Shawn L. Bird

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

poem- box of stars December 18, 2014

Filed under: Friendship,Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 5:16 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

I open

an innocuous box

to find a starry sky,

music for the spheres,

time travel.

I open

an innocuous box

to find sparkling stars

that make me smile





and since the box contained the 25th Anniversary edition of The Interstellar Suite in Surround Sound (among many other lovely things), I should probably include a link to a 25 year old event that inspired a scene in Grace Awakening, shouldn’t I?  (Thanks Arlene for that awesome sparkly sky paper!)


poem- belated gifts December 13, 2014

Filed under: Friendship,Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 1:34 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

I heard you sent it

and it makes me smile

to know my mail box

will receive a gift

from the past.

When it arrives

I will float back in time,

swim in memories for a while,

then break the surface

to be thankful

for now.


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 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…



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?!)


space walking March 23, 2012

Filed under: Friendship,Grace Awakening — Shawn L. Bird @ 4:06 pm
Tags: , ,

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, for more information.

I have the most talented friends, eh?


Amin’s Interstellar Suite sampler


Starry night of music October 13, 2010

Whenever someone finishes Grace Awakening and comes to me gushing with kind words, I always ask the reader what her favourite part was.  Just last week I asked and, as usual, the response was, “the concert scene.”  When I ask what readers like about this scene, they often can’t narrow it down.  Some say they love the description of the music.  Some identify that they most strongly sense the connection, love, and longing between Grace and Ben.  Occasionally they wonder about the origins of the scene.  I generally smile cryptically and make some remark about my vivid imagination.  I don’t think they believe me.

All fiction comes from a germ of truth.  It’s manipulated, twisted, mangled and broken apart, but it starts from somewhere real.  So while the concert scene does come from my imagination, it also comes from a very vivid reality.  So here’s a ‘truth behind the fiction’ moment for you.

Once upon a time, when I was Grace’s age, I was head over heels for a boy who was going to be a composer.  While other boys were out playing sports, hanging out finding trouble, or avoiding homework, he was filling his world with music.  Consequently, he was filling my world with music as well, because he shared liberally with all his friends: his comfortable friends from school as well as the obsessed friend of his little sister (a.k.a. me).  We spoke of the day when his music would be played in a concert hall by a full orchestra.  He told me that he had had a dream where I was at his concert sitting the front row cheering.  I was completely sincere as I promised that when that day came I would be there to share the experience.  I could imagine no greater joy. Drifting off to sleep, I would close my eyes and live the moment.  I saw all the details.  I could hear the music yet to be composed and my heart was full of the dream.

As often happens, youthful fantasies remain unfulfilled.  I have never had the pleasure of sitting in a concert hall listening to a live orchestra play his music.  That privilege has gone to others.  However, one day I was visiting  in Vancouver and looking in a tourist brochure for something to do  when my eye was grabbed by a familiar name. I was astonished to see that my old friend’s music was being used as the score for a presentation at the H. R. MacMillan Planetarium.  I walked from the hotel over a bridge and along the shore to the Planetarium to buy my tickets several hours before the performance.  I didn’t want to risk a sell-out.  The lady behind the counter smiled knowingly when I gushed that I was there because the composer was my old friend.   I walked and shopped to kill time, and then returned at the appointed hour, flush with memories that had filled my head as I’d wandered.  I think my eyes were sparkling with the adolescent adoration that marked many of my summers, because the lady seemed amused as she took my ticket and chuckled, “Enjoy the show!”

I settled into my seat  and stared into the artificial heavens with the dozen or so other people in the auditorium while the adventure of space travel unfolded above our heads.  I knew the score well, but in the blackened planetarium, with the surround sound echoing all around, it reached inside me and awoke memories and emotions that had been safely dormant for several years. Melodies and harmonies danced and stretched through my consciousness  and into the distant reaches of space.

When the show was over, I blinked back to an unfamiliar reality.  I waited until the room was almost empty before I stumbled, still lost in the music, to the elevator to join the ticket lady and an older couple .  The wife remarked to her husband, “I didn’t think much of that music, did you?”  The ticket lady grinned at me and said, “I’m guessing you didn’t have any complaints?”  I gave her a wan smile as I shook my head and floated out of the building on the memories and melodies.

And that was the germ of the concert scene.  The power of  music can craft entire worlds, as it does for Grace.  One can’t help wondering where that power comes from, and the pondering of these “What if” scenarios is what leads a writer to construct an imaginary world to answer the question.  Memories are fuel for imagination.

(and here’s the main theme of the program, should you wish to hear it yourself)


%d bloggers like this: