Shawn L. Bird

Original poetry, commentary, and fiction. All copyrights reserved.

Join the Interstellar celebration September 1, 2012

You know those people who have a single, straight forward dream, and from the moment they climb out of their cribs, they head toward it with determination?  I have often wished I was as single-minded as my friend, Amin.

I’ve mentioned Amin before on this blog.  When I met him (back when he was an oh-so-mature thirteen and I was a star struck ten year old),  he was already striving toward his goal to become a composer for television and film.  To his natural talent he added perseverance, practice, and experimentation.  His whacky humour and considerable charm helped him attract people willing and able to support his dream.   When he was in his twenties, he won major awards and prizes which led to the  record deal that blasted Interstellar Suite  into the universe.

Interstellar Suite isn’t popular genre music.  It was hard to classify.  Usually, it is labelled New Age, because how do you classify a masterpiece of orchestrated analog synthesizers?  They didn’t have a big section in the record stores for “Electronic movie soundtrack for a non-existent sci-fi movie,” which is the truest label it could have had.  “Stinking brilliant” would be a good label, too, but the sound afficionados shouted that far and wide.  Amin composes for all sorts of shows you’ve known and loved (like Flashpoint), so you’ve probably heard his music.  He’s won many awards; go to BhatiaMusic.com to be impressed by the list!  You should go there just to listen to snippets of his work, actually.  There is a delightful breadth of styles represented in his music.

This year Amin is celebrating the 25th anniversary of the original release of Interstellar Suite, and you are invited to be part of the grand adventure to commemorate the occasion with a galactic celebratory launch into new frontiers!  Check out the details on the Interstellar Suite page and help the project go super nova!  You know you’ve always wanted to mingle with the stars!

Now, if you know Interstellar Suite, and you have something amazing to share about it, you were asked to tell the crew about it.  If you haven’t seen the plea, the deadline was yesterday, but the video about it is pretty entertaining and there’s some great music on it.  Who knows, maybe you can still sneak your memories in if you contact them quickly…

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Here’s an added treat because you made it all the way through this post.  While I truly wish there were photos of the 13/10 meeting, for all the inevitable mortification likely attendant, this one will have to do.  This is my high school graduation weekend.   I am chilling with a (soon to be)  famous musician, and as you can tell by my laughter, I am having fun:

(What’s happened to our hair?!)

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There is no time between hearts June 6, 2012

Yesterday I was blessed to have a visit from dear friends of my teenage years.  It has been over 20 years since I last saw them, because they now live in Ottawa, some 4000 km away.  We keep in touch through letters (the paper kind!) and Facebook, so we have exchanged photos and life events, but we haven’t seen each other in lifetimes (those of 3 children between us, I think)

The door bell rang, they stepped inside, and it was as if our last visit was yesterday.  It gives a glimpse into the concept of eternity.  If our own experience is that time folds upon itself when old friends come together, a life time is measured in a blink.

I’m reminded of Joe Abernathy’s comments to Claire with respect to high school reunions in Diana Gabaldon’s Dragonfly in Amber.  He says, “you see all these people you haven’t seen for twenty years, and there’s this split second when you meet somebody you used to know, when you think, ‘My God, he’s changed!,’ and then all of a sudden, he hasn’t—it’s just like the twenty years weren’t there.  I mean”—he rubbed his head vigorously, struggling for meaning—“you see they’ve  got some gray, and some lines, and maybe they aren’t just the same as they were, and you have to make yourself stand back a ways to see that they aren’t eighteen anymore.”

I sure wish Ottawa was a whole lot closer.  The worst thing about seeing someone you haven’t seen in 20 years is how much you wish you could spend  more time with them.  Good-byes are extra sad.

Thank heaven for Facebook. 🙂

 

joy in death May 11, 2012

Filed under: anecdotes,Friendship — Shawn L. Bird @ 9:38 pm
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I have heard a lot of gleeful old ladies discussing the social aspects of funerals.  Sometimes, it seems rather ghoulish, but it’s true, a good funeral is a wonderful opportunity to connect with faces you haven’t seen in years.  If  people are ‘friends of friends’ or family ‘out-laws’ they may have been part of your periphery for a period in your life, but as you move in different directions, you don’t hear of them any longer.

It was sad to bid farewell to a sweet girl who has been on the edge of life for 26 years.  At her birth, the doctors didn’t expect Emily to live out the day, and most days throughout her life were tenuous.  Emily was a model of being grateful for every day, for dressing to the nines, and appreciating the close up details of things.

Amid our sadness, it was lovely see see familiar faces from the past, and appreciate the time to reconnect with them.   No one seems much changed by time, save a few pounds and some hair colour alterations.  I love that.

There is humour in those meetings, as well. A man I hadn’t seen in decades commented tonight that when he would drive through my old neighbourhood that he would wonder what I was doing now.  Ha.  Now he has the link to my blog, all the mystery will be gone.

;-P

 

space walking March 23, 2012

Filed under: Friendship,Grace Awakening — Shawn L. Bird @ 4:06 pm
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A few days ago I shared with you music from a young Ben, but told you that the character of Ben in the Grace Awakening series isn’t named after him. The genesis of Ben Butler was in a young man I knew as a teen.  Amin Bhatia grew up to be a television and movie composer, and he started early.  When he was barely twenty he won the prestigious Roland International Synthesizer Tape Competition (twice) and was offered a record deal that led to an amazing album called Interstellar Suite.

I’ve discovered it on you tube, so here is a sampler for you.   I can’t tell you how many hours I listened to this record(and the 20 min composition “Images on a Theme of Science Fiction” that pre-dated it) on my 33 1/3 LP!  🙂   You really need to plug in your headphones and close your eyes to hear this properly.  Oh- a note for you musicians- this was done in the early 80s.  Amin created this all using ANALOG technology.  Every track you hear he laid down separately, and every instrument he created himself.  Visit his website, BhatiaMusic.com for more information.

I have the most talented friends, eh?

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One day March 8, 2012

Filed under: Friendship,Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 4:00 pm

A few posts ago I mentioned the talented Catherine Novak and how she’d adapted my poem, “My Tribute,”  into a song back in high school.  I sang in a gospel musical group called Koinonia with Catherine , and she composed a song that we loved to perform.  It was bouncy and rocking and our audiences always loved it as well.  It’s another one that only exists in our memories, but this is what I recall of Cathy’s Song.  The lyrics are great, too.

One day a long time ago

When I had lost my soul

I knew I needed someone who would come and make me whole.

I looked around me and I saw Him standing there

He said that He would help me

my burdens He would bear;

and He said, I’ve got the time

If you will only follow me.

Come to my house, I will teach you to be free.

And you’ll become a part of one great family

and I said, “Lord, have mercy on me.”

We talked a long, long while, I told him of my fears

He comforted my soul, He wiped away my tears.

He said that he love me and save me from my sin

and if we just knock but once, you know He’ll let us in.

and He said,

I’ve got the time

If you will only follow me.

Come to my house, I will teach you to be free.

And you’ll become a part of one great family

and I said, “Lord, have mercy on me.”

And now I live my life in  h a r m o n y with G o d ….

and He said,

I’ve got the time

If you will only follow me.

Come to my house, I will teach you to be free.

And you’ll become a part of one great family

and I said, “Lord, have mercy on me.”

I wish there was a recording for you to hear this, because it is really quite a wonderful song.  It’s good as a poem, too, though.  ;-P

Thanks Cath, for some great musical memories!

 

My tribute February 9, 2012

Filed under: Friendship,Poetry,Pondering — Shawn L. Bird @ 12:30 am

I wrote a lot of poetry as a teen, to sort out my feelings about a variety of things, but usually about a boy (the particular musical boy, my obsession toward whom was the beginnings of Grace Awakening, in fact).  For his 20th birthday I gave him a book of my poetry (about him) all done in calligraphy.  At the end there was extra space, and so I created a rambling poem to fill 3 or 4 pages.

To celebrate his 21st birthday, I had another musical friend compose the music and adapt that rambly poem into a song.  During graduation weekend, on one rather emotional Saturday afternoon, after a swim in her pool, we performed for him (I had the descant part which I’ve essentially forgotten), she sang the melody and played the piano).

I find myself singing this song now and then, and it is strange to think that there are only three people on the planet who’ve ever heard this song, and I suspect of the three of us, I’m the only one who still knows any of  the words and the music, since that performance is now  far away in the murky mists of the past.

I could sing this for you, but you’d probably prefer it if I didn’t.  I assure you that it’s quite lovely though, and I’m thankful to the talented Catherine Novak Schulmann for her efforts to take my poetry and turn it into a very meaningful moment of music, lo those many years ago.

Over the years, I’m sure I’ve mis-remembered bits and re-constructed others.  Somewhere there might be a single cassette tape recording of it, but I doubt it.  That means there’s no way to check if I’m wrong, but this is the way I remember it:

In my small way, I have tried to capture
The many facets that I know are you
And in doing so, to discover myself
And the boy with whom I grew.

Beyond the images, we conceived of each other
Honestly, fictiously, subconsciously
What me mean to each other
Beyond our concept of love (whatever it may be)
`til we accept the facets ingrained in you and me.

When I say I love you I say it with my heart
`cause this feeling is not fleeting, untried, or new
And even when I’m angry
Or when I’m crying and lonely
That doesn’t weaken my trust or my belief in you.

For you have always made me feel important enough
To care for, to share with and be there for
When times got tough
And I thank you for your friendship
I’ll thank you `til the end
It’s a joy and a blessing, that you should be my friend.

You have given me many gifts
Your friendship, music,  and love
And these are gifts I’ll cherish for all time.
I thank you for giving me the greatest gift I’ve ever known
And this is my tribute.

Submitted for Poetry picnic on the theme of song, poetry, and art.   http://gooseberrygoespoetic.blogspot.ca/2012/04/poetry-picnic-week-29-art-music-and.html   If you’re here from the Gooseberry Garden, please leave a link to your poem in any comment you leave!

 

Eulogy for life January 19, 2012

Filed under: Friendship,Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 10:32 pm
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I needed a poem for the English 9 final exam.  It needed to fit the theme, and have some poetic devices.  After scanning assorted books, I gave up and wrote my own. The title comes from a literal transliteration of eulogy- Good words.

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If I could
I would
Follow you forever, friend
Through years of fears, of tears.

I’d follow you
Through toys, boys, noise, joys
To poise.

If I could,
I’d follow, friend
But I am as a hollow end.
Be brave,
I am a memory saved
Despite the cave
of grave.

 

 
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