Why I haven’t been writing, but need to NOW.

my-hipstaprint-0I am an external processor.  I need to get my thoughts outside of my head and heart to be able to, with any sense of accuracy, decipher them.  For my entire life, I’ve used the generous ears of others to intellectually and emotionally wrestle with myself. With this incessant, outloud-thinking, I’ve burned a bridge or two – exhausting the patience of some and fully completely running off others. Despite this disease of the mouth, my wife remains by my side and I still consider myself in the good graces of at least a handful of close friends.

For the majority of my life, I’ve been extremely insecure with my identity as a verbal processor.  It’s not normal, at least in the, “most people don’t do this” sort of “normal test”.  I hate burdening people with my circular thoughts and rhetorical questions. I am keenly aware of the moment a friend has “had enough” of my rambling and their eyes “gloss over” in mental exhaustion. It would be so much easier to have simpler and more focused conversations with my wife, instead of problem-solving, thought-explorative, or introspective ones.
But I’ve come to terms with this part of who I am.  I need to let the chaos in my head and heart escape from their confines and breathe the open air of the world – if even for a few moments. I realize that having these “conversations with myself” have the potential to be damaging.  What emerges from these sessions are often unfinished and less than fully matured. Processing externally means I will often say things I don’t mean. I will inevitably be guilty of staking claim to concepts that I haven’t had sufficient time to ponder.  I will make responses without considering the depths and complexity of emotion or experience. Above all, I will be wrong….and often.  But, this is how I best understand myself – through the public, yet honest exploration of what is really going on inside myself.
For so many years, I’ve dabbled with writing as a medium for this self-discovery, but have never given it the effort or applied the discipline necessary to make a real go at it.  I wonder if it might be a more healthy way to get my thoughts out. When I verbally process my thoughts, the other person serves as a mirror, reflecting the beauty or horror of my thinking so that I may become aware of it.  For some reason, no matter how well i thinkI understand the thoughts in my head, seeing their impact on the expression of a friend is so much more exposing.  But perhaps the words on a page can serve me in this way.  On the page,  I can see the ideas as if they came from someone else.  Once the concepts have been submitted, I can react to and judge them as if they have been somehow divorced from my possession. And then there’s the possibility that this “thinking outloud” might resonate with others who come across it and provide a sense of comfort, of challenge, or of solidarity. This is the most I can hope – that in the selfish need to understand myself, that someone might come to better understand themselves.
So I will try to write. I get over the hill of excuses and self-doubt.  I will write for myself and, in doing so, hope that it extends beyond myself.

a creative week

As the new year rolled around, I made a commitment to better document aspects of my life, not because I’m arrogant enough that think that my life is all that interesting, but because I want to intentionally leave behind a trail of my existence that gives my kids (and their kids) a narrative and understanding into who I was and more importantly, what was important to me. To see my original post on this, click here.

On another note, I’ve taken vows with a few others who are a part of The Symbol Collective, to create as a regular rhythm of life.  Last week, I had the opportunity to spend a good amount of time creating things and wanted to post them all here:

Monk Rawk Custom Taphandles:


Monk Rawk Business Cards:


4 Homebrewed beers (a wheat, an IPA, a Pale Ale, and our PHX BrewParty-winning Whiskey-barrel porter)


First Friday Exhibition at fractal (in living…. we have ceased to be alive)



Taco Day 4 will be livecast on the web

For those of you who don’t live in Phoenix, but want to celebrate Taco Day with us, will be live streaming the event all day on Saturday including some special looks into Taco Day and interviews with guests at every 2 hours starting at 10am. The live stream is also a great way see what’s going on before you head over or after you leave.

Until Saturday, the channel will loop previous Taco Day videos for your TacoDay preparation. We’ll see you at TacoDay4!

Making beer as a creative endeavor

I am convinced that everyone is creative and I’m a big advocate for all to discover (or re-discover) the ways in which creativity is best expressed in their lives. For many who aren’t painters, musicians, writers, or sculptors, it is assumed that they are un-creative and give up exploring and nurturing the imaginative part of themselves. As a part of what I do, I design websites and print materials, which is inherently creative. But I’ve been exploring some more practical and historically creative endeavors – mainly beer-making. For the past year, I’ve been learning to make beer in my basement. It’s a lot of fun, really interesting (there’s a lot of science involved), and the end product tastes great! This is sure to become a big hobby as we’ve already pulled off an epic homebrew party and I’m even contemplating starting a homebrew blog at some point to help others interested in getting started. We’re also taking sign-ups for friends to sit-in on our next brew session to observe how it easy it is. Leave a comment if you’re interested in being a part of it.

Here’s a short video of my latest batch of Cream Ale (best beer and people’s choice award winner) fermenting in the basement brewery:

Fermenting Cream Ale from Zack Newsome on Vimeo.

A Successful 1st Attempt

This past saturday, we hosted the 1st Annual PHX BrewParty. Having gotten into brewing my own beer over the past year as a way to combine two of my interests, creativity & beer, we discovered that a lots of our friends were into the idea as well.  Never wanting to miss a chance to spur the creativity of others (or to take advantage of a perfect creative party idea) we decided to throw a party that would showcase how good homebrewed beer can be, spur a little friendly competition between friends who brew, and spread a little community spirit along the way.

Well, now that the party is behind us, here’s some of the observations:

– it was good

– we had a really good and diverse mix of people (neighbors, friends, friends of neighbors, etc)

– we had some good music. My friend, Dee, and some of his DJ friends, brough it and it kept the party lively and fun.

– the beers were good – the Cream Ale took the prizes, but every beer was different, good, and consumed (we ran out of beer early)

– the labels were great – (having designers brew beer keeps the aestetic high)

– having a front yard party is the way to go – something about it being out IN the neighborhood breaks down the barriers of who IS and who ISN’T invited

– parties should be judged on their ability to unite people who don’t normally rub shoulders and by how well they capture a spirit of hospitality and community. (This is why we LOVE the throw parties)

– We love our neighborhood and the people we share life and proximity with.

– Everyone REALLY seemed to have a good time.  People hung around for a long time.  it was really good.

For those who missed it, here are some photos and videos to give you an idea of what it all looked/felt like:

BrewParty ‘08 Photos via Flickr

BrewParty ‘08 from Zack Newsome on Vimeo..

BrewParty ‘08 from Zack Newsome on Vimeo.

Micro-businesses to fund mission

Within the communitas circles of CRM, we’ve been talking a lot about the future of mission, especially how it will be funded.  It is clear that as paradigms of church change and we more and we feel more of the effects of a US economy officially in recession, the financial resources available to those involved in mission are harder and harder to come by. For some, these realities will inevitably be seen as a season as they cling to the hope that all will go back to normal as things right themselves.  For others, it propels us deeper into discussions and considerations that we’ve been anticipating for a while now – that new streams of funding must be explored for those who exist in mission roles (overseas or on domestic soil).

This week, the various site communitas site leaders (Phil Alessi in New York City, Doug Humphreys in San Diego, & Mike Brantley in New Orleans) are going to be in Phoenix and one of the topics that will no doubt be at the top of our list is the “future of funding”.

One of the things we’ve been talking about here in Phoenix is the starting of micro-businesses.  Starting businesses both are redemptive (at least if done right) and allow for some great flexibility for those involved in mission.  Some that we’re exploring: a small web/print design company, t-shirts and other silk-screened items, fair trade items imported directly from AIDS-affected communities in Africa, and candy machine routes. What we’re shooting for is for them to provide at least part-time employment to those involved, allowing those on mission with us to have a source of income while ensuring some margin for life/mission/etc.

Andrew Jones has been hosting a “recession-centered” conversation about funding on his blog that has both been insightful and interesting.  Check it out here.  He also poses an interesting question about how we might invest in the church to help it sustain itself through the recession that’s worth some thought.  Andrew recently linked here as a part of the discussion (thanks!)

What do you think about all of this?  What needs to change?  What are your ideas to re-imagine funding for those involved in ministry in various capacities?

A Prayer for Imagination

God give me your eyes,
To see the potential of the world around me.
Help me to recognize that which is unfinished, raw, and “in progress”.
Give me the ability to imagine what could be,
To see “raw resources” rather than “finished product”.
Give grace to my flawed perspective,
That I in turn may give grace to all that I see.

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