Dear Annie Dillard

Who introduced us? One of the loveliest, dearest people I have known. Reading Pilgrim at Tinker Creek in my early 30s, I was swept up into the way you see The World, so I devoted myself to reading all of your writings. (You lost me with The Living, I must admit). In youth, I loved your passionate witnessing of spirit writ large in nature, how easily you are astonished by the details and the vastness of creation, and your aloof, succinct judgements of other beings. You are unapologetic, yet aware of the economic privilege of your life, but seem mostly oblivious to the subjugations suffered by many female voices seeking publication. (Aristotle wrote us off as “birth defects” and Ari’s influence is proving tough to shake!)

Now, coming into my seventh decade, I am rereading you with less reverence and more astonished laughter – you crack me up over and over again. I appreciate our synchronous presence on the planet. You were dismissed by your elders as a “girl of the Twentieth Century”, which acknowledges you as a Voice of Our Time. I feel you as a sister and twin flame: much of what reverberates you, reverberates me as well. You are very like an older sister in that I don’t think you would like me as a companion, while I would adore you as one. Lucky me – you are there in your writings, and I only have to suffer your disdain when it clearly applies to me.

You see, I go easy, light, effortless and you go hard, dense and high-minded! So.

I have an interesting relationship to your book For the Time Being. I read it four times, and each time I picked it up I thought I had not finished it. Which, given what you write about in that book, makes me laugh. In the summer of 2021, I paid attention and realized when I finished For the Time Being.

The tree with the lights on it! I see lights on trees all the time, but not as enflamed as the ones the girl with her new eyes saw! And the robin dropping straight down off the roof- just stepping off and dropping. The clothes spread out and drying way up on huge trees! The frog slowly dropping its form like a cloak on the water. On and on- you just WoW me!!

So I carry these amazing and inspirational experiences with me from you and your lived experience. Terwiliger bunts one! I say it all the time, it is so fun and slips off the tongue. Your adventures growing up resonated deeply with me, although my parents were not wealthy or quite as adventurous as yours. But they were very lovely and caring. I, too, dissected frogs and worms in the basement. Occasionally I would try to gather a group to explore and create, but it was hard to really engage with others, so working alone suits me alright (to this day).

Holy the Firm is a prose poem with its vivid yet obscure descriptions of the vast beauty and horrific tragedies that make up The World exemplified in one burnt little girl. You rail at and commisserate with God as you wander a small corner of the world where you find yourself at a particular point in its time. I, too, am a burnt little girl. An accident (caused by me, which has always seemed so mysterious), I was about four: I was playing in the kitchen while Mom was making dinner. I pulled open the door of a freestanding cabinet, leaned over the top and lifted my feet to swing on the door. The cabinet tipped, and the french fryer grease came raining down on me and my brother. I didn’t know much about physics then! My Dad put vaseline on me, and they rushed us to the hospital. Interestingly, putting vaseline on a severe burn was NOT the correct procedure at the time, but is now seen as an appropriate healing move. So glad my Dad followed his instincts and not the medical party line of the day.

The burns all healed well. I had a skin graft to my face when I was seven, but the graft location left a bad scar. Seems I scar easily. Only recently have I thought about what it must have been like for my family. They probably had to be questioned by some authority from a government institution. I am sure they felt incredible chagrin, pain and remorse. We rarely talked about it. I found the french fryer in the basement of the last house my parents lived in. It was a bit jarring and curious that it had traveled with us all these years. I do not remember it being used again.So your Holy the Firm brings me face to face with a forgotten part of myself, which is some of your point here.

When I reread An American Childhood last year, it triggered that strange and oh so familiar spark of limerence. Your vividly bold descriptions of how it feels to be a child opened up a place of longing and recognition. Longing and recognition seem to be the roots of limerence. Limerence fueled my lived experience, made life exciting and miserable, and comodified love for me. You understand the giddy rush when meeting a limerent object. You edify the experience so well! My current situation is one of limited limerence and loads of awareness. I have traded highs and lows/ups and downs for expanding/contracting into a vast and singular Presence. You, too, indicate “enough said” on your website contact information page with a picture of yourself with two bandaids over your mouth!!

Thank you for doing the incredibly difficult work of illuminating The World with a delighted reverence and acerbic whimsy. You are a most wondrous traveling companion!

Full Moon Broadcast May 15 11pm-1am

I am creating a juicy ocean wave sound for Waves of Gratitude 2022. Yesterday the Behringer Nuetron gave up a sound like when a wave wumphs and then fades into a hiss. Pretty cool! And I got some gorgeous hissy wet ebb and flow from the Make Noise Strega (Thank you, Christopher Skully-Thurston for access to the Strega) In addition to sculpted sounds from The Field, the ocean wave soundscape for 2022 is a blend of sounds from numerous water sources including the Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, Eno River, several outdoor fountains, and our home indoor fountain along with the sound of running water. Now those are sources to be grateful for and I am!

The Waves of Gratitude Full Moon Broadcast for May will stream as the Zenith and a total lunar eclipse occur nearly simultaneously. There is so much love here for us all! This is one of those moments when it is flowing in! To celebrate and lend voice to the flow, the soundscape Shadow/Doubt will debut. This piece emerged from the sound pieces I created for Libby Lynn’s 250 Degree encaustic art show in the Fall of 2013. I worked on Shadow/Doubt over the years since then, and now it is complete. The soundscape evokes in me a deep longing, and a sad satisfaction with that longing. The voices argue with what is, they try to explain, they try to understand. Interwoven throughout is a voice of comfort. This is a place I am familiar with, but do not visit as often as I did in my youth.

My first version of Ableton Lite Digital Audio Workstation was purchased in 2009, so I have been soundscaping for over a decade. I have lots of soundscapes to share with you! In April’s Full Moon Broadcast, I released a 30 minute set of completed soundscapes. Most of these pieces were composed in the Ableton Live DAW with the intention that they would accompany something else – like a dance or a film. They are soundtrack soundscapes- each one contains a story, actually many stories just waiting to be brought out by the proper pairing. They all stand on their own as well.

And there will be LIVE IMPROVISATION from The Field. The Field is my modular synth configuration, which I am privileged to sculpt and play with. Feel free to play along with whatever instrument you have available! And remember to stay out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing – just listen and play!

Here is the link to the webplayer which will be live from 11pm May 15 to 1am May 16. The Zenith is at 12:14am and the eclipse is 12:11am:

https://www.radiomast.io/station/ffa9c47f-f6bd-4eb9-ad61-c2c636ca88ca/pwa/app

As Waves of Gratitude 2022 Evolves…

Three rivers of sound are coming together to create Waves of Gratitude 2022. First, the living Control Voltages that trigger, modulate and end waveforms in vast timbral washes that display the harmonic patterns of the very life force which they embody. These building blocks of sound are available in modular and semi-modular synthesizers. Within this sound context of synthesizers interacting, iBoD practices “conversational interactions” which involve presence, deep listening and responsibility (intentionally exercising our innate ability for dialogic response). Second stream is the voices- people sharing gratitudes, sharings sounds they are grateful for, and in particular expressing what gratitude feels like. This is the question I am asking now in 2022: What does gratitude feel like to you? Take the question wherever you want! Third stream is the sound of Waves – I loved the ocean wave container from last year and want to take that sound and swell it up a bit. The Waves need more water! So I begin here!

And, at this point, I have much material in the “conversational interactions” context. Jim Kellough and Eleanor Mills come over every Tuesday and play within and around the synths. We have an array of sounds, from reedy melodica to bright sparkly recorders and Native American flutes to growling digital horn!! The synths set the table with rhythmic tones and unusual harmonic smears which can be maddeningly stable to giddily hither and yon. The smallest turn of a knob opens up whole new vistas of sonic relationships. Then the three of us engage with the synths and each other in an exchange that changes over time. A few weeks ago we played for an hour and 20 minutes. WoW!

Every Full Moon this year, 2022, Waves of Gratitude is transmitting vibrational appreciation via streaming radio broadcast. These vibrations are shared one hour before and one hour after the Zenith of the Full Moon. The Zenith is when the moon reaches its highest point in the sky above the observer. This time is like the sun at noon, and seems energetically auspicious to me. During the broadcast, we will listen to Waves of Gratitude 2021, to Waves of Gratitude 2022 as it evolves, and to live improvisations with Nuet, Moogie and OC! In addition to this, dejacusse and iBoD (idiosyncratic beats of dejacusse) have a back catalogue of soundscapes and other tunes which will be highlighted during the broadcast. Maybe the 2022 WoG will be an album!

As I have lamented in the recent posts, the voices speaking gratitude is not happening. I have not even recorded myself, so what can I expect of others. I am going to answer the question “How does gratitude feel to me?” and start the Wave! If you are inspired it is sooo easy to do. First, if you know how to record yourself on your phone or other device, record your answer to “How does gratitude feel to me?” and then send it via email to ibodgwave@gmail.com! If we are friends on Facebook, you can send me an audio Messenger message. Go to the space where you would normally type your message, tap on the space. You should see a microphone icon, give it a tap and start talking, when you are done talking, tap the send arrow like you would if you had typed in text. I will have your audio gratitude for The Wave! Thank you for sharing yourself with me and with listeners all over the world.

Waves of Gratitude for April will broadcast from 2 pm to 4 pm Eastern Time Zone on Saturday April 16th. This Wave will begin with the first 15 minutes of WoG 2021. If you are curious as to how your audio gratitude might sound in The Wave, tune in at the top of each hour for WoG 2021. WoG 2022 will actually get started during this broadcast with a recent iBoD recording from our Sun Ra Room Sessions mixed in with this year’s Wave sculpture! There will also be live improvisations on the synthesizers! I hope you will join me!

https://www.radiomast.io/station/ffa9c47f-f6bd-4eb9-ad61-c2c636ca88ca/pwa/app

One Lunation

An astroscientist took 2,000,000 pictures of The Moon as it moves through its Lunar Day. Part of what draws him to The Moon is a desire to colonize it! When we will learn that we are here to deeply appreciate (which he obviously does!!) and not turn that appreciation into limerent objects for pursuit and possession!!

We do agree that The Moon is a magnificent presence!!

I just don’t need or desire owning it, living off of it, subjecting it to my whims.

Being present with The Moon is enough!

youtu.be/6IIyGcrInjQ

Friendly Persuasion

Walt Disney’s animated and live-action stories were a huge fixture of my mid-century childhood. Uncle Walt was on the tv every Sunday night and his studios churned out many movie treatments of books as well as creating much of popular culture. When a best selling novel about Quakerism and the Civil War was made into a Disney movie, I went to see it–at a drive-in, which makes it even more pronounced in my memory. I saw the movie once, maybe twice as a young child (it was released in 1957- I was 5). I remember my Mother explaining to me that Jessamyn West had written the book Friendly Persuasion, on which the film is based, to educate people about Quakerism. The movie was heavy handed and inaccurate in this regard, although I didn’t realize this until much later in life.

Recently, I watched Friendly Persuasion for the first time in decades, and was surprised how much of the film resonated in my memory. What really struck me was how it raised questions in my young mind about community values, human behavior and the manifestation of “mob mentality”. I was overwhelmed by the scene where Anthony Perkins, as a young Quaker man, says that killing another human is against his deepest nature, but he has to do it because “everyone else has to.” And the look on his face as he fires the rifle in battle, he is sickened to his core, but he keeps on firing and killing. This struck me as horribly wrong, and yet, it was presented as a kind of righteous sacrifice for “the greater good” in the context of the film. And, as we keep learning over and over again, this greater good usually benefits the “leaders”, the governance, that larger body politic that sells itself as “history“. Friendly Persuasion unintentionally raised my awareness that the larger body politic tries too hard to appear correct and are often way off the mark. The governments cover up their actions and count on us not to notice, not to remember, as the mediated narrative roars on by.

Six decades later, I am still perplexed by “mob mentality”, the futility of wars and fighting, and how human institutions train us ALL to be terrorists. We love to share our fears, exaggerate them, shake them fiercely in each others faces to keep each other in-line with whatever is the dominant fear narrative of the moment (White minority, Communism, Nuclear destruction, Ayatollah Homeini, Nuclear destruction, the IRA, Y2K, the Taliban, Osama Bin Laden, Nuclear destruction, Saddam Hussein, Momar Kadhafi, Isis, swine flu, bird flu, Cancer, Covid, climate disasters, I could go on). And the indoctrinated, fear-wrapped human mind says, “Those are REAL fears! I don’t know what you mean! What is wrong with you! Do as you are told!”

It seems to be a Law of the Universe that fear and love carry very different vibrations. Fear is a reactive, contracted and weak force, while Love is a responsive, expansive and strong force. Some philosopher comedians and spiritual leaders say Fear and Love cannot co-exist- you feel one or the other. This is not my experience. I feel both quite frequently- both fear and love are full of information. If they are in a feedback loop with each other, then how do they interact? Is this an example of some kind of psycho-emotional polarity that energizes our life force? Another example of a template of cyclic creation? If so, what role does fear play?

I am inspired by a young teacher named Tyler McNamer, who writes about how he mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually lives life through what is often called a “neuroatypical” lens or autism. On the page, Tyler allows the reader into his exciting, painful and mysterious world. He is a master of reframing – he taught me alternative words for things that I might react to out of fear. Now if I hear myself say that is “crazy” or “weird” – I change it to “mysterious”, which makes me feel curious. Underneath my reaction lay curiousity and compassion, I just needed to shift my point of view.

And Tyler taught me this about fear:

Fear is temporary. Courage is forever.

This statement helped me feel how courage and love are the same thing, and how fear can press love down but never out. As Tyler said, fear is temporary and does not stand a chance because- face it- we are all in love!!

Waves of Gratitude 2022

A year ago, I sent out a call to participate in Waves of Gratitude, a never-ending sound art project. The initial wave debuted as a popup installation for the SITES performance happening in February 2021. So many people responded, some whom I have not spoken to in decades, and now they are a permanent part of Waves of Gratitude 2021. In late December 2021, I recorded my friend, Marg Roesch, playing Bach Inventions on the piano in her co-housing community’s Common House. She goes there to play multiple times a week…just for the joy of it! So Marg and Bach end the first Wave. I am grateful to Marg and Gary, Kehoe, Jill, Lori, Francine, Bill, Susanne, Robert, Christopher, Matt, Shawn, Chelsea, Trudie, Ronnie, Jody, Stephanie, Jim, Eleanor, Holly, Kathy, Tembo and Sotar for jumping into the Waves with me.

In the beginning, I envisioned all my old friends and collaborators sending me their audio gratitudes. There is a special email box just for gratitudes -ibodgwave@gmail.com! Audio gratitudes can be instantly recorded on Messenger if we are friends on Facebook! Speak text to my phone! And there was an influx of lovely expressions of gratitude, but then it stopped and no more came. And many people who I hoped would contribute, did not. I felt like Puff the Magic Dragon for a while, but then my inner guru said “Hey, grrrl, this is about gratitude. Let’s go make Waves!!”

So Waves of Gratitude 2022 will kick off the year with the first monthly full moon radio broadcast! I remain hopeful that more folks will just spontaneously send a recording. If you jumped in last year’s Waves, jump in again. I know I am asking alot, and many people do not like their recorded voices. I will lovingly place your gratitude offering in the Waves with great care. Please listen to the 2021 version of Waves of Gratitude to experience the loveliness of human voices expressing gratitude. Listening may inspire participation.

The broadcasts will include revisits to the 2021 Waves, all contributions sent to the 2022 Waves, LIVE improvisations, iBoD recordings, maybe a few choice words, who knows? Broadcasts will occur one hour before and one hour after the full moon zenith!

January’s broadcast will happen this Monday, January 17th from 5:45 pm to 7:45 pm and you can stream it here-

https://www.radiomast.io/station/ffa9c47f-f6bd-4eb9-ad61-c2c636ca88ca/pwa/app

Just tap the play button on the player and you will be there!!

“Timebral Artifacts” Soundscape for Busker’s Day

Studying the effects of waveforms in a sonic environment and transmitting those waveforms to audio cortices is a mission of iBoD. To that end, we have partnered with three synthesizers to explore the ways of waveforms. First came the Behringer Nuetron, which is a puzzle and a playful soundshaper. My first challenge was (and continues to be) getting sound out of it (VCA Bias and Overdrive Level knobs need to be wide open.) Nuet has lots of internal routings and moveable parameters including blending between oscillator waveform shapes, and multiple LFOs and VCFs. Next came the Moog SubHarmonicon, which is extremely fun and responsive and more intuitive. These two are “tied” together by the Make Noise O-Control, which serves as a sequencer for Nuet, and receives clock from Moogie. So that is my crew for this event: Nuet, Moogie, OC and me.

Using internal and external routings, iBoD explores the shifts in timbre and rhythm presented by the synthesizers. These instruments make sound from oscillating frequencies shaped by waveforms and envelopes, which are the basic building blocks for timbre (and EVERYTHING, but THAT is another story, which can be read in the links below). All of the action is triggered, directed, and massaged by control voltages. Sparks of electricity drive the whole show, which makes for alot of unpredictability and maleability.

A friend asked me “What is timbre?” Yes, we are all familiar with rhythm and melody, but timbre is a kind of behind the scenes aspect of musical sound which isn’t as easily apprehended because it is so essential. Timbre is the “dna” of sound presented in harmonic code. Our brains decipher these codes so we can discern a foghorn from a racing engine from a baby crying. Please read these previous posts where I offer my understanding of timbre:

The Law of the Octave

Nature’s Chord

So that is what I will be playing with on Saturday. Since my favorite part of symphony concerts is the settling in and tuning that the orchestra does before they start the program, Timebral Artifacts will begin with some tuning and retuning of parts, followed by propagation and meanderings until an undercurrent of structure appears. When this happens, I will play Native American flute in call and response play with the synths.

iBoD will play from 2-2:45 pm. See map of Sculpture Garden for exact location (2a)

I hope you will come and listen!

Waking Life, Waves of Gratitude!

Richard Linklater’s animated film Waking Life relieved me of a heavy life-long burden. Up to the time of seeing Waking Life, I was attempting to fit my living experience into and around Aristotlean dramatic arcs and The Game of Life linear narratives, which were presented to me as the “norm”. People around me spoke of and STROVE for “normal lives” in “The Real World”. Human beings seemed to feel passionately about their life circumstances and relations. They believed in and lived out a story of life through these dramatic arcs and linear narratives. My family was more into easiness and getting along with each other, so the drama was subtler, filtered by a kind of controlled kindness. Yet, I was curious about the “Real World” and for much of my life I was guided by beautiful, loving, trusted adults and peers who would point things out to me in that exploration. I often noticed inconsistencies between what I was taught, and what was actually happening, still I wanted to find a way into the drama of life.

So I studied the forms and tried to fit my experience into them. This focus in itself allowed me to participate but I did not feel fully present in these experiences. My awareness was divided and expansive. Perhaps I was overly present, who knows? l have vivid memories of both waking and dreaming life from childhood to Now! When I tried to live the normal linear life, I got distracted by all the rockets of desire and all the curious patterns of Samsara. As a child, a part of me was always standing outside and watching with an appreciative wonder or an apprehensive stillness as events unfolded, then later on, as a young adult sitting in a theatre, watching. Then directing the action of the dramas so beautifully sculpted by Williams, Miller, Albee. In graduate school, all of literature became reflections of the drama of human’s deeply identifying with their experiences. AND, I was introduced to metaworlds. Knowing of metaworlds brought my personal living experience into clearer focus. I have been pursuing that focus ever since.

Then I saw Waking Life, and realized that the form of my life is like a patchwork quilt of deeply intimate moments, of creative activities with many wonderful, specific people as we float through time. These magnificent occurences are bright and colorful moments that arise out of the oscillations between stillness and sound, between love and fear, between lies and truths, between righteous anger and personal responsibility, between ideas of who I am and the wonders of the Universe. So many moments that touched deeply, conveying love and care in spite of the undercurrents of fear and insecurities. I learned so much from you all, so very much.

Waves of Gratitude is my soundling tribute to all of these bright and colorful moments! If you remember even one moment we shared as I described above, I hope you will listen as The Wave grows, and when you are so moved you will lend your voice to Waves of Gratitude.

Remember when we were poets, playwrights, watercolorists, actors, singers, curators, and co-creators?!?

Remember when we studied, wondered and laughed, played games, talked late into the night, got lost in the woods, wrote poems and created performances!

Together!?

Remember…?

I do!

I love us and I am grateful for it all!

Sprays and Whispers

The Shadowbox Studio: special edition monthly experimental performance series (sponsored by The Bi-Peds) is starting up this Thursday, July 8th. Jody Cassell will improvise movements to some of her deep learnings from a spiritual guide. Shana Adams and dejacusse will contribute to the sound environment in which she will move.

This performance sees a return of the Novation Launchpad iOS app. Here is what I wrote several years ago when I first discovered this incredibly fun app. https://dejacusse.blog/2018/01/07/dejacusse-soundscaping-tool-for-2018-novation-launchpad-for-ipad/ This time around, all the sounds have a swishy, shimmery quality. There is a lack of tonal character as I am interested in sculpting this “noise” into voluminous sprays tapered to rhythmic whispers. The sounds are sleet falling, steam, and other bits of manipulated noise from the samples that come with the app. The Flanger filter will bring out some spikes of tone which can create a sense of muted voices. Also planning to use the Stopper filter to fade things in and out slowly and quickly.

This is the sound of the ethers from which everything emerges and to which everything returns in a neverending feedback loop. Shana Adams will weave her vocalisations in and out of the sound. Together with Jody’s movement and the ambient sounds, we will make magic!

While my journey with sound seems to be taking me away from physically performing, I look forward to shaping sound with Jody and Shana on July 8th. Here are the deets:

Shadowbox Studio: special edition 2200 Dominion St. Durham 27704

8 pm. Bring chair and sustenance. Masks will be required inside