Joni Mitchells' Sh*tty First Draft by Melanie Ida Chopko

Last week my cousin and I gave each other a writing challenge - finish a full draft of our stories/songs by Friday or we would donate $50 to DJT's re-election campaign. Ah, nothing like the negative incentive to get my butt into gear!

I thought you might enjoy this "unfinished draft" played live by Joni Mitchell. It's incredibly inspiring for me as a writer to hear the humble beginnings of one of her most iconic songs, "All I Want." To hear how at one point, it could even be described as sloppy. I think it's so powerful to see early drafts of master writers/filmmakers/performers. To remind all of us it's not about pixie dust,  just persistence.


It reminds me of some of the best writing advice I ever got - from a man who did sand-castle building contests. In the contest, the team has three hours to go from blank beach Alameda Beach to a giant castle sculpture. "What's incredible is after two hours, it's still just a pile of sand." I love that.

What ever you're up to, KEEP GOING!



Books on Money I like by Melanie Ida Chopko

A few weeks ago i participated in a dialogue on money between artists of all different backgrounds. It's always amazing to me how quickly talking about money becomes a discussion of nearly everything it touches - our social identities, our relationships, our family stories and memories, the political and economic forces around us, the value of art, how we spend our time. And then there's my actual JOB!

Over and over I notice people just like me grappling  big time with money: creative,  dedicated in spiritual practice, politically engaged- and self-described "bad with money." Especially as artists, there's an extra "damned if you do, damned if you don't" feel. Recently it has started to kind of piss me off - I don't want us to be so bullied by this thing.

For the past five years, money kinda became my transformation partner. I've read a bunch of books and taken a few of classes to learn how to use it clearly, skillfully and with integrity. I thought you might like some of these resources too! These are the ones that continue to be most supportive as I practice.

THE ENERGY OF MONEY: MARIA NEMETH This book has probably shaped me more than any other: Because money is so black and white specific, Nemeth argues how we do money is how we do our lives. (WILD.) Who are we willing to be with money? What our our standards of integrity with money, and what stories are we willing to leave behind?

FREE YOUR MONEY I took a class with Isaak Brown and love his set of articles at My biggest take away: What if earning money is giving value? How does that change how I think about what I charge, and how I provide for myself?

THE SCIENCE OF GETTING RICH: WALLACE WATTLES This book is from 1910, written by a potato farmer! Wattles defines money as energy to unpack our purpose on behalf of the divine. In my class we read 4 chapters every day for 90 days - If I missed a day, I started over. (I missed lots of days before I set up a support team! Big learning.)

We read chapters 4, 7, 11, & 14: Having clear Vision, practicing Gratitude, doing the Action in front of my with my whole heart and mind, being above all else a person of Service & Increase.

MONEY SPIRITUALITY & CONSCIOUSNESS: MAYURI ONERHEIM I'm reading this one right now with my dad! Since money impacts every part of our lives, what if it were the primary practice ground for spiritual principles? What if the broken economic system is the result of separating it from our spiritual nature? I really like this idea of money as the meeting place of our divine nature and animal body.

Send me your favorite money book! Let me know what you think!
Love to you on the path,

A Stretchy ask : will you help me make a tour? by Melanie Ida Chopko

I have a kinda crazy idea I'd love your help with. We're done mixing a full band single of my song Below the Weather & the Waves (IT'S SO PRETTY!) When I release it, I'd like to spend a week or two going on a house concert tour - my first ever! House concerts are some special magic - I could have heard a pin drop when I played the last one and just fell in love.

Would you be up to host me for a house concert this August? It's a bit of a stretch to ask, and the idea of hosting might be a stretch for you too. Team stretch, you and me. It won't cost anything to host a concert, you'd just to
- have a space large enough for guests to sit comfortably for a cozy hour of listening (living room, backyard, mausoleum, etc.)
- invite your friends!

Then Voila! A tour. Please write me back if you're curious about being a part of my summer living room adventure, and as always, thank you for being here!