Friday, April 3, 2020

Skeleton Woman, reprised

I was going over my recordings and I found this one from 2016. It was recorded during a show called Blood and Bones that I performed with Natasha Clery, but we also had several friends share the stage with us that night in Ottawa at the Origin Studio.

I originally posted the Skeleton woman story back in 2010, but I lost the recording somewhere along the way. It is such a great story; definitely worth repeating.

I make a slight mistake in this story, but recovered quickly. But this probably why I haven't shared it before. However, Jason Sonier's haunting melodies make this story totally worth listening to.

Have a listen. I hope you enjoy it.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

New Decade, New Story

This morning, during my walk to work, I recorded a new story and threw it together on my lunch hour. 
In this time of great conflict, we need to remember that working towards peace is a choice each of us must make. If you like this story, please share it widely. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Mad Cooking Skillz

Yes, I have a smoke detector, but it is not attached to the ceiling. It sits on top of my microwave, which sits on top of my fridge. Sometimes, the detector sits on the top shelf of my kitchen shelves. It sits high up, that's the take away.

It's a sensitive soul. I suspect my detector was designed by a millennial: thoughtful, sensitive, easily triggered, but has weird timing.

But what my smoke detector does not understand is that a certain amount of smoke is acceptable while cooking. Yes, during some of my more creative cooking sessions, my kitchen might look like a bar with a broken air filter, before smoking was banned. But smoke is perfectly acceptable when being creative in your cooking, that's the take-away.

But my detector has no appreciation for that. It's a sensitive soul and gets easily triggered when it detects too much smoke.

Frankly, I feel judged when it screams at me and that's unkind. I'm trying to create! I don't need a single tone repeated at me endlessly! So rude!

So that's when my overly-sensitive, easily-triggered detector needs a time-out. Despite it's good natured-protests, it gets taken down and gently placed in the refrigerator until it calms down.

It's nice and quiet in the refrigerator. The detector continues to protest, but eventually, it rethinks its poor life decisions and calms down. Then I take it out and put it back on the high ground so it can look down on me again, in it's snooty way.

My smoke detector is a vital member of my household and I appreciate it, despite the fact that it has unreasonable ideas about my mad cooking skillz.

That's the take-away.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Confrontation

I had my headphones in, so I could not hear what he was saying, but I could see in his eyes that this was not going to be a good dialogue. Taking the buds out, I asked "Excuse me?"

Pointing at my knees, he snarled "Why are you wearing a skirt? Are you some kind of fag?"

I looked around the metro car. Those that heard the question looked down or away, uncomfortable. Others looked pained or worried.

"This is an American version of a Scottish kilt called a Utilikilt and it is traditionally designed for men." I really should have stopped there. "I feel pretty in it. You don't like it?"

"No. You look like a woman, like a fucking pussy." He was clenching his fists now. "Men pretending to be women is what's wrong with this fucking country."

I looked around again. More people looking away, others now looking up from their phones, taking their own headphones out, confused. "Times are always a-changing man. Either change with it or get out of the way." I really shouldn't have been that sassy, but I'm just tired of these has-been old guards who think they can just strong-arm anyone who doesn't fit inside their restrictive view of the world.

The guy stood up suddenly, got uncomfortably close, and looked me square in the eye. I could smell the morning's cigarette on his breath. I took a mental note of where the emergency brake handle was, just in case I needed to make a wild grab for it, wondering if I would get fined $500.

But I looked back into those eyes, and for a moment, I could see into his past. I could see the wonder-eyed kid who ran through the grass, his dog keeping pace. I heard his laughter and contented sighs while looking at the star-filled sky, believing he could touch each one with the power of dreams.

And then I saw his stars go out, one by one, and his laughter was silenced and locked in a chest that was meant for boys rather than men.

Suddenly I was back in that metro, nose-to-nose with a man who intended me harm, frustrated and angry and not really understanding why. "What was it that you had to give up?" I asked.

Confused, he took a half-a-step back, looking around quickly. "Wh-What?" This was not the reaction he was expecting from me.

"That dream you had as a kid. That thing you wanted to do, but they teased you about it, shamed you for it, made you feel weak and afraid." His eyes went wide and he was back in that place: a boy frightened and confused. Loving what he loved, not understanding how it could be wrong. "They made you give it up and it wasn't fair, so what was it?" It wasn't fair, all these people breaking the rules and getting parades for it when he wasn't allowed that one thing that made him happy to dream. Why should a guy like me wear what I wanted in public and everybody accepts it, but he was forced to give up what he wanted or suffer the consequences from shame, pain, isolation.

"What was it? Tell me." I whispered. The metro was nearing it's next stop where the doors would open and the moment would be gone. I wanted to see where this would go, even if it meant his fist connecting with my face. I needed to know. "It's not too late, you know. We've thrown out the rules. You could have it now if you wanted."

Tears rimmed his eyes for a moment, his face softened, hands relaxed, but then the metro lurched to a stop and the doors flew open. The moment was gone, his face hardened and he grabbed at my shoulder to push me aside. But as he barged past me, making for the open doors, and he growled.

"Dancer. I wanted to be a dancer." And he was gone.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

The Angry Young Man and The Buddha

My girlfriend was having a difficult week, dealing with a few incidents of abuse and hatred that were thrown at her. She found herself in a despairing place, unable to shake off the horrible things that were said to her. I am posting this story for her.

As it turns out, this is a paraphrasing of an actual Buddha story, but the spirit of the tale is the same.

---
It is said that one day the Buddha was walking through a village. A very angry and rude young man came up and began insulting him. “You have no right teaching others,” he shouted. “You are as stupid as everyone else. You are nothing but a fake!”

The Buddha was not upset by these insults. Instead he asked the young man, “Tell me, if you buy a gift for someone, and that person does not take it, to whom does the gift belong?”

The young man was surprised to be asked such a strange question and answered, “It would belong to me, because I bought the gift.”

The Buddha smiled and said, “That is correct. And it is exactly the same with your anger. If you become angry with me and I do not get insulted, then the anger falls back on you. You are then the only one who becomes unhappy, not me. All you have done is hurt yourself.”

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Recipe for a Bard

by Melissa Keindel (amara_strega)


To make a bard one needs to find, the recipe to create its kind. Never easy, always changing, from culture to culture, recipes ranging. Below we find a simple mix, to make a bard, and learn his tricks.

So listen now, as i do tell, a simple bard creation spell:

  • Start with 1 cup honey, for the best stories come from honeyed tongues.
  • Add 1 cup mead to loosen the mind and mouth.
  • A dash of sass, a dash of pluck, a silver coin for good luck.
  • A teaspoon of sage, to impart wisdom
  • A teaspoon of pepper to keep stories spicy
  • A quarter cup of strong beer to add valor and bravado
  • A pinch of salt for flavor
  • A pinch of suger to sweeten the heart
  • A clove of garlic for strength
  • A sprig of Thyme so they may keep time in competition
  • A tablespoon of oats to add humility
  • A cup of spring water to keep the creativity flowing
  • Lastly add to the brew one sprig of eyebright to sharpen the wit and open the mind.

Add to a sturdy pot and boil over the intense flames of the bardic fire. Stir frequently, listening for the tell tale signs of bubbling and free-style rapping that tell you it is almost complete.

Once cooked, allow to cool and take on its natural shape, that of the master storyteller and keeper of sacred tales.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The Night of Magic

Bowie: I don't like the looks of this place.

Nimoy: Relax... Embrace the spirit of exploration!

Bowie: Are you about to tell me to go boldly?

Nimoy: Uh... no.

Bowie: Because that would be terribly cliché of you Leonard.

Nimoy: I am not one for cliches. I don't know why you're so nervous. In your life, did you not frequent dives dingier than these?

Bowie: Oh certainly, in my early days. But at the end there, I had become a little too accustomed to tweed and warm sweaters. I'm just out of practice. So tell me, why did you bring me here?

Nimoy: I have felt for some time that you were losing touch with your roots. That creative spark that drove you to explore brave, new worlds, to seek out new ideas in your art.

Bowie: Oh Leonard... ever the slave to your own memes.

Nimoy: Hush. I'm doing you a favour.

Bowie: It's so dark, dimly lit. I was starting to think there was no place to hide from the deafening light up here. It's refreshing, calming. Wait... is that... is that Marlboro I smell?

Cohen: Hello friends. May I join you?

Nimoy: Of course Leonard. David, this is...

Bowie: Mr. Cohen. It’s a honour to meet you sir.

Cohen: Please, call me Leonard. No need to stand on ceremony here.

Nimoy: Wait, wait… If you call him Leonard, how will I know if you’re talking to me?

Bowie: Trust me. In this moment, I won’t be talking to you at all.

Nimoy: Why is it I am being constantly upstaged by hams from Montreal?

Cohen: If there is one thing this old Jewish gentleman has not been called, it’s being a ham.

Bowie: (aghast) I apologize for my friend. Surely, he meant no disrespect--

Cohen: Relax friends. We are quite literally above and beyond such concerns. (raising a glass) Hallelujah to that, I say.

Nimoy/Bowie: (laughing, raising glasses) Hallelujah!

Bowie: So Leonard…

Cohen/Nimoy: Yes?

Bowie: Still not talking to you Nimoy.

Nimoy: (grumbling) Fine. I’m getting another drink. Fidel’s already got my favorite rum poured out at the bar. Oh wait… *sigh* If I have to listen to Ron’s space cowboy stories one more time… 

Bowie: What’s happening here tonight? What is this place?

Cohen: I’m surprised that a man of your considerable musical history doesn’t recognize a Karaoke bar when he sees one.

Bowie: Pardon me... this is a what?

Cohen: It was René’s idea. He tapped me quite literally the second I arrived. That man has an eye for musical talent, there’s no denying it.

Bowie: So we’re having a show tonight?

Cohen: Indeed. There’s a spot for you too, if you’re interested. I’ve always wanted to sing some Starman with you, and now it seems strangely appropriate.

Bowie: Of course, the honor would be mine. But what are we waiting for?

Cohen: Our host, the MC of the evening. And ah… there he is, making a grand, yet modest entrance, as always.

Thicke: Good evening everyone. It's time to get into the Thicke of things. (crowd groans) Hey! As it turns out, a little silliness beyond the finite end still helps when facing it.

Cohen: We’ve entered the Tower of Song, friends. Let’s make some magic.

Copyright © John David Hickey, December 2016To mark the passing of Leonard Cohen, Ron Glass, and Alan Thicke.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Naps with the Buddha

A Chinese Folktale

Once upon a time, there was a teacher who was a Buddhist monk. His great joy in this life was to have a snack and a nap afterwards. Before every lesson, he ate so much that he could barely move.

Soon after the beginning of the lessons, he always took a nap and slept until the bell for the end of the lessons sounded.

Lee was the son of a poor villager and was a student in the same school. One daty, Lee asked the monk:

"Teacher, may I ask you why do you sleep in all our lessons?"

"My friend," replied the monk without any embarrassment, "It just seems that way. During these minutes, I meet with Buddha and listen to His wise words. That's why I try to sleep as much as I can."

At one time, Lee took care of his sick father during the night and fell asleep at school in the morning. He slept so deeply that he didn't even hear the bell, which woke the monk.

When the monk saw the sleeping boy, he angrily took Lee by the ear and started screaming:

"Ah, you, little weasel! How dare you fall asleep in my class?"

"Teacher," said Lee, "It just seemed that I slept. I was with Buddha and listened to His wise words."

"And what did the all-powerful Buddha say to you?" snarled the monk.

Lee replied, "The all-powerful Buddha told me: 'Never in my life have I seen your teacher.' "

Thursday, June 23, 2016

The See-Saw

I was walking to work this morning when I crossed a post that had a sign attached to it with one of those thick plastic quick-ties. The pointy end of the quick-tie was sticking out straight, right at eye level. I took a moment to slide the pointy end into the plastic strap so that the end wasn't sticking out.

"Hey, hey you!" came a voice. I turned around and noticed a guy sitting in his car. He had rolled down the passenger window and was leaning over. "Why are you doing that?"

Surprised, I replied, "Because I don't want someone to get their eye taken out by this pointy end."

He gave me a thumbs up, rolled his window back up, and said "Good man! Good man!"

This little exchanged suddenly reminded me of pivotal moment with my Dad. I was probably around 7 years old and my Dad had taken me to play in a public park. He pushed me on the swings, watch me come down on the slide, made sure I didn't fall off the monkey bars. We came to a see-saw and I sat at one end and said "Get on the other end Dad!"

Dad got that inquisitive look on his face, examined the see-saw carefully at the pivot point, and then placed himself at the other end. I stood up so that he could sit on it, but he said "No, no. Sit down and don't move."

He then placed his shoulder and hands under the wooden see-saw and with a sudden upward movement, snapped the plank in half with an unholy crack. I thought my Dad had gone crazy. I sat there with my mouth hanging open as he pulled the plank all the way over until it broke off, and then placed it on the pivot bar. "WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?!" I cried out.

"The see-saw was cracked in the middle," he explained, perfectly calm. "The next person who would have sat on it would have broken it and they might have hurt themselves. C'mon... let's go for ice cream."

That memory came flooding back to me this morning. I know Father's Day was just this past weekend, but... thanks Dad. I'm sure you had no idea how much that singular moment changed me and has influenced my life in so many ways ever since.

Friday, April 22, 2016

The Colour of Reign

Lemmy: David?

Bowie: No, you can't borrow one of mine. I don't know why you bother with those things now. You cannot get any higher than we are this very minute.

Lemmy: No, no... That's not what I'm talking about, but fuck you anyways. With a spoon.

Rickman: I heard that! Fer Christ's sake... am I doomed to hear that infernal joke for all eternity?

Lemmy: *chuckling* Seriously, it's just too easy.

Bowie: What's on your mind?

Lemmy: Have you noticed there's not much color up here? You've got a cream colored suit with an off-white shirt, but I had to fight tooth and nine-inch nail to get this badassed black vest, but now I look like Han Solo with a white confederate cowboy hat. It looks fucking stupid.

Bowie: Hey, I'm not crazy about these creamy pastels either, but what can we do? We're dead until the next incarnation. I hope I come back as a woman.

Lemmy: No matter what I come back as, I still won't date ya. Stop changing the subject!

Bowie: Speak your mind, man.

Lemmy: I spotted this guy the other day. New guy, fresh off the boat.

Bowie: Oh? I hadn't checked the roster. Who is it?

Rickman: Guys? Have you seen this? I have never seen it rain here, much less in color!

Lemmy: *ignoring* Not sure, but I can tell he's going to be trouble.

Bowie: Trouble? Up here? Lemmy, my friend, if the gates opened for the likes of you, how much trouble could this new guy be? Who is he?

Lemmy: You'll know him when you see him. For all your star power, this guy somehow snuck in with a reddish beret and a purple-sequined jacket. How did he get away with that?

Bowie: Oh.

Lemmy: Oh? Oh what?

Bowie: Oh. My. *sigh* Unlike life, this will be a party that is meant to last. A strong spirit does indeed transcend the rules.

Original piece written by JD Hickey to mark the passing of Prince.
April 2016 (first piece written in January 2016)
 
Copyright© 2010 John David Hickey