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Arts & (Hover)crafts
"To Build a Throne": My Essay on James Hampton

“To Build a Throne”: My Essay on James Hampton

Read my latest piece, “To Build a Throne” (In Touch Magazine), which reflects on the work of African-American janitor James Hampton, who secretly built a 177-piece collection of throne-room furnishings for the return of Christ before his death in 1964. Photos courtesy of the Smithsonian. Excerpt: “If God chose to enter the world in the...
CTJ Designs Jennifer Luitwieler's "Seven Days in May" Book Cover

CTJ Designs Jennifer Luitwieler’s “Seven Days in May” Book Cover

In February, I designed the cover of Jennifer Luitwieler’s new book, a novel titled Seven Days in May. Unfortunately, I did not draw the marvelous map of Tulsa that adorns the cover. That’s an authentic work from 1918. My biased review of the book is up at Amazon here. Buy the book, and follow Jennifer...
New IMAGE Essay + Spotify Playlist + NIGHTMARRIAGE Pre-Order

New IMAGE Essay + Spotify Playlist + NIGHTMARRIAGE Pre-Order

NEW IMAGE JOURNAL BLOG ESSAY, “THE ARMCHAIR ASTRONAUT” + SPOTIFY PLAYLIST Read my latest IMAGE Journal essay, an adaptation from The Stained-Glass Kaleidoscope titled “The Armchair Astronaut,” here. In the meantime, I am providing you with a Spotify playlist I assembled as a companion to this essay. It is inspired by my dad, who loves...
Living Fossils: New IMAGE "Good Letters" Blog Essay

Living Fossils: New IMAGE “Good Letters” Blog Essay

My latest essay for IMAGE Journal‘s “Good Letters” blog at Patheos.com is now live. Read it here. It’s about found treasures (vinyl ones—not golden ones, all you Spanish explorer wanna’bes!), underground ’80s Christian pogo-punkers Undercover (see below), the extinction of dinosaurs and record stores alike, coelacanths, and a little local flavor in the form of...
FUN-draiser, CTJ Interview, & Limited Edition, Signed Print Copies of NIGHTMARRIAGE

FUN-draiser, CTJ Interview, & Limited Edition, Signed Print Copies of NIGHTMARRIAGE

The FUN-draiser My NIGHTMARRIAGE eBook is well underway at this time, and I am calling on you to contribute to my publisher’s Indie-Go-Go fundraising campaign. “What’s in it for me?” you ask. “I’ve already Kickstarted and Indie-Go-Go’ed myself all the way to bankruptcy, and now I live out of an Easy Bake Oven box.” To...
The Tragicomedy "La Femme": FREE Album & "Behind the Music"-esque Retrospective

The Tragicomedy “La Femme”: FREE Album & “Behind the Music”-esque Retrospective

ABOUT “LA FEMME”: Tracks 1-9 were produced by Scott Patterson. Tracks 10-12 were recorded live at the Nu Brew Coffeehouse in Springfield, MO by Bryan Carlstrom. Tracks 13-15 were recorded as demos to cheapo boombox by one Chad Thomas Johnston. All lyrics and music were written by Chad Thomas Johnston except 1) “Grace” (Lyrics/Music by...
What Werner Herzog Got in Zee Mail From Us

What Werner Herzog Got in Zee Mail From Us

In 2008, I pitched a documentary idea to New German Cinema director Werner Herzog via snail mail. I sent the same pitch via email. His office completely ignored my snail mail, but replied to my email. In a tone that was both kind and playful, his employees explained that Mr. Herzog was otherwise engaged with...
CTJ Designs "Building a Life Out of Words" Book Cover

CTJ Designs “Building a Life Out of Words” Book Cover

Just finished my first ever paying book cover design! It’s nice when dead presidents can validate your meager attempts at art. Thanks to Shawn Smucker for giving me a chance. It was a pleasure, despite the fact that it took me around 30 hours to create from start to finish. I began by creating fonts out of...
The Innocence Mission: IMAGE Essay + the VHS Tape We Sent the Band

The Innocence Mission: IMAGE Essay + the VHS Tape We Sent the Band

My latest essay, “The Flowering Dark,” is now available to read on IMAGE Journal’s “Good Letters” blog. Read it here.  The essay looks at Lent through the lens of the Innocence Mission’s Birds of My Neighborhood LP, or at least how this record impacted a solemn season of my own life. At the end of...
Wheat Three Kings: A (Rightfully) Lost Christmas Story

Wheat Three Kings: A (Rightfully) Lost Christmas Story

Wheat three kings set out from Kansas, following a great glowing scythe in the sky. When they arrived at Bethlehem and beheld the Christ-child, they bowed down in worship. But they were dismissed by Mary when they presented their gifts. “Wheat germ? What kind of gift is that for a child?” she said, tears welling up in...
"A Light Goes On": A FREE Holiday Art + Music Compilation for the Naughty & Nice

“A Light Goes On”: A FREE Holiday Art + Music Compilation for the Naughty & Nice

My friend Sam Billen has orchestrated yet another fantastic holiday project this year. It’s called “A Light Goes On,” and it is a synthesis of art and music that pairs musicians’ Christmas songs with visuals that likewise celebrate the festive season. It features works by the ever whimsical and wonderful Half-Handed Cloud, Japan’s The Tenniscoats,...
Christmas Chrome: Audio of CTJ & His Sister Alyssa at Ages 6 and 2, Respectively

Christmas Chrome: Audio of CTJ & His Sister Alyssa at Ages 6 and 2, Respectively

If you really follow my blog (I don’t, but you might), you’ll know I ran this exactly a year ago today. But I figure a rerun is acceptable on occasions such as these, when new parenthood has left my eyes bloodshot, my brain beleaguered, my hair prematurely gray. I exaggerate: Baby Evie is a delight....