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

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!!

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!

Waves of Gratitude Pop-Up Sound Installation 2021

iBoD is producing a pop-up sound installation which will have its first expression as part of SITES: reset on Feb 27 2021 at The Accordion Club Durham. The soundscape for this installation will be recordings of people giving thanks in whatever language, in whatever tone of voice feels genuine and right. These voiced gratitudes will be mixed into a sound collage with ocean waves and played through many small speakers. As this wave has evolved, there is now room for recorded gratitudes of all kinds. People are sending songs, chants, electronica, field recordings. All deeply heartfelt expressions of gratitude are welcome!

We are gathering gratitudes from all over the world. No matter how difficult times are, there is always something to be grateful for. My Mother taught me this life lesson, but I resented hearing it as a child. I felt entitled to cling to and suffer all my disappointments and sadnesses. In recent months gratitude goggles have kept me alive and in the moment!! In addition, this time has helped me realize how often I have been ungrateful in my life, and I want to begin again with greater gratitude and love. Since I observe that oscillations/waveforms create reality, Waves of Gratitude is the vibrational reality I desire. I would love for your voice to be a part of it! Record your invocation of gratitude and email the audio file to ibodgwave@gmail.com.

Recording Instructions:

For best sound quality, record indoors in a quiet space with little to no background noise.

Use Voice Memo recorder on your smart phone, when finished tap the Share icon (the one that looks like a three-sided box with an arrow inside.) Choose email, and send to ibodgwave@gmail.com.

If we are friends on Facebook Messenger, you can send a recorded message. Message me, then tap the icon to the left of where you type the message, this will open a small window where there may be a + or a microphone icon, tap the + and you are recording, when finished, tap the large paper airplane arrow to the right of the message box and voila! your gratitude is delivered.

In addition to the installation, dejacusse will broadcast the waves over Radio iBoD/dejacusse at specified dates and times TBA.

Email me if you have questions and spread gratitude with us in 2021 and beyond!

The Modular Boat Has Sailed!!

Eight months ago, the Elektron Model: Samples became part of my sounding board. (Here is a blog post about some preliminary explorations- https://wp.me/p5yJTY-Ch) When the MS started having key sticking issues, and the Global Reset rendered repairs inaccessible, the sounding board landed in limbo land. During this dreamy time, I realized/remembered that I want to play Control Voltages. The MS is a audio/midi device that can sequence synths that accept digital signals. CVs are another realm entirely! Although many synths can be stimulated by both types of signals, the depth and breadth of CVs is unparallelled to my ear.

Thanks to the flexibility of Sweetwater Music and the take charge attitude of my Sweetwater Sales Agent, Paul Allen, the MS (and a little cash) was exchanged for a Make Noise O-Control!! FINALLY, I have a voltage controlled modular set up as I pair this sweet thing with the Behringer Neutron!! Here you have it:

Today is the fifth day of play with my mini-mod, and I am happily patching, playing, studying manuals and/or Patch and Tweak, and deeply listening. Here are some sound samples from my first week’s play.

Modular Sampler Wk 1

Imma gonna be here for a while…

Listening to the Micro-Environment

Thanks to Nancy Lowe from AS IS Center near Penland School, I am “new best friends” with Mark Boyd. Mark is a sound artist who records and amplifies the “voices” of plants, ants and flowing water: the realm of the tiny vibratory world. Talk about deep listening! Mark has been using electrode sensors on plants into a Volca Synth to listen to the electrical life force within the plant! He sent me recordings of his “biologues” with Bleeding Heart and Fern, and Dogwood. The playback presents us with a lot of fast-paced random sounds. Mark is interested in transducing this data into something people might listen to. Here is an excerpt from Mark’s Bleeding Heart and Fern biologues:

Excerpt MB BiologueBHnF

Ableton Live contains numerous tools for transposing/transducing/converting sonic data. An audio clip, such as the one you just heard, can be converted into midi clips; one that renders melody information, and another that renders harmonic information. So now we have audio information rendered as 2 packets of midi information. Within Ableton, midi files can be collapsed or stretched across a timeline and still maintain the integrity of the rhythmic intervals. Midi data can be assigned to a “voice” that feels representative of the sound artist’s impressions of the particular plant that is speaking. Midi data can be fed back into a synth such as the Volca to complete the circle.

The scaling of the time frames of the midi clips is exactly what is needed to help us “hear” the biofeedback from the plants. Doubling the length of the midi clip slows the overall “tempo” and helps us to listen into a kind of river of sound emitted by the plants. Slowing down allows us to tune into a rhythmic cohesiveness that is obscured by the frantic pace of the plant’s raw electrical impulses. We inject spaciousness into the mix in just the right amount, and it sounds like something is being communicated.

After finishing the new rendering of the data, I sent this to Mark:

Excerpt Biologue BHnF Remix dejacusse

He was ecstatic, over the top about all the possibilities of Ableton. He downloaded the Lite version and took off with it. We had some great email exchanges and he sent me samplings of his tests and experiments with the flora around his mountain home. Here is a beautiful example with a plant in Mark’s home:

I look forward to Mark putting together an orchestra of local flora in concert in the near future. In the meantime, I am enjoying dialoguing with another human being who is listening as deeply as I am.

The Larger Oscillation

Periodically throughout the day, I focus awareness on the realization that one of the basic building blocks of the entire material world as we know it is– the oscillation. All of my personal and all of our shared experience is comprised of waveform oscillations modulating each other. This pattern driver of existence is active from the quantum to the cosmic scale and all stops in between, including the sliver we call “material reality”. Take a deep breath into THAT awareness! It has the capacity to expand “being” way beyond this mortal coil.

Signal sources, harmonics, filters, amplifiers, attenuaters, etc. all shape the place we call home. This is not a static activity, although we are obsessed with nailing it down and calling it stable. To be fair, our egoic phase needs the illusion of constancy cocreated by our corporeal senses + time. It is scary to allow in all the buzzy sensations of the multitudes of oscillations interacting within and through us moment to moment. It can shake and crack the hard linear shell of “Reality” we impose on this extremely fluid existence. But once, some cracks and crevices soften the shell, we can tune in and ride the dyhedrals of the great structured chaos out of which life arises, our true and only home. All the necessary tools are available to us:

Focused awareness in the now.

Deep listening (way deeper than ear listening).

Adaptability to a looser, less bound-up, more centered and flexible way of being in the world.

And, most importantly, forgiveness.

Sound, due to its oscillating nature, impacts the structure and movement of material reality. So do flapping butterfly wings. So do thoughts and emotions fully felt and released or shoved away and blamed on others. So do bombs and bullets. So do words of harm and ridicule. So do love and compassion. So does forgiveness. Each moment we choose a platform (or it chooses us) and then we actively modulate our consciousnesses into existence, as we ourselves are modulated by all the struck and jostling oscillations.

What a world! What a world!

The Dance of Ego and Consciousness

I love how life, when allowed, unfolds in diverse and beautiful ways. The Culture of the Human Organism (COTHO), which we all create together, was/is formed by the interplay of humans doing and humans being. We, individually, have the ability to DO busy worker bees and to BE still, vast awake beings. Doing and Being are the yin/yang of living. They exist on a continuum, like a cross-fader mixing two signals, and we move the fader around by focusing our conscious awareness.

The DO is about identity, achievement, leadership, playing well with others. The DO is fitting into and identifying with the material realm/the world/COTHO. The DOer seizes the day and makes a life, The DOer gets things done, gets rewarded, and so gets more things done, often achieves some level of what we call “greatness” or, at the very least, strives for greatness. DOers think, plan, coordinate. They are busy doing and making the world. Egoic mind, beliefs, values, thoughts, stories and meaning are parts of this realm.

This realm manifests COTHO! The Organism is rich, and in constant motion. It seems to be expanding just as the Universe seems to be expanding. The Organism is The World. Ever since we were kicked out of the Garden, COTHO has been making The World in an image of the Garden. And with so many individual shattered segments DOing The World right now, the primary direction seems to be “more”, “further”, “faster”.

The BE is about shedding worldly identities, expanding consciousness and being fully in the present moment. All there is is NOW! (la- la lalala) BEing is still, alert and attentive. BEing exists in a state of timelessness. BEing finds the world mostly humorous, and a little sad. BEing allows everything that is enfolded in the present moment to be!

Newborn babies have a tremendous. capacity for BEing. Adults recognize this energy in babies. This is why we love them so much, love being with them- they are awash in being, thinking no thoughts. Babies are pure presence. Alas, too soon, babies become ensnared in human doing. My highest wish for every child is that they protect, develop and cherish their BEing, and not let conciousness become obliterated by the push to identify and the exaggerated need to belong.

I have struggled with this all my life. Since I was very young, I felt slightly out of touch with 3D reality or The World. “Just wait till you get out in the real world!” said many adults I encountered. I was never sure what “real world” they were referring to. So I tried to find this “real world”. I looked for it in my parents, teachers and other signifigant adults, in school and church, in communities, close friends, colleagues, in educational degrees and lesbian feminist identities. I looked (and found) what felt the most real to me in intimate relationships: lovers, dear friends and co-creators – those people with whom you stay up all night, dancing around the fear of/desire to completely open and merge with another. I really felt I found the real world there, but it turns out, there is more! With each decade, great swaths of many Worlds revealed themselves to me and the journey has been heartfelt and mostly joyful – even when suffering, I give myself over to it and enjoy the whole experience immensely.

Luckily, many people have cared for, connected and collaborated with me over these years. I love all of those beautiful people, and I have not always made it easy for them. The sense of myself was small and huge at the same time, always bouncing between these extremes. I had faith in consciousness even as I distrusted it. I let my egoic identity make me small and mean at times. This still happens, but the voice of consciousness is clearer, and ego can be lovingly attenuated to allow that still, clear voice to come through. Today, as I sit in this beautiful present moment, I give thanks to all who were right there with me in all those wonderful Nows of the past.

As Holly Near sings -“The past has brought me brilliantly to here!”