As creators, we all dream of being considered professionals. But where is the line that separates the two? Is it definite or arbitrary? Or are these just labels that don’t mean anything? Join me as I look into what it takes to be a professional artist.
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Fall is in the air and butternut squash is on the menu. Check out my latest cooking video as I share one of my favorite recipes. Only a few ingredients – the aforementioned squash, onion, apple, and a few odds and ends. Perfect for a cozy night or a chilly morning.
Oh, and this version is also vegan.
Once you try it I guarantee you’ll be hooked.
I’ve loved scary stories since I was a wee lad in South Florida, and one of my favorite things to do on Halloween was break out a vinyl album of mine. The album was Alfred Hitchcock presents Ghost Stories for Young People. It was released back in 1962 and I think I found it in a record store when I was around eight or nine years old.
I listened to it so many times when I was young I had it memorized…but it still gave me the shivers. Unfortunately, the original vinyl was lost to time, but I was lucky enough to find it on CD a few years ago. Of course, nowadays you can find almost anything online, and someone was awesome enough to post the entire album on YouTube.
If you’re looking for some Halloween chills, give it a listen. Hitchcock is a fantastic narrator, and the stories, while creepy, also contain a little bit of dark humor. It may be geared towards children, but this middle-aged man still loves it.
Note – the stories are broken out into separate videos, so be sure to listen to all of them!
With Halloween just around the corner, I thought it’d be a good time to recommend a couple of things to get you in the mood.
First, you can grab a copy of my dark fiction collection, Dark Journeys. It’s a mix of horror, sci-fi, and speculative fiction. Perfect for reading alone in a darkened room (if you’re using an e-reader) or by candlelight (if you grab the paperback version). The stories include seductive demons, patchwork lovers, marooned astronauts, and an assortment of creepy things to haunt your dreams.
If you’re looking for something auditory, then you can listen to a couple of my podcast episodes. Last year I read one of my short stories, Consumed, for my Halloween episode. More recently, I recorded an episode about the Art of Fear. The first one will give you a few chills, while the second one will inspire.
There’s no shortage of horror-related stuff out there for the discriminating fear aficionado, and nowadays you don’t need books or movies, just read the news and you’ll be horrified.
Stay safe, everyone!
Why are horror and fear popular subjects in the art world? For centuries, we’ve continued to seek out ways to scare ourselves and we keep coming back for more. Join me as I explore the reasons behind our obsession with fear and how we explore it in our artistic output.
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Maybe it’s just me, but there are certain songs that, when I hear the start to play, make me stop whatever I’m doing so I can listen. It’s like they have power over me, pulling me away from the present moment and whisking me away to another place for a few minutes.
There aren’t many that can do that to me. And one of the interesting things is that they aren’t necessary similar. Sure, there’s may be a little bit of crossover – genre, style, instrumentation – but for the most part they are unique.
So with that said, I thought it might be interesting to share a few of them with you and, maybe, broaden your horizons a bit. You may have heard of some of these artists and these songs, and if so, fantastic! And for what it’s worth, I was inspired by another blog I follow, View from the Back, where Sheree posts Song Lyric Sundays.
Today I’m sharing a song that never fails to give me chills, especially this version of it. The artist is Bruce Springsteen, a New Jersey native who came to prominence in the 1970s, hit an amazing peak in the late 70s/early 80s, and continues to release well-crafted and thought-provoking music.
Springsteen is now in his 70s and shows no signs of stopping, which is fine by me. His music, especially his lyrics, have been an inspiration to me since I was a kid listening with headphones as his vinyl albums spun on the turntable. He’s an amazing lyricist, capturing a unique perspective on the lives of blue-collar and downtrodden people. Not all his songs are bleak, though. He can slip between melancholy and upbeat with a snap of his fingers. Or a strum of his guitar.
The song in question is titled Thunder Road, and while it sounds like a rocker, it’s actually a thoughtful look at a young woman about to transition from child to adult from the perspective of a man who’s trying to convince her to join him as he tries to escape his current life. The album version is wonderful, but my favorite version is from a concert he did at the Odeon in London in 1975. It’s a slower, sparser arrangement that’s just about perfect.
Here’s the video, lyrics are posted below. Hope you enjoy this as much as I do.
The screen door slams, Mary’s dress sways
Like a vision she dances across the porch as the radio plays
Roy Orbison singing for the lonely
Hey that’s me and I want you only
Don’t turn me home again
I just can’t face myself alone again
Don’t run back inside, darling you know just what I’m here for
So you’re scared and you’re thinking that maybe we ain’t that young anymore
Show a little faith, there’s magic in the night
You ain’t a beauty, but hey you’re alright
Oh and that’s alright with me
You can hide ‘neath your covers and study your pain
Make crosses from your lovers, throw roses in the rain
Waste your summer praying in vain for a savior to rise from these streets
Well now I’m no hero, that’s understood
All the redemption I can offer, girl, is beneath this dirty hood
With a chance to make it good somehow
Hey what else can we do now
Except roll down the window and let the wind blow back your hair
Well the night’s busting open, these two lanes will take us anywhere
We got one last chance to make it real
To trade in these wings on some wheels
Climb in back, heaven’s waiting down on the tracks
Oh oh come take my hand
Riding out tonight to case the promised land
Oh oh oh oh Thunder Road, oh Thunder Road, oh Thunder Road
Lying out there like a killer in the sun
Hey I know it’s late, we can make it if we run
Oh oh oh oh Thunder Road, sit tight, take hold, Thunder Road
Well I got this guitar and I learned how to make it talk
And my car’s out back if you’re ready to take that long walk
From your front porch to my front seat
The door’s open but the ride it ain’t free
And I know you’re lonely for words that I ain’t spoken
Tonight we’ll be free, all the promises will be broken
There were ghosts in the eyes of all the boys you sent away
They haunt this dusty beach road in the skeleton frames of burned-out Chevrolets
They scream your name at night in the street
Your graduation gown lies in rags at their feet
And in the lonely cool before dawn
You hear their engines roaring on
But when you get to the porch they’re gone on the wind, so Mary climb in
It’s a town full of losers, I’m pulling out of here to win…
Music and Lyrics: Bruce Springsteen
We all dream of making money off our art, but how realistic is that dream? In this episode, I talk about how the monetization of art has changed over the centuries and what modern artists can – and should – expect from the market.
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I’m a seasonal cook. I like to try and use seasonal ingredients and shop local, so my menu has to change with the seasons. This means spicier and hardier dishes, lots of winter squash and legumes, and more oven and slow cooker recipes.
In fact, just this past weekend I made my first batch of October chili. I made a huge pot – six quarts – so there’s enough for a couple of dinners for my partner and I, then I can freeze the rest for those nights I don’t feel like making something from scratch. I’ve been making chili since I was a teenager and the recipe has evolved over the years.
Truth be told, it’s never really quite the same thing twice. If you’ve seen my cooking videos on YouTube or read previous cooking posts here on my blog, you know that I like to mix things up when I cook. So while the base of my chili remains the same, the add-ins are always different. And don’t worry, it’ll be sharing it on YouTube soon.
But I also like butternut squash soup. Oh my, it’s one of those recipes that I’ve been trying to fine tune for years….and I think I’ve finally gotten it just right. I like this recipe because it’s only a handful of ingredients and easy to make (like most of the things I cook).
There’s an amazing variety of winter squash. I roast it, make soup, mash it, even cook it on the grill outside. It’s versatile, incredibly healthy, and stores well. Sort of like a perfect veggie, in my opinion. The only thing that I can complain about is cleaning it. That can take some time and patience. But if you do it right you can also end up with a bunch of squash seeds, which you can then season and roast. That’s good eatin’!
I have a bunch of recipes I’ll be sharing soon on my cooking channel. Hope you stop by and check them out. You never know, you may find something you’ll love! Click the image below to view my cooking vids.