Get It While You Can is a finalist for the 2016 Oregon Book Awards, in the category of creative non-fiction. The winner will be announced at a ceremony in Portland on April 11th.


Nick's live performance is an amalgamation of all he has learned from composing for dance and film, all the songs he wrote while touring the country with his band, and all the stories he compiled in his book. It is a rare combination of storytelling and song. It is not like a normal music show or a reading. Nick loops electric guitar passages, mixing in sounds from distant rocket launches played from his phone into the pickups his guitar. After creating a magical bed of sound, he reads short passages from his book, such as unsent love letters doused with poetry, or chronicles of Don Quixote-like figures that tried to make it to space or sail across oceans. The performance is soulful and engaging. The stories alternate between disarmingly funny and achingly beautiful. The format is almost like a podcast such as Radiolab or This American Life, reaching the listener on many different emotional and intellectual levels.

The performance lasts about an hour. It is always different, woven together based on the feeling in the room and the things that Nick is excited about. Many people feel healed after, like they have visited church and gotten the gears of their heart set in order.

More details on the tour page.

If you want to help, email nickjaina@gmail.com.


"Terrific, wry... as moving as it is precise. What the book does so well is to let us feel how powerfully making pulls against living, how making can become living, though it may leave the maker wanting."
- Review from LA Review of Books (4.13.15)

"Poignant and profound."
Book Notes for Largehearted Boy (2.27.15)

"Wonderful, timely... Get It While You Can is so much more than a slight book by a guy who loses his guitar. Part memoir, part music criticism, part cathartic exorcism, it's a meditation on suffering and the things we put ourselves through in the name of discovering the best version of ourselves."
Willamette Week review (1.28.15)

"So gorgeously frank you'll be tempted to steal from [it]."
Article in Vancouver B.C.'s Georgia Straight (1.16.15)

- Interview with KRUU Fairfield (6.1.15)
- Interview with Marfa Public Radio (5.26.15)
- Interview with Drunk in a Midnight Choir (5.20.15)
Interview with Eleven Magazine (2.13.15)
Interview on Inessa Podcast (2.10.15)
Interview on Rendered Podcast (2.9.15)
Radio interview on OPB's Think Out Loud (1.27.15)

Nick Jaina's new book Get It While You Can is, as the Los Angeles Review of Books says, "a love song to music and to those who make it and live it." It is a warm, hopeful book about finding freedom and claiming it every day of your life, despite all the traps along the way. Perfect Day Publishing released the book in January of 2015 to voluminous praise.

Excerpts from the book have appeared or are forthcoming in McSweeney's QuarterlyOregon Humanities, Under the Gum Tree, and Portland Mercury.

Jaina's live performance is like an audio scrapbook. He loops together guitar melodies and found sounds and reads passages of his book over them. Potent words hang in the air as a guitar figure echoes out, leaving you time to digest the sentiment. In the middle of this sea of ideas and emotion, Nick breaks the tension by playing a song.

Here is a section from the book, previously posted as an Unsent Love Letter at Somnambulist.



Nick Jaina is a musician and writer from Portland, Oregon.

He has released several albums over the last decade under his own name, including 2013's Primary Perception on Fluff and Gravy Records, and 2010's A Bird in the Opera House on Hush Records.

He is a co-founder and musical director of the Satellite Ballet and Collective in New York City. He has composed music for ballets and contemporary dances with that group, featuring dancers from the New York City Ballet and Juilliard. Their most recent performance was two sold-out shows at Brooklyn Academy of Music in May 2014. Of that show, the New York Times wrote, "[The} pure, pungent, earthy music for strings, piano, and percussion... was the most physically bracing part of the night."

Get It While You Can is his first book.