We’re excited to introduce you to the always interesting and insightful Jeremy M. Brownlowe. We hope you’ll enjoy our conversation with J.M. below.
Jeremy, thanks for joining us, excited to have you contributing your stories and insights. I’m sure there have been days where the challenges of being an artist or creative force you to think about what it would be like to just have a regular job. When’s the last time you felt that way? Did you have any insights from the experience?
At the time of writing this, I haven’t rented a room or an apartment in seven years. Instead, I have dedicated myself fully to living the lifestyle as a traveling artist. When I tell people what I do they often respond in awe and envy, saying they wish they had the guts to do what I do. And it certainly does take guts. Living out of a van, traveling place to place, can look really great on social media, but it definitely has it’s challenges. It’s easy to feel displaced, lonely, drink too much, and feel only one step above being homeless. I’ve slept in casino parking lots, bathed in beach showers that barely work, and shaved in cold rivers. I’ve forgone hot water on demand, lasting romantic relationships, and have had passive aggressive notes left on my windshield reminding me I am an outsider. And would I trade it for the normal 9-5 lifestyle? Hell no! I’m a firm believer of “living for the story” (as a good friend/fellow poet, Julia Laxer, has coined), and the typical rat race is too boring for me. I am blessed to have family, friends and supporters scattered around the country, and even though I am not firmly rooted anywhere I value the communities that have welcomed me. Living the dream isn’t always easy, but it’s always worth it.
Jeremy, before we move on to more of these sorts of questions, can you take some time to bring our readers up to speed on you and what you do?
Since I hit the road in 2015, I have been touring the country as Typewriter Troubadour writing custom poems for people using an old manual typewriter. Eventually, the success from this endeavor became the vehicle to launch my second business – Crystal Caravan Stones – where I sell crystals, stones, jewelry, and treasures I find in my travels. I have also used my travels as the backdrop for music videos I make with friends across the country to document my journey. I hope that my work – whether is it singing a song, writing a poem, or selling a crystal will inspire others to express their authenticity.
For you, what’s the most rewarding aspect of being a creative?
I love that moment when I read back a poem I had just wrote for someone, and see it’s impact right then and there. It is so rewarding to be able to express and reflect people’s stories, and I feel honored they trust me with their vulnerabilities. I am also proud of all of the books I have published myself – anthologies of Typewriter Troubadour poems or novellas about my (mis)adventures on the road and in life – as well as the music videos I make for songs I record in my family’s basement whenever I make my way to Georgia. Lastly, I am just happy that I have never given up on my talents, and continue to develop them.
Learning and unlearning are both critical parts of growth – can you share a story of a time when you had to unlearn a lesson?
I think most creatives are introspective – and also their own worst critic. I know I certainly am. Being someone who is driven to do all the work themselves, I have to supply myself with the reassurance and validation a traditional team would provide an artist. I was recently typing at a big event in Las Vegas – which was one of my favorite festivals – and had a moment of imposter syndrome. It was held at a New Orleans themed venue, and I had a moment where I remembered I had typed in the actual city of New Orleans – as well as all across the country – and recognized I had made quite the career out of Typewriter Troubadour and had earned my spot at this festival with all the hard work I have put in over the years. So I guess the moral of the story is to always believe in yourself, don’t sell yourself short, and don’t get in your own way of success!
- Website: http://www.typewritertroubadour.com
- Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/typewritertroubadour
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCi6ym786IT3_0OeojHvzKnA
- Other: Besides creating custom poetry as Typewriter Troubadour, I have two other creative expressions: Crystal Caravan Stones — http://www.instagram.com/crystalcaravanstones J.M. Browne & The Burning Desire — http://www.jmbrowne.bandcamp.com
Main photo taken by Chris Param.