The very kind folks at VoyageLA Magazine posted a nice interview with me this week, and I'm re-posting it here so that you kind readers might have a better idea of what I'm trying to be about here. I was honored to be included in their "Thought Provokers" section, and hope I can manage to provoke some thoughts with each story I write. And, as ever, thank you so much for reading and caring about the stories from our Community, and our world at large. It all starts with caring. Love, CJG
Today we’d like to introduce you to CJ Gronner.
Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
I’ve wanted to be a storyteller from my earliest days. Growing up in Minnesota, I always wrote stories and made up adventures for the neighborhood kids to play out, and as I grew up I realized that telling stories is what I wanted to do for my life and career too. I also grew up loving film and the entertainment business, so got involved with film production as soon as I could. I worked for the Minnesota Film Office and P.A.D on several films there before moving to the Big Island of Hawai’i to work in their film office. That led to a move to Los Angeles, the home of filmmaking worldwide. While trying to get multiple feature scripts I wrote on the screen, I also began working in journalism, for multiple publications, with an emphasis on music journalism. Living in and loving Venice, California led to the creation of Blogtown By CJ Gronner, a site that includes all the Venice and music stories I do. As more and more people read Blogtown, more and more writing opportunities arose, and I’m now writing and producing for television and film … while still trying to get those movies made! I love that writing is such an effective way of giving voice to the many people and issues that make up our world, in the hopes that we can have a better understanding of each other … resulting in world peace. Easy!
Please tell us about your art.
I write. I write to inspire, to provoke thought, to encourage, and to let people know that we’re all in this together. I write stories for newspapers, magazines, venues, my own Blogtown, television, ad copy, song lyrics, band bios, and feature length screenplays. The most common feedback I get about my work is that “you made me feel like I was there!” I’ve had people tell me that my stories made them laugh. Made them cry. Made them mad sometimes. Made them think. Made them get involved. Gave them goosebumps. If I’ve moved anyone in any way, I feel I’ve done a decent job.
Choosing a creative or artistic path comes with many financial challenges. Any advice for those struggling to focus on their artwork due to financial concerns?
I’ve never been motivated by the money part of things, and have struggled mightily over the years as a result. Having acknowledged the reality that activism and commerce don’t always jive, I do my best to stay true to myself and my ideals, while doing my best to also be compensated in a fair and decent way. This is the hardest part about having a writing career, in my opinion … getting paid. You HAVE to do it because you love it, and hope that others will see the fiscal value of your work while you’re at it. I’m great at promoting everyone else – not so great at promoting myself. This is a family trait that we’re all working on. Will write for pay!
How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
You can regularly read my stories at Blogtownbycjgronner.com, or by Google searching for all of the Freelance work I’ve done, for musicians like Tom Morello, Jane’s Addiction, Shooter Jennings, and such storied venues as The Hollywood Bowl, The Grammy Museum, and KCRW (with accompanying photography by my brother, Paul Gronner). I’m currently co-producing a documentary called 90291: VENICE UNZIPPED about income inequality in America with a zoom lens on Venice, where we feel the issue is at its most glaring example. People can donate to our documentary fund here: https://www.documentary.org/project/unzipped
I’m also co-producing a television show for Viceland called “American Junkie”, which will begin airing on September 12, 2018. I’ve also co-created a television show featuring B Real from Cypress Hill that is currently in development. Tune in!