The World is Full of Beautiful Things

The world is full of beautiful things, such as butterfly wings and fairytale kings, queens, princesses and ogres. At least, so says Dr. Doolittle–the Rex Harrison version from back when most people were mostly sane.

One of those beautiful things is the newest song from Son #2, the 14-year-old. He’s definitely veering in the cinematic direction, with a touch of introspection and melancholy. This one is called Moonlight, available at and in all places where fine music is sold (also, here it is on Youtube).

I’m trying to recall what I was doing creatively at the same age. I was writing stories, but they were pretty mediocre at best. I remember writing one around that time about a talking avocado and a blender and, perhaps, some kind of extra-terrestrial intrigue. At any rate, I think my teacher recommended to my parents that I get counseling. I don’t know if she said that purely on the basis of that story, or if that story was the straw that broke the proverbial academic camel’s back. By the way, I didn’t go in for counseling and have managed quite a few decades without any homicidal outbursts, kleptomania, hypochondria, multiple personalities, or even extreme paranoia. Though, I will admit to mild paranoia.

Anyway, my creative excellence at 14 does not measure up to Son #2’s composition and recording. He amazes me, but children do that? Don’t they? They amaze their poor, befuddled parents in big and small ways all through life. Such as, how did that toddler get out of his crib and onto the kitchen counter at 3 in the morning?

Another beautiful thing is the gymnastic ability of our 4-month-old kitten Pepper. She leaps in random ways, in sudden contortions of muscle and bone that defy gravity and also choice. Unless, of course, the leaps are caused by her spying the appearance of some invisible creature: angel, demon, leprechaun, honest lawyer, etc. Then, her leaps make sense.

Another beautiful thing is a good steak.

Another beautiful thing is the _____ project I was recently hired to work on by ______. Getting paid to write a _______ for ________ has always been a dream of mine that I gave up a long time ago. For an opportunity like _______ to suddenly materialize out of thin air is shocking, gratifying and pretty darn exciting. Once the ______ is ______, I’ll post all the details. Until then, I can only say _______, __________ , and __________.

This is starting to look one of those subpoenaed FBI documents the House spends years chasing after, only to be given pages of redacted information.

Summertime by JB Proof

Summertime is the new song from the artist JB Proof (who happens to be my fourteen-year-old son). Instrumental, contemplative, easy-listening. He had zero help from me, which was a deliberate choice on both of our parts.

I’ve been writing and recording music in various genres for decades now (am I truly that old? yes), but this youngster is something else. The question of talent vs hard work vs inspiration is a difficult one. You can go around and around for days on that problem. JB is a mixture of talent and hard work. He definitely has a unique knack for melody and chord structure, but he will also happily sit at the piano for hours, practicing and writing and practicing some more.

When you join talent and hard work together, you end up with a potent mixture. A God-inspired mixture, in my estimation. I’m VERY interested to see where JB goes with this. He has a great many other songs in the pipeline…

Summertime on Youtube.

Summertime on Amazon.

A Short History of Light

The Inflatable Hippies just released their newest album, A Short History of Light. Mellow electronica. I’ve belonged to the Inflatable Hippies for years. Can’t remember exactly how long.

I recommend belonging to a band if you don’t already. It’s kind of the musical equivalent of carrying snow chains in your car. Better to have them than not. You never know when it is going to snow.

Please encourage your friends, your Aunt Marge, other relatives, family-members, neighbors, bridge club, former associates in the mafia you once worked for, the local chapter of the Audubon Society, etc., to have a listen. Available on Amazon, Apple, Spotify, Pandora, etc.

The Inflatable Hippies are already hard at work on their next album, which is tentatively titled A Short History of Shadow. Point, counter-point, of course.

The album after that one will be largely inspired by Tolkien in order to counteract the pernicious effects of Amazon’s bizarrely deficient Rings of Power series. A whole lot of deprogramming will need to happen because of that series. Feel free to start that brave effort by handing out copies of Lloyd Alexander’s Prydain Chronicles, Patricia McKillip’s Riddlemaster of Hed trilogy, Susan Cooper’s Dark is Rising series, Ursula K. LeGuin’s Wizard of Earthsea stories, Robin McKinley’s Blue Sword, Jim Butcher’s Aeronaut’s Windlass, George MacDonald’s Princess and the Goblin stories, and, of course, three humble little books: The Hawk and His Boy, The Shadow at the Gate, and The Wicked Day.

All of these stories fit into the history of light. In different configurations, angles, points of view, sub-categories, spectra. Just as do certain music, sculptures, paintings, architecture, the oak tree, giraffes, lemurs, Neptune, dahlias, gophers (sadly so), sunrises and sunsets. And a whole lot of other stuff, plus all the grains of sand on the every seashore on every landmass on planet Earth.

Love in the Time of Pandemica

My newest album, Love in the Time of Pandemica, has just gone live. These days, I’m mostly recording under the name Inflatable Hippies (which my wife hates), but this album is under the band name UDK (short for Upside Down Kingdom). I’m not going to use this name again; it’s only for this album (and, yes, I realize this is totally a dumb marketing move in terms of [not] building up an entity–but that’s not exactly my goal here).

I didn’t write these songs for my grandmother. My specific audience for them is epic fantasy readers who shop at thrift stores, like Dvorak’s New World Symphony, and are mildly irritated with Jim Butcher for not writing a sequel to the Aeronaut’s Windlass. A very well-written and crafted book.

Anyway, these are all rock/alternative songs, mostly dealing with mortality, meaning in life, fate, providence, totalitarianism (particularly “Time to Run” and “Dark Stories”). “She’s Got Fangs” is in honor of all the excitable people who made themselves greatly known in the last two years of the pandemic/shut down/the great oddity (whatever you want to call 2020 and 2021). “Feel Just Fine” is an old, stripped down, fairly raw version of a song that ended up on the soundtrack of the indie film The Fellows Hip.

I love writing and recording music. The process is intensely creative with almost immediate gratification. At least, it seems immediate in comparison to writing books (several weeks versus months upon months). A regular dose of creativity keeps me sane. I figure on putting together an album’s worth of music at least once a year. Probably do an electronica instrumental album next.

You can hear all the songs in the new album for free at my HearNow site. If you like them, feel free to buy them on Apple or Amazon, or stream them on Spotify, Pandora, etc. The songs are pretty much everywhere digital music is sold.