Recording Imagination

Recording Imagination

Lunch Bucket walked in on me as I was finishing up a recording session today.

“Are you almost done working?”

“Almost. I’ve just been recording some stuff.”

“I want to record my imagination.”

“Okay.”

So I hit record and said, “Okay, tell us your imagination.”

After recording, we listened to it, and the rest of the family came to listen. Then Lunch Bucket said, “Squeaker wants to record her imagination, too.”

“Okay,” I said, “Lunch Bucket, you help Squeaker share her imagination.”

So Lunch Bucket then used our tradition baby girl ventriloquist voice and gave Squeakers imagination.

Then of course Tootles wanted a turn, so I got a recording of his imagination, too.

Game: Three Part Story

Here we go. I’m going to give you a random story beginning, and a random story end. Your job is to fill in the middle to make it into one story.

Gordy Hartfoot sat in the rickety old bench, overlooking the grain fields across his 14 acres of golden farmlands, wondering where the years had gone, when he saw a movement in a bush just a few feet from the porch.

“What in tarnation?” he said, standing up with shaky hands against his chair.

He rubbed his eyes as something large burst from the bush. He rubbed at his cataract-filled eyes and looked again.

There, standing at the foot of his porch, was the largest rodent Gordy had ever seen…

 

YOUR MIDDLE HERE

 

…Deedra opened the satchel and pulled out the glowing blue vial, holding it out for the monster to see.

“It’s too late, Corandar!” she shouted, “The Guild Wars are OVER!”

Then the cast the vial at the feet of the massive beast. With an explosion of blue smoke billowing from the broken vial, a gust of wind began swirling around the beast.

With a cry of agony and desperation, the monster screeched a horrific roar that echoed into the night, drowned out only by the roaring of the whirling typhoon, as it lifted Corandar out of the water, tearing him to shreds and casting the particles for miles over the surface of the sea.

“Come on, Borameer,” Deedra said as the winds calmed. “Let’s go home.”


Okay, now see if you can make these into one story. Write a middle in the comments. Have fun!

Forgotten Stories from the Old Testament: A Brotherly Reunion

At the time Jacob and Esau parted, they weren’t on very good terms. Jacob had received the birthright blessing, and Esau felt he had been robbed of it, even though the Lord had made it clear that Jacob had been the one to live faithful enough to receive that blessing. Esau was bitter enough about the whole thing that he made plans to kill Jacob.

Talk about sibling rivalry.

Jacob’s mom, recognizing the danger he was in, succeeded in getting Jacob sent away to find a wife. That effort not only saved Jacob from his brother, but he succeeded in getting a wife – in fact, he got two wives, and had twelve kids. Kind of a cheaper-by-the-dozen deal, I suppose.

After a while, however, Jacob decides it’s time to return, with all his household and the possessions he had accumulated. Only problem is, that means he’s got to face Esau again. Not sure whether his brother was over his grudge or not, he sends messengers to Esau with gifts, effectively saying, “Here’s a gift, I’m coming to visit.”

Esau sends back word that was more or less, “I’ll meet you part way – with 400 men.”

You can imagine Jacob’s anxiety. Sure that his brother plans on killing his whole family, Jacob prays and begs for help. This is when he is given the name change from Jacob to Israel.

Finally they meet across a field, and Esau comes running at Jacob. Jacob bows down, ready to beg for mercy, but his brother gets there and hugs him. They cry and sob over each other – Esau excited to finally see his brother again, and Jacob probably out of relief.

Here’s the account:

Continue reading

Forgotten Stories from the Old Testament: After the Ark

There is a little story about Noah that takes place a short time after the Ark was landed. It is an odd story, and without a wider context, can be very perplexing.

From what the story says, Noah got drunk, and his son, Ham, found him in his tent naked. So Ham came out and told his brothers, who backed into the tent and covered him with a garment. Then when Noah woke, he cursed Canaan.

It sounds a little odd, I know, but the Church’s Institute Student Manual has an interesting explanation. I’ll paste it after the verses. Basically, Noah got drunk in his tent and passed out (remember the word of wisdom was not revealed until this dispensation). Then Ham, who held the priesthood, but who’s son could not hold the priesthood, thought that he could give his son the priesthood by giving him Noah’s garment, so he stole it off his father. When Shem and Japeth discovered what had happened, they made him a new garment and put it on their father. So when Noah woke, he realized what happened and cursed Canaan, who had the stolen garment.

Here’s the account:

Genesis 9:20-27

20 And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard:

21 And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent.

22 And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without.

23 And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father’s nakedness.

24 And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him.

25 And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.

26 And he said, Blessed be the Lord God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.

27 God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.

And here’s the explanation given in the Institute Student Manual:

(4-20) Genesis 9:20–27 . Why Did Noah Curse Canaan in This Event When He Was Not Even Present?

The account of Noah’s “nakedness” and the role his sons played in the event is a puzzling one, especially the part in which Noah awakens and pronounces a curse upon Canaan, the son of Ham (see Genesis 10:6 ), who does not even seem to be present at the time.

Most members of the Church are aware that a priesthood garment, symbolic of the covenants made in the temple, is worn by those who have participated in the endowment ceremony in the temple. This garment is a representation of the coat of skins made by the Lord for Adam and Eve after the Fall (see Genesis 3:21 ; Moses 4:27 ). The idea of a garment made of skins that signified that one had power in the priesthood is found in several ancient writings. Hugh Nibley discussed some of these ancient writings and their implications for the passage in Genesis:

“Nimrod claimed his kingship on the ground of victory over his enemies [see Genesis 10:8–10 ; Reading 4-21 ]; his priesthood, however, he claimed by virtue of possessing ‘the garment of Adam.’ The Talmud assures us that it was by virtue of owning this garment that Nimrod was able to claim power to rule over the whole earth, and that he sat in his tower while men came and worshiped him. The Apocryphal writers, Jewish and Christian, have a good deal to say about this garment. To quote one of them: ‘the garments of skin which God made for Adam and his wife when they went out of the garden and were given after the death of Adam . . . to Enoch’; hence they passed to Methuselah, and then to Noah, from whom Ham stole them as the people were leaving the ark. Ham’s grandson Nimrod obtained them from his father Cush. As for the legitimate inheritance of this clothing, a very old fragment recently discovered says that Michael ‘disrobed Enoch of his earthly garments, and put on him his angelic clothing,’ taking him into the presence of God. . . .

“Incidentally the story of the stolen garment as told by the rabbis, including the great Eleazer, calls for an entirely different rendering of the strange story in Genesis [9] from the version in our King James Bible. They seemed to think that the ’erwath of Genesis [9:22] did not mean ‘nakedness’ at all, but should be given its primary root meaning of ‘skin covering.’ Read thus, we are to understand that Ham took the garment of his father while he was sleeping and showed it to his brethren, Shem and Japheth, who took a pattern or copy of it (salmah) or else a woven garment like it (simlah) which they put upon their own shoulders, returning the skin garment to their father. Upon awaking, Noah recognized the priesthood of two sons but cursed the son who tried to rob him of his garment.” ( Lehi in the Desert and the World of Jaredites, pp. 160–62.)

Therefore, although Ham himself had the right to the priesthood, Canaan, his son, did not. Ham had married Egyptus, a descendant of Cain ( Abraham 1:21–24 ), and so his sons were denied the priesthood.

(OT Institute Student Manual)

Forgotten Stories from the Old Testament: The Rainbow

After the Lord destroyed every living thing on the earth except what was preserved on the ark – and I suppose some sea life, too, the scriptures say, “And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth. And God said unto Noah, This is the token of the covenant, which I have established between me and all flesh that is upon the earth.” (Genesis 9:16-17) The rainbow was to be a sign of a covenant that God made between Himself and all flesh. But what covenant is it a token of? Part of the covenant was that God would no longer destroy the earth by flood. Genesis 9:11-15

11 And I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth.

12 And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations:

13 I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.

14 And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud:

15 And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.

But the rainbow was also to help us look forward as well. It was to remind us that if we keep the commandments, Zion will return to the earth. Enoch’s people became so righteous that they were taken up into heaven. And when God’s people embrace the truth and look upward, Zion would look downward, and there would be great joy. The rainbow reminds us that not only is God in control, but someday the Savior will return as the rightful heir to the government of earth.

The Joseph Smith Translation of the verses (JST) gives the account:

21 And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant, which I made unto thy father Enoch; that, when men shall keep all my commandments, Zion should again come on the earth, the city of Enoch which I have caught up unto myself.

22 And this is mine everlasting covenant, that when thy posterity shall embrace the truth, and look upward, then shall Zion look downward, and all the heavens shall shake with gladness, and the earth shall tremble with joy;

23 And the general assembly of the church of the first-born shall come down out of heaven, and possess the earth, and shall have place until the end come. And this is mine everlasting covenant, which I made with thy father Enoch.

24 And the bow shall be in the cloud, and I will establish my covenant unto thee, which I have made between me and thee, for every living creature of all flesh that shall be upon the earth.

25 And God said unto Noah, This is the token of the covenant which I have established between me and thee; for all flesh that shall be upon the earth. (JST GENESIS 9: 21-25 )

My Musical Journey: The Message

The Message

When I was nine, my sister Ria had piano lessons. Being the little brother, I thought I should be able to have piano lessons, too. To me it looked like fun, and I wanted a turn. So mom signed me up.

A lady in our neighborhood, who was also in our ward, taught many kids piano lessons, and for only $3 a week, it was a pretty good way to go, though I didn’t find out until later what a generous teacher I had to charge such a small fee for those valuable lessons.

The lessons were fun, and I learned all the basic musical terms and skills, and obtained a very basic piano proficiency. By the time I had been taking lessons for a year, however, I was tired of practicing, and after a few weeks of dragging my feet, I stopped going to piano lessons.

Years went by, and I didn’t touch my piano books. They were a thing of the past, and any time I considered playing, I remembered how boring practice was, so from the time I stopped the lessons, I stopped playing the piano entirely.

As a young man of fourteen, I loved listening to music while drifting off to sleep. I would stick in a favorite cassette and let it play through to the end. However long it took me to fall asleep, I would always get completely wrapped up in the music. As I made a habit of this, I soon found that the mere act of turning on music and closing my eyes did something to me. It was as if the sounds were wrapping around me, filling me. I don’t know how to describe it, but that simple, quiet music had an overwhelming effect on my whole system.

It was at that time that I came to a realization of the power of music – just a few simple notes, played at just the right… well, everything! The tempo was perfect, the notes were perfect, played at the perfect volume at just the right moments. What was it about this mix of sounds that drew a person in so completely? Was it the flawless skill of the artist, or was it something independent of the musician? Did the music itself somehow convey the sense of completeness and power that I felt?

Much of the music I listened to was religious music, and the powerful feelings I felt while listening to that music were always accompanied by an intense spiritual high that made me want to be better, do more good, and reach out more to bless the lives of more people. But a lot of the music I listened to was simple New Age music, which at that time was sometimes called Easy Listening music.

One night, while listening to some of this gentle music, I felt something unique – or I heard something, but with my feelings rather than my ears. It was as if someone or something was sending a clear message through while my mind and heart were in such a susceptible state. The message was simply this: “You can give this gift to others.”

I lay motionless, still wrapped in the feelings and power of the music. The words had been clear. You can give this gift to others. What gift? Music? The ability to play music? The feelings that the music expressed? Though the message had been clear, I didn’t know for sure what it meant.

The more I thought about it, the more I felt that it was time to go beyond simply listening to and enjoying music. I needed to make music.

But how? I didn’t play any musical instruments, and my voice was nasally and boisterous. I would have to learn to play an instrument. A flute? A brass instrument? I didn’t have any instruments, and I didn’t have access to any instruments – except…

Yes. The piano. The family had a piano. I would would get out my old lesson books and start learning to play first thing after school the next day.

The Synergetic Novel: Episode 11

sn-play

1-011

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Matt stared at her.

“Actually, it’s been a lot of fun to research,” the librarian said.  “This has always been a curious little town to me.  My Grandparents grew up here and own a house nearby, so I’ve been to visit often throughout my life.  When my Grandpa passed away I offered to move in with Grandma so I could attend school here.  She’s really independent but she’s grateful for the company.”

A teenage boy stood by, waiting to check out some books.  “Oh, excuse me for a minute,” she said, turning to the boy.

Matt watched her.  She spoke to Matt as though she knew him well.  Was she just a very trusting person, or was she mistaking him for someone else?  And how did she know Continue reading

Party Game: Three Part Stories

One of my family’s major hobbies is inventing games.  This is a party game we came up with called Three Part Stories.  It’s one of those games that guarantees some great laughs, and takes a little bit of creativity.

If you’ve ever done chain stories, where one starts a story, and then the next person continues it, and so forth, then you have GOT to try the story game.  It is hilarious to the extreme!


If you cannot see the video, you can watch in on Youtube.

Now for the fun part:  Here are the finished stories: Continue reading

Song of Middle C

song-of-middle-ctalltabIf you have ever performed in a talent show, concert, or recital, you know how much stress it can be.  And if it’s scary for adults, imagine how terribly frightening it must be for a child.  They take piano lessons, practice their little hearts out, and then do what few adults will agree to do – perform.
talltabThat’s the subject of Alison McGhee’s picture book, Song of Middle C, illustrated by Scott Menchin, and published by Candlewick Press.  It is about a little girl preparing for her first piano recital.  The poor kid works her heart out committing the music to memory, and prepares in every way she can imagine, including bowing in front of the mirror and wearing her lucky underwear!
talltabThen when she gets up to play, she freezes – the whole piece erased from her mind.  She sweats, she worries, and she nearly panics.
talltabPerhaps the story would have come to a rough ending if the girl didn’t have such a fantastic piano teacher, who taught her to not be concerned about length of time, to recognize the value of middle C, and to use her imagination.  With these tools, the little girl finds that the music itself can carry her through – even if the music she plays isn’t the music she planned!

talltabOne of the unique things about this book is that it goes into the more enjoyable parts of music.  Rather than simply following the typical pattern of ‘learn your sheet music and then play it right,’ Alison McGhee illustrates the value and power of improvisation, and how music itself can be the guide in deciding how to play and what to play.  This is a great lesson to learn – and the earlier a person can learn it the better, because when your memory fails you on stage, your emotions are still in tact (though seared slightly!), and can guide you to still make beautiful music.  Music is a thing of the heart, and Song of Middle C demonstrates that well.
talltabSong of Middle C is a fun read, and a must have for parents with young children in piano lessons.  It will help them prepare for their own recital, and teach them the power of music itself when guided by the imagination.

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talltabEven Lunch Bucket, who is only three years old, loves the book, and insisted after our first reading of it that she needs her own pair of lucky pannies!

Learn more about Song of Middle C at http://candlewick.com/cat.asp?browse=Title&mode=book&isbn=0763630136&pix=n

Jer3miah PaRtY!!!

Tab flatOkay, so I’ve mentioned Jer3miah.com and the mystery series they are doing – well, now they’ve challenged us to have a Jer3miah party and send them a short video of the party.  We drove down to Manti for it and even hiked up some hills behind the temple to some cave-like ledges.  I don’t think we were followed by any GDT folks.

Anyway, here’s the video we did:

Tab flatBy the way, this whole Jer3miah thing has been so much fun that it inspired a few of us to get together and do our own little mystery deal – obviously not nearly as in-depth or as involved as Jer3miah, but we thought it would be fun to do a fun little collaborative mystery story, so we started the Synergetic Novel.

If you’d like, you’re welcome to check it out.  It should be fun as it gets going.  More to come about that…

Peek