The Life-Changing Magic of Deleting Facebook

I’ve been throwing away a lot of stuff this year. Spurred on by Marie Kondo’s bestselling de-cluttering book I’ve tossed a few carloads of household junk. It’s been a few months since the big purge and I can honestly say I don’t miss a thing. I couldn’t even tell you what I got rid of. For those unfamiliar with the process it goes like this:

First, you first gather all your like items (books, clothes, etc) in a big pile.

Second, you pick up and hold each item in your hand and ask the question “Does this spark joy?” If it does, keep it, if not, chuck it.

That’s it. That’s the whole deal. Clutter-free nirvana awaits the willing.

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I see myself as a minimalist but I’m not one in practice. It’s one of those helpful self-delusions I maintain to insulate myself from consumer culture. To look down on it. The disappointing truth is that I live in a house and it’s filled with stuff. Two pianos. Half dozen guitars. One fancy ass Japanese toilet seat complete with blow dryer. Yeah, I’m not exactly a paragon of consumer restraint. And yet, my brushes with actual minimalism leave me thirsty for more.

I toured for nine months to support my last record. One suitcase, one bag; eat, drive, play, sleep, repeat. The Groundhog Day-like repetition became almost a mantra in itself. The daily rhythm provided a fertile back beat where my thoughts could freely flow. I remember one of my first days back from tour just sitting in my house and hating everything in it. My possessions felt oppressive. Heavy. Suffocating.

So I left. I took up ultralight backpacking and spent two weeks on the Superior Hiking Trail. I was surprised by how much I didn’t have to think about on the trail. No stuff around the house to fix up, no emails demanding attention, no collection of objects to maintain. Those two weeks were glorious. I worked out plans for a new record, came up with a concept for a youtube show and wrote a few songs. My brain, free of distractions, leapt into creative action. My cognitive circuits, riddled with cultural and consumerist malware, had been given a fresh reboot.

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With my physical space streamlined I started to think about clutter in my digital world. Does the time I spend online spark joy? I can still browse Twitter and be happy. Reddit too. Instagram’s alright with me. But Facebook? Not so much.

It’s hard for me to pinpoint when Facebook jumped the shark. Maybe it was when they went public. Maybe it was when they made it so only 3-7% of people could see my posts. Maybe it was when they started asking me for money to “boost” my content. Maybe it was when they fired the trending news team and replaced them with algorithms. Maybe it was during the election when my feed turned into the National Enquirer. Maybe it was when my mom joined.

Or maybe it’s just me? Maybe I don’t like having my personal life monetized. Maybe I don’t want my data shared with advertisers. Maybe I don’t like that it makes me think the worst of my family. Maybe I don’t want to constantly debunk fake news stories. Maybe I don’t enjoy ideological shouting matches that convince nobody. Maybe I’m just tired of maintaining a digital persona that exists to make other people think I’m cool. Maybe I don’t need the affirmation anymore.

It’s complicated for sure, but it certainly doesn’t spark joy. When I finally deactivated my account I felt a sense of relief. It’s only been a week, but I don’t miss it so far. It might be a long journey to complete digital bliss, but I feel like I’m on the path.

Superior Hiking Trail

I’m going on a walk.

From September 10-25, I’ll be on the Superior Hiking Trail in glorious northern Minnesota. I won’t be publishing a trail journal, but I’ll try to post on instagram when I have cell service. Feel free to comment with all your best hiking tips and tricks!

Here’s the route!

Here’s my pack!
https://lighterpack.com/r/g2td9h

Spring ’16 Supper Club Tour

I’ve been hard at work on a new record this winter! Okay okay–I’ve been baking a lot of sourdough bread AND working on a new record. I’m not sure when it will be out, but I’ve got about a dozen new songs I’d like to try.

If you’re not familiar with the Supper Club format, it’s a concert + a potluck. This tour will feature new songs, new merch, the same old “Inappropriate Question Jar” and of course, great food.

Tickets are available on my merch store.

May 26 – St Anthony Village, MN – sold out
May 27 – Minneapolis, MN – sold out
May 28 – St Paul, MN – sold out
May 29 – Lakeville, MN – sold out
May 30 – St Paul, MN
May 31 – Minnetonka, MN – sold out
June 1 – St Cloud, MN
June 2 – St Paul, MN – sold out
June 3 – Hopkins, MN – sold out
June 4 – Maple Grove, MN – sold out
June 5 – Madison, WI
June 6 – Chicago, IL
June 7 – Rochester, MN – sold out
June 9 – Northfield, MN – sold out

 

Do You Enjoy Having Strange (But Cool) People In Your Home?

I’ve been bunkered down in Minnesota working on a new record over the winter, but I’m thinking about hitting the road to try out some new songs. If you like music, food, and a house full of strangers consider hosting a Supper Club show this spring! Send an email to: jeremymessersmithmusic@gmail.com.

Star Wars

Thirty years friends.

Thirty years since we’ve had a good Star Wars film.

Thirty years we’ve waited to find out what happens to Luke, Leia, Han, Chewie, R2, and Threepio.

And tonight, we’ll know.

Ever since I was a child, Star Wars has been the language of my imagination. I suspect that a lot of you, like me, have spent hours dreaming and projecting yourself into that universe: cardboard tube lightsaber in hand or earmuffs at the ready. My favorite scene in Star Wars is a simple one- young Luke Skywalker gazing upon a binary sunset, yearning for adventure, curious about the future. It’s the longing felt by all young people as they try to find their way in the world. As a homeschooled kid growing up on a farm (in the desert no less), let’s just say I identified with Luke. A lot.

I felt the disappointment of the prequels deeply. The hype was unimaginable and the letdown was crushing; for me it was a near existential crisis. Star Wars was so much a part of me and I couldn’t reconcile how terrible the films were. I remember driving home from The Phantom Menace in my dad’s truck in a state of shock. The prequels were as wrenching to me as Luke discovering his true heritage.

And yet, Star Wars remained a part of me. It didn’t have the same power- I became more or less immune to the merchandise and the subsequent sequels and spinoffs. The planned 3D re-issue of the films felt like a gratuitous cash crab. Still, Star Wars lived on in my imagination.

A few years back, I was driving home from work and a little melody popped into my head. It was simple; childlike. By the time I got home, the entire song was nearly finished. I quickly opened garageband and recorded what I thought would be a demo into my laptop microphone. And that was it.

After the video for the song went viral I started getting emails; emails from all over the world. It was more email than I could ever answer (sorry about that!). They all felt the same way I did. Letdown. Disappointed. Heartbroken. The song seemed to help them sum up how they felt. It was a dark time for Star Wars fans.

Now after thirty years in the wilderness, we have what appears to be a good Star Wars film, made by fans who love it.

And I’ve never felt more like a kid.

May the Force be with you,

Jeremy

US Supper Club Dates

Hi all,

I just announced some Supper Club shows this September around the Midwest and East Coast. If a musical potluck sounds like your idea of a good time get some tickets while you can!

Bon Appetit,

Jeremy

7/20 Fargo, ND
7/22 Spokane, WA
7/23 Kirkland, WA
7/24 Portland, OR
7/26 Corvallis, OR
7/28 San Francisco, CA
7/29 Reno, NV
7/30 Salt Lake City, UT
8/1 Denver, CO
8/2 Wichita, KS
8/3 Kansas City, MO (Sold Out)
8/4 Omaha, NE
8/7 Minneapolis, MN (Sold Out)
8/8 Minneapolis, MN (Sold Out)
8/9 Minneapolis, MN (Sold Out)
8/10 Minneapolis, MN (Sold Out)
9/8 Oshkosh, WI
9/9 Milwaukee, WI
9/10 Evanston, IL
9/11 Chicago, IL
9/12 Indianapolis, IN
9/13 Columbus, OH
9/14 Cleveland, OH
9/16 Washington, DC
9/17 Silver Springs, MD
9/19 Durham, NC
9/20 Chattanooga, TN

Supper Club Tour 2015

Supper Club 2015

Hi all,

I’m happy to announce some new Supper Club Tour dates. If you’d like to eat some great food, hang out with some cool people and hear me test drive some new songs, then pick up a ticket!

ECHO PARK, CA 5/6
MSP, MN 5/27
MSP, MN 5/28
MSP, MN 5/29
MSP, MN 5/30
AUSTIN, TX 6/8
BURNSVILLE, MN6/17
ST. PAUL, MN 6/18
DEEPHAVEN, MN 6/20
EDINA, MN 6/21
HUTCHINSON, MN 6/22
ROCHESTER, MN 6/23
WEBSTER, WI 6/24
DULUTH, MN 6/25
FARGO, ND 7/20
KIRKLAND, WA 7/23
PORTLAND, OR 7/24
CORVALLIS, OR 7/26
SF, CA 7/28
RENO, NV 7/29
SLC, UT 7/30
DENVER, CO 8/1
WICHITA, KS 8/2
KC, MO 8/3
OMAHA, NE 8/4

I’m looking at add some shows on the east coast this fall, so if you are interested in hosting email me at jeremymessersmithmusic@gmail.com.

Supper Club 2015

I’m thinking about doing another Supper Club Tour this year. What is a Supper Club show like? Well, it’s a big musical potluck. Everybody brings food to share and I bring my guitar. If you’d like to host a show at your home, send an email to jeremymessersmithmusic at gmail.com.Supper Club Tour Teaser

Holiday Single “Let’s Ditch Christmas” Available Now

doyle_ditchchristmas01_final
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I’m a grinch.

For whatever reason, presents, candy canes, Santa, caroling (ESPECIALLY caroling), and little tater tots with their eyes all aglow don’t do much for me. So, I did what you’d expect and wrote a Christmas song. MERRY CHRISTMAS.

I hate most holiday music, but the stuff I do love comes almost exclusively from the crooner era of the ’50s and 60’s: Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby and so on. The lyrics are pure schmaltz, the arrangements are sugary, but throw in a playful bourbon-soaked vocal with a dash of sleigh bells and it just works.

With “Let’s Ditch Christmas” I tried to combine grinchy-ness with a big band sound I love. I hope you like it.

Happy Holidays,

Jeremy

P.S. – If anyone at Fox News reads this: this is the War on Christmas’ ground zero. It is my sincere hope that this song becomes a battle-hymn and next year we are all dancing around Festivus poles or celebrating Saturnalia or something.