Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Nothing More Than Nothing

Tell me the weight of a snowflake", a coal-mouse asked a wild dove.

"Nothing more than nothing", came the answer.

"In that case, I must tell you a marvelous story," the coal-mouse said.

"I sat on the branch of a fir, close to its trunk, when it began to snow -- not heavily, not in a raging blizzard -- no, just like in a dream, without a wound and without any violence. Since I did not have anything better to do, I counted the snowflakes settling on the twigs and needles of my branch. Their number was exactly 3,741,952. When the 3,741,953rd dropped onto the branch -- nothing more than nothing, as you say -- the branch broke off."

Having said that, the coal-mouse flew away.

The dove, an authority on this since the time of Noah, thought about the story for awhile, and finally said to herself, "Perhaps there is only one person's voice lacking for peace to come to the world."

This appears in various forms across the web, and is referenced either as "Thus Spoke the Caribou" from "New Fables" by Kurt Kauter, or from "Synchronicity", by Joseph Jaworsky

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Yuletide magic

With 10 days to go before Christmas, I invite you all to revel in the holiday spirit. No, I don't mean the shopping. In fact, I'm suggesting that you try to tune out the calls for shopping and insane consumerism that has given this time of year a bad name.

As winter comes upon us, the need to come together as community, as family, as humanity is stronger than ever. The nights grow long, the days are too short, and the ever-present cold is unnerving. In this season, we need to come together to share what we have, to share the warmth of our hearth fires, and to protect each other. Because if we don't, the harshness of winter can literally kill us, both in body and in spirit.

Instead of griping about the consumerism and the crassness of the holiday, I invite you to extend your generosity of time and effort to people who need you. Do what you can, when you can.

  • If you see someone in distress, ignore your first impulse to not get involved and go see what you can do to help. No gesture is too small.
  • If you see someone stuck in the snow, go help them out, even if it makes you late for something. 
  • Whenever you can, look people in the eyes, shake their hands, and wish them a happy holiday. And mean it.
  • Donate your time, your talents, and if you can afford it, your funds to charities that support people in need, either locally or abroad.

If you do all these things already, do it more.

And if you have the good fortune of being the recipient of someone else's generosity, be gracious, modest, and appreciative. Also, take the time to mark this moment as a happy memory. It will change how you relate to this time of year.

The darkness at this time of year can be deceiving. It fools us into thinking we are alone and that there is no one else out there in the darkness. But the truth is that when you share your light with others, you end up with more light, revealing all the people who are there with you, who have been with you that whole time. It's easy to forget that, but I'm reminding that it's true. You are not alone.

I wish you all a memorable, safe, loving, generous holiday season. All of us are looking forward to your generosity of spirit.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Mythic Rap -- Fionn MacCool and the Old Man

I haven't updated this blog in awhile! But now I have a new piece to share and it's very exciting!

So after seeing Professor Elemental perform at the Grand Canadian Steampunk Exposition, I decided to rewrite some of the tales I know as rap lyrics (Mythic Rap). I just finished my first one and it flows fairly well. I thought it would sound great with music, so I found a track by Celtic Cross called 22.

The rest of the song doesn't feel quite right with the lyrics, but the rhythm structure works. I may be able to get some musician friends to help me with that.

Here are the lyrics:

Once upon a time on the isle of green
There lived the greatest warrior that you have ever seen
Not Robin Hood! That’s England you fool!
I’m speaking of Fionn MacCool

And his Fianna. A hearty band of men,
known to kill a giant now and then.
They visited Ireland, Scotland, and Wales
and the adventures they had live on in the tales

That we tell. And so to the Isle of Aran
Why they went to a place so barren
it’s a mystery. But they never went back,
and the tale behind that
is mighty good crack.

Fionn and the boys were exploring that hill
When a dark fog fell and the air was still
For these great trackers, it was quite a fright
But through the fog, they spied a light.

They followed that light and they found a window
of a house that was filled with its warm glow
Fionn came forward and knocked on the door
An old man appeared and at them he glowered.

But being a good host, he let them in
So they sat at the fire, every face a grin
A girl appeared to serve them bread and ale
And the Fianna wooed her with their tall tales

But she pushed them away, though they persisted
Her response was the same and she insisted,
“When we courted, I was ignored by you,
So now it’s too late. Our love is through.”

The Fianna all swore they didn’t know her.
Fionn listened and he concurred. 
But he said nothing, except to gloat
Through the front door, there came a goat.

The beast knocked the tables, it drank the ale
It bit the Fianna until they wailed
The old man cried “I must inquire.
Can you tie that goat down by the fire?”

But Fionn failed to tame that goat
So it was the old man’s turn to grin and gloat
He caught the beast easily and tied it up
The lads had to return to their cups.

These strange events, he could not ignore
Fionn said  “Old man, you are more
than you seem. Talk now and talk fast.
Who is that fair bonnie lass?”

“Ahhhh... Fionn MacCool,”
“That girl is Youth. The truth is cruel.
For the young cannot appreciate their good days
And the old cannot catch her, try as they may.

Upon hearing this, Fionn stood proud
He faced the old man who refused to be cowed.
“Tell me old man, what is that beast?
For its strength seems unnaturally increased.”

“Ahhhh… Fionn MacCool,”
That goat is the World that you think you rule.
Anyone who tries to tame its spirit
Can only succeed in destroying it.”

Fionn and the Fianna drew their swords
And with a single voice, they raged and roared.
“Old man,” shouted Fionn “Tell me true.
“Who are we facing? Who are you?”

“Ahhhh… Fionn MacCool,”
“I am the master of the world, it is mine to rule.
As great as you are, when you draw your last breath
I will best you, for I am Death.”

Before the Fianna could make their attack
They all fell asleep, their jaws went slack.
They awoke in a cave, chilled to their bones
No people, no goats, they were alone.

They gathered their packs, they gathered their kits
They were all shaken and scared from their wits
From the Isle of Aran, they were quickly spurned
And for the rest of their days, they never returned.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

New Gigs in November/December 2014

The “Did You Hear That?” CD Tour has started! In Montreal, I’m hitting both sides of the mountain about one month apart and I’m hoping to book a show in Ottawa as well, so stay tuned.

Tales from the Mariposa

Wednesday, November 19th 2014 at 7pm
Mariposa le Cafe
5434 Cote St-Luc rd
NDG (Montreal)
Facebook event

Tales and Wails at the Yellow Door Coffeehouse

Friday, December 12th 2014 at 8:00pm
The Yellow Door Coffeehouse
3625 Aylmer,
Montréal, QC H2X 2C3
Facebook Event

Come and join us at the Yellow Door Coffeehouse for the Open Stage where I will be the Featured Performer! There will be music, tales, and coffee with comfy seats! All nestled in the comfortable nook of the Yellow Door Coffeehouse.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Reviews are coming in!

I’ve got about a dozen of the Did You Hear That? CDs in circulation with reviewers and the reviews are starting to come in! I’ll keep updating this post as they arrive, but so far, it’s been positive! 

  • October15th: Geeky Godmother – “It’s a splendid collection for this time of year. Storyteller Hickey does a fine job of reviving a very old tradition.

Monday, September 22, 2014

New CD has been launched!

It's finally the day that has been months, if not years, in the making. Welcome to the digital launch of the much anticipated follow-up CD to the Bard's New Hat!

JD Hickey's newest CD "Did you Hear That?" is ready and features some of the Bard's the creepiest stories! Get ready to turn out the lights and listen to these tales! Then turn all the lights back on and quiver in your bed, praying that the sun will return to banish the darkness!

The stories include:
  • The Hall of Wonders
  • Fionn MacCool and the Old Man
  • Thomas & La Chasse Galerie
  • The Boy Who Drew Cats
  • The Dead Don't Pay
  • The Man with No Story
  • Lex & the Devil
  • Ti-Fleur & the Magic Fiddler
  • BONUS: The Ghost with One Black Eye
  • BONUS: Skeleton Woman    

Here's what you can get:
1. "Did You Hear That?": $12 (8 stories + 2 bonus tracks)
2. "Did you Hear That the Bard Has a New Hat?": $20 which includes:
a. "Did You Hear That?" (8 stories + 2 bonus tracks)
b. "The Bard's New Hat" (released 2010)

There are two ways you can purchase your digital download:
* Bank Transfer: send your payment via Interac e-transfer to Please include your full name for our records. If a password is required, make it "HearThat2014".
* Paypal: please visit our sponsor The Magical Blend and select the "Did You Hear That?" CD from their store page, click Checkout, and pay for it with Paypal.
Note: As of 8am, the CD is not yet available on the site. Stay tuned for when it will be (which should be today sometime).

Once I receive your payment, I will email you a link to the ZIP file that contains the tracks. This path will be active until September 24th 2014, so you must download the file before it expires. Please let me know when you receive the files and do not share this path with anyone else.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Teamaster, a short film

This is another version of the Samurai and the Teamaster story I tell. The versions are very different and my ending is unique, but you can easily see the common thread between them.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Meeting William f*cking Shatner

Wil Wheton tells the story about the first time he met William Shatner.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The House with 13 Roommates

Once upon a time, there were 13 friends who decided to share a house together. They each got a room, agreed to share the kitchen, the living room, and the basement, and share in the upkeep of the whole house. They personalized each of their rooms to suit their tastes and their own needs, and they visited each other frequently.

As the years passed, everyone got along quite well. Though there were spats here and there, the roommates talked them out and even though people sometimes didn't get what they wanted, they compromised for the good of the house, the good of the family.

When times got hard, some of the roommates were having a difficult time to pay the rent and the maintenance fees for the house. Wanting to keep the family together, they started bartering their services in exchange for help with their financial contributions. Newfoundland, PEI, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan offered to do the grocery shopping and Quebec agreed to do all the cooking (due to its French flair with the spices). BC offered to repaint the house and fix the roof, while Alberta promised to keep the basement clean and the furnace topped up with oil. Nova Scotia pulled together a band and provided entertainment. New Brunswick promised it would answer all the incoming calls and deal with the city (in both English and French). The Territories, who were used to walking long distances, agreed to keep an eye out on the entire property to ensure that everyone was safe. Ontario, not hurting for money because it had a solid government job, agreed to cover all the expenses as long as it could supervise all the other tasks.

This seemed to work out well for awhile, but then the roommates started nitpicking at each other, criticizing what was being done. BC didn't like the food that was being bought because it was too grain heavy and the fish and meat products weren't ethically sound or sustainable. Nova Scotia was getting tired of performing all the time for free. The Territories felt cut off from the house because they spent more time outside it keeping watch than inside.

The other provinces mocked Alberta because it spent so much time in the basement. They called it an underdweller, said it was "primitive", and it lived in a hole in the ground. Alberta felt everyone was taking it for granted because the furnace never broke down and it was never cold in the house.

One night, during the supper meal, Ontario made one too many complaints about how spicy the meal and how its mother's cooking was so much better, and Quebec lost its collective shit. Quebec ranted that it was tired of being singled out, made to feel apart, and how annoying it was that if it wanted a change a lightbulb in its room, it had to get everyone's permission. "It's my room! If I want more light, why should Ontario care? I should be allowed to make more of my own choices when it comes to my room!"

So the roommates had a house meeting and renegotiated their deal. Quebec was adamant that it had the right to make whatever changes it wanted to its own room and it shouldn't need to get everyone else's permission. "My room is distinctly different from the other rooms, so it deserves special status!" The other roommates were confused by this at first, but they didn't want to lose their access to the fantastic food, so they gave in to Quebec's demands. Soon the other roommates also enjoyed having more say in how they managed their rooms, but they quietly resented that Quebec got so much more control.

And so the people in the house continued to live together, trying to make it work. Every once in a while, Quebec threatens to move out of the house, but changes its mind when it sees how much the rent is out there in the rest of the city, and it realizes that it's really not so bad living in that house. Sometimes the other roommates talk about leaving too, but then they call another house meeting and negotiate a way to stay together.

It's not an easy life, but living with family rarely is, and everyone is stronger in the end for making it work.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Driving Out the Snakes II 2014

So I hosted a concert called Driving Out the Snakes II in Montreal on St. Patrick's Day weekend in 2014 and it was great! Generous audiences, talented musicians, and an energetic step dancer!

I also got to tell a few tales and they were recorded, so I'm happy to share one of them.

The videographer is Roy Keys and the event was organized by Aine Doan.

Copyright© 2010 John David Hickey