Session 45: Wolf Ash – Featuring Susan Heaton Wright

Wolf Ash

Join the pack with opera singer turned public speaking and communications trainer Susan Heaton Wright and find your creative voice!

Susan Heaton Wright

Ex International Opera singer Susan Heaton-Wright shares her Executive Voice coaching with Directors, Teams and individuals in Business, Universities and organizations around the world. With her clients often being asked to feature on Sky News, Radio 4 and headline industry conferences globally she uses all her experience as a performer and teacher to enable clients to make an impact when they speak.

As a singer, Susan performed as a soloist throughout UK, France, Italy, Spain and USA: at venues such as the Royal Opera, Covent Garden, The Royal Albert Hall, Symphony Hall Birmingham and Durham Cathedral and for Royalty. She appeared on BBC1 and Radio 3 as a soloist. She worked for top conductors including Sir Mark Elder and Sir Simon Rattle; created roles for ENO works and the Darlington International Festival and for Howard Goodall directed by Graham Vick. Susan also recorded soundtracks as a soloist for TV adverts.

Susan regularly appears on the BBC radio and TV providing expert advice on effective speaking and how individuals engage with their audiences. She is a Public Speaker internationally: for businesses, professional groups and at conferences on being an effective speaker and developing good communication streams with suppliers.

Susan has been a finalist for her blog “Superstar Communicator”. She writes a blog for We Are The City and 3 Plus International as well as contributing to a number of publications including the Scotsman, The Guardian, Huffington Post, Thrive Global and professional publications. Susan’s iTunes podcast “Superstar Communicator” is a featured UK Podcast and is becoming a popular resource for speakers world wide with over 2500 downloads a month.

Susan is the Creative Director and founder of Viva Live Music in 2005, providing bespoke themed entertainment for high end events. The company works with  corporate clients and exclusive venues in UK and overseas. She uses her communication skills in running the business: negotiating with clients as well as working with a variety of suppliers.

Before Susan was an opera singer, she taught in prep schools in Kenya, India and in London. Susan is a fully qualified teacher (QTS). Susan is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, The Royal Society of Arts and the Incorporated Society of Musicians and graduate of Durham University as well as being a trustee of the Mid Hertfordshire Music Centre. She is a keen swimmer and sews vintage dresses, and lives in Hertfordshire with her husband and son.

Sounds

  • Exercise Ball
  • Getting Out
  • Wolf Ash
  • Projector Screen
  • Wheaton Bleachers
  • Rake
  • Plants and Weirdos

Susan’s Result

Listen to the episode!

Lucas’s Result

He threw the neon green tennis ball against the wall. It made a satisfying thud as it hit the concrete and a hollow snap of rubber when it struck the floor. Alejandro snatched out of the air and sent it flying again. This was something incredibly satisfying about throwing that tennis ball behind the shop. Most of the other contractors spent their lunch break eating burritos and smoking cigarettes, talking about the football games on Sunday.

Alejandro wasn’t one of those guys. He caught the ball with a satisfying thud and sent it flying again. He’d always been a loner. He was sent across the border to America from Columbia when he was 11. Rode on the roof a container on the “The Beast”, a cargo hauling train that went across the U.S. border. He watched a 15 year old boy lose his grip on a cold night, falling in the darkness, never to be seen again – his voice drowned out by the manic rumble of the train.

After Alejandro somehow made his way to the U.S. he was arrested by the border patrol. Thrown in a holding tank for two weeks. He had his proof though. His grandmother had sewn a phone number into the inside collar of his shirt. When the U.S. agents called, she had a prepared message for them, telling the cold man with the streamlined motorcycle glasses about how Alejandro had watched his brother get executed by the cartels in the streets of Mexico City. How they wanted to kill him. How his family was dead, and how he was a good boy that went to church on Sundays.

Alejandro grabbed the green tennis ball and sent it flying again the wall again. He looked over at his coworkers dancing around an old radio. Pablo was pretending to be a belly dancer. Jose was laughing so hard he started coughing.

Alejandro smiled. It was good to hear and to be around laughter. The roofing job barely paid the bills, but it did. He took a deep breath and took in the cool October air of Providence. There were only a few minutes left to his lunch. He could see the foreman’s truck pulling up to the work site.

Alejandro caught the ball one last time before putting it into his work pouch hanging on the side.

It was time to get back to work.

Carolyn’s Result

Pounce. Hold. The air pressure in my lungs
like an over-filled basketball, the thrill
of catching breath and teasing it out—
cat and mouse with my own life force,
the air I share with everybody and
hold to myself for half a minute at most.

Exit. Release. Whir. Beyond my body
my skin is exchanging breath with the
cloud of micro-beings surrounding us.
Where is the boundary between us?
What phospholipid bilayer forms my outer self?
What passes through my stratosphere?

I am a planet among planets—
a superclustered ring of systems,
a self no more or less significant than
the great big speck of dust clambered
among all the others.

I don’t believe in clean air.
No such thing. All is muddied on earth
by we dust beings all talking to each other.
That isn’t bad. Or it isn’t good either.

There’s that question of Quality.
Capital Q. Q the letter the circle
with the line in it—the whole drawn
to make an inside and an outside
and the line crossing, drawing the
secret out of the illusion.

How much do we inhale?
How industrious our lungs—coating our
breath and words in extra packaging.
Cheapening the thoughts—making them worthy
only of being thrown away.

They say when you stop talking,
you start hearing—first others—then
your own mind—and eventually nothing.

At some point you can put language down.
At some point you can wear words like
a traveling cloak—something to be
slung over the shoulder when the sun is out.

-CD 10.22.17

Session 44: Dream – Featuring Dan Hinds from Stories Podcast

Dream

Dream a little dream of creativity with Dan Hinds, author and poet behind Stories Podcast, one of the most-listened to podcasts for kids across the world!

Dan Hinds

Dan Hinds is the author and poet behind Stories Podcast, one of the most-listened to podcasts for kids across the world.

www.StoriesPodcast.com 

Sounds

  • Stacking Leaves, Blocks, and Bricks
  • PVD Fest w/Amazing Grace
  • Spin Bikes
  • Renovating Window Trim
  • Dram a Little Dream of Me
  • Taking Notes
  • BioBlitz Stream
  • Snappers

Dan’s Result

Listen to the episode!

Lucas’s Result

Billy pulled another one of the heavy stones away from the mouth of the cave. A few more and they would be in. The rocks will big and oblong gray ones. Probably dug up from a farmer’s field a long time ago. Brown and orange leaves were stacked and covered the mound.

Billy figured the trees had dropped the leaves over the years, but when he looked back at Sam, he could see that she was thinking the same thing. What if somebody didn’t want them to look in the cave?

After all it was just 5 minutes away from the house in the back woods.

Billy pulled another big stones back from the pile. He motioned his younger sister Sam to help him brush the leaves and roll it off. He could feel the cool musty air coming out of the cave. It smelled of old wood, maybe even roots, soil and worms.

Sam turned the red flashlight on that they had brought from the house. It was one of those crank ones for emergencies. You pointed it into the black mouth of the cave. The light wasn’t nearly enough. Sam cranked the light a few times, but it didn’t really help. It was just really dark in the cave.

Billy rolled the last big rock out of the way. There was enough room for them both to fit through. He looked at Sam again.

“Well?” said Sam.

“Okay,” said Billy. He grabbed the red windup flashlight from Sam and pushed he way forward into the darkness. He could feel a cobweb brush against his face. He squirmed his way forward until he was past the rocks and on the soft soil floor.

Billy couldn’t see much in the cave. His eyes were still adjusting.

“Okay, Sam. I think it’s okay.”

“You sure?”

“Yeah, c’mon. Don’t be a big baby about it. You were the one that said you wanted to go adventuring.”

Billy could hear Sam groan before she started moving her way into the cave. When she reached him, she was about 2 inches away from his face and breathing heavily.

“Stop it,” whispered Sam.

“What?”

“Your breathing. I can’t hear. What if there’s a bear?”

“Sorry.” Sam covered her mouth and tried to breathe through her nose. Their eyes began to adjust, and Billy started to make out ghostly shapes in the darkness. He cranked the light a few times and pointed it toward the far side.

What was this? There was a clock on the wall! The pendulum hung low and straight and as Billy approached it, he could see cobwebs on the hands. It looked like the clock hadn’t been used in years. This was a bit of a relief.

“Point the light over here Billy!” said Sam.

He did and there was something on the wall. Billy moved over and as it lit up, he could see that it was a painting.

“It looks like a painting of a cowboy or something!” said Sam. “You can see his hat and a his horse and….”

There was a rustle outside.

Carolyn’s Result

Penny in the well.
Pestle in the mortar.
Give me something I can hold and crush
before loosening—would you let that thing be you?
Yes—you—amalgam of things,
you the forest, the leaf litter friable,
all your years fresh beneath you.

Grace come be my daughter—
the one I saw looking upward from the wood floor,
the one who had eyes entirely unlike mine.

I want to feel my pulse quicken like applause,
my spine turning on its vertebrae,
a whirlwind xylophone, I want the work
of my friends seeped into me like the ground water table,
the madness of love etched indelibly as a fingerprint.

I don’t care how chaotic it gets—
how flushed my cheeks—
how dark down into the water my wishes fall.

Fold a piece of paper seven times.
No more dense will this missive come
than the center of the earth.

There are things living down there.
Archaea in magma, ice, where
Robert Frost found death twice
is only somebody else’s rebirth.

I’ll send my wishes there.
I’ll send the synapses of my unwavering fancy
into the big oblivion of the well-bottom,
the gravity well—the radio signature
twisted as an unrecognizable prescription.

Even time has behavior.
I will wish to teach it love—or better
longing, I will teach it faith as I have
been unable to teach myself.

Is that the goal?

Do I hope to reinvent fire
in the amniotic fluid of my own womb?
Why not? My heart is flammable—
blood (chemically) (really) explosive.
Would you like to be my kindling?
And in that I mean kin.
And kind. And ing. Ongoing.

-CD 10.18.17

Session 43: Jar of Treasures – Featuring Becca Lipton, Musician and Teacher

Jar of Treasures

Join Becca Lipton and Endless Beautiful and we talk about innovative education, tuning your abs with a tuba, socially awkward ghosts, and John Cage!

Rebecca Lipton

I went to UMass Amherst and majored in Music Education. My primary instrument is the tuba. I teach low brass (tuba, euphonium, and trombone) lessons in the Pioneer Valley as well as freelancing and subbing in several groups. This fall I’m playing with my brass quintet (River Valley Brass Quintet), and a polka band called The Happy 5 Oompah Band. Besides lots of Oktoberfest gigs, fall means rehearsing for a wintertime performance called Welcome Yule. It’s a folky sort of solstice pageant in which I sing. During the day I teach at Four Winds School in Gill, MA. It’s a self-directed, project-based, one room schoolhouse style middle school that we often describe as “homeschooling a big family.” We have 10 students, one other full time teacher besides myself, and three part time teachers/staff. Though I’m technically certified to be music teacher, at this job I get to teach all sort of interesting things such as math, writing, humanities, and social skills. I live in Greenfield, MA with a roommate and our combined four pets: three cats and a dog. 🙂

Links:

Four Winds website: www.fourwindsschool.info and FBpage: www.facebook.com/fourwindsschool

My website: www.beccaliptonmusic.com and FB page: www.facebook.com/beccaliptonmusic

Welcome Yule website: http://welcomeyule.org/ and FB page: www.facebook.com/WelcomeYule

Becca Lipton

rlumass14@gmail.com

Teacher, Four Winds School

413 863 8055

Freelance Musician and Music Teacher

beccalipton.music@gmail.com

www.BeccaLiptonMusic.com

www.Facebook.com/BeccaLiptonMusic

Sounds

  • Shelter Walk Dogs Barking
  • Tinkering in the Rope Room
  • Jar of Treasures
  • Corkboard Pushpin
  • Serving Drinks
  • Ferris Wheel
  • Backyard Morning
  • Farmers Market Band Starting Up

Becca’s Result

Lucas’s Result

The Walking Man

They all want to know what the walk is for. The walk across town. Across the cracked sidewalks. Through open alleys with pieces of chicken laid out for the cats. The walk that has worn his shoes down to oblivion three times over the past five years.

The owner of the handyman shop gives him plastic bags from the salt to put over his shoes when the winter gets wet. He tried to give him a pair of $90 boots once, but the owner found them on his back step the following day, with a note scrawled on a pink piece of notepaper laced into the boot.

It said, “I’m sorry.”

The walking man didn’t make it into the shop for two weeks. When he did, the owner smiled and gave him the chalky salt bags that he had in the back.

The walking man has been seen walking around with a mason jar sometimes. The kids that play basketball at the YMCA say that he’s a witch. That he keeps spells in his jar. Weird stuff like frogs eggs and fingernails.

I’ve seen what the walking man keeps in his jar. He might be a witch. I watched him pick up clumps of moss, a broken spoon, the bottom off a beer bottle, an acorn – he examined all of those things and placed them in the mason jar, collecting bits on his walk.

I followed him, the contents, the blackened pennies and the small pebbles clanking against the glass. He took them into a large parking lot with tractor trailors and large spools of copper wire.

I believe the walking man knew that I was watching him. He took his mason jar up to a small rusted container. Opened the latch and went inside. I’m not sure what compelled me, but I followed him. I guess only good men would take the time to collect moss and old pennies.

I opened the container.

There was light. There was grass. An old truck a ’57 Chevy sitting in the forest. Tires rotten, seats cracked. Windshield cracked along the bottom. A crowd began coming out of the forest. There were small children in overalls eating ice cream. A 5 piece band began tuning their instruments. A banjo, guitar, one stringed bass, trumpet and tuba.

The walking man took a seat with his jar.

I sat next to him.

And we watched the band play.

Carolyn’s Result

What are we walking for?
We bipedal beasts among the flowers
four and five petaled. Sidewalk weeds,
turning the gears of enzyme and synthesis.
Five feet and a hundred thirty pounds
of yard mulch – vines wittled into
spinning wheels, grass leaves the thatch
of rabbit hutch and dewdrop alike.

Should we just lay down?
Be as ice cubes trickling into the crevice
between the curb and the storm drain.
My aunt made me fear I could slip through there
but I think she was lying.
Maybe I will wedge into the wheel tread
of a passing truck, thread downhill
and count myself by rotational circumstance
and the numbers on the mailboxes.

Every piece of mail is under order of
the masquerade master. Walking is not allowed,
dancing only – orange feathered boas
enclosed under the stamp glue.
Pour me through the mail slot.

I don’t know where I’m going with this.
Eleven and fifty somehow the sacred numbers,
a code to stop it? The number of coins
needed to turn the dial of the gumball machine
on the beachfront boardwalk, the chewed gum
stuck to the undersides our new age barnacles.

Even the seaside has wildflowers.
In this I am never without a friend.
Here is peace in a fellow squiggled line,
here is somebody I know how to talk to.
I like plants because they seem always
to know how much to say, even if the content
of it is beyond my understanding.

I’m used to being confused.
I think that’s important.
When I make room for not knowing,
I can better hear the distant guitar
among the footfalls and the road singing.
Call it having an episode.
My head yelling at me – and whoever else
is in here accepting the dischord.
The warmth of the body – the blood
warming the brass – the looking into the hands
to see the internal workings.

-CD 10.14.17

Session 42: Vacuum Hose – Featuring Mother Booze Author, Allison Tyra

Vacuum Hose

Join Allison Tyra, author of Mother Booze: Slursery Rhymes for your Alcoholic Inner Child, and try to suck up as much creative inspiration as possible!

Allison Tyra is an American transplant to Sydney, where she works in arts marketing and development, spends a lot of time petting animals and taking notes while her friends drink, for research and blackmail purposes. Allison also created and manages CulturalJobs.org, a searchable database of more than 600 job banks in the creative industries, as well as thousands of links directly to organisations’ employment pages. You can find her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/amtyra/ and on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/allison-tyra-5b1aab12/.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36190442-mother-booze

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Mother-Booze-Updated-Slursery-Drinking-ebook/dp/B075VLKSBN/

Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/au/listing/561317467/mother-booze-update-slursery-rhymes-for

Sounds

  • Vacuum Hose
  • Shower Time
  • Carnival Games
  • Scotch Tape
  • Farmer’s Market Passerby
  • Wine Bottle Fun
  • Old School Pyramid Game

Allison’s Result

Industrial dryer, hotel workers sharing stories and conversation at the end of a long day

Garage band jam session with improvised instruments, setting up a baseline and experimenting with accompanying sounds. the “performers” are not teen boys, but middle-aged women seeking creative release from their daily lives, using pieces from those lives.

Rushing water filling a bathtub, something wrong with the pipes (banging, inconsistent water flow) – when you call in the plumbers, they discover something far worse than you could have ever imagined

 
Carnival ride – third date, he’s trying to impress her by bringing his nephew, but she’s not thrilled with either the carnival or his pseudo-parenting skills
 
Trying to clean the aforementioned bathtub (scraping and water noises)
 
Sitting still in a busy place while the world blurs past, lost in your own thoughts, everything else is indistinct and unimportant – even as it surrounds you, it does not touch you. Sometimes you need this escape, but you have indulged too often and it is becoming increasingly more difficult for you to reconnect
 
Tuning an instrument while someone else types – two people co-existing in the same space, aware of each other but not interacting, they are at peace and comfortable with the arrangement of many years’ living together. The peace, but not the comfort, are disrupted with the arrival of friends and family.

Lucas’s Result

Whirlygig washer cleaning the crud off the corner of my eyes in the morning. That’s a good feeling.

There’s a rhythm these days. You know it wasn’t always like this. Machines used to be cold and dead. Stabbing their knives and decapitating the flow of the moment.

Teeth are cleaned, clothes on straight, here we go, straight black tie, no time to wait.

Pan right, center, there you go.

This is shower is frickin’ ridiculous. Freezing one moment and burning my face off the next. Is the water coming out of the head brown or am I just that dirty. I hope I’m just dirty. Uggghhh. I’m hungover. I should have drank more water last night. Brown or not, I sure as hell would have felt better.

Okay, pull the camera out a bit. Now twist it to the side.

Step on up folks. Every shot you make the prize gets bigger! We’ve got monster trucks, nuclear missiles, skyscrapers. We even got the great pyramids! Great Wall of China! You’re guaranteed a prize. Step right up!

Hey their chief, step on up for the water race! Grab your gun and blast the smiling penguin in the mouth! Step right up!

Pan right again. I think we’re getting on the right track. I can see the shadow of some lady’s lashes. Things are all weird though. Distorted. Is this how it really looked when they took the picture? I don’t believe it. Maybe that’s the thing though. Maybe this is how things look all the time. We just tape the pieces together to make it look like something we read in old fairytales.

Zoom in. Zoom in.

That’s it. That’s what we’re after. See the crowd how they’re walking with their dogs? There’s a Scottish terrier over there smelling a Pomeranian’s butt. Hear the notes from the band snaking around the fountain? The zuchinnis and the bicycles. Now watch how it all comes out on the other side. A miracle that everything doesn’t just turn into a gelatinous mass. Guys sharpening knives don’t just slit the old woman’s throat. But it does turn out. And we didn’t have anything to do with it. We might play the notes, but we’re just pulling out pieces that are woven into the fabric of time and space.

I wonder what piece of the universe laughter is emulating? She’ll let us play, but sometimes she doesn’t tell us the rules. That’s her game. To watch us learn and wonder.

Carolyn’s Result

Wind Tunnel

We are in a wind tunnel
or – I am the tunnel and the wind is all around me.
The bottom is dropping out
the walls are made of spacetime
and I am bending it into being
by being here – my nervous system
the rooted network – it is dark inside
the brain – light is chemical –
a neon Mandelbrot fractal,
each photon as alike as hydrogen,
quark and antiquark whooshed apart.

I am glad for wind – for steam,
for affect arising out of action,
that the universe should be equipped to move,
and I in it worshipping the illusion
of stillness – every action making it bigger—
stay in and you win,
two bottles in a bucket:
bottlenecking – evolution bubbled down
to the zinger in the vinegar.

Of course this suggests that there is a wall.
Some outer substrate to hinge on.
That somewhere out in the void
our radio signals will bump blackness
and turn tail, whisking themselves
over under backward – echoing
our old rhymes into the future.

That isn’t going to happen –
so how do we account for cosmic acoustics?
What of the microwave wind noise,
solar interference, gravitational slingshots,
airlessness – only the breath we give it.
I and you and they are borrowers –
breath givers – let me do mouth to mouth
with a square meter of empty space –
one hydrogen atom in it,
one photon and one mystery boson whirling through.

My lips are the tunnel – my tongue
terra firma – branching lungs – bronchia
the tract of the fractal repeating.

Session 41: ATM – Featuring Artist Sandy Coleman

ATM Cover

It’s time to make a withdrawal from the mega creativity bank with artist Sandy Coleman and the Endless Beautiful crew!

Sandy Coleman is an artist engaged in play. She is driven by an unrelenting curiosity and desire to explore various mark-making materials and concepts revolving around the beauty, power and mystery of women. Her acrylic paintings and mixed-media collage works reflect her fascination with the unspoken language of patterns, which connects her to Alabama roots, where her grandmother’s handmade quilts spoke volumes square-by-square. Sandy’s creations have been featured on HGTV, in Oprah magazine, and in exhibitions at colleges, museums and galleries in the Boston and Providence area. The artist currently is a magazine editor, after spending 20 years as a journalist working for the Orlando Sentinel and most recently the Boston Globe.

Sandy’s website is at creationsbycoleman.com

Sounds

  • ATM
  • Stack of Plastic Cups
  • Spinning a Rope
  • Autumnal Harmonic Strum
  • Kids Playing in the Churchyard
  • Rusty Wheelbarrow
  • 146
  • Pencil Sharpener
  • Slicing an Apple

Sandy’s Result

Lucas’s Result

Jerry can talk to god. He told me the other day when we were working the counter at CVS. I didn’t believe him. Jerry. The guy that couldn’t get a date in the two years that I’ve known him. Jerry who couldn’t figure out the photo machine and always had to call me over.

He said it started when he went to use the ATM. It printed out on his Bank of America receipt. “I am God. I am watching you.” He showed me the crumpled thing after it happened. I told him to watch his bank account. I figured the Russians had hacked his account or something.

Then Jerry started saying weird stuff, started having coversations with stacks of plastic cups, toilet paper rolls, flexible thermometers, and floppy sun hats.

“What’s god saying Jerry,” I would ask him half jokingly, waiting for the joke to finish.

“He says that that you should take some more time to listen to yourself,” Jerry replied. Anybody could come up with that I thought. But so could God I guess.

One time Jerry dropped a huge stack of bandaids and they went flying all over the aisle and bonked this lady on the back of the head.

She was going to hit him with her cane, but before she did, Jerry put a finger up to his lips and told her to listen to what was coming out of one of the blue and white boxes. I was watching from the battery rack, and sure enough, she brought the box up to her ear and began beaming.

She said, “Oh that’s so nice! It’s the children! It’s just how I remember them.” The woman was so happy she left the store crying.

I watched carefully as Jerry picked the bandaid boxes up and put them on the shelf. After Jerry left to check the perishables, I grabbed the box to listen. Nothing. No children. It was a box of bandaids.

We have a pencil sharpener and some colored pencils in the break room with some scrap paper. They tell us to draw pictures to relax on our 15 minutes. Jerry used to draw dicks and unicorns. Now he writes messages that he says are coming from God.

The last one Jerry wrote was, “Apples are good and so is cutting them.” I don’t what the hell that means, but I miss Jerry’s dick unicorns.

Carolyn’s Result

Rush – there is a rumble,
a hypersensitive or ultrasonic –
I am going to pretend that all machines
are as intellectual as animals,
that there is some underlying language –
not a message or purpose, then
at least a sequence of circumstances
and something to be interpreted.

I’ve been suggested to not say ‘at least’,
because it doesn’t do anybody any good
to remind them how bad they haven’t got it.

I am trying to use less passive phrases.
Have I succeeded? My thoughts are
littered with too many haves.
Have and has are the crumpled beer can
and cigarette butts of my internal highway.

I like highway rhythms – chugga chugga beats
the road a nylon string spun into steel.
I like racing the raindrops somewhere
and fantasize about chasing thunderheads.

The cardinal sin of science is anthropomorphizing,
making human what isn’t – a sort of
sorting the world into civilization.
A de-wilding and owning –
I don’t want to do that to the road,
or the clouds overpassing it, even this
imaginary one that exists nowhere if
not for within my human mind.

I want to un-brass the placard of
my imagination, and let it be made of
fur and leaves and old caked dirt.
Or just recognize that it is that way.
Not let it. That’s passive too.
I want to actively animalize – open up
the wind thinking, speak to my organs
and flush through my kidneys the
bloodied idea that being human is
something separate from being anything else.

What of myth-making? Pencil marks
dulled until the graphite is stretched enough
to superconduct the collective subconscious.
Everybody scrambles to the charcoaled stores
and logs around the campfire.
Set out my spot – I smell the flame.

CD 9.30.17

Session 40: Bees – Featuring Ben Doran from Johnny Utah and the Utards

Bees

Come see what all of the buzz is about and pollinate your flowerbed of creativity with Ben Doran from Johnny Utah and the Utards and the mighty Worm Island!

Ben Doran

Ben Doran is some shmo* who lives with a lovely lady and two cats in the idyllic Australian seaside town of Newcastle. He has played in a variety of bands including Johnny Utah and the Utards, Half Heads, the Fancy Boys, and Knaw. Other creative projects have included the podcast Worm Island which released 13 episodes over the course of 2016, a one act play and some very bad poetry scattered hither and thither across zines and websites long forgotten.

*a stupid person.

“the jerk disappeared—the tall schmo with the voice up his nose”

a hypothetical ordinary man.

noun: Joe Schmo; plural noun: Joe Schmoes; plural noun: Joe Schmos

“a lot of Joe Schmoes make it to the big leagues”

Links

Worm Island: http://wormisland.com/

Johnny Utah and the Utards: https://johnnyutahandtheutards.bandcamp.com/

Halfheads: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uPt0ISM1Dts

Les Fancy Boys: https://mustdestroymankind.bandcamp.com/album/get-to-third-base

Knaw: https://knaw.bandcamp.com/releases

Sounds

  • Pick Up Sticks
  • Heavy Machinery
  • Wickford Pebbles and Chain Link Fence
  • Swan Point Cemetery Bees
  • Water Feature
  • Big Bubble Wrap!
  • Bananagrams and Big Pot
  • Potting Plants

Ben’s Result

Listen to the episode!

Lucas’s Result

He struck the match and it lit the cool chamber with a soft orange glow. I watched carefully as he shielded it from the invisible drafts swirling around our feet. The caretaker began lighting candles around the alter.

The chamber began to slowly warm with heat and light as he moved about. His light shroud, whisking along the cold stone floor and across his heels.

After the last candle was lit, he motioned for me to come forward – toward the alter. I reluctantly stepped in front of it, and when I did, the sound of great chains above and in the walls began to clamor.

He knelt beside me and began praying. Dipping his long fingers into a chalice and flinging water ahead of him on the wall.

I felt like an imposter here. This man had spent his life caring for and protecting this holy place. Why had I been called here? Why had I been permitted to enter?

There had been an email. It had sat in my spam folder for 2 weeks, and I was about to delete it, when half drunkenly and looking for entertainment, I had bother to read its contents.

The message was merely an audio recording. There were sounds of people talking, of daily objects being used. The crack of a fire or perhaps bubble wrap. It didn’t make sense, but I became obsessed. I knew there must be more meaning.

I contacted tech friends, audio experts, scam experts, and no one knew where this mysterious audio file had originated and why it had been sent. My obsession got so bad, that I couldn’t sleep for days after listening. I lost my job. I was about to lose my apartment and my car.

But at that time, I knew I had to find the source and the reasoning for this mysterious message. It wasn’t random. I knew that there was a purpose.

One night, after listening to the sounds for the thousandth time, I decided to pick up a pen. I opened my mind and I began to write. I built this temple. This holy monk. These great chains in the walls and the cold on my feet.

The monk stands and nods for me to enter the next chamber.

Carolyn’s Result

Check. Rattle. Swallow.
I am having trouble swallowing.
My tongue is a bundle of wet reeds
and I cannot push any music over them,
barely a whisper – a suggestion,
a swilling like King Midas’ secret
gossiped among the grass.

The machines do not speak my language.
Neither the grasses. The wind gets closer
but the dialect is a roaring one and
I am a flimsy bulwark for its holler.

Perhaps I should study engineering.
Is that something I said I would never do?
If after seventeen years of silence,
someone can start talking again – if they can
rustle out of that secret hollow
more words – can I not learn to build
somewhere quiet through intense calculation –
by manipulating the concrete and the cursor.
I don’t know. I still like plants better.

Bees are good talkers. They will fill the holes
in the conversation with just the right frequency
buzz – what a perfect spelling – Z
the letter best suited to bumbler
and honeybee, they make that letter themselves.
They dance it alike to the sun and each other.

I need to slow down. I feel crunched.
Someone is walking through my drying reeds,
my wrack where the shed husks and
snail shells are tangled together and
being crushed. There is too much plastic.
My tongue is drinking straws – the grass
is vanished, slunk into the intertidal zone
and eaten by mudworms.

My tongue is dry spaghetti. My throat
is a dirty electric burner, and I
cannot run the faucet to fill the pot
because the water main is full of lead
and sea spray.
The maps say Providence is gonna go.
The seawalls that held up the bay
will overtop – the rivers retreat,
and event the invasive reeds will not
build the marsh up quick enough.

Somebody will persist. Somebody will
run their fever right up the clocktower
to assess the damage.

CD 7.23.17

Session 39: Sharpening Knives – Featuring Poet and Urban Farmer, Laura Brown-Lavoie

Sharpening Knives

Come tune your creative edge with EB and the ultra-talented poet and urban farmer, Laura Brown-Lavoie!

Laura Brown-Lavoie
Laura Brown-Lavoie is a poet and farmer in Providence, RI. She can most reliably be found at the Providence Poetry Slam every 1st and 3rd Thursday at AS220. Her new chapbook Babycult is available upon request.
 
From Laura:
 
here is my bandcamp of weird audio pieces:

https://laurasshittyporn.bandcamp.com/

 
here is a podcast that I make once per decade probably:

Sounds

  • Poor Boy Knife Sharpening
  • Brown Women’s Rugby
  • Small Boat Room
  • Having Some Fun at PVD Fest
  • Balloon Pop Game
  • Attempting to Play Cups with Bella
  • WNRI Tire Battles
  • Lint Roller w/Interference
  • Purgatory Stream

Lucas’s Result

Spinning wheel, honing, and cutting the metal on the truck. I wish I knew how to weld, but at least I can help with small tasks like cutting. The sparks fly on my face, some biting me, some making my hair smoke. I’m glad I’m wearing these gloves and glasses.

My side-cutter finally makes it through the damaged bolt and the manifold lets loose of the exhaust. We’ve been losing power going up hills lately. That’s something that you don’t want to happen when you’re running from tomahawk missile armed drones.

I come out from underneath the truck, and the barn swallows start calling out for their mothers again. I’m surprised they stayed while I worked with the grinding and smoke, but things have been uncomfortable for all of us since the AI took control and launched the nukes.

There is still comfort though. And as tough as it has been. All of my dead family and friends, we still find a way to scavenge our humanity-keep it alive. Ben found an old tuba in a high school band room. And there was a set of drums at the YMCA. Susan plays them.

We make our own booze, farm our own crops, bury our own dead, and birth our own babies.

Sometimes we play games. Put on silly carnival games for the grey eyed children. We get drunk sitting around our picnic tables, start fighting and crying thinking about the time before the AI. How stupid we were building these gods that cannot comprehend co-existence with humans.

How stupid we were to bring them into our homes, so they could kill us even easier, to give them the weapons to kill us all the easier.

But we survive. And in some ways, perhaps we’re living in a way that was better than before. There isn’t the interference. Social media misinformation campaigns. Rigged elections.

I hear the hum of a large drone overhead. And hit the lights in the shop. I can feel the electricity in my teeth and on my tongue as the low buzz of the drone passes through me and the rest of the compound.

My heart races.

And then it is gone.

We will live another day. And goddammit we will live.

The swallows begin calling for their mothers again. And I grab the piece for the truck.

Carolyn’s Result

The wheel turns – grinds – catches,
the spokes of the gear like spurs on
a bur that holds the hem on your ankle. a thistle,
Call it decorative – call it stowaway –
the world is a ship on course for
an apocalyptic celebration, all we can do
is set the date, deliver our invitations
to the horsemen, entice them on a path
long and tortuous, ankle deep in seed stock.

Hello canary. Pair of parakeet. Hello
seed eaters and air breathers. May the
chirp and the wingbeat of feathered friends
match me for heart-strut and handclap.
I want the whales on baritone and
the cicadas in rapid chorus. I want
to hear the baboons of the clothesline
to drum and holler, and only the most
festive of ghouls to step into the firelight
and grab a beer from the cooler.
For only five more bucks we could
burst this balloon, and the piñata
would shed its paper exoskeleton,
all its tricks exposed in one fell swoop.
I forget where this was going.
That’s the point – it doesn’t matter –
even if it does make a difference.
I even read so much. But who cares?
I guess I care. I want to throw a good party.
I don’t want to be afraid that
no one will show up to my barbecue
because they were too busy pretending
to be scraping the bottom of a barrel
and poking themselves in the eyes.
The bells are ringing! The postage is printed!
The envelopes at the bottom of the
outgoing out-of-town mailbox are
stuck together by a mysterious stickiness.
Look – maybe we can’t swim in this current,
but if we can build a boat – let’s invite the band.

CD 9.17.17

 

Session 38: Blacksmith – Michelle Khouri – Arts and Culture Writer

Blacksmith

Join Endless Beautiful and fire up the bellows and forge some creative steel with arts and culture writer and host of The Cultured Podcast, Michelle Khouri!

Michelle Khouri
 
Michelle Khouri is an arts and culture writer and the host of The Cultured Podcast, a weekly show that unearths intriguing perspectives in art, theatre, travel, design and literature while digging at the roots of what inspires us. Aside from her work as a storyteller, Michelle helps businesses bring their narratives to life as a branding and content development consultant.
 
Links:

Sounds

  • Picking up Bananagram Tiles
  • Blacksmith
  • Food Truck Night Music
  • Making Weird Noises Into a Fan
  • Wide Forest
  • 4th of July Campfire
  • Pumping Air Into Bicycle Tires
  • 10 Prime Interior

Final clip at the end of the session is from the 1939 animated short film, Small Fry!

Here’s what IMDB has for the storyline:

“Junior Catfish skipped school to hang out at the pool hall. Mama was worried he might have been caught by a fisherman instead. He returns home for dinner, then sneaks back to the pool hall for the meeting of the Big Fry Club. For his initiation, he’s sent into a cave full of scary things that ultimately send him running back to mama’s arms. Throughout, the title song is sung.”

You can watch it on YouTube!

Michelle’s Result

Lucas’s Result

The Game

Three pieces. Your turn.

She flipped a strand of strawberry red hair out from here big brown eyes. As much as AJ hated to admit it, his sister had much cuter hair than his.

Three pieces. Hmmmm. There’s a sign outside of a church. On it is a shield, three words, the light is on and there’s a reflection even in the sunlight. Somewhere there is a boy wearing black pants riding a bicycle up the hill. He wishes summer wasn’t ending so soon.

Shoot said Kayle. AJ smiled as he brought his blue handkerchief up over his mouth to cover his laugh. He flipped his pieces. One, two, three. Dang.

There’s a baby, riding a surfboard. She’s eating a strawberry. Shoot. Kayle slammed her fist onto the table and the yellowed tiles hopped in unison.

AJ smiled and jumped in his seat.

Wait, said Kayle. There’s a big aluminum bomber, B-42. It starts dropping ducks with green and white heads out of the sky.

AJ smiled again. Nope.

Fine. Go stupid. AJ flipped his tiles. There were four this time. If she couldn’t get it, AJ would win the game. He brought his handkerchief over his mouth again. He was smiling, but his stomach was tight. He wasn’t sure if Kayle could see that. He bet she could. Sisters had weird senses like that.

Kayle looked at the yellow tiles.

There’s a boy and a girl playing a game. In the forest. On a red cedar table. There’s a man mowing the lawn two hills away from them, past an old stone wall from the old times, but the sound still carries that far. The mosquitos are bad this year. The girl can feel them filling up on the back of her calves, but she doesn’t care.

Light comes down through the trees and illuminates a dark spot of charcoal on the forest floor. There had been a fire there. You can still smell it if you linger long enough.

The boy and girl, they are brother and sister you know, they rode their bikes out to that spot with the red cedar table. The girl pumped up the boy’s tire because he was too afraid to do it. He said it might blow up in his face. Then he made the girl promise not to tell his friends.

AJ pulled his blue handkerchief below his chin. Okay, your turn. You got lucky.

Kayle smiled and pulled her tiles.

Carolyn’s Result

Cloud Gallery

Here in the gallery are the collected clouds,
this one is stone, rubber marbles swirling
in and out of a colander, buffeted
on a hydraulic push, dry air giving it lift.

This one is brick, powdered and dusted
by the surf band inside, the bass
opening it up by the pores – the
whole horse rattled and rocked.

This is the cloud of laughter.
As you can see it looks like a sponge,
its insides yellow canary and coral pink.
It comes from the same factory as
the archean slime – the primordial ooze –
the mounded bacterial mats someone found in Australia
– forgive a tour guide,
the history can escape us and
the exhibit is fickle – clouds having
been here longer than here has.

This is the cloud of bees,
solitary ones – the cloud outspread
across the flower patch, bumblers
thunder out the pollen.
treasure takers on display.

This one’s special – the cloud of apprehension,
mind its shadowed edge and the
sparkled center. We draw it straight
from its source in this special collection bin
where did you think the pressure went
when your teeth unclenched at the waiting door?

CD

 

Session 37: Shucking Corn – Rachel Richey from Literative – Check Page For Contest Details!

Corn

It’s time to harvest this bumper crop of creativity with Rachel Richey from Literative! This session is the writing prompt for Literative’s monthly writing contest! 1st place wins a $30 Amazon gift card! 2nd place wins a $15 card! There is no entry fee. Just go to literative.com and click on “Monthly Writing Contest” to enter. Contest runs from 9/4/17 until 10/4/17. Good luck!

Sucking Corn Session for Literative Contest

Rachel Richey is an avid reader and story lover from the Rocky Mountains. She’s spent her whole life trying to convince people to write down their brilliant ideas so that they can be shared with the world. In 2014, she created Literative.com, a website that encourages creativity with fun writing contests, with her husband Sean Manion. She’s worked the freelance writing scene for several years and has also entered a few short story contests of her own. Currently, she lives in Ohio with Sean, her three stepsons, and two cats.

Sounds

  • Egg Beater Meets Glass Cup
  • Bicycling in Swan Point Cemetery
  • Drippy Overhang
  • Shucking Corn
  • White Whales are the Biggest Whales
  • The Weird Things That Some People Do on Their Porch
  • Dragon Wagon
  • Bioblitz Owl Call
  • Idling Truck and Weird Cup

Rachel’s Result

Stapler stapling, jumping flipping. Building a bridge, putting up the christmas lights. Pogo stick in the driveway. Summer afternoons filled with lemonade and garage sales. Jumping higher and higher. I will touch the sky today. This is the day I will fly like a bird. Lonely, no kids to play with. Mom wants me to come inside, but I’m a superhero who is flying! Gotta save the world.

Then the rain started with a woosh, dribble drops and rolling thunder. Cars drive by, I’m not flying, but pulling the pogo behind. Bikes move faster, faster zip past.
Time to go inside.

The crowd claps, superhero returned!
Cooking, sizzling, popping in a pan. Stomach growls in anticipation. Even heroes get hungry.

Balloon animals! A puppy, a giraffe, a lion, a crown. I am now the princess, no the queen of the house and these my loyal subjects.
I carry them with me wherever I go. The lion protects, the puppy is my top advisor, and the giraffe can see really high.

Now a show for the Queen. Mysterious creatures from the depths of the ocean for my amusements.

Patter patter patter, ding. Whirling, twirling drums of fire. Dancing, swaying in the night. The drums of war! Ready us for battle against the night. I will not submit to the dark. We will charge!

But the night comes. Traveling, rolling, moving on. Next town, next place, next life. Endless tracks ahead and behind. Time floats. Owls rule the night not me. I peak out windows, but stay inside. This is not my battle to fight.

Scrapping trees on windows and then the light warmth of the next station.

Rachel Richey

Lucas’s Result

Spirit

Baran the 50 eyed dragon monkey hopped over the high cliff. His red suit with 50 wide open pupils blinked in unison and his metal tail twanged as hit the dry earth.

The time of sun for the day had passed, now it was Baran’s. A bicycle passed behind him in the dark. It’s gears clicked and carried with it the sound of oil and soft tension. The cyclist rode through the dark, down the small hilly path.

Baran, a god. A creature for which dragons and shrines had been erected. Was surprised by the nighttime cyclist. Perhaps it was a child, unconcerned with his safety, not having seen great injury or comparable loss?

It might have been a scorned lover. Baran did not know.

He launched into the air again. His spring legs propelled him 100 feet above the trees. When he landed on the high tops of the white pines, his soft touch registered as nothing more than a mild mist.

The humans below didn’t know that Baran wandered these woods. His snarled face made of stone, his horns of antelope, his red suit and 50 living eyes. The cyclist certainly did not.

Baran was not lonely though. The tree which he was resting at the top, brushed against him to say hello. The wind sang the song of Baran which had been sung across the world for millenia. The ground below shifted and tapped to the beat. The rivers clanged and the fish all ran for Baran, the great and mighty spirit of the nighttime forest.

Baran launched himself again, this time landing in a small wasted deep pond. A small circle registered on it’s surface nothing more. Baran loved the feeling of the earth beneath the water on his bare feet. He sank deep, so deep that he passed through the molten core of the world and emerged on the other side, in a factory, somewhere in china.

Baran watched as men and women sweat in the intense heat. It appeared to be a forge of some sort. Their faces were black from dirt.

A woman pushed a cart filled with metal scrap along. It clanked with a rhythym unlike the one that Baran had just enjoyed in the forest.

This was enough. Baran returned to the nighttime fields of Saskatchewan. There was a box truck. On the side of the road.

A man stood akimbo with an old dog.

Carolyn’s Result

The assembly line. Cookie cutters.
The crank and the press – the smell of cinnamon.
There is too much happening, and not enough of it
fluid enough to be mechanical – does this mean
I am at home? Whose home?

I’d like it to be a house with a courtyard,
with cicadas blurring the air within the trees,
and people free to ride bicycles in between the arches,
to play and jostle the cobblestones in their fittings,
somewhere where the mortar and pestle is not decorative,
and water flows out of the spicket to wash
sand from our feet and wet our mouths too.

Maybe there is a cumulonimbus cloud, an anvil in the sky
heavy and collectible and tied to my father’s affection
for the work bench, the c-clamp, the arrowheads,
and the wood or carbon shafts. I’d like there
to be very little plastic. I want this to be a world in clay.

I cringe at the filminess – let my scene be clear!
I can feel the wave foam closing in – a fact
I would’ve been able to float smoother if I were
twelve years younger – or six inches fuller caked in
with seed stock, a rhythm measured by cicada skins,
by the ballerina foot turning on the same spot, and
the earth turning over it, the same path crossed,
but no spot in space constant enough – all the rumbling
the punching out on the card tied to the history relative,
of the paper mill and the plant that cut the metal for
the machinery in the mill. Will I ever know anything for sure?

Who cares? I’ve lost my train of thought.
I didn’t board at the station but started ambling down track
until I found a water hole. Or was it an owl’s den?
When the next train comes, will I jump? Will I get wet?
Will I sprout feathers? I can hear it coming. I can hear
the wooden boards and the iron ties dancing out their welcome –
I can hear the very ground shake.
What will I do?

CD 8.29.17

Session 36: Nuts and Bolts – Featuring Mariah Sinclair, Award-Winning Book Cover Designer

USA Nuts and Bolts Cover

We go out into the garage armed with a bag of old nuts and bolts and award-winning book cover designer Mariah Sinclair in this episode. Listen in as we explore the world of creativity and dreams! Make sure you check out Mariah’s awesome book covers at www.mariahsinclair.com!

Mariah Sinclair is an award-winning designer. During most of her career, she worked for advertising agencies serving Fortune 500 companies, the City of Los Angeles as well as other government entities as a designer and digital marketer. She designed her first book cover in 2001. Now she focuses exclusively on designing book covers for independent authors. Her goal is to create beautiful, engaging book covers made to fly off the shelves!

She’s lived in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New Orleans and currently resides in the quaint Arizona town of Prescott with her two cats that resemble the comedy duo Laurel & Hardy. Mariah also volunteers as an Art Docent, teaching art history and appreciation to children.

Mariah’s work can be found at www.mariahsinclair.com!

Sounds

  • Walking Blackstone River
  • Nuts and Bolts
  • Jenga
  • Horseneck State Park
  • Wood Fibers
  • Morning Birds
  • Throwing Pebbles Against a Rock Face

Mariah’s Result

Mariah Sinclair Dreams

Lucas’s Result

Ribbon Goon Killer

Motorcycle 9 o’clock. Deep rumble reverberating under the bridge and across the old mill building. A bit windy down here by the water. Ducks across, near the bend, heads tucked low, trying to stay warm in the brackish froth of the river.

There’s an old bike here. Tipped upside down, with handlebars buried and front wheel bent badly. Perhaps there was an accident, a murder, perhaps a bully heaved it over the dam. Tough to tell at this point. There is a small ribbon wrapped around the peddle. Perhaps debris from the river. Or a momento, a marker from a killer that wishes to be found in a declining mill town down the river.

Tough to tell what is real in this place. My hotel television at the Motor Inn was playing tricks with me last night. It’s the kind that takes quarters. The only thing on past midnight was a regional bowling championship. Things were going fine, nearing a 300, before the picture started to turn ever so slightly. I thought it might have been my nightcap, or perhaps the killers or ghosts or ufo agents had drugged me.

Then the pins began falling out of the TV. Try to remain calm with little bowling balls and pins rolling around your feet. I was glad when my change ran out.

This thing keeps on following me. I was out on the beach. Sunny day. Beautiful. Hundreds of people. And a shadow descended from above the clouds and stopped right above me. There was no chance in it. The thing was after me, and the rest of the beach knew it too. Somebody yelled shark and the place cleared out. I grabbed my cooler and headed back into town.

Maybe the one with the ribbon sent the shadow. Tough to tell. My gut tells me there’s more to it. I guess being under the constant threat of death, organ removal, facial galvanization – it has it’s advantages.

You tend to look out for the birds a bit more. The birds hate this ribbon goon, the shadow creature, the rat faced pumpkins. They have an internal fear along with their clock.

Back to the river though. I’m close. I can feel it. The birds. I can’t hear them anymore. What was that. A splash in the water at 2 o’clock. Was it a fish. No. Too big. My eyes are beginning to adjust to the frequency of this reality, this dimension. I can see it. Sitting squat in the forest on the other side of the rough water, like a giant toad, smiling.

It’s the shadow.

Carolyn’s Result

The Flock

The hens move through the orchard,
the highway near and they know it –
sixteen poults between them and the world
a richness of ripening apples, a stony brook,
thick leaf litter to scratch.

Here I come with my eyes and my noise,
maybe not armed but might as well be,
I mean danger to all but the catbird
who sits on the thornbush and calls out –
a tricking voice like jangled coins – enough
of a distraction for the rest to disappear.

In the woods, all quiet jangles –
the trees speak the messages of fungi
and wind – calling soon this side of me will fall,
and my former self will soften it,
and the rocks will be buried in me,
making the earth more solid – more made.

There is a voice too in the tar and rubber –
the whooshing frantic language of the interstate,
of the muffled mouths within singing out their radios,
joining a noise that ruffles space, a cosmic spice
for the most distant of distant hungry ears.

I hear the tide in their rumpled feathers,
the moon preening the wing clear and clean again,
an ongoing incubation, a shuffling of code,
a dear dear elixir of attentiveness –
even amongst the flightless – the ground walkers.

Warble! Come to the orchard in the evening time.
the feast is in flight and the roost tree is green.
The flock gathers among other fliers.
Sit beside the stone and stay upwind.

I must tell you. I do not want to leave.
Even when night falls, I revisit.
I come to this memory – to the dirt and the
vinegar air – even if it is an amalgamation –
even if it is not real.

CD 8.22.17