Starting Down the Road

You’ve stumbled across a project of self-indulgence. This blog will chronicle my renewed path, an artist’s road toward an art-committed life.

The road metaphor is not an accident. In the summer of 2010 I spent about five weeks driving through thirty-five U.S. states. Along the way I interviewed more than forty artists and creators — creatives, as I’ll be referring to them in this blog — about their rights under copyright, about their art, about creativity, and about living an art-committed life.

I began the trip as a journalist, wishing to capture their thoughts to share them with the world. Along the way, the trip also became about me, and about the dormant creative inside me.

Thus the self-indulgence. I am no longer merely a chronicler of others’ stories. Their stories have become a part of mine.

In future posts I will share experiences from the road. I’ll introduce readers to the artists I met. I’ll share how their stories and their sharing affected me. And I’ll offer insights on creativity and the creative process, building on what I do on Twitter.

So forgive my self-indulgence, and enjoy.

About Patrick Ross

I'm the author of Committed: A Memoir of the Artist's Road.

68 Responses to “Starting Down the Road”

  1. What a wonderful journey you’re on, Patrick. I don’t forgive your self-indulgence — I applaud it! Our culture doesn’t really encourage living a creative life, so every time one of us decides to buck that cultural influence it’s a great thing for all of us.

    Best of luck with your pursuit of a more creative life!

    ~Sandy Ackers

  2. Sandy,

    What a thoughtful and encouraging comment! It’s been many years since I engaged in the self-indulgence of an art-committed life. Back then, pre-interwebs, my support group was a half-dozen fellow writers, all of us finding a place to meet once a month where we didn’t have to spend any money to talk. (A nearby college student lounge often did the trick, it had great sofas and no one knew we weren’t students!)

    Now I feel I have the ability to have a broad network of support online, and I’m loving it!


  3. Patrick, this reminds me of an old paperback I have somewhere by Studs Terkel called Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do. Terkel also traveled the country interviewing people.

    To me, your interview subjects are far more exciting. I already wish I could read the book. (Any plans for a book? :~) I’m enthralled by the idea of that huge adventure you went on—both the inner and the outer adventure—and looking forward to reading more about it. (I’m in the middle of reading your Nov 1 post, “Living an Art-Committed Life,” and just *had to* click on the link that said “35-state road trip” for some quick background.)

  4. Hi @fearofwriting ! You know, while I was on the trip, blogging daily on my nonprofit advocacy site, a friend texted me that I was “the Studs Terkel of the Internet generation.” What a compliment!

    Yes, I definitely see a book here, this blog is helping me get my head around all of the things I want to put in it, while still making it a compelling read. I have an agent in New York awaiting a proposal, just have to finish putting it together. (Do I have a fear of finishing the proposal? Perhaps!)

    • Hi Patrick,

      I forgot to subscribe to the comments for this post so I didn’t see your reply till now. That’s completely awesome that you have an agent waiting for your proposal! I would be the first to line up to buy a copy when it’s published.

      How did you go with the proposal? If you’re still having any fear or procrastination issues about that, let me know. I would love to encourage you to finish.

      ~ Milli

      • Thank you, Milli, I appreciate the offer. I just wrapped up the proposal this week, we’ll see what the agent thinks. FYI, I went on to Amazon yesterday and ordered your book!

      • Fantastic, Patrick. I’m thrilled for you about the proposal being finished and an agent primed to look at it. Also excited for myself, as your potential first reader of the book. I’d love to hear how it goes with the proposal.

        Thanks for buying my book. I’m honored you’ll be reading it.

  5. Glad to catch up to you here and find that I’m not that far behind in your writings! Glad to see this blog and Love the name “The Artist’s Road” Now off to read October! LOL!


  6. Hi Leah,

    Great to hear from you! Happy reading, not too many posts for you to catch up on !🙂


  7. What an amazing idea! Wish I could have been a fly on the wall during all those interviews, but luckily I can be now with your videos. Thank you for sharing all this information. It is inspiring!
    I just found your site so I don’t know if you’ve mentioned this or not, but are you thinking about writing a book/ e-book about your travels? Just curious! Can’t wait to read more about your journey🙂

    • Hello, Angela! Thank you for visiting, it led me to your blog, which is also inspiring. I’m now intimidated, because I am no filmmaker, as I learned the hard way on this trip. (Audio was a bear, framing a shot, editing, all challenging, but lighting — oh my, lighting — I have so much respect for filmmakers now.)

      I am working on a book about the road trip and the artists I met, but the feedback I’ve received from blog readers is that they enjoy it most when I insert myself in the narrative, that is I share not just these artists but what they meant to me, how they inspired me personally. As a journalist by training I’m not really used to sharing, using the word “I” or writing in the first person.

      I’ve started a low-residency MFA in Writing program and am working with an instructor one-on-one on the book. Right now I’m crafting the section of the road trip (Virginia to Georgia) where my teenage daughter accompanied me, and I reconnected with her, discovering for the first time the young woman she is becoming. The process is very exciting, but it also means taking my time with the book, so it likely will be awhile before my literary agent can shop it in earnest.

      Thanks again for visiting and for your encouragement!


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