// First Assignments

I received assignments to write about heavy/aggressive/extreme music this week. I’ll be doing album reviews for About.com Heavy Metal, as well as a bi-monthly column for Portugal’s largest metal magazine, LOUD! To say that I am excited would be a major understatement. Both opportunities are a direct result of the story I wrote for Decibel Magazine’s blog—the Deciblog—this past January.

I have published music reviews in the past, but never on the scale of these two major outlets. I would like to publicly thank José Carlos Santos (LOUD!) and Chad Bowar (About.com Heavy Metal) for giving me a chance to write for a much wider, larger, and international audience. Much respect. I am both humbled and honored. I’ll be joining the ranks of some great writers.

Sometimes it pays to be a total geek about something. That “something” for me is music.

I can’t wait to get started.

JHS

// A Dream Come True

About two months ago I posted something on my Facebook wall, as I do quite often. It was a simple statement: “I want to write for Decibel Magazine.” I didn’t expect much after I had written the sentence. It was a pipe dream, after all. A friend put in a good word for me, and sent in a link to my own blog. A day later I received an e-mail from one of Decibel’s editors. He invited me to write a piece for the magazine’s blog (the Deciblog). I’d get 2,000 words to tell my story of survival and how music—namely metal—helped in my recovery. Needless to say, I was pretty excited.

I started writing that very same day. Before I knew it I had written almost 1,000 words. At that point I thought I needed to outline a bit. So I did. It helped immensely and I was able to finish pretty quickly afterward. Nervously, I sent it to my contact.

News came back fast. Everyone had loved it. I only had a few changes to make and a couple of questions to answer. They were satisfied. I was over the moon.

The piece, titled Strength Beyond Strength: The Jason Statts Story (not my title), should go live on the Deciblog January 30.

Dreams do come true; even pipe dreams.

JHS

// Desiderata, Max Ehrmann

This meant a lot to a person who meant a lot to me. It was her muse, I suppose. It is a great piece of writing and speaks for itself. Enjoy.

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be critical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.

Thanks for reading.

JHS