MS: What was your pivotal moment in life that made you take this direction?
JD: When I was 20 I woke up and couldn’t move my legs. Obviously, it was scary and life-changing, so it sent me on a journey to live life my way. But not a literal journey, cause I couldn’t walk. I got over it eventually though — the paralysis thing, not the living life thing. I still do it on occasion too.

MS: How did you get started/where did you begin?
JD: I graduated early and took off to Europe to hide from responsibility and figure out that living life my way thing. Along the way, I started writing. It helped that it didn’t cost anything to get into because I was super broke.

MS: What made you want to be what you are now?
JD: I was incapable of anything else and since I like money, and people keep paying me to do this, I do this. I asked my mom recently what I would say as a kid when people asked what I wanted to be when I grew up. Apparently, I always said a pirate. This is close enough.

MS: What are your favorite parts about what you do?
JD: For as long as I’ve been doing this, I still get a rush when creating something, anything. It’s my drug. It’s one of my drugs. It’s a drug I get paid to enjoy.

MS: What are your short-term and/or long-term goals at the moment?
JD: I prefer short-term goals because it puts some pressure on you to achieve them. Long-term lets you get lazy. Soon, I’m going to put out another book and Steve Walter & I will launch something that unites the creative community of Connecticut. Stay tuned!

MS: What is something(s) you wish you knew in the beginning?
JD: Everyone is dumb. Regardless of IQ or experience, we’re all just cutting corners and not paying full attention. If you realize that, you can use it to your advantage. 

MS: What is your favorite quote(s) and why?
JD: “Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary.”

MS: What is your ideal day in the work life?
JD: Talking less, making more.

MS: What are some things that keep you going?
JD: Not thinking much. You can overcome anything if you aren’t really paying attention.

MS: How do you approach a work life balance?
JD: Terribly.

MS: What is something you wish people learned or knew more about in your industry?
JD: It’s nothing like Mad Men. We’re all too nerdy for that much fashion, sex, and intrigue. 

MS: What does supporting local mean to you?
JD: I like to know who I’m doing any business with. It makes it more meaningful — less transaction, more connection.

MS: Is there anything you wish to add?
JD: I’m terrible at math, but worse at puns.

MS: If you could solve one problem in the world, what would it be?
JD: I’m terrible at math, but worse at puns, and tend to repeat myself.

MS: How do you align your business decisions with your values each day?
JD: I try to be as annoyingly rebellious as possible, and that reminds me I’m staying true to myself.

MS: What is the most valuable advice you’ve received?
JD:Sometimes it’s worth poking the bear.

MS: What is your definition of success?
JD: Looking forward to your day, not what will come later.

What was a challenge you did not expect to overcome that you did?
JD: I’ve mentioned it a couple times here, but I don’t overthink things, so I don’t get too caught up on challenges. I’ve overcome paralysis, lost everything I owned a couple times during disasters, and had a house fall on my head. If you spend too much time thinking about how you won’t overcome challenges, you’ll succeed.

MS: Looking back on life, how have you or values shifted or refined?
JD: No, I’m still just as dumb and immature.

MS: What are you most proud of and why?
JD: Not being dead from all the dumb stuff I’ve done.

I often find in the creative field that you're expected to take your skills & talents and easily transfer them to other creative things. That's an expectation that leads to stress and failure. However, the power of a strong creative community is that it brings different skills and talents together through energetic collaboration, so you can do what you do, and what you're passionate about, alongside others who are doing the same, so in a way that community lets you be your confident, most-fulfilled self. Community creates individuality.


"Don’t talk about doing it; just do it. For some reason, young creatives dream but don’t do, like someone dreaming of making the NHL but never lacing up a pair of skates.