What would you be doing differently right now if you were actively following your dreams? Then, why aren’t you doing it?
These are a couple of questions you might ask yourself after watching the documentary, “Road to Nowhere,” which chronicles a slice of Emporia musician Jonathan Fleig’s life. Fleig collaborated with California filmmaker Brian Hardin to produce the movie, which is shot at several locations around the state, as well as one segment in California.
The film plays out on several levels as Jonathan—a native of Arkansas City —opts to return to Kansas after spending several years in California living his dream of being a musician (the movie’s subtitle is “Living Dreams, Chasing Life.”) On the flip side of the California dream, he at one point lives in a tent in a friend’s yard, which he said was “probably the loneliest time in my life.”
Jonathan grew up as a preacher’s son and intended to follow in his father’s footsteps. One night he found himself working in Wichita at a convenience store, sweeping the parking lot when he kneeled down and asked God “for something to get me through this life.” Six months later, he was living in California, pursuing a music career. Along the way, he said he realized that the music was only part of the reason he ventured to the Golden State. “It was really about finding out who I wanted to be as a person,” he said.
To me, one of the most important dimensions of the film is its focus on the healing process. Not long after Jonathan returned to Kansas, his father died from a brain tumor. He was able to spend some quality time with his father before he passed on. Much of the DVD—and the album of the same name—incorporate the musician’s struggle of coming to terms with his father’s death.
The film is divided into several segments, including The Dreamer, The Muse, The Mourner, The Doer, and The Witness. You can get a glimpse of each of these areas by visiting (https://roadtonowherefilm.com/ and clicking on the various video clips.
What I came away with after watching the movie was the universality of Jonathan’s experience. Many will be able to relate to his decision to follow his passion, rather than put this on the back burner. Many will empathize with his relationship struggles, both with his spouse and with his father. We also might find ourselves re-experiencing some of our own losses as he struggles with his father’s death and his wish that he could see him just once more. There is a lot of raw emotion here, as the documentary was made shortly after his father’s death. Following the trailers at the movie’s end, several mottos appear that guided the filming process. One of my favorites was, Remember that “everything is perfect … even when it is not.” That’s how life rolls. “It is what it is”—another phrase that comes up in the movie.
One final note: by slightly altering the words, the movie’s title takes on a completely different meaning: “The Road to Now Here.”
If you like what you see in the movie clips, you can purchase the movie online at the above website.
Otherwise, if you’d like to see Jonathan Fleig perform live, he’ll be relatively close to town on November 15, performing at Metropolitan Coffee in Hutchinson starting at 7:30 p.m.