How Do The Stars Feel?

FOREWORD:  It is an extreme rarity for me to dip my pen into the realms of prose, preferring to play to my strengths of songwriting. Prose isn’t my forte but, on this occasion, I had a story burning in my heart and decided to write it. You can judge for yourself whether I should just stick to my day job. Thanks for reading.


Colin snuggled down into his soft bed. His mum tucked the blanket around him. The six year old boy loved how his mother always smelled of the lavender she grew in their garden. He lay on his back, his eyes toward the skylight in the ceiling, the skylight that his father built for him before he was born. Before he knew that his son would never see it and never be able to see the stars shining through it.

‘Mama’, Colin whispered, ‘Elline told me that the stars are reeeeaally beautiful. She said that they sparkle. She said they are shiny. I told her that I didn’t know what those words really mean. I asked her to tell me how the stars feel, but she just laughed at me and told me that they are stars and they don’t feel like anything.’

Colin’s mum snuggled close to her son and exclaimed, ‘Elline! That girl is dumb! I can tell you what the stars feel like.’

The little blind boy closed his eyes and listened to the warm, velvet sound of his mother’s voice. She said, ‘Well, you know when you’ve been out in the cold too long, and you come in and start to warm up by the fire?’

‘Yes’, replied Colin. Stars feel like fire?’, he asked.

‘No. Stars feel like the lovely tingle you feel in your feet and hands as they get warm by the fire.’

‘Oh’, said the boy. ‘That sounds nice.’

‘Oh, it is. Very nice. But, you know what? I can also tell you how the stars smell.’

‘Really, Mama? How they smell? How do they smell? Do they smell nice, too?’

‘Oh, yes, Colin. They smell spicy…sort of like ginger.’

‘Ginger? Like ginger beer?’, he asked. ‘I like ginger beer.  It makes me giggle; it tickles my nose! And, it makes me tingle, too.’

‘Mmm, I know it does.’

‘If the stars smell like ginger, what do they taste like?’

‘Well, you got ahead of me. I was just going to tell you. They taste like the best ginger beer in the world.’

‘Soooo’, Colin mused, ‘the stars are tingly and spicy? They sound delicious, Mama.’

‘Yeah’, Mama smiled, ‘I thought you might say that. But, now, do you also want to know what the stars sound like?’

‘Awwrrrhhh, yes, please’, Colin yawned, unable to hide his sleepiness.

‘The stars sound like an early autumn breeze on wind chimes – lovely wind chimes, big ones and little ones – both ringing powerfully deep and tinkling bright and gently across the sky.’

‘Wow! Elline was right. Stars are beautiful.’

‘Yes, son, they reeeeaally are. Now, you get to sleep. I love you.’


Several years later, the boy became a man, as generally happens when time marches on with no one to stop it. But, how time feels is a story for another time. Colin lay on his back, his eyes to the ceiling, in another bed this time, with his arms wrapped around a girl named Arianna.  He loved the way his girlfriend always smelled like vanilla and fresh coffee. He whispered into her hair, and told her for the first time, ‘You are so beautiful’.

Instead of thanking him for the compliment, Arianna, who was still getting used to having a visually impaired man as a lover, responded with confusion and not a little disbelief.

‘But, Colin’, she said, ‘how can you say that I am beautiful? You’ve never seen me. Not only that, but you’ve never seen anyone else; you have nothing to compare me to. How do you know whether I am beautiful or not? You’ve never seen my eyes, and you don’t even know what green is, so it doesn’t matter that my eyes are green. And, you’ve never seen my hair, and you have no concept of what red is, so you can’t tell whether or not my hair is nice. I know you appreciate my body, that’s pretty easy to surmise, but you can’t see it, so how are you qualified to tell me that I am beautiful? I’m sorry, I really care about you, but I just don’t understand how you can make such a statement about me.’

Arianna didn’t laugh at Colin, but in that moment she sounded just like Elline had all those years ago when she had tried to tell him about stars. His immediate reaction was to be deeply stung by the words that she spoke to him, especially right after they had just made love. The silence began to separate them like a thousand miles when, just a few moments before, they had seemed so close. Then, slowly, he came to the realisation that Arianna didn’t speak from a place of malice but of sheer ignorance. He held back a chuckle as he heard his mum say, ‘That girl is dumb’.

‘Ari’, he said, ‘you want to know how I can know that you are beautiful.’ He turned her in his arms to face him and placed a soft kiss on her lips before he carried on, ‘I am fully qualified, as you put it, to say that you are beautiful, and I will gladly explain it to you.’

Arianna was now embarrassed by what she had said. She felt bad about it, but she still couldn’t imagine how a man blind since birth had any notion of what constituted a beautiful girl. Part of her was glad that he couldn’t see her and judge her on her looks. After all, she thought, hadn’t she had more than one boyfriend who made her feel like she was never quite attractive enough? She had dated one guy who told her that she was good looking, but he also constantly made it clear that he would like her to lose weight. She had actually started dieting, joined a gym and went religiously, but he never seemed satisfied, regardless of the lengths she went to in order to please him. Hadn’t she been upset by her ex-boyfriend’s shallowness? Hadn’t she been miserable in that relationship? On the other hand, there was a good deal of her that was outright frustrated that Colin couldn’t appreciate all the effort she still put in to looking good. Even a few of her friends had commented to her that she was wasting herself on a blind man. However, that gentle kiss that Colin gave her stopped her thoughts. No one had ever kissed her the way Colin could kiss her; he had her full attention now. Okay, she thought, explain this to me.

Holding her, Colin spoke, ‘You feel better than the stars.’

He paused, kissed her again, longer and deeper this time, before leaning in to press his face to her neck. He took a deep breath, filling himself up with the scent of her. ‘You smell better than the stars.’

Arianna quivered as Colin’s breath tickled the side of her neck, causing goosebumps to rise on her skin. At first, she had been listening to his words with some amusement but, as he continued speaking, her amusement changed to something like wonder. Punctuated with kisses, she was held spellbound by what he was saying; she was in thrall to the sound of his voice.

Colin smiled as his hands ran over the curves of her body. ‘Do you need me to remind you where my tongue was just a little bit ago?’

Arianna did laugh then, a sort of shy laugh, and she could feel her cheeks blush. ‘Umm, you can remind me of that anytime you want to’, she breathed.

‘Well’, he said, ‘Baby, you taste so much better than the stars, too.’

She still couldn’t wholly fathom what he was saying, and she couldn’t have told you just why she was now utterly convinced that, when he told her that she was beautiful, it was a deeper compliment, it was more of a compliment, than anyone had ever given her before. In that moment, she totally began to believe it.

‘Do I sound better than the stars, too?’, she asked him.

Colin could not hold back a grin as he recalled how his mother had described the sound of the stars.  ‘No’, he confessed, ‘you don’t. But, we can work on that.’






As a society, we are obsessed with the visual. People say things like ‘Seeing is believing’ and ‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder’. We are pressured to look a certain way. Sadly, in the music industry (the one place that should be all about the ears and hearing), we are told that we must have a popular image, that we need to have a certain appearance in order to get heard.  WTF!?

We focus on sight, we focus on looking hot, women are told that men are visually turned on and, so, they need to look a particular way in order to be desirable to them. To our detriment, we have been taught that sight is the most powerful and important of the senses, and all our effort is put into how we appear to others.

Recently, I have become close to a man who has been completely blind since birth. And, I have learned so much.  He often tells me that I am beautiful. But, you say, if beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and he has never seen you nor has he seen anyone to compare you to, how is he qualified to make such a statement? And, he’s actually had people say this to him.  I daresay these people are fucking ignorant. I’ll tell you why.

There are four other senses, and they are just as powerful and visceral, if not more so, than sight. I’ve always thought this; my friend has only confirmed it for me.  Beauty is in the hand of the beholder. Beauty is in the ear of the beholder. Beauty is in the nostrils of the beholder. Beauty is in the mouth of the beholder. Beyond the limited, superficial, sense of sight, there is a way of perceiving and knowing and experiencing beauty in a way that is so intense as to be overwhelming.

My visually impaired friend is a radio presenter; that’s how he and I met. He is very passionate about music and about supporting indie artists (like me). His first experience of me was when my singing voice hit his ears; and, in his words, he fell in love.  Since then, we’ve spent many hours on the phone, and he tells me he also likes my speaking voice.  It’s more than how my voice sounds (although, that’s a part of it), it’s how my voice feels.

How can a blind man tell me that I am beautiful when he’s never seen me, when he has no concept of black (the colour of my hair) or brown (the colour of my eyes), when he has never seen the shape of my body or the composition of my facial features. How can he say it with conviction and how can I believe him? It’s simple, really. He feels beauty. He feels it.  And, I don’t just mean by touching something with his hands.  No, I mean on a deep, visceral level. Anyone who has ever challenged him when he called them beautiful, by asking how he is qualified to say such a thing because he can’t see them, has terribly missed out on the AMAZING compliment he has given them; they have missed the incredible wonder of his exclamation all because of their obtuseness. Their ignorance wouldn’t allow them to believe what he was telling them. They are the ones who are truly blind, the ones who cannot comprehend that what he said to them is SO MUCH MORE OF A COMPLIMENT than they have ever been given before.

Emotionally, intensely and all-consuming, he recognises beauty when he encounters it. And, in a place beyond the superficiality of seeing with the eyes, he sees it with his soul.

And, you know what?  I think that’s beautiful.



Why I’ve Decided To Start Wearing Makeup to Bed


It’s 2015! Yeah, ugh…moving right along (lifegoesonandthatisthetragedy)…I’ve decided to start wearing makeup to bed.

I know, all the beauty advisor types advise to thoroughly cleanse before bed. However, that first sight of one’s face in the morning can set the tone for the whole day.

Now, at the best of times, I’m not a morning person. And, well, now, in my present mentally and physically ill condition, it isn’t the best of times. There’s nothing like waking up and not wanting to wake up and, then, the first thing one sees in the mirror makes one feel considerably worse.

Last night, I wore a small amount of makeup to bed (I’m not suggesting massive go out on the town face here, just enough to look less old and weary and just plain ugh in the morning). I woke up not wanting to wake up, but when actually forced to get out of bed by my bladder, I didn’t cringe away from the mirror; and, when I saw my reflection, it didn’t add to my malaise! In fact, I found that after a bit of wrestling with the cacophony in my head, I could get up, get dressed, wash my face, refresh my makeup and write this blog post. This, instead of not bothering with my appearance at all, slugging about in just a shirt and underwear all day, and getting weepier each time I passed a reflective surface…and definitely not writing this post.

So, this is why I have decided to wear makeup to bed. Because, it just might assist me in getting out of the bed in the morning.



So many pieces.  Sharp edges.  So much beyond repair.  So much that doesn’t function at all.  A few breathtakingly, achingly beautiful pieces – maybe too few, yes… but, beautiful all the same – truly beautiful.  Those pieces DO make a difference.


Close your eyes and, then, you’ll be able to see…


In an interview when Adele was asked about her weight, she replied with:

“I don’t make music for eyes, I make music for ears.”

Amen, Sister. Exactamundo! That’s how I feel about it, too.

I am not here to look at, I am here to listen to.

Music is for listening to. The package it comes in shouldn’t matter in the least.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. However, appreciation of music is, thankfully, not only above, but also far beyond, the visual and the physical. Taste in music should never be influenced by personal taste in physical appearance. Music is spiritual in nature (at its core).

Close your eyes and, then, you will be able to see it.

“Well, Autumn”, you quip, “why then bother to make videos for your songs if you aren’t interested in engaging the visual?”

I never said that I wasn’t interested in engaging the visual: video can help to illustrate a song. But, I believe a good song (delivered by a good artist) doesn’t NEED a video to explain it. It should be able to tell its own story without the use of any pictures accept for the ones it inspires in the imagination of the listener. Video can be a good tool to help tell the story, but it shouldn’t be relied on soley to sell a song. And, it shouldn’t be used to show off the looks of the singer. If you just want to show off your politically correct body, become a model.

Music (and making music) is more important than the physical.

It is (so much) deeper.

So, good for Adele. What she said. Although, I would go just a bit further and say this:

I don’t make music for the eyes; I make music for the ears and for the heart.

Autumn’s Sonnet

This is why he is The Reason I Breathe. The way he sees me is astounding. And that he still sees me this way, even after all these years. He still sees beauty, he still celebrates that beauty which his heart has convinced his eyes they see. I’m so grateful for that heart, that sees and holds me with such love.


I used to write sonnets.  Wow, that makes it sound like I’ve written quite a few, but the total is maybe between fifteen and twenty.  I used to write a lot of poetry, using different styles.  Some I’ve been told were quite good.  My wife likes them, anyway, and this sonnet I’m going to share with you tonight is for and about her.  My beautiful wife, Autumn.

Autumn’s Sonnet

You deserve a sonnet all of your own,

But can these mere words describe your wonder

Like golden leaves on autumn winds are blown

Through woods and groves –  my heart tears asunder

At the thought of you without description.

The idea that you’ll pass through this world

Without a true, adequate depiction

That will allow your beauty to unfurl

Should not be granted either space nor time

To sow its vile seed and then reap the doubt

That would grow…

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