screams, whispers and songs from planet earth

Month: January 2017

The Dog in a Small Box, and a Desire to be Somewhere Else


A tale of freedom and responsibility?

I was headed to work somewhere, with my pocketbook, another bag and a small box. I went to a train station, putting quarters into a machine at the turnstile. The entrance was very narrow and I didn’t think I could fit through it. I turned sideways and pushed. At first, the turnstile was stuck, but with some effort, I was able to squeeze through. I was then on the platform, about to get on a train. But suddenly, I realized I didn’t have my laptop! I wouldn’t be able to do any work! I was very upset that I had forgotten it, and I realized I needed to go back home and get it.

Dog in a Box

I started walking back, out of the station, and realized that I had this small box with me. At my car, I opened the box, and inside were a few things including a live dog that had been tightly packed in there. I don’t even know how it had fit. I took the dog out of the box and started to pet it, and after a short while it began to give me little licks, little kisses of gratitude, I guess, for being freed. I put the dog on the passenger seat of the car and tried to secure him to make sure he wouldn’t crawl out or get hurt. I was thinking I needed to feed him because he probably hadn’t eaten in a long time. It felt like a huge responsibility, but the animal was so appreciative and loving. Someone there told me what kind of food he needed – it was something like “foundation”?

What Price Freedom? A Bit of Hair

I was then inside the car, driving, with the dog by my side. There had been a mylar balloon in the box with the dog. It had gotten loose and was attached by a string but had gone into the sky and was being pulled by the wind as we went along. I soon realized it was attached to my hair somehow and it was pulling at my head. Finally, it broke free and pulled a bit of my hair out. I was a little sad it was gone, as it floated into the sky, but it was for the best that I was free of it, because now I was unencumbered. Or was I?

I was still thinking that I needed to get the dog food right away, but it may have been the person, perhaps a spirit guide, who said that affection was more important than food right now.

Can’t Slow Down

I kept zooming down the streets, and it felt like I wasn’t sure where I was going. It also felt like things were moving too fast, but I wasn’t able to slow down. It seemed like we were in a lousy city, but I don’t know where.

Road Trip into the Vast Blue Ocean

Suddenly, the road was very wet, and I soon realized I had driven out into a vast ocean. Quickly there was no land in sight and I realized “oh god, that’s it then, it’s over,” even though the car was still moving at a high speed through the water.

Just then, as I thought it was over, I was on a highway again and the water fell away. I found myself thinking, “California!” The highway continued, and I thought maybe I was in Los Angeles, but then I started noticing a small amount of snow on the road. I didn’t want this (to be in a cold environment), so I woke myself up.

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Introducing… Sarah Beatty (and Belle Starr)

Sarah Beatty

In her new album Bandit Queen, Sarah Beatty tells the story of 19th-century American outlaw Belle Starr, who provided the inspiration for this sultry new music. By all accounts, Ms. Starr was one tough lady, convicted as a horse thief in 1883 and shot dead under mysterious circumstances in 1889. She’s pictured in her Wikipedia entry wearing long skirts and holding a revolver. This title track, the lead single from Beatty’s upcoming album, conveys an appropriate mood of danger and moxie.

Based in Hamilton, Canada, Beatty’s debut album, Black Gramophone, was released in 2012. Her style is a smooth blend of folk music and country with touches of jazz. Her delivery is bluesy, soulful and a bit wicked. You can hear the devilish gleam in her eye. On the new album, she’s joined by co-conspirators Matty Simpson on electric guitar and Justine Fischer on upright bass (both are from The Fred Eaglesmith Band), plus Dave Clark (Rheostatics, The Woodshed Orchestra) on drums.

Beatty’s mission on Bandit Queen, and in particular on this first single, is to help listeners discover their own “inner outlaw” and to share the historical account of a woman who was both powerful and flawed. It’s the kind of story not frequently told about women, even now. As she explains it, “I wanted to invite the dark parts into the storyline and inspire listeners to be their whole, real, bodacious, outlawed selves.”

Bandit Queen can be ordered on iTunes.

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On Making the Unknown Known

Alone with Friends

J. Stoller

Alone in the company of friends. These are strange times. I’m ashamed of the weariness I feel, worried by the emptiness and the confusion. I find I’m forcing myself to make smalltalk, feeling like a fraud as I do so. Bereft of what was once familiar, I wander around the ornate rooms as conversation swirls around me. But maybe that’s exactly the point and what must necessarily come before progress?

“Whether you succeed or not is irrelevant, there is no such thing. Making your unknown known is the important thing — and keeping the unknown always beyond you.” – Georgia O’Keeffe

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Clinging To What No Longer Serves

Clinging to an old blanket

by J. Stoller

In times of trouble, people cling to the mundane and to the familiar company of family and friends. They gravitate to comfortable surroundings, to deeply-entrenched ideas and attitudes. They hold on tightly to old and tattered possessions to which they are accustomed, even if these objects no longer serve a purpose.

When feeling challenged and under siege, people will embrace what they already believe to be true, speaking in the same language, however tired or inappropriate for the new situation at hand.

Surrounding oneself with the theatrical props of stability is not the same as feeling stable, safe and secure in your heart. What is needed is a paradigm shift.

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What if… What then?

What if, just like MySpace, Twitter suddenly changed their code or shut down completely, and all of those clever things you thought up, all the people who “liked” you and made you an internet sensation for 24 hours, all of that disappeared into the ether. Erased from Earth’s fragile history, you’re left alone in your basement room, with your dusty books and hardened mind, while the real people you shut out of your life have drifted away to find more satisfying conversation and a more reciprocal love. What then?

These are false communications, as transient as a Tibetan sand mandala. But unlike the mandala, whose essense remains in the collective unconscious, your clever thoughts, in the morning light? No one will remember them.

Indeed, we are all fleeting, we are all grains of sand, though we disappear without a trace or our essence remains based upon the decisions we make — whether to truly communicate, or to build an emotional wall.

As you slowly discover that the old proverb is true, you reap what you sow, betray and betrayal, abandon and abandonment, disregard and disregarded — What now?

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