I gotta admit to you that I do not read a lot of blog posts, but Ethan Bryan has this way with blurb-quote tweets. So today he got me with “There is no Photoshop for the soul in the desert,” and I found myself reading this blog post instead of getting started mixing like I was supposed to.
The post, called “The Desert”, connects various Biblical images of deserts & the folks who found themselves within them, with a metaphorical “desert” state of being, which Ethan outlines in the post. It’s a highly relevant post, as I’m sure many people are familiar with this. I would say that I have been in a desert similar to what Ethan describes since I dropped out of college two years ago–separated from most of my friends both physically and with respect of interests/efforts/lifestyle, so I definitely relate to this post personally, even though I don’t identify as a Christian anymore.
That’s the most striking thing about Ethan’s writing to me–that it’s still able to connect to me. Several years ago I confronted a few major internal conflicts I had with Christianity–my faith perspective since birth, though it took many forms during its course–and I ended up in this sort of spiritual no-man’s-zone; or, a Desert, if you will. What I ended up with is just whatever grew up out of the ruins–a spirituality without any sort of name or well-defined guidelines, but one that works really well with me.
The thing about falling out of Christianity, though, is that it left me with a great deal of aversion to it. I knew that it wasn’t fair, and it really frustrated me, because I knew from experience that Christianity has a lot of good to offer. I’m also of the opinion that faiths are the frameworks or languages of a larger, more ambiguous spirituality, and that a certain religion itself isn’t intrinsically Good or Bad, though there are certainly things that I find positive and negative in their individual implementations. Still, whenever I heard people speak from the Christian perspective, it always stirred up the old conflicts for me, even though there are many implementations of Christianity that don’t uphold those issues at all.
As time has passed, my aversion has subsided quite a bit, though I still find that I don’t relate as well to Christian expressions as I might to something from a faith that I don’t have personal experience with, and I think that is in part because of a lingering hesitation I have to really engage the Christian language.
Ethan’s writing, though, has always been extremely approachable to me, and this is what I find so amazing about it. I had the pleasure of editing Run Home and Take a Bow only about a year after my transition out of Christianity. It’s a book about Jesus and baseball, neither of which were topics of any interest to me at the time, and yet I still found myself connecting to both.
It is my goal to be able to engage Christian language as I would any other faith or perspective, because I think they all have something beneficial to offer, and I don’t want to be shut off to that. I’m sure I have some more ground to cover on that front, but I think as long as folks like Ethan keep doing what they do, then finding a way to approach Christianity as an Outsider won’t be hard at all.
September 2, 2012
It’s been a long time, I know. I’ve been unfortunately neglectful of this blog of late. Still I have been keeping busy–I have another album brewing, though it’s difficult to say how close to completion I am–likely less than half way. I’ve also programmed a little html game called Auld Land using Construct 2, which you can read more about here.
More along the topic of today’s post, I’m going to be starting a new job in two days, and I want to keep myself productive even despite this (I sometimes tend to get lazy after working 40 hours a week and not pursue my own endeavors). To help, I have crafted a list of ten things that I plan to accomplish in September. One of them I actually completed yesterday, but that will give you a feel for how I’ll be updating as the month progresses.
Ten Big Things for September
Host a Coffee House Game Night
- Print The Coffee House Games
- Finish songwriting for disc 1 of the new album
Host a House Concert
- Write a short story/play
- Submit a play to a theater company
- Do a full sheet (8.5×10″ or larger) drawing
- Write another blog post
- Host an Autumns Eve Feast
- Make a Knytt Stories Level
Click here for the Neil Gaiman short story upon which this script is based.
Click here for more information about the Mini Operas contest, and how you can participate with your own script, music, or video!
And without further distraction, allow me to present…
THE BROOM THAT SWEPT THE DREAMS
By: Nash High
I just want to dream of Richard,
I just want to see his face,
But instead I find I’m lifted
To this dank and dusty place.
I just want to dream of Richard,
I just want to meet his gaze,
I just want to throw him overboard
And drown him in the lake–
But instead I’m here.
In this awful room,
With nothing to keep me occupied
Except a table and a broom.
CLARA: Aah! …Richard?
BROOM: No… Clara… sweep with me….
CLARA: Sleep with you?!
BROOM: No… sweep with me, and I will tell you my story….
CLARA: You mean… like this?
I once belonged to the Sweeper,
Who cleans all dreams away,
Who sweeps them up with the powder and dust,
And burns them in the burnished light
That solders the night with the day.
The moss of ancient castle stones,
And the slick of alien steel,
They all have grazed my patient frame,
As my bristles inched them toward the flames.
I have swept the lines that so rudely define
What is from what isn’t real.
I’ve played my part in the genocide
Of countless enchanted beasts.
I’ve purged the world of demons,
Discomfort, and disease.
In the marble hands of my Master,
I dutifully managed my task.
I’ve swept away sets, props, and actors,
Hell, I’ve swept away entire acts.
For Ages I have sacrificed:
I’ve devoted my life to upholding my place,
And all was well,
And all was quiet,
But now I’ll tell you
Of how I’ve been–
Oh, I’ve been betrayed!
I’d been accused of residue,
Of what I’d left behind,
In the corners and the crevices
Of hazy waking minds.
But I’ve only done the finest work
That my fibers would allow,
And it always pleased the Master well–
At least… until now.
I don’t know what
Could’ve made him change his mind.
Now I’m not good enough
When I’ve been here all this time–
And suddenly he feels the need to improve,
So he hobbles off to find himself a better sort of broom!
Oh, I’ve been betrayed!
Now I’m divine among the staves;
There is no better broom.
Dusters just divert the dirt,
And besoms streak the room.
But imagine what grave countenance,
Encased my dark demeanor,
On finding that I’d been replaced
By a mindless vacuum cleaner.
Now I’ve been,
How I’ve been,
Oh, I’ve been betrayed!
But mostly, oh mostly
END ACT I
I don’t know what you want from me;
What can I hope to offer you?
I’ll try and stay to lend my ear–
But the bright of day will take me soon—
Enter the SWEEPER, who empties the contents of a vacuum cleaner onto the table and lights it aflame.
My timid reign has ended now:
I have no place to be.
Oh, Clara, find it in your mind,
To try and remember me–
Broom! You don’t have to do this!
You can come back and live in my home.
I’ll treat you as an honored guest,
Your life will finally be yours entirely–
Yours and yours alone.
No! I won’t hang over your fireplace.
I won’t gather dust in your shed.
My purpose decayed when you made your sick trade
Now your flames will put me to rest.
Your flames will put what’s left of me to rest!
So stand aside, my old keeper,
You know well the job you must do:
To purge in fire last night’s tired ideas
To leave the ground clear for the new.
So let’s leave the ground clear for the new!
BROOM casts himself into the fire.
END ACT II
CLARA is alone.
I just wanted to dream of Richard.
I just wanted to savor his fear.
But instead I dreamed of… something.
March 22, 2012
Sorry it’s been a while–I’ve been busy! However: the fated day has arrived! The I Found a Box EP is finished and up for sale on Bandcamp!
I’ve also just completed a poster which contains lyrics for each of the songs in the EP, and you can find it here.
If you’ve listened to my first album, you’ll notice a pretty massive difference in the style of each piece, but I think there are common threads, too. I’ll leave that one up to you.
Anyhow, I hope you enjoy the music!
March 5, 2012
I’ve just finished putting the album booklet for The Night Wind into a PDF, so you will now be able to read the lyrics to each of the songs here! I do hope you’ll take a look, as personally, I think the lyrics are the strongest part of the album, and they aren’t always easy to decipher just by listening. Included with the booklet are a number of small drawings I accumulated in my wallet throughout high school, so I hope you enjoy those as well.
In related news, The Night Wind itself is no longer available for free download; however, you can purchase it for only $5 via Bandcamp. Furthermore, tomorrow I will be recording final lyrics for the four tracks on my I Found a Box EP, which should be released sometime soon! More news on that later.
February 26, 2012
I’ve started a composing exercise ritual in which I write a short piece every night at 10pm. I started with the goal of completing them between 10-11pm, and I thereby dubbed the project “TenEleven”; however, I quickly found that a one-hour window of time just isn’t enough (last night I was up until 1am fiddling different elements and synthesizer voices).
I’m also hoping to build some of these off of certain pieces of inspiration–art, poetry, word, photos, etc. If you’d like to submit some inspiration for me, especially something you created, then I’d be delighted to see it! You can submit content through my Tumblr.
I’ve been posting these pieces to my personal Soundcloud account, where they are available for free download. Get them while you can, because after 20 or so, I will be taking them all down, tweaking them, and compiling them into an album. After that, they won’t be free anymore!
I have three of them up now, as well as three other keyboard improv tracks, all of which I’m a fair bit proud of.
More news in the way of I Found a Box EP and the booklet for The Night Wind to come shortly!
February 20, 2012
Okay, I know things have been quiet around here lately, but that usually means I’ve been busy!
And I have.
A little while ago, I joked on twitter about creating the I Found a Box single. Well, maybe I take my jokes a little too seriously sometimes, but I will actually be recording vocals for the second of the four songs tomorrow. I think it will be called I Found a Box EP, because I like that a bit better, but this is actually the closest thing to a concept album (EP-thing) that I have created (I have been pursuing concept albums since I first started writing music). Anyhow, I will keep you updated as to the progress, but I think it’s safe to say that at this rate, we can expect it sometime in March.
Additionally, just last night I finished proofreading and song-checking my album booklet for The Night Wind, and I have sent it to Renee to be PDFatized sometime soon. I’ll let you know when I have it, and I will add it to the album folder on Bandcamp, as well as posting it for download here.
February 14, 2012
Yes, it is true. I have canceled funding for the coffee house games on Kickstarter. I made a couple of pretty critical mistakes which I wasn’t able to fix after launching the project, and they would have left me struggling to meet impossible deadlines had the project been funded.
However, we are not done yet. I’ve taken this opportunity to step back and reevaluate the project, adjust for some of my miscalculations, and really reconsider exactly where I want to see this project going.
As a result, I have decided to team up with my designer, writer, artist, and all-around brilliant friend Renee to fundamentally redesign the coffee house games. We have a lot of ideas in the works, unfortunately it is too early to share them at this point in time. However, I feel it is safe to say we are scrapping our traditional publishing plans and moving in a more hand-published direction.
I’ll publish more information once I have it!
February 11, 2012
Sorry for the slow update–yesterday was a pretty busy day, and I was bad about getting this posted.
Anyhow, I have in fact launched my Coffee House Games Kickstarter project! If you like to write, or if you like coffee, or if you like neither but need something new to do with friends, check it out! We’ve been having loads of fun playing coffee house games for the past year or so, and I think you will enjoy them too! There’s a free demo game on the Kickstarter page.
February 9, 2012
Well, the day I’ve been itching at for months and months and more is finally here! My first album, The Night Wind, has launched and is officially available through Bandcamp. I’m releasing it under the moniker Street Nymphs, partially in the hopes that Street Nymphs will eventually become a full-on band and consist of more than just me. Until then, I’ll settle with my ethereal forest sprite companions.
I’m releasing The Night Wind with Bandcamp’s delightful name-your-price feature, so you may download it for free if you like. I figure, when it comes down to it, I would rather have many people listening than a few people paying. If this philosophy eventually makes a poor man of me… well, at least my album will still be on Bandcamp? Ah, we’ll figure that one out later.
In other news, the coffee house games are coming along quite well. I wish I had art to share with you, but I had something of a cross-hatching mishap the other day and have yet to retrace my earlier design. Tomorrow Renee and I will venture out to a number of our coffee shops to deliver flyers and take a few photographs, and I am doing my best to have the Kickstarter project launched by then. I will post another brief update as soon as that happens.
Best wishes, and I hope you enjoy the first ever Street Nymphs album!