Open Journal: James Gleason - Novelist

"Traveling has always been the most consistently comfortable sensory experience for me. 

The way the world bends beneath me as I look out the window, entire cities, neighborhoods, and towns fading into tiny speckles of light. 

They're beautiful from afar, the people, their suffering, their pain, its not translatable at such great altitudes.  The world is just a dancing congregation of light in the distance, completely susceptible to any romantic notions one’s imagination might insert in places where actual life should be. 

At places where the horizon disappears, so do my doubts.”  - From and untitled short story 

"I was born in a hospital in Arlington Heights roughly 13 miles from the birthplace of Ernest Hemingway on a summer evening in August. It was Friday the 13th, the time on the certificate read 6:13pm.  I was born a boy,  innocent and weak. My parents swooned upon my arrival unbeknownst to all of the trouble I would eventually cause them; oblivious to all the celestial warnings.  I was born in the dusk of a full moon. “

- Excerpt from Little Houses Crowned with Fire

"Never show up somewhere empty handed, always bring alcohol or a plant"

James Gleason is an aspiring novelist who's been working on his debut novel Little Houses Crowned with Fire, a part fiction part nonfiction Neo-Americana tale intertwining numerous stories from James' tough past and a black youth's journey invoking redemptive, hardship, and wanderlust themes. With a persona of Cormac McCarthy and the drinking habit of Charles Bukowski, Gleason rides the waves of this post-beatnik American life venturing wherever with whomever he wants.

An Introduction to Open Journal: The public has always been obsessed with pop culture, from The Beatles, to the Kennedys, to Princess Diana. Paparazzi develop creative ways to catch the smallest glimpse of a celebrity, artist, or CEO in their natural environment. We strive to know them on a deeper level - almost an intimate level. People always wonder just what it would be like to hang out with their guitar hero for a day, or what it would be like to grab a drink with an artist they've idolized since they were young. Usually, consumers only see a finished product, but ever wonder how an artist's work got from point A to B? Others have captured and documented artists' work processes, but I strive to dig deeper - to flirt with the idea of what it would be like to actually spend time with an artist, to get into their mind, to see what makes them tick, to see what inspires them to create.

Open Journal is an ongoing photo series that captures aspiring artists in their early development. Its purpose is to capture an artist's candid lifestyle - the behind the scenes.

May 15th-16th 2015 Chicago, Illinois 

An Airbnb guest from Paris conversing with James in French at James' mom's apartment

(Left) James reading part of his novel off of his typewriter. He uses a typewriter because every letter is permanent mirroring life itself. (Right) James and Regan stumbling back to Regan's apartment after a night of drinking. 

James and Regan fast asleep after a long night out

Regan's cat Kanye waits pensively for their owner to awake

James laughs at his phone as he waits for Regan to get ready for a late brunch

"I don't need any more vices"

James photographs a friend at a backyard porch barbecue on a Chicago summer evening

James steals my camera and takes a picture of another driver