Ryan McLaughlin: Perfectionist

This is the first of many ‘Starving Artists‘ profile pieces. If you’re an artist that wants to be interviewed by the COA team and get your craft promoted for free, drop us a note through the Contact form with ‘Artist Profile’ and your name in the subject line, and provide us some detail on why you’re the perfect fit for this concept. 

Today’s artist fixes stringed instruments, but maybe we profile a master muskie fisherman next! Whatever YOUR unique passion might be, we want to help promote it! Without further ado, we present our first profile in this series.


Be demanding his business card commands of you, right at the top.

The way Ryan McLaughlin talks about being a luthier makes you think it’s for life. It’s almost as though the word patience has a hidden definition underneath our lay definition. Ryan reeks of the kind of calm that people coming to peace with a long prison sentence can understand. A calendar that only displays years. Patience without a push notification.

For Ryan, there’s something inherently joie de vivre in the delayed gratification aspect of his craft. A true artist, withholding from the self to the benefit of strangers who won’t die just because you die. Continue reading

The #AmtrakCares Flint Water Relief Train being unloaded

Relief Rides the Rails: Flint Water Crisis

Relief Rides the Rails: Flint Water Crisis

A short piece on the successful initiative by Amtrak employees to bring relief to those impacted by the Flint, MI water crisis. 

I want you to take a moment and recollect with me. We’re 10 and 8 years old, respectively, at the dinner table. I’m struggling to finish my string-beans. You’re hoping that dad doesn’t see, because you know it’ll summon all manner of finger wagging about “children in Third World countries that would love to eat string-beans.”

Oh yeah? Well what about the time that you stayed in the shower too long? Do you remember dad shouting through the steam “stop wasting water, there’s children in Michigan that would love to take a hot shower right now.” Probably not. Because why in the world would that be a realistic comparison? Continue reading