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Scratch This Itch

Jean Synodinos | Austin, TX

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Writing

If You Never Met Freida…

If you were never among the privileged souls who spent some time with my dog and best friend Freida, please let me tell you about her now. We met outside of the HEB supermarket on the corner of Manchaca and Slaughter, August 2006.  I was pulling into the parking lot when I saw a very animated family, a very large box, and a very big sign saying “Free Puppies.”

Continue reading “If You Never Met Freida…”

My NYC Marathon: NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo: it’s not a foot race, but it is definitely a marathon. Ever heard of it? It’s National Novel Writing Month. Every year, tens of thousands of fools commit to writing a 50,000 word first draft in the month of November.

This year, I’m one of them.  Continue reading “My NYC Marathon: NaNoWriMo”

When Old Dreams Really Come True (#SXSW)

It’s 1981.

I’m a theater major at Duke University in Durham, NC. I hate frats and sororities but still dig the basketball team. I live off campus. I have insanely phenomenal friendships (still well intact 30 years later). We study hard and party harder. We Think Big Thoughts. We play our music LOUD, and we are going to change the fucking world. There is not a minute wasted in our lives. Not one. Continue reading “When Old Dreams Really Come True (#SXSW)”

Neighbors

If there’s one thing I’m sure of, the stories each person, each family are remarkably similar. The characters may have different names, may look and sound different, but we have common denominators–victories, failures, endurance, and comic relief.

Continue reading “Neighbors”

Families by Marriage and Choice

I love my family of birth. I can’t imagine life without my mom or my sister and her family. That’s all there, intact and wonderful.

I love my family of choice, those friendships acquired and maintained over the decades, from college to a decade in NYC to my years here in Austin.

And I’ve recently realized that I love, very much, my family once by marriage and now by choice. Continue reading “Families by Marriage and Choice”

When Work Makes the Dark Days Light

The last few days of 2014 may well have been the best of the year. Actually, the were the best, and–with my fingers tightly crossed–I hope they’re the map for 2015. I spent these days laying down the basic tracks for the new album, love & blood.

Continue reading “When Work Makes the Dark Days Light”

Incongruous

Incongruous is the only word to describe this month. As the definition below suggests, things are “not in harmony.” Continue reading “Incongruous”

Lessons Learned From Two Weeks of Crowdfunding

The Kickstarter campaign for my next recording is now officially two weeks old, and it’s going gangbusters (92% funded as of this post)!

So for all creatives and makers and DIY’ers out there, I thought I’d share a few very quick lessons learned in case you’re thinking of finding support for your next project. Continue reading “Lessons Learned From Two Weeks of Crowdfunding”

Night & Day

I just sold this painting to a wonderful couple up in Salt Lake City, I couldn’t be happier about it, either. I learned a lot doing this particular canvas. Continue reading “Night & Day”

Change: It Ain’t What It Used to Be

“Change. It ain’t what it used to be.”

My ex said that to me once, apropos of almost nothing, and it made me laugh so hard I had to grab a pen and write it down. Continue reading “Change: It Ain’t What It Used to Be”

Austin’s Trees & Things That Live in Them

Here in Austin, we don’t have a lot of exotic trees. We have multitudes of sturdy and steady Live Oak; they only shed their leaves as new ones emerge, giving us year-round greenery. We have gnarly Mountain Juniper trees with branches like witches’ fingers, Continue reading “Austin’s Trees & Things That Live in Them”

You’re Pretty Good… For a Girl

I had dinner recently with my good friend Carla Black, founder of Rockrgrl magazine and MEOW (Musicians for Equal Opportunities for Women). She spent decades as a tireless advocate for women in music. Sadly, that’s no way to make a living, so she’s recently jumped the wall and will make her first million selling precious Austin real estate. You go, girl. Continue reading “You’re Pretty Good… For a Girl”

Mercy, Mercy

I’ve been doing some painting that aligns in some way with songs I anticipate recording this fall. This one, “Mercy,” contrasts the overwhelming force of nature against those of us occupying space on the planet. Continue reading “Mercy, Mercy”

Comparing To-Do Lists

In my circle of acquaintances, I am the Queen of the To-Do List. I have a daily, weekly, and monthly list. Mostly, they serve me well. Occasionally they’re a big ball and chain, and I ignore them all for a week or more… until it’s clear that shit still needs to get done. Continue reading “Comparing To-Do Lists”

A Few (More) Haiku for Summer

 

The fine summer sand
That stole home in your sneakers
Kisses your toes in fall. Continue reading “A Few (More) Haiku for Summer”

That’s the Job

 

We ache for shared vocabulary, linguistic or otherwise, and it’s the job of the artist to find a common language that will make others sit up, take notice, and recognize themselves in the art. The common language is context. It’s community.

It might take a lifetime to learn the language, but that’s the job.

 

I Heart NOLA

I guess the first time I visited New Orleans was about 12 years ago, before Katrina changed its face and heart and soul. Continue reading “I Heart NOLA”

Picture

There’s a song destined for the next album. It’s called “Picture.”

My ex and I talk often, and I imagine it will be quite awhile before I stop thinking about what, to me, should have been a phenomenal partnership. Continue reading “Picture”

Specialization Begins At Home

Creativity of one sort or another is in the DNA of my people. Visual arts, performing arts — the bases are covered on both sides of the gene pool. So one might assume that my sister and I have each had wild and lifelong experiences bopping around from discipline to discipline. Continue reading “Specialization Begins At Home”

A Few Haiku for Summer

The weekend cowboy’s
Pressing business out of town
Left her eating dust. Continue reading “A Few Haiku for Summer”

One Year Ago Today

One year ago today, I woke up and said, “I’m ready to paint.” Continue reading “One Year Ago Today”

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