Mastodon Wins a Grammy!

#GRAMMYs #Mastodon

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So this happened — Mastodon won a Grammy! The metal band’s 2017 magnum opus Emperor of Sand was hands down the best musical release last year for me, and the first song on that album, “Sultan’s Curse”, which was also the first song we heard from the LP, won the Best Metal Performance award. I’m not a watcher of the Grammy’s (and hell, they don’t even include the Best Metal Performance category in the telecast), but I’m extremely happy and proud for the fellas (pictured: Bill Kelliher, Brann Dailor and Troy Sanders — not pictured: Brent Hinds).

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Author GREG RUCKA on Writer’s Block

Guest blog from one of my favorite writers of novels and comics, the mighty GREG RUCKA, taken from his Tumblr FRONT TOWARD ENEMY.

“What to do if no one reads what you write.” | Shaunta Grimes

Unread.

Ignored.

Forsaken.

That’s something, simply as people, we all fear, no? Specifically, it’s perhaps a writer’s greatest fear? Certainly one of mine. But there is a kind of irony in the event that situation occurs, so said author/writer whisperer Shaunta Grimes some months back . . .

“I know how it feels to screw up your nerve and post something in public for the entire world to see — and then realize that the whole world doesn’t really care.

They aren’t even paying attention.

Before I tell you what to do when no one is reading what you write, I want to share a story with you that I hope will help you understand a hard, rather beautiful truth.

If it’s possible for you to write something that no one reads — then no one is paying attention. And there’s real freedom in that idea.

Once you realize that no one is paying attention, you can let go of the voice screaming in your head that you better not fuck up, because if you do the whole entire universe will laugh at you/hate you/shun you/whatever it is you’re afraid of.”

Follow the link to read more of “What to do if no one reads what you write.” @shauntagrimes https://medium.com/@shauntagrimes/what-to-do-if-no-one-reads-what-you-write-b341ae80bc64

Retreat

~ The Morning Muse #12 ~

Note: This was supposed to be posted a few months ago (mid-October to be exact), but for some unknown reason I let it sit longer than intended. And come to think of it, yesterday’s Resolution: Regain and Retain Attention is a great companion piece to this one, actually.


As life and the world become increasingly disappointing, an increasingly cynical fella who once was brimming with optimism for the future now wants to retreat and self-indulge even more than he normally does into books and writing and music — Read|Write|Rock. The key word is retreat, though, not escape. It’s more like a strategic mental regrouping of oneself amid the unending battle in the war that is, arguably, the social (and political) decline. As I immerse myself in books, my goal is to attain a better perspective on human psychology, the ever-perplexing human condition and the ways of the world. As I engage in writing, the goal is to not only to unleash the never-ending flow of ideas and stories that percolate regularly, and not only to discover my place in the world, but also to impose in some small way my view of what is and what could be — or even should be — via the inner psyche or my characters’ voices, as well as the subtext within. And finally, as I jam to the music I love, explore and discover new music, and write original music alone or with my band, I imbue my soul and overall human consciousness with a transformative magic that does wonders for the ongoing interior monologue with myself. That’s the general idea, at least.

-BLR

* I shot the featured photo in October 2017 at Brown County State Park, Indiana.


Welcome to Paradise tomato soup

Jennifer Macaire

Easy Island Tomato Soup Recipe from Jennifer Macaire

Evernight Teen authors are cooking! Today’s recipe is one of Jennifer Macaire’s favorites when she lived in the islands. Be sure to check out Welcome to Paradise which is also based on an island paradise. It’s a great winter break read!

Here is a recipe from when I was growing up in the Caribbean. We loved tomato soup, but could never get ripe tomatoes. This recipe uses canned tomatoes instead.

This recipe is fast, easy, and inexpensive, and makes a great lunch for the holidays, when you’re tired of cookng, but want something tasty and hot!

Easy Island Tomato Soup

Ingredients:

1⁄2 cup butter (or four tablespoons olive oil)

1 medium onion, diced

2 (14 1/2 ounce) cans tomatoes (diced or pureed)

Half a bullion cube (chicken or veal is good, or vegetable if you want a vegetarian soup)

2 cups fresh…

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Books!!!

So I’ve already burned through the Barnes & Noble gift card the in-laws gave me for X-mas. Excited to finally finish The Drifter (2016), the debut suspense novel by Nick Petrie that I started in the summer of 2016 from the library. Went ahead and grabbed his sophomore effort, Burning Bright (2017) as well.  Also grabbed The Fireman, the 2016 magnum opus by Joe Hill. From the darker side of things is The Dark Net (2017) by Benjamin Percy. And finally, from the YA section of the bookstore, Marissa Meyer’s Renegades (2017) which seems to be a kind of Dystopian teenage superhero epic of 2 books (the second book is expected sometime later this year, I believe). Given all the other books I have checked out from the library (including a lot of nonfiction) and the stack of unread comic books and graphic novels, I’d say my bookworm menu for 2018 is quite robust.

BOOKS

Resolution: Regain and Retain Attention

~ Lifebook #19 ~

Like many, I consume a lot of media. Be it social media, websites, research, daily & weekly podcasts, television, music, books and comic books — altogether it’s too much. Something’s got to give because I need my own damn attention back. I need my focus. I need to make a change, like pronto. Of course it won’t be books and certainly not music that I eliminate. However, I’ve already cut back on my weekly/monthly comic book/graphic novel reading. Over the recent years my television consumption has increased quite a bit because we are in a new golden age of television after all (although I’m still under the national average, at only 2-3 hours per day). Yet, still it’s too much. I could probably cut back on a few podcasts, but really those lovely things get me through my workday while I do very repetitive and monotonous work at the Day Job. That means the obvious place to make a drastic change in consumption (read: time suckage) is in social media and, well, the Internet in general. And what perfect time to make that behavioral adjustment than the New Year? Getting the damn phone out of my hand more and replacing that physical activity with even more books and more writing. It is precious time that could be better spend writing, say, daily microfiction like 100-word drabbles and 50-word dribbles, or jotting down the half-dozen story ideas that percolate through my brain daily. These are activities that I wish I could simply do on my phone with ease, instead of scrolling Facebook, Twitter and Instagram — however, the soft keyboards on smartphones are very aggravating interfaces for writing.

But I digress. The point is, WE ALL need to regain and retain our attention so that we may focus on more creative and productive things in our daily lives. In short . . . we need to PUT DOWN THE DAMNED PHONES!

One way of looking at it is: anything that is great . . . anything that is worth a damn hardly ever comes easy.

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Early last year I presented this article by Craig Mod (via Backchannel and Wired) as a guest blog where he writes about his determination to snatch back his attention. It’s worth a read.