It’s really all so very small.


There’s a few people who would be good examples of this that I could have chose but Peter Jackson was my most recent biography find so it’s still the freshest in my head.  I could have also mentioned Peter Hook of Joy Division for this one, the man who literally grabbed a bass and joined the band.

Peter, the one pictured that is, was inspired by film at a very young age.  Only in his teens he was trying to make his Super 8 go as far as it could until he finally discovered a slightly better camera and began messing around with other little films.  Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit was a long way off from those first initial attempts.

Being a singing bass player Sting is another huge inspiration that naturally springs to mind.  Sting played gig after gig for years in a variety of bands (including a cruise ship gig) before he ever met a drummer named Stewart Copeland who already had this idea for a band called “The Police”.

The work these three gentlemen have created is indeed timeless, and they are only three examples of probably hundred of artists I could name.  The connection to me is those early years of the work and the creative approach.  During a tour of American colleges, Sting explained to music students “We’re not building cathedrals, we’re building sheds.”  This is an insight that I think is worth keeping in mind when approaching anything creative, and possibly other things in life that don’t fall under that category.

It doesn’t have to be great.  It doesn’t have to even be good.  If you think of the early Beatle’s cuts from the beginning of their career they genuinely did not know what they were doing.  Most bands (using music as an example) evolve slowly over a period of years and that’s the stuff we hear.  The same goes for writers, visual artists, and film makers.  Defy the white page and it’s patronizing nature.  Make it all messy in spite of it because the odds are that it probably isn’t a big deal anyways.  You’re just mucking around with it.  I do this with Twitter and Instagram and I fully admit that.  I just kind of go “Hey, what about this?”, usually said out loud because I admit I do in fact talk to myself.  That’s me.  I’ll be talking one way or the other and someone else may or may not hear it.

It even fits into most creative theory with the fact that the first part of creativity is simply getting it out of you and the second part is editing that mush for the little bits of gold in there.  Also if something isn’t working, or you find it boring, try some other thing.  Considering the expanse of possibility and remix culture out there you can always switch gears and bear in mind that you never have any massive thing expected (and should share that same expectation to others).

Even my biggest projects typically have roots that started little bits at a time, little bit each day at a time.  You just relax and let those small things pile up.

So go ahead and mess it up all messy now.  I’ll try to not sound like a motivational speaker now.





Til then…



I actually was looking for that image of Richard Dreyfuss at the very end when he says those words (or close proximity to them).

I have really enjoyed keeping this on as a daily practice but the next few months are going to get really busy around here.  I have a day job and then on top of that I have my band Cookeilidh which is going into a very busy festival season including shows at the Butchart Gardens, Bastion Square, Car Free Day to name a few.  Ollie and Emma is also gearing up to go into it’s primary shoots which include our application to Bravo Fact and two mini shoots at least prior to that.  I like to approach each one of these entries with care and consideration, despite how short they are and I don’t want to put out material that is literally “I have a few minutes…bang something out…” 


Will stop occasionally for lunch...

I don’t know how much time I will have for the “Closer to Heaven” blog either, but I’ll see how that goes.  There will be updates on the Ollie and Emma WordPress blog as that’s a necessary part of the show and I want to keep everyone updated on how things are going.  We recently lost a member of not only our cast but also a friend and my girlfriends beloved cousin Wolf Rick Patterson so we want to make our next blog a tribute to him before we move on to other behind the scenes filmmaking writings.

I should probably be back to working on here regularly somewhere between August and September after principal photography is finished and festival season draws more to a close.  Until then feel free to check out some of the links up above as well as some of the other parts of the site.  There are links to a number of platforms which I have been using including my twitter site which I am probably the most frequently on (it takes the least actual time)
Follow on Twitter!
So I’m going on a bit of a WordPress summer vacation.  If all the images aren’t a clue definitely rent Rosencranze and Guildenstern are Dead or take it in live.  It’s weird but full of cerebral fun including the fantastic game of questions.
Have a great summer everyone!



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Unconventional love


It took me a bit to come up with an unconventional love for today’s prompt after going through the discussion about love a few days back.  Love for people and pets is considered understandable fair game that no one would question you for and so anything outside that box is naturally going to seem strange.  There was the runner up of the characters I create but as someone who is putting them self out there as a writer that seemed a bit cheesy.  But at the same time so does this as a musician.  I can only suppose that cheese is inherant within this subject.  As a barista a love of coffee…same.  As a man love of women…I probably should just leave that one alone.  You get the idea.

So I chose headphones.  It’s not naughty by any stretch of the imagination.   And no, I’ve never walked around listening to naughty noises.  Though I could see the surreal quality of listening to amore secretly while taking public transport to return bottles.  I think it would get old fast and I would probably prefer podcasts or music in its place.

But with that extreme concept aside it does show the reason I enjoy them so much.  Within those speakers you have total freedom to create a world of enjoyment that is tailored to what you want.  It’s a wonderful chance to explore something new while you are already in transit, feel the comfort of something heard before, or stay dialed in with local radio.  I know when I use to do Janitorial my connection to local talk radio made every bit of difference as I didn’t feel quite as disconnected to the rest of the world.  These recent ones are Bluetooth so I can also make phone calls from them, though this isn’t always best as you do get to look a bit strange talking like that, but people can suppose it is Bluetooth.  I have also used my headphones as I mentioned before to “test drive” music I have created, taking it out of the home studio context and setting it against the world outside.  As a cleaner I have also spent loads of time with, well, what use to be books on tape but is now podcasts, downloads and things that end with “this is Audible.”

You can use them before work like audio caffeine to get you going. You can switch to a soft playlist to slow things down again.  Another unconventional love I nearly used was that of public transport actually because when you get a decent spot (which is what failed this title as it is not always possible) you can use headphones to create a insular world of quiet ambience and with another honorable mention, my 300 page notebooks, you can use this world to create while you are already on the go.  I created not only ideas this way but entire characters have come from these moments in the back of a low floor double decker passing Uptown on the way to Craigflower and Tillicum where I use to live.  Longer the ride the better.  With headphones on and my Memo app (yet another) I planned my entire last move while supposedly “stuck” on a BC Ferry returning from Christmas holidays.

If you listen to music this way it actually spurs you to discover more music as you naturally want to expand the range of what you hear.  It is where I discovered Karl Pilkington and the Ricky Gervais Show, headphones on, cleaning my way through a newly renovated office.  I also listened in that same place to Sol Stein on writing, which I can’t praise highly enough.  Between those two gentleman’s work was quite possibly my drive to create comedy because a year later I was on the set of my first film shoot.  That film didn’t work out, but my present project with Cheri Jacobs continues to build towards completion.  It’s called Ollie and Emma and if you haven’t seen that yet, please check us out on one of our social media platforms.

Our WordPress blog
Ollie and Emma on Twitter! 
Ollie and Emma on Facebook!
And Instagram too! 🙂


Cheri Jacobs and I


Ollie and Emma - The Series

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St Patrick’s week and more!


Cookeilidh are : Woody, me, Kim David

     Been a really busy week since last Tuesday when St Patrick’s started.  That’s the thing about being in a celtic band.  St. Patrick’s for us is, and sorry if this sounds ego driven but it’s a whole lot more than one night of green beer (even though that’s fun too!)  We’ve been pretty much doing one gig a night for well over a week and there is still more to go.  One thrill was having tracks from our new cd played on All Points West CBC with Jo-Ann Roberts just before our show at The Copper Owl (pictured above)

It’s funny…just jamming along to Depeche Mode’s Personal Jesus with my bass (ok that’s wierd) and how even though lots of things change…lots more are always the same.  I love playing acoustic music and playing a lot to the band’s I’ve loved over the years (some celtic, some acoustic and some really neither) and I love writing and creating things.  I’ve probably said that before and it’s easy to go with the things you know but the main thing is not to leave any place unexplored because you’ve got a prejudged notion.  That was the wierd story behind me as an acoustic / celtic musician liking Depeche and others (weirdest cd I ever had was definitely “Coyot” which was aeolian strings stretched across a Swedish abandoned military base)  I was very much focused on my style of music back then and I heard of Depeche but lumped them in with those “wierd stuff over there” bands.  When a friend gave me a tape I never even listened until one day making a tape (yeah, tape) as a joke.  From that I brought the whole tape to work and it seriously turned my head around.  Learned my lesson.  I think that applies to way beyond music.  You simply never know.  You never know what the young man with the skateboard on the bus next to you or the lady in front of you in line at Tim’s is really all about.  The idea that other people have it easier is also illusion.  Rich or poor live provides its struggles and it’s joy.

Went philosophical there.  Anyways, check out my other new thing I’ve been working on this week if you get a chance.  It’s a story that is based on my own background when I use to aspire to bike mechanics and was seriously into cycling and going to bike shops…and listening to loads of classic rock!
Journal by Max

You can also follow the band at…
Cookeilidh’s main website!

Tom 🙂

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Work in the arts.


“There’s a job…there’s a gig here” Billy Joel

It’s probably one of the hardest things about a career path that’s already not the easiest choice.  If you do any other kind of work and let’s say you’ve just started and you’re not making that much coin people still respect it because it’s still considered “real work”.  In the arts though it’s seen strangely as not being given the same accolade unless you are one of us fortunate enough to have a creative field as their primary source of income.  But the trap here I think is that we run the risk of treating it like a pipe dream or a hobby.  Having a hobby is fine but for those of us who think of ourselves as artists we have to give our craft that same attention as any other tradesman who puts in forty hours a week.  Will this immediately pay off?  This I can’t say but there is certainly a pride in putting serious determination behind what you do and one thing I have found is that you never know where your creative road will take you, but the more work you do on your craft, the better armed to fight you will be when you get there. 
Our role is different from some trades as just hammering the same thing again and again can work against us so being creative you have to find ways of still focusing on your craft without making yourself bored (creative death here!)  As a writer I like to play with different forms or ideas like this or my other blogs, narrative experiments, prose, non-fiction, or a thing I sometimes do called morning stories.  In this one I do a thousand words (usually ends up being more) of something.  In the same way as a Artist Way morning page you just go with what pops in your head and roll or riff on that.  Writers probably have it the worst for practicing because there’s the natural assumption that everyone can write so it’s easy to get complacent.  The great thing about it is the portability though and I have so many of those little Hilroy 300 page books just full of material and even a little mini one that fits in my coat.  And just like a musician who listens and transcribes what they hear the more well read you are, naturally, the better.  Check out some of the books on writers and writing as well.  Try a new form like creative non fiction or poetry.  Poetry is not to be sniffed at as people think of folks in berets musing on the moon.  Taken to its highest level poems are the writing equivalent of making every shot count.  This fine art, and the origin of all writing in western civilization, is all about specific details and sense and particularity.  Trying to write in a non ambiguous way and connect with people at gut level is genius.  That’s one thing I found with well crafted (and you’ll laugh) country music.  You can’t be ambiguous in that form.  It’s from the hip and for a musician it’s usually written in a bright major key which makes it just that much harder to emote in a way that connects with listeners.  And that’s why some of that style can hurt.
Don’t shoot the country pianist.  He’s doing his best.
A good idea is to set up your work at a time when you know you are at your most alert and won’t be too distracted.  Set that as a daily habit that you don’t intend to break even if the building is burning down around you.  Ignore the fireman.  You’re working. 

So pour yourself a coffee, punch the clock and rock. 


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