December 15, 2008

hey shawn...

hey shawn...

so, i've been listening to your mini album quite a bit in the last few days - and it has been fantastic. lyrically, each of your songs has certain powerful images that stand out in the listening - whether the haunting face of young girl peering out of a dream, branches overhead slowly moving with the wind, street lights 'imbuing' the air with soft glow. the imagery is exceptional and the stories contained within each song are poignant and emotive.

I feel a little unqualified to comment on the musical aspect of your EP, but as the majority of listeners will probably have the same (or less) knowledge of music that I have, I'll put forth my best effort, yes i will.

with a lot of music 'out there', it could be said...

if you want to know more about the upcoming release of shawn baran's mini album, you'll have to ask shawn - or you can check out his myspace page.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

arriving at myself: who am i?

as i consider all that has been said concerning conscious actions versus subconscious desires, i wonder if i'm in a good place to be writing or speaking about this. on the other hand, perhaps a state of wonderment is the best place of all to think out of. nevertheless, the idea of exploring the 'self-concept' holds an aura of mystery and allure. maybe that's why i'm a christian spirituality major. embracing the unknown and following what seem to be trails of smoke unearth a wildly emotive and desperately expressive side of me.

in the past, i've had numerous fireside-esque conversations with many dear friends about 'what lies beneath'. i've always considered the notion that there are shifting forces of desire and instinct within me, engaged in a slow churning rotation. there have been many times where the things i do have seemed to be merely reactive - a product of the inner struggle. however that seems too base and humanistic. as a man who is imago dei, i believe that there are patterns inside me that run far deeper than freud's id.

i believe that there are trends of thought and instinct that can be traced to places deep inside of josh gordon. i tend to track the patterns and trends along their lines into myself, where they seem to originate. but as i follow them, they dissolve within me. they track through places so shadowed and obscure they are impossible to observe.

i'm sure we've all seen shadows of trees or lampposts or street signs stretching far down the road, seeming to flee from the setting sun. if we change our perspective thought, the shadows of the trees or lampposts or street signs could almost stretch into the darkness in order to compel us towards the light. shadows point to a setting sun. perhaps the deep seated and ingrained desires within me do not originate from me and spread outward. Perhaps they originate from Someplace outside and radiate inward, finding their mark.

perhaps in my quest to arrive at myself, i should start my journey from outside, from the only Point of Reference that never changes or adjusts. perhaps from that external beginning i can begin to understand most clearly and grasp most strongly the bed in which i am truly rooted and from which i grow.

"i am a person who struggles mightily... i struggle to grow into the dream God is stirring within me. i struggle to become myself."

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

free association

shimmering cracks
spider web fault lines

red scarlet tracks
into deep sucking green

smooth leg lines
and spinal curve

spin wobble dancer
train grinning shine

it all becomes clear
a student of mind

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Thinking Wall

The evolution of our basement continues to move forward: onward and upward, I always say. Anyhow, we've created a thinking wall. It's pretty rad - brown paper coats the wall beside the desk and we basically write whatever the hell we want to on the brown paper. We might tack up an unpaid bill, or a poem, or an article, or some artwork. Whatever we want.

I really like it. it's cool, and it makes me feel edgy and culturally subversive. I know that there's no rational reason for that, but somehow my brain connects cool and youthful decor with edginess and subversion of culture. Of course, maybe I am actually culturally subversive and my brain automatically feeds that fact into the equation so when the question "is the thinking wall edgy and culturally subversive?" comes up, it goes like this:

Is the thinking wall edgy and culturally subversive?
fact: it came from josh's brain.
fact: josh is edgy and culturally subversive
therefore: what comes from josh's brain must be edgy and culturally subversive

equals: the thinking wall is edgy and culturally subversive


I'm sure there's a logic breakdown in there somewhere. It's just brown paper on a wall with sharpies taped to it.

Community Natural Foods

So today, Sarah and I went to Community Natural Foods to stock up on a few items we've been running low on. We needed some milk - that was the big one. And prenatal vitamins for Sarah. We also looked like we might have needed cheese soon, too.

Organic milk definitely costs $10. For some reason, I couldn't bring myself to do it. It makes no sense: we (impulse) bought a book about how certain foods are good to heal certain unwanted illnesses... as most illnesses are unwanted. We bought another christmas CD, we bought chili powder, some herbal tea that I can't pronounce, and something else... i can't remember what.

We seriously spent like $50 we didn't plan on, and I couldn't fork over an extra $5 for organic milk. It's strange, and I don't understand it all.

If Christians Would Just Try Harder!!!

Aaargh....

Take a look at this:

if christians would just try harder!!

it pretty much is exactly what i'm trying to get everyone to do.


- josh

Saturday, November 29, 2008

three windows

Before me, I see waves sluggishly pound a pebbled shore as the sun purples into evening. To my left, see shadows stretch long and blend into night as surely as the black velvet sky unrolls over head. To my right, I see deer and antelope feeding at twilight, moving through Serengeti grasses. But what I see with my eyes and what in I know to be true stand sharply opposed. And so, with night’s advent, I wait breathless for my fears to be realized. As surely as I knew, a moon rose three times; yellow, red, and silver.

The yellow moon flickered and wavered, shuddering as waves below rolled to shore steadily, rhythms of inevitable doom. Then the red moon’s light lanced into the forest and trees were ignite with angry crimson. To my right, silver beams slit sharply, knifing into the long grasses, gleaming dangerously on the backs of night-feeding animals: highlights and targets.

Then I feel it. A cold damp mass in my stomach: a leaden lump of terror. Predators can sense fear - they can taste it in the air, sharp and metallic and tangy acid black. The night feeders scatter with spastic jerky movements as dark shapes converge, moving stealthily.

I stand stock still, terrified that if I moved even slightly, the gripping fear will betray me. Like the night that has now erased all thoughts of escape, waves of fright, new and yet so familiar, crash into me. Traces of the damp fear slurp at the base of my spine. With every short ragged breath, I feel it sucking nearer to my lungs.

Then with a blurred whirl, the three windows coalesce in a brilliant flash of blazing light. Suddenly I no longer stand trapped in a room with three windows to three worlds. Suddenly, I stand on the precipice to one new world under one new moon. And the bone white light of the last moon rocks me. Dry. Arid. Hard.

It is before this brilliant and terrible beacon of night that I feel my soul quiver. As smoothly as sand through my fingers, the tattered shreds of my defence dissolve. Stunned, I crouch, my fear open and quivering and alive in every joint. I feel it when my shoulders twitch. I feel it sting in my nostrils and burn in my lungs. Beneath the hammer hard light, I am reduced to helpless scraps tossed about in the pooling, shifting, and menace-rippling bone-white light. O God. Please let me wake up. It’s all too real. My whisper dropped, nearly splashing.

With every ounce of energy, I willed myself somewhere else. With every ounce of energy, I willed myself somewhere else. With every ounce of energy, I willed myself somewhere else. With every ounce of energy, I willed myself away from this horrible drenched place. With every ounce.

three windows

Before me, I see waves sluggishly pound a pebbled shore as the sun purples into evening. To my left, see shadows stretch long and blend into night as surely as the black velvet sky unrolls over head. To my right, I see deer and antelope feeding at twilight, moving through Serengeti grasses. But what I see with my eyes and what in I know to be true stand sharply opposed. And so, with night’s advent, I wait breathless for my fears to be realized. As surely as I knew, a moon rose three times; yellow, red, and silver.

The yellow moon flickered and wavered, shuddering as waves below rolled to shore steadily, rhythms of inevitable doom. Then the red moon’s light lanced into the forest and trees were ignite with angry crimson. To my right, silver beams slit sharply, knifing into the long grasses, gleaming dangerously on the backs of night-feeding animals: highlights and targets.

Then I feel it. A cold damp mass in my stomach: a leaden lump of terror. Predators can sense fear - they can taste it in the air, sharp and metallic and tangy acid black. The night feeders scatter with spastic jerky movements as dark shapes converge, moving stealthily.

I stand stock still, terrified that if I moved even slightly, the gripping fear will betray me. Like the night that has now erased all thoughts of escape, waves of fright, new and yet so familiar, crash into me. Traces of the damp fear slurp at the base of my spine. With every short ragged breath, I feel it sucking nearer to my lungs.

Then with a blurred whirl, the three windows coalesce in a brilliant flash of blazing light. Suddenly I no longer stand trapped in a room with three windows to three worlds. Suddenly, I stand on the precipice to one new world under one new moon. And the bone white light of the last moon rocks me. Dry. Arid. Hard.

It is before this brilliant and terrible beacon of night that I feel my soul quiver. As smoothly as sand through my fingers, the tattered shreds of my defence dissolve. Stunned, I crouch, my fear open and quivering and alive in every joint. I feel it when my shoulders twitch. I feel it sting in my nostrils and burn in my lungs. Beneath the hammer hard light, I am reduced to helpless scraps tossed about in the pooling, shifting, and menace-rippling bone-white light. O God. Please let me wake up. It’s all too real. My whisper dropped, nearly splashing.

With every ounce of energy, I willed myself somewhere else. With every ounce of energy, I willed myself somewhere else. With every ounce of energy, I willed myself somewhere else. With every ounce of energy, I willed myself away from this horrible drenched place. With every ounce.