Friday, April 19, 2013

Don't let anything hold you back

Neil Lee Griffin
has already been a staple in the upstate music scene for years. The singer/songwriter/composer developed a stutter at an early age which only fueled the pursuit of music wherein the stutter disappears. With tastes as varied as his skill set, Griffin always challenges himself to create a distinct, unique sound for every album he produces. While much of his music tends toward the genres of rock & pop, don’t be surprised to see him dabbling in jazz, metal, world music, and more!
In late 2010 Griffin adopted a scarecrow as a symbol to represent his work, in that the scarecrow is silent but knows all about the world. Griffin explains that the scarecrow is symbolic of his stuttering. In the media stuttering is often made fun of, implying that the stutterer is stupid. Griffin explains that “we’re like the scarecrow in that we may be slow to speak or silent, but we are not stupid.”
“Empty House” (2007) marks Neil Lee Griffin’s first album which combines haunting instrumental pieces with fist-pumping punk rock songs. His sophomore release entitled “Circe De Morte” (2008) a haunting rock opera of a vengeful circus took the artist in a new even darker direction incorporating the use of a digital orchestra. In 2010 he released “V3″, featuring a softer sound than previous work. Here he tells a story of a cosmonaut’s struggle with finding happiness in the stars or on earth. His 2011 fourth album entitled “Tanglewylde” takes Griffin in yet another direction with a more rootsy element laced with harder rock sounds while retaining the dark moody aspect of the majority of his music. In 2012 “The Diary of Scarlett Crow” will be released. A chilling story of a young woman coming to grips with the twisted world around her, but things my not be what they seem.

Check out Neil's awesome website and "like" his Scarecrow page:!scarecrows/cfd6

Buy Neil's CD here:

Saturday, April 13, 2013

In Aaron's Pain-filled voice

     Recently I've joined several sites on Facebook which deal with stuttering and many people have asked me why I chose to write about a young man who stutters.
     The main character in my novel Shadow of My Father's Secret is Aaron DeAngelis. Born with a stuttering problem, dealing with his father's verbal abuse, Aaron comes to feel worthless and unloved. I've chosen this subject matter because I believe at one time or another in our lives, we've always felt the stigma of an impediment. Maybe yours was being too short, or too tall. Maybe it was having acne or being overweight. Maybe, like myself it was the stigma of curvature of the spine. But we've all had something to deal with. The feelings of worthlessness and insecurity may also be something we've dealt with either due to our impediment or a host of other reasons.
     The character in my book becomes a high school bully as a result of being made fun of. He has taken verbal assaults not only from his father, but kids in school, and as a result, begins to strike out at them. In real life, children are the victims of bullying. Children with impediments and differences.
     Let's open our eyes friends. Lets try to really look inside at the heart of the person before we decide to judge if they're beautiful enough, tall enough, skinny enough or just plain normal. What is normal anyway? Let's stop viewing the world and those in it with judgmental eyes. Let's take the time to really get to know a person. Maybe they'll become one of the best friends you've ever had. Perhaps you'll learn something from them, or have something to offer yourself.
     Stuttering, like all other "stigmas" is a part of life. My curvature of the spine, though hard to deal with at times, has made me a better person. It's given me the compassion to look at others through different eyes. May we all find the courage to befriend someone with "differences", someone who may just change our lives for the better as we accept them and grow into the person God wants us to become.