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2007-10-18 12:07 a.m.

I'm trying to deal with the hundreds of unread messages in my email inbox. This was one that I was happy to get and reply to. Nathan is a writer and musician living on the East Coast. I've always liked him a bunch. I hadn't heard from him in a long time. It was great to see he still cared and checked in on me. And, his words got me to thinking...
From: Nathan V. Patwardhan
Subject: Blog.
Date: October 2, 2007 2:48:24 PM PDT
To: Justin Winokur

What is UP with your blog, man? I guess what I'm really asking is what is up with your life?

This is kind of an awkward note for me to write -- because I don't know you at all in real life outside of some email and instant messenger chats in the past -- but your blog has been really troubling for awhile. Your earlier writing (and life?) was loaded with fun, insight, intelligence, and apparently with focus. You had a day job that lots of people would kill for and you were making fantastic music with your band and your solo material was coming together as well.

When you sent me a copy of your "VIG" (Puntastic!) CD, I was both delighted to listen to it and was insanely jealous of your tremendous talent. I'm capable of lots of things in life, but many of the things that I'm most interested in (e.g. music) provide the least amount of joy for everybody else -- such that I'm perceived as possessing no talent or what have you. But when I heard your music I was *certain* that you were going to be huge. CERTAIN.

I'm so bummed that something's taken place with you that's put you in a rut, perhaps for a really long time. It'd be a real shame if we didn't see you on the grand stage that you deserve.

Nathan V. Patwardhan

From: Justin Winokur
Subject: Re: Blog.
Date: October 17, 2007 11:57:13 PM PDT
To: Nathan V. Patwardhan

Yeah, my blog isn't what it used to be. There are a lot of reasons.

First of all, I seldom write there anymore. I keep a paper diary where I summarize my adventures. And, when I do write online, it tends to be me being down and sad or a sort of scrapbook for something I want to remember.

Another reason I don't write in my blog is that I don't really know what to say. I'm struggling to redefine my relationship with that expressive medium. I'm trying to balance between writing only for myself, writing with an audience in mind, and writing in a way that nurtures and energizes me. I ask myself: How does my blog fit into this? Or, rather: How will I fit this into my blog? Should I even try?

But, in any case, my blog is not a good indicator of my life these days. My blog is morose, while my life is actually quite wonderful. I'm healthy and thin and have a full head of hair and all my senses. I'm sober, and nobody is mad at me for anything NEW that I've done. I live in a little cottage in North Hollywood that the Grammy's Musician Assistance Program helped me pay for. Outside my front door is a swimming pool with my beloved Hot Dog Man next to it. My house is filled with my artwork. I recently bought a pink Hello Kitty Stratocaster, which is hanging on the wall as its own form of art.

I pray and meditate every morning. And, each morning I make a list of things I'm thankful for. Today's list included: life, love, sobriety, restful sleep every night, my family, my senses, my fountain pen, my Fiat, my songs, the rock opera, Christoffer Lundquist, Shakina Nayfack, my photography, Brian Harrah and Mia Tyler, my home, hot sex, checks rolling in, opportunity, unconditional abundance, and my penis (although in a socialist world it's actually "our" penis).

I take photos all the time, which is great. I made enough money in songwriting royalties last month that I didn't have to work AT ALL. Dude. I've waited my whole life for that moment! (I remember my first ASCAP royalty check. I still have it. I never cashed it, since I knew it would be worth more to me as a keepsake. It's for $1.96.)

The rock opera I worked on finished its 32nd show last Saturday. It was sold out! Then, on Sunday we did a live cast recording of the show at The Echoplex night club in LA. I shot pictures for the album liner notes. If you want to see them they're here:

But, there's more! I'm starting a charity that connects musicians and industry professionals with kids so that they can mentor the kids a few hours each month.

I got offered another publishing contract. I didn't say yes. But, I didn't say no this time. I'm gonna let them listen to my music more and see how excited they get and see what they offer me.

My second solo album is done. I LOVE IT. It's not out yet, though. I'm waiting for the right deal before I release it. I have an offer from a label run by a very enthusiastic person—someone I work with regularly, someone I have a lot of confidence in.

Basically: My life is amazing.

I guess I just haven't been making a lot of time to blog about it because I'm too busy living it.

You know, maybe I'll just post this email. I guess it's just weird because I don't really want to post for other people. I want to write for me. But, I keep finding that people want to know what's going on. (And, as you know, it's not like the people that read my blog are some random strangers. Maybe they started that way. But, in the past seven years I've been doing this many of them have grown to be anything from acquaintances to dear friends.)

I guess what I'm happiest about is that you got in touch with me directly. I like that. It's been so long since we've been in touch. And, I wish that more people would reach out and email or call me [408-316-0294] rather than rely solely on my blog as an indicator of how I am and what I'm doing.

So, thanks for being in touch. It's great to hear from you.

And, how are YOU? Are you still making music?