Feelings of Music

Sitting up there, you feel as though everything just falls away, as though there’s nothing left, as if it’s only you, you and the light, the music, and the emotions. Nothing really matters when you’re up there; you can just express yourself and your feelings, free from fear of persecution. Each moment is different from each of the others. And each one in turn slips away into the past, never to be expressed, felt, cherished, or loved again.

Copper-colored strings stretch out under a heavy, black sky of dark wood which dissolves into the repetitive two-tone rows of keys. The bench stands firm and attentive beneath me, waiting for something monumental to occur. The connection from my fingertips to the keyboard is electrically tangible. Only the piano and I have ever spoken like this before; it’s a conversation so intimate and deep that it will never be heard or spoken the same way again. Only we have danced like this before, felt like this before, expressed this deep, intricate, passionate, mysterious love for each other before. We are singly committed to each other and to the creation of music, an art form as emotional as it is deeply meaningful.

I have never laughed with, loved, enjoyed, and harmonized with another person in the same way as when playing music with them. The instruments, the people, and the sounds all come together in an unbreakable, intense bond. Love is produced in many ways, but only through music is it as intimate and deep.

It’s that connection that gives me hope that one day the world will be a better place and that we will all realize the similarities between all of us through the power of music. We are all deeply intertwined whether it’s immediately visible or not. Music removes the veils of ignorant hate, unearthing the complex connections beneath.

Never have I listened, talked, and conversed better than when sitting before a piano. The ecstasy can never be felt any other way. Only through the piano can I fully live and express the way I must to live on another day. The piano and I will never be apart. We are connected physically, emotionally, and most importantly, intimately.

I feel more emotions and feelings through music than I have ever felt any other way. Music changes us and it makes us feel things differently. We will never be the same people again, but the music will always be with us.

Love, Ethan Brown Jones

Confusion of the Individual

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Yearning for uniqueness, we travel onward in this world. We strive for a futile individualism that seems unreachable in our age of growing monochromatism. But we somehow lose sight along our way; we forget whom we are just as everyone else seems to do. On day, we wake up in the morning and don’t recognize the visage staring back at us in the mirror. And we stop and wonder- when did we lose track?

When did we ever really know exactly who we were?

There are moments in each of our pasts that illustrate at least a small portrait of who we were, but do those moments exist in our present lives as they delicately used to do? If we ever really had and clarity about who we are or who we were, it was futilely ephemeral as most things in life truly are. We remember temporary states of unambiguity, but if we were really sure of our path at any point in life, why would there even be a purpose to keep on going.

Life is as much about finding oneself as it is about the confusion we all face each and every day. Although we won’t admit it, we are all a little bit lost, continually tangled in webs of memories, hopes, dreams, and emotions.

If any of the journey of life were genuinely easy, it would be meaningless, another pedestrian, pointless experience. But the fact is, it’s not simple; it’s not without adversity or plight; it’s not free of heartbreak and failed aspirations.

The confusion we all experience at some point along the winding, fickle path of life only assists in our growth and maturing process. For to grow is to have been lost and to have realized a new enlightenment. Without losing sight of whom we are, we will never truly gain insight into the person we are today, the person we have left in the past, and the person we aspire to metamorphose into.

Our confusion helps us to learn and grow as individuals, professionals, and unique personalities. When we lose ourselves completely, we finally see the person we have never known, the person we have always hoped to discourse with but have never had the courage. When we lose ourselves in the confusion, we find out what lies within, and that is what’s truly transcendental.

Love, Ethan Brown Jones

Life of the Designer

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I wake up, looking towards the deep blackness above me, my alarm blasting away in the night. It’s 5:35 AM which I state not as a malign reality, but simply as an assertion of fact. The arresting cold of the air outside the warm cocoon of my blankets is abrasive on my skin. But it is morning, and if nothing else, we can be sure of this. The day has begun, if not gracefully, at least assuredly. I turn on the desk light with a clack and boot up my computer, ready for whatever work the day has in store.

After a quick glance at my calendar and my inbox, I slip into the frosty dark of the hallway and scurry quickly into the bathroom where an encompassing, massaging, warm shower awaits. I dress in the clothes that have been so cautiously, delicately laid out the night before, style my hair, and apply the makeup that has been so neatly displayed beneath the big the big wood-frame mirror above my dresser.

Breakfast comes with toasty, cheddary, steaming eggs, a crispy piece of toast, and dark, rich, creamy coffee with sweet orange juice on the side.

It’s still dark outside as I sit down expectantly at my desk. I check the news briskly and then start the processes of work I know all too well. I sketch a little and then play a little and work on each minute task that is yet to be completed. Designing and sketching gives way to playing piano and arranging music and before I know it, it’s lunch time.

Lunch is spent on the couch of my studio answering emails and updating my calendar with a warm burrito and a chilling smoothie for comfort. I check Facebook and twitter while I’m at it, seeing if anything is new with the vast and diverse world outside of the luxuries of my office and studio.

Lunch passes on quickly and my afternoon is spent researching, reading, and writing away furiously. Hours upon hours of time wander by while my pen glides swiftly across the paper and my fingers race agilely around the keyboard. Words become sentences which in turn become pages upon pages of drafts in my notebook.

The sun has gone down by the time I emerge from my office to start cooking dinner.  Cooking a creamy pesto pasta with fresh herbs, tomato, mushrooms, and garlic chicken sounds like just the thing to take my mind off of work for a while; and the glass of merlot help too. I spend dinner watching TV and going through more emails and contacting clients before heading back to my studio to journal and read until it’s late in the night.

When one day turns to another, I move to my office where I finish up going through paperwork and typing and editing publication drafts. And when the clock lazily flips to 1 AM, finally my work is done and my restful night sleep can commence. My dreams are of designs and stories and music, that which is my greatest comfort and contentment in life. For tomorrow, the rollercoaster will begin anew, another day in the life of a designer.

Love, Ethan Brown Jones

Defining Our Own Persona

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How do we define ourselves at the end of the day? When we get home after the longest of days, what is the single most important thing we do to maintain inner clarity?

Our careers define us more than almost anything else in life. They are often what we spend the majority of our time thinking about, so why shouldn’t they define us? For the luckiest among us, our career is both our livelihood and our passion. But inevitably, we will spend many years of our lives if not a majority of our adult lives at work, whether we enjoy it or not. Work sets the stage for us not only economically, but also socially and culturally in many ways. Our work friends become our only friends at many times and our work almost certainly defines our values and outlook on life in a lot of ways. But is career really all that we hold dear?

Relationships with people in our lives also play such a vital role in our overall being and emotional health. Relationships outside of the ones we have with ourselves make up most moments of the day and so the way we interact with people, the ways we organize and categorize relationships, and the deep relationships we possess all have an unforeseeably-large impact on our life path and daily happiness.

So much of daily contentment is based on this principle as well. The ways we define and thus advertise ourselves in the real world greatly influence our emotional stability and overall health on a life-size scale.

Each piece or ourselves that we divulge to the world is not communicated by mistake, but is rather shown as to “create” for ourselves and others a whole vision of a person, one who is happy, healthy, and enjoying life.

We define ourselves by the many characters we assume each day. From professional, to peer, to coworker, to fellow empathetic human, we assume many roles each day which each highlight a different definition of the real us. We are all incredible actors when it comes to assuming a single person at one time and cunningly concealing the complete remainder of us.

But what is so important about how we define ourselves is the fact that when all else fails, we can fall back on to the plush cushion of the person we have cleverly built for so many years. Whatever else happens in life, we somehow never manage to lose sight of that fragile, amorphous character deep inside of us. Each definition of us works to point the way for us in the rest of our life.

We are our own person as defined by us and only us. We have the sole ability to define our lives as they are today and as they will be for eternity. We truly are the solitary creators of our past, our present, and most importantly, our futures, and we must never forget that.

Love, Ethan Brown Jones

Sublimity in the Simplicity

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What do we look for in life? Is it meaning, fulfillment, or destiny? Or is what we look for really just truth and reality? When we sit in front of the mirror in the morning, studying each miniscule but perceptible blemish and imperfection, are we searching for something to fault ourselves on? Are we looking for something to scratch felinely away at? Putting on our makeup and doing our hair, we tend to just tune out what we’re doing, remembering what Sally said to us yesterday or prepping for that early morning meeting. But why do we really work so hard to make ourselves beautiful each day? Is it because we fear ourselves? Or because we understand the power of looking, feeling, and being beautiful every single day? Do we really recognize anything about ourselves anymore? Or are we more likely simply drifting on in our lives hoping for some sign to appear pointing the way?

When we look at now, today, this moment, is our day outlined with clarity? Life seems to be less about clarity and what is, and rather more about finding the hidden nuances between black and white, the subtle niches that circumscribe each moment of perfection. In the hidden secrets, we find solace in knowing that somewhere buried beneath the rude noise of unrealistic, sublime idealisms, is a path for us to follow. Somewhere deep in the darkness of the unknown is, we convince ourselves, our calling, a purpose for life. But when we wake up in the morning thinking about work, putting on our makeup, driving to work, and shopping for groceries, do we really have any idea of what our purpose is or will be? Are we drowning without a guide to pull us on?

What we realize in the ordinary, lonesome moments of life is that no help is coming. No guide or visionary is there to pull us out when we get stuck. And so we trudge on, knowing that life will reveal our true calling only when we are ready for it. We must learn to push on through the boresome days of our lives, waiting for the transcendent. We must look for meaning in the ordinary simplicities of each day. Each thought is sublime. Each moment portrays the exquisite beauty of life. But we must push ourselves to realize these sublimities. For a life without perfection is a life without purpose.

Love, Ethan Brown Jones

Manage Your Life

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So much of managing life is about being able not only to focus well, but also to know how long everything takes. As a business owner, musician, writer, and designer, I constantly have to manage my time, not only in what I’m doing, but also in the breaks I take, my personal life, and in what is not getting done. Scheduling becomes a nightmare when personal life, professional life, and entrepreneurship are all put together. But when one adds in more layers of logistics such as travel time and other people’s schedules, dealing with one’s calendar turns into hell on earth. It is so key in life to be able to organize logistics and scheduling well.

When my business officially opened in October of 2013, it was one of the biggest accomplishments of my life. But it was also the start of a major time-suck for me, even if I love what I am doing the majority of the time. I am now constantly updating my calendar and am somewhat of a scheduling junky. I don’t attach myself my calendar because I like being attached to a life plan, although I do, but because I realized that if I want my dreams to come true and my life to stay on track, I have  to be incredibly organized with everything I do.  Both time management and organization have become second nature to me because it was and is necessary for them to be.

So many people in this world lack the basic skills of time management and organization, and it is clear to me that we would all be in a much better place in our lives if planning were much more prevalent. One begins to wonder why it is that the most important and relevant people in our society are sometimes the least together ones.

But experience shows us that the most organized people are the ones who get ahead in life. The CEOs and millionaires of this world are the people who schedule in their every waking minute and communicate the best with their peers and coworkers.

So what should one take away from this- when life gives you work, have fun with it; when life gives you more work, get organized; and when life falls apart, schedule in time to fix it!

Love, Ethan Brown Jones

A Utopian Abstract

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The sun shone warm and bright as I walked down the mall in the middle of September. How charming it was with the golden leaves of fall strewn across its brick walkway, how handsome the men were, how elegant the women. Each shop I passed seemed to both beckon and repel me with equivalent force. Was it just me, or did the people seem happier here, the cars shinier, the landscape somehow more content? Maybe it was all just a façade, perhaps not.

I drove on to the house of my dreams, a villa among houses, a mansion to many. The road bent right and I turned slowly onto my drive, a gravel road that grew somehow more gorgeous with each consequent bend. The road ended seductively in front of a wall of windows, shining in the afternoon sun’s warm rays. Shutting off the engine of my hot pink 1959 Cadillac DeVille, there was only one thing I wanted to do: fall into the arms of the boy behind that dark front door. I wanted to sit willfully at my deep black grand piano and play as I gazed out over the orangy-yellow hills. I wanted to walk up that flight of stairs, into my office, and just sit and sketch, a million inspirations pressing me onward. I wanted to sit back on my deck chair, a glass of red wine in hand, and write, my ideas spilling onto the page like a rushing mountain stream.

Now, I can imagine that crisp air, that perfect house, that perfect lover, that perfect life. But now, I crumple over my notebook, not in that dream house, not with that dream boy. I haven’t just driven up in that impeccable car; I am not brimming with ideas in my perfectly designed office. I sit now, in my cozy room. No lover awaits me. No view seems to inspire my artist’s passion.

But I sit and write, not because my life is absolute Utopia, but because all I want is to express that perfection. My desire is to live in that splendid dream-world, but nothing changes quickly. And as I write these words now, the ink flying effortlessly across the page, all I can think is that I am living, now. I am loving and hoping and working, now.

I must look up. I must realize the almost implausible perfection and beauty of my meager office, my all too familiar, lonesome boudoir. I must learn to accept and live, looking forward, gazing through memories. I must maintain what undeniable animation seems to exist at this very palpably existent moment.

Love, Ethan Brown Jones

Time, Effortless but Everlasting

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The rains falls gently by my window, wetting the green earth. All is dark outside, covered in a blanket of darkness as secure as it is unforgiving. Inside my room, the reassuring lamp-light nourishes my hopes and dreams as I write on into the night. There is a feeling that comes with the rain. A desperate feeling of longing along with a calm serenity encase the world around me as the music plays on.

As I sit in my room, the minutes draw on, each one a little bit longer than the last. Time seems to both race on towards the perpetually life-less end and sit unyielding and still, trapped in the methodical moments of now. Each object in my bedroom seems plainly familiar, yet simply immaculate. With no effort but to move my pen across the paper, I merely exist. And for what? My work is done, the schoolbooks lie in an intemperate pile at the foot of my bed, a constant reminder of my imposed purpose. So many stories are written about purpose, but who among us can honestly say we can even begin to comprehend the meaning of purpose.

As I sat last night, the hours drawing on, I blearily jabbed at my computer keyboard. I sat there writing for a very different reason than I do today, although a considerably similar story is seeming to be told. Writing my own bio for my website at 2 AM- that’s living for you. Why was I alone in my bedroom at 2 AM indulgently writing about nothing more than Me, Myself, and I? Because somehow, as short as life is, it is not at all effortless. I was writing to manifest the essence of me to the world just one more time in the infinitely endless time that draws on. I was writing I think to provoke some conspicuously omniscient force that would suddenly reveal itself and enlighten me about the purpose of existence. But what I provoked instead, even if mistakenly, was an ambitious desire to do more. To not just wait for some apparently substantive being to just drop my purpose clumsily in my lap, but to work everyday towards some inextricably tangible goal. Through the tedious process of bio-writing, I realized that not only am I working towards a solely paramount goal, but I have an abundance of futures waiting for me.

From fashion design to interior design, from styling to piano to makeup design to blogging, I have an inconceivable plethora of passions, dreams, and futures waiting just for me. Sitting, writing bios at 2 A.M, I realized something crucial, that I also love writing deeply. I love talking almost as much as life itself, so I guess writing doesn’t seem so outlandish. But I think between all my passions, I have come to the revelation that I want to be an artist. Designer, composer, virtuoso, playwright, creator, musician, architect- call it what you will, but I want to do all of it. I want to represent, to inspire, to perform, to create.

As time draws on, purpose slowly divulges itself. Truths become evident, Lives move on effortlessly. Time changes all of us in its way. Time is endless yet sudden, effortless yet gripping and constraining. Time is irrelevant now, nothing but the pattering of the rain and the soothing envelope of my covers affixes itself to my mind as I drift lazily on into forever.

Love, Ethan Brown Jones

Thoughts on Life

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Recently I realized something while listening to someone attempt to improvise while playing a jazz piece. I realized the reason that so many people don’t like playing music, and for that matter, can’t play music well. The reason, I realized, is that people don’t think enough about being creative, don’t think enough about their real feelings and emotions. Doing anything creative like music or art or designing involves thinking and thought so much. But what do we really think about? Do we think about our lives, our friends, our journeys, the people we love, or simply about creating the piece of art? What I have found is that so much of making art, designing clothes, and playing music is about thinking beyond the the piece.

It’s about thinking about expressing your emotions and ideas through that piece. When I play music, I try to create a story with it. I try to tell about my life and soul and try to say something meaningful. When I design, I try to put a piece of me into each design. My emotions, my thoughts, my personality, they’re all there. When I write, I try to dig so deep within myself that I am completely connected to my work. And when I make art,  I make it mine, about my life, and the way that I see the world.

The way I look at life and love is the reason I am me. I think about life every day. I think about my dreams, my passions, the people I love, and the things that I love to do. I am artist because I love to express, I love to let everything go and just see what happens. Art isn’t about creating something for other people, it’s about letting your life and emotions out through the art.

I love to think about my dreams. I love to think about my life. I love to think about every person and thing that I have loved and miss so much now. The way I live is all about thoughts, it’s all about making life the way you want it, while still just letting go and seeing the incredible things that can happen. Life is about closing your eyes and just listening, feeling, and experiencing the world around you. Life is about putting in your ear-buds, and taking a walk, just to have time to think on everything that needs to be thought about.

I love to just sit without trying to think about anything. Just sitting there looking out over the world, your mind wanders to where it wants to go, where it needs to go. Your mind knows more than you do. You know deep down how you feel about people, how you feel about love, how you feel about life. But your mind already knew all of these things.

As I write today, I sit on the deck, looking out over the aspen grove in front of my house, the pea green meadow beside it, and the dark green mountain and blue sky above it. I see what I want to see, I love who I want to love, I think about whatever I want to. And what I see is beauty and light and warmth all around me. Whom I love is Ian and Max and Clay and Evan, and all my friends. What I  think about is the love I’ve lost, the places I dream about, and the world I want to lose myself completely in. That’s what I think about. I think about life: my life, my future, and my past.

Love, Ethan Brown Jones

Wide Open Spaces

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I have felt many things in my life: heartbreak, love, passion, desire, sadness, depression, inspiration. But never have I felt stronger about anything in my life than the incredible love,  inspiration, and heartbreak of the last couple of weeks. I have felt such strong feelings, and isn’t that what living is really about, embracing every single feeling equally, not just the good or the bad. I embrace all that comes my way, but because of it, I feel so lost sometimes that I don’t know what to do. But what I have found, is that the more lost I feel, the more I want to get lost. I just want to walk off to someplace very far away, with nothing but the wind and the golden sun to keep me company. I want to leave everything behind, everything but my mind and my soul. I want to cry just to let out all that I have held in, and laugh and sing and yell. I want to leave behind all the pain and the sorrow, and feel nothing but clarity and love and heartbreak. I almost want to never be found. I want to just let everything go and walk away from it all.

In my moments of desperation, I realize that love will always prevail, that life will always go on, that I am me and always will be, and others will always be themselves too.  I will always be the person I am  today. I will always remember my past and dream about the future. I will always live in  another time than my own. But maybe, just maybe I can learn to live in the now by losing everything but my mind and the world around me.

I live for the wide open spaces in this world, the never-ending meadows of green and blue and gold, the wispy orange-peel sky spreading out beyond the horizon for as far as the eye can see. I live for the beautiful rolling ocean stretching out into my endless dreams. I live life for the endless views from my windows, admiring the minute details of every inch of earth, the glistening waters, the shining lights and all-encasing darkness. I love the quiet seclusion of someplace lost and far away, but also the bustling city and the stone pillars of buildings soaring ever upward. Life is too short to not admire the beauty in everything around you.

Living for the wide open spaces for me is about loving the quiet simplicity of a far away place. It’s about loving just thinking about life and being alone with your thoughts. Wide open spaces are the places you can dream, the places you can love and lose, the places you can make the big mistake, and the places that you can cry for the sake of letting go. I design to let go, I write to remember, I play to express, I make art to live my life. I like to be the person who lives for every minute of their life, the ups and the downs. I live everyday the way I want to, not the way any one else wants me too. That’s my life, my way, wide open spaces galore.

Love, Ethan Brown Jones