Category Archives: Photography

Book Launch

If Walls Could Write Cover - Jeffrey Johnston

Greetings friends, family, Web-based acquaintances and classmates of scholastic endeavors recent and yesteryear alike.  At long last my fevered writing pace has decelerated if only momentarily, but with it comes the product of my efforts.  I am pleased to announce that my debut fiction short story collection is finally complete and has been released.  If Walls Could Write and Other Stories is a collection of fifteen stories related to the human condition.

To my fellow Willow Glen High School alumni, it may interest you to learn that some of these stories are set in the Willow Glen neighborhood where I grew up.  One story in particular Driver’s Training, revolves around a W.G.H.S. Driver’s Training class that went horribly wrong.  A synopsis of the stories and a link to purchase both print and Kindle editions can be found by clicking on the “Books” page tab of my blog above and is also located on my Amazon Author Page.

My blog: www.jeffreyjohnston.net/books

Purchase from my Amazon author page (HERE).

To those of you who endured my MIA status from social events and my sporadic lack of attention to your needs, I offer my most sincere request for forgiveness.  I hope that you understand… I am a writer.  While a very gratifying existence, it is also a very solitary one.

Cheers

Jeffrey L. Johnston

2013, the Year in Reflection

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It is the first day of 2014 and I find myself reflecting on the previous year with a full heart and a smile of contentment on my face. Many positive things have occurred in my life during the preceding year. Attaining several personal goals that I had set for myself in my own life only affirm what I have known for a very long time… what I tell those who doubt their own capabilities; we can do anything that we set our minds to do. Nothing is beyond our reach if we are willing to put in the time and the effort to achieve our goals, reach for the stars and work hard for what we want.

I attained a very personal scholastic goal with the completion of my MFA in creative writing program. This, I must say, ranks highest on my list of achievements for the year, although I embarked on that path more than two years earlier. This accomplishment is followed closely by the completion of my debut short story collection If Walls Could Write and Other Stories which I expect to publish in early 2014. I also reached a milestone in photographic print sales in 2013, surpassing the $1000 mark in photographic art print sales. In 2013 I ran my first half marathon and logged over 82 hours running covering more than 409 miles. As a result of this and the other physical activities that I am involved in such as yoga and mountain biking, I am in the best physical condition of my life. I also started a new job in October that I love, and for the first time in years I actually look forward to going to work each day.

The past few years have not been without their challenges, but these challenges have been met with resilience and a determination to maintain my forward momentum. I am a firm believer that God will not place anything in our path that with faith and the help of those who love us, we cannot handle.

There is a quote by Henry Ford that I am fond of referring to. I have had it framed over my computer monitor at work for the past seven years. They are words to live by… words that I have been living by for some time now:
“Whether you think that you can, or that you can’t, you’re right.” – Henry Ford

If there is something in this world that you are passionate about, hunt it down and capture it. Life is far too short not to fill our time doing what we love… what makes us happy. I’m not much for New Year’s resolutions, but in the coming year I WILL devote more time to my passions in life.

I see great things in store for me in the upcoming year… I hope that each of you will find the same foresight for a prosperous future for your lives as well. Make your dreams come true in 2014… I am. – JLJ

My Manuscript

Editing Progress

Greetings, fellow readers, writers, and other lovers of the written word. My Manuscript is back from the editor and I have gone through each of the suggested revision points. I applied those that I deemed complimentary to my work (which was most of them) and discarded a couple that altered the direction of a particular protagonists plight or adversely affected the story in some other way. I found the following message from the editorial team very encouraging:

“Your editor has reviewed your manuscript and determined that your writing is strong enough that the editing package you selected would not provide a great benefit.

Therefore, the service has been changed to the standard Comprehensive Copyediting service, which will offer you the best benefit in cost and for your writing.

A refund in the amount of $427.00, the difference in cost between the two services, has been approved and is currently being processed.”

Wow, I didn’t know this type of thing actually occurred. I find it quite promising that a professional editor, one whose eyes fall upon countless manuscripts in a given year, is telling me that my writing is strong, and that they would not have put as much effort into their process in order for my manuscript to be developed into a publication ready piece. Nice!

Stay tuned… more will be revealed.

Ghost Writers

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Ghost Writers

I needn’t come to terms with why I do the things that I do.  I know what I’m doing.  I am comfortable with it.  What is intuitive to one may seem a compulsory act by another.  Who is to say what makes up the intellectual interests of one mind over another, what fills the heart of one than another… to another?  This is not for me to say of others nor should it be the mission of others to say of me.  At this moment I am sitting in a cafe in the Oak Park neighborhood of Sacramento hunched over my computer, double mocha half reach to my right, doing what I love… I am writing.  Surrounded by like-minded souls in a cafe of an eerily similar name we gather each week for the same purpose.  Seeking, striving to attain the same goal which is not really a goal at all, per se… more a need.  For some of us, perhaps an obsession.  An obsession to write.  The product of my efforts, or hers; his; theirs, are unimportant to you.  They are all important to me… to us.  I write for the pure joy that the creation of life on the page gives me.  I write for the sake of dropping a dime on that little voice in my head that tells me that I have no time.  I have no desire.  I have no-thing to write.  To this voice I say nothing.  I pay it no heed, give it no power whatsoever as it has no power unless I empower it.

This is what we do.  This is who we are.  We are writers.  Ghostly images reflecting in a cafe window, the diminished opacity of our true selves seemingly negating our very existence… still… we write. – JLJ

Gallery

Life Is Short

This gallery contains 11 photos.

Life is short. Regret is worthless unless you can take immediate corrective action and thus eliminate it somehow. I try to make good decisions and avoid it all together, but I’m only human. Time spent helping others and following our … Continue reading

Gallery

SuperMoon 2013

This gallery contains 6 photos.

When I learned of the Supermoon celestial event this year, I had to try to capture it. I decided to find something iconic for the foreground and took a short trip to the Rancho Secco Nuclear Plant in the nearby … Continue reading

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Forty Miles on the American River

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Today I changed up the routine a bit, took advantage of the beautiful weather and hit the river trail on my bike. Ahh, yes, fresh air, sunshine and solitude. Just what an ailing psyche needs after weeks of putting the needs of others before one’s own. My goal was to surpass the mileage of my previous ride, a milestone attained with far less effort than it had the last time I rode this trail.

Stopping to take a couple of photos on the river, I turned back at the twenty-mile mark and headed home to resume my supportive role of friendship. Then, it happened. Thirty miles into my forty miles on the American River, and still ten miles from home, the hypnotic drone of my dirt tires on the hot asphalt suddenly changed its tone… this could mean only one thing… I had a flat. This likely occurred during one of the three times I launched my mountain bike off the paved trail and onto a single track dirt path for a little off-roading.

In my haste to embark on this journey of self rejuvenation, I neglected to take a spare tube, my multi tool and enough water to sustain me had this unforeseen event occurred. Thankfully, my tire pump was mounted to the frame and after airing up each mile or so, I was able to ride another four miles before the tire would no longer take air.

My forty mile ride ended as a thirty-four mile ride and a six-mile walk… Still, this was a good day.

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Live. Love. Write.

Live.  Love.  Write.

Ah, yes… finally, the twisting, turning road of my scholastic endeavors that I have been meandering down has at long last delivered me to a mile stone in life, a point from which I must map my next journey, navigating once again to new and exciting destinations.

Live.

Love.

Write.

This is my mantra. A saying first seen on a decal somewhere… out there. An adage that now adorns the lid of my circa 2010 laptop, displayed proudly for all to see each time the mood strikes me, lifting her top in one public space or another to caress her keys, breathing life into the minion that inhabit my fictional stories, my beloved characters, living breathing things with lives that I create in the theatrical productions of my mind.

Imaginary worlds with illusory lives born of a distorted observation made through a raindrop streaked café window nestled in a tiny mountain town somewhere… out there.

Story lines imagined from scenes casually witnessed strolling along downtown streets, thwarting the unvarying, yet humble requests “can you spare some change.”

Requests made from soiled, weathered faces… familiar faces that have regularly infiltrated my peripheral vision over the years, only diversity being the depth of their creases—lines etched of years of hopelessness and despair.

Each day I escape. I must. I have for years; a compulsory break, if you will, from the monotony of the gray fabric walls that desire to restrain me, to hold me captive eight hours a day—five days a week. My escape is not so much an escape from as it is an escape to. A quest for the solitude of my own creative mind and to, if only momentarily satisfy my insatiable desire to rendezvous, to quench my thirst for the very intimate relationship I have with my laptop, her keys worn shiny and smooth from our incessant love-making…

Ah, yes, The Writing Life… Infinitely solitary… Intimately gratifying… If I do nothing else on this earth, I will continue my pursuit of my passions and…

Live.

Love.

  Write.

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Grandma’s Persimmon Tree

Going to see Grandma's Persimmon Tree

I sold a print of one of my photos the other day. The same one that I have sold a dozen times before, and is a piece that remains my best seller. It’s called Grandma’s Persimmon Tree. I sold it to a woman who worked in the same building as I had for the past several years. One day in passing our conversation fell upon photography and our mutual interest in the artistic medium, so I gave her my card. That in and of itself is not unique, but what sets this sale of one of my cherished photographic art prints apart from its predecessors, is the emotional impact it had on my customer. She called me a few days later and said that she fell in love with a black and white image on my Web site and she simply had to have it. When she took delivery of the print, she became emotional and a tear ran down her cheek. The image signified something in her life and until she saw the photo in person, held it in her hand, she didn’t realize the impact that it had on her.

A few days later, she called me again and said that she was so moved by the photograph of my grandmother’s persimmon tree that she wrote a poem about it and shared it with me. OK, I am no poet, nor do I “get” most poetry, but her words struck a chord with me. Her poem seemed to epitomize what that tree, a tree that has been standing in that same spot on my grandparents farm for as long as I can remember has always meant to me.

I was really quite moved by her poem and casually said to her on the phone that upon reading it I was compelled to jump in the car and go see it, and half-joking, I asked her if she wanted to go. She enthusiastically said yes, she would love to go see the tree that she was so moved by. So, not having been to the property that my great-grandfather built a home on and where my grandparents lived their entire lives before passing in 2002 and 2006, and not knowing if the beloved tree would even still be standing, we hopped in the car last Saturday and took a road trip… a quest to see Grandma’s persimmon Tree.

I am happy to report that while the house has fallen in disrepair with its screen door hanging by one hinge; the barn leaning precariously to one side, its Douglas fir walls bowing with age, Grandma’s Persimmon Tree is still standing tall. Her overripe November fruit that was out of reach for picking, dripping off of her branches like giant decaying blood drops, but the old girl is still there… She is still and will always be, Grandma’s Persimmon Tree. A&V Johnston Headstone_acidburn12<

Video

GoPro Hero3 Maiden Voyage in Auburn, CA

I took out my new GoPro Hero3 for its maiden voyage today. I loaded up my bike and headed up to Auburn State Recreational Area, one of the best places in the Sacramento region to hike and tear around on a mountain bike. I discovered a few things during this expedition. First and foremost, I am in a lot better shape than I was the last time I ventured out this way for a day of fresh air and insane dirt downhill adrenaline rushing. A lot can be said for running four days a week and a semi regular yoga regimen, I guess. I also learned that It now costs $10 to park my car and ride around for the day. I don’t mind the fee, state parks need to survive and this one ranks among the best in my opinion, I just don’t remember having to pay there before and I wasn’t prepared for the fee. I hope that they don’t mind all of the quarters loaded into their little brown envelope, kept in the car for the intermittent feeding of downtown Sac. parking meters.

So, with that said, I am posting one of the videos I took of one of my downhill runs. Don’t expect a bunch of fancy stunts, and shit people. Lest you forget, I’m 48 years old, my friends. Those days are behind me, but I Will tackle a first gear pulse quickening climb or an adrenaline pumping high-speed descent any day of the week. I did reach some pretty hairy speeds and buried my shocks a few times on some huge rocks and deep ruts on this trip and that’s what I’m talking about! This was a Kick-Ass day trip!

Adrenaline… It’s all I have left, ya know?

Enjoy.