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On finding that I’d been replaced
By a mindless vacuum cleaner.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 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!
February 2, 2012
I just wanted to keep you all updated on a few things as we tip over into this eerily warm February (at least here in the Midwest).
First of all, I plan to launch my second Kickstarter project sometime this weekend. This is another publishing venture, though I won’t be hand-printing these books.
Over the past year-and-a-half or so, I’ve been playing a number of simple writing games of my own invention with friends in coffee shops around the city. Now, it is my goal to bring these games out into the world, and to take the great coffee shops of Kansas City along with it. I’m putting together a book of my writing games and calling it The Coffee House Games, and I’ll be using Kickstarter to raise the initial funds needed to bring the book to life.
The book itself will feature fifteen different games as well as a variety of the wonderful coffee shops Kansas City has to offer.
The other news I have for you is perhaps equally exciting: My album is roughly 80% completed. It has taken ages and has transformed from the bottom up on several occasions, but I am finally putting together these songs in a fashion that I’m not only happy with, but fairly proud of. I’m currently tinkering with song 8/10, and it may require a bit more recording before I am ready to move on, but I should be tackling the remaining two either over the weekend or during the early days of next week. After that I’ll go back through and finalize each of the tracks, and then we’ll be just about ready for release!
Expect to hear more on both of these topics fairly soon!
January 4, 2012
First, I want to say that I am deeply sorry for disappearing for nearly two months. I’ve been this weird combination of busy and lacking interesting things to blog about, but I’ve also been bustling around with friends and family for the holidays.
As I mentioned in my last post, I started over in my process of recording the album. I still have the 12 recordings from the 4-track cassette sessions I did, but I probably won’t be releasing them.
Anyway, I bought a small Behringer interface which allows me to run my mixing board out to my computer, and I have been playing with recording techniques. I have set up a little studio in my room:
Here is a little improvised, layered track I did on one of the first days after receiving my interface.
In further follow-up from my previous post, I have been practicing heavily on all of my guitar-based songs, and I have been happy to notice my playing style has been improving. It’s surprising what an impact the little nuances of playing can make on the overall sound, and I just really needed to be at a place where the rest of the performance–the lyrics, the chords, the motions–were all pretty well imbued before I could really focus on the tiny details. I hope this will show in my recordings.
I’ve also dropped two tracks from the final album lineup. They aren’t bad, but they just didn’t quite fit with what I am imagining for this album, and I’m shooting for pretty solid cohesion here.
As far as progress, I just finished base recordings for the remaining two songs, so I will be recording basslines and other additional tracks, as well as generally cleaning things up. However, the overall album should be finished before too long!
Now, for non-album news, I have several other things brewing at the moment, but I’m afraid I have to be a bit hush-hush about them for the time being. However, I promise that once I’m in a position where I can release some of the information, you’ll be the first to know!
November 14, 2011
Lately, I have been completely enthralled with the songs of The Tallest Man on Earth. His music is so overwhelmingly inspiring to me–the guitar styles, inventive, quick, intricate; the lyrics, intelligent, poetic, heart-wrenching, and folky–words and phrases that stir the sands of history; and his voice, the emotion, the controlled impurities, the raw power. These are all things that I can feel lurking behind the force my own musical calling, waiting for me to grow to a point where I will be able to release them. So when I listen to The Tallest Man on Earth, I am overcome with the desire to make music; but I am not quite ready. I am frustrated and fumbly. I mess up chords and lyrics frequently. My barring is imperfect, choky. My fingers are weak and tire easily.
I finished recording my album, but I am dissatisfied. I’m going to start anew tomorrow, keeping my old recordings as a memento, but pursuing a cleaner approach, so I will hopefully have something that I can be proud of.
But I am intimidated. I am intimidated by the sheer power of musicians like Kristian Matsson (The Tallest Man on Earth), who exceed my capacity in both my strengths and my weaknesses. Of course, I will grow; I have time. But, worse than this, I am intimidated by my own songs, and my inability to play them to my own expectations.
This, though, can be solved by practice. Relentless, unyielding practice and persistence (the only talent, as I am told) and the faith that I will grow over time. In a way, it is good that my own songs are challenging me, because that means I still have something to gain from them. Still, the process is grinding away at my willpower, but I suppose that is the greatest challenge of all. And, in a way, even though I don’t plan on publishing my newly-finished recordings, they are something of a symbol of willpower for me. These recordings were forged in a fire fueled by hundreds of takes, by anger and despair and emotions beyond both of those–the clearing past rage and frustration, when the suffering somehow vanishes, when the pressure has burned away and the music can be light and free, even comical.
These recordings are the reason I believe I can actually create this album in the way that I envision it.
October 28, 2011
Okay, so I’ve been tinkering for a long time with the idea of someday programming a text-based roguelike space-exploration game, in which you remotely-command a probe, explore, collect materials and data, and eventually upgrade with new equipment, sensors, weapons and whatnot. Anyhow, I’ve been reading about Minecraft (another game worth looking at) lately, and through that I happened to come across the freeware game, Dwarf Fortress. Quite frankly, I am amazed.
This game accomplishes almost exactly the sort of intelligent randomization that I am hoping to formulate, quickly generating a high-fantasy world, complete with civilizations, monsters, named people, not to mention its own history. Then, you get to play your own part in this world’s history either city-builder style in Dwarf Fortress mode, or RPG style in Adventurer mode. Whoa!
Now, I won’t lie. The interface and graphics take some getting used to. There are a whole lot of keybindings to learn, and it can be tricky at times to interpret what the text-tiled graphics are indicating, but if you’re interested in extremely in-depth fantasy games, then I would definitely give this a shot.
Now, for a quick update on what I’ve got brewing (no, the aforementioned Probe game is not on the list–I’ll let you know when I get to it!). My album recording may have hit the 2/3 mark today. I say “may” because I’m still debating whether or not to keep my recording for song 8/12. There were a few moments in my take where things didn’t go quite as planned, which leaves this recording somewhat organic (as I have been calling it). Frankly, I’m a bit fond of it–which is actually unusual for me in respect to my recordings; however, I’m still not 100% certain.
Furthermore, I have been outlining/developing backstory for my science-fiction novel for NaNoWriMo (if only my brain could intelligently randomize an entire solar-system as quickly as Dwarf Fortress can a fantasy world!). I’ve also been working on a map of said solar system, which I will post here when I finish it. So stay tuned if you want a sneak peak of the solar system where this story takes place!