898 – Size Down | Otter Things 5
A celebration of community resources leads to a discussion of organic towers and trees, which sounds like something you can sleep to with ease.
Black Joy Summit- https://black-joy-summit.heysummit.com/
Black Lives Matter. I cannot create a safe place for everyone without stopping to pause and look at what changes I need to make to support that fact. When I say “you deserve a good night’s sleep” it means black lives matter. I have a lot more work to do to back up my words with my body, mind, heart, and spirit.
I am trying to gather more resources here- https://linktr.ee/dearestscooter
Here is a list of Anti-racism resources- http://bit.ly/ANTIRACISMRESOURCES
Here is one place you can find support during this or any crisis. If you have more please share them! https://www.crisistextline.org/
(Become a patron https://www.patreon.com/sleepwithme – the story starts at about 20:00)
Commission a song from the Mystery Bard or check out his podcast “As It Happens: A Song a Day” over at http://www.jonathanmann.net
EPISODE 898 – Size Down | Otter Things E5
[START OF RECORDING]
SCOOTER: Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, and friends beyond the binary, it’s time for the podcaster, patrons, that you empower to be here on a regular basis and I appreciate it, so what do you say we get on with the show?
INTRO: [INTRO MUSIC] Hey, are you up all night tossing, turning, mind racing? Trouble getting to sleep? Trouble staying asleep? Well, welcome. This is Sleep With Me, the podcast that puts you to sleep. We do it with a bedtime story. Alls you need to do is get in bed, turn out the lights, and press play. I’m gonna do the rest. What I’m going to attempt to do is create a safe place where you could set aside whatever’s keeping you awake, whether it’s thoughts you’re thinking about, so, things on your mind from the past, present, or future, feelings; any emotions that might be coming up for you feeling-wise, or physical sensations you’re feeling. Thoughts, feelings, physical sensations, maybe changes in schedule, work routine, or just other stuff. It could be inside. It could be outside. It could be seasonal or it could be…whatever it is that’s keeping you up, I’m here to take your mind off of that. Here’s what I propose to do; I’m gonna try to create a safe place where you could set all that aside, like I said.
I’m gonna smooth it, I’m gonna pat it, I’m gonna rub it down, I’m gonna say ‘safe place’, and then I’m gonna smooth it and pat it and rub it down again. Then smooth it out and then pat it because that’s what I do. I don’t have that level of bed routine but if I did, I’d say well, could you smooth that and pat it? Shouldn’t you pat it last? Smooth it, pat it, rub it down, say ‘safe place’, smooth it out, then do a welcoming pat. Okay, okay, then what do you…? Oh, then, that’s to try to create…establish a safe place. Another technique I’m gonna use; I’m gonna send my voice across the deep, dark night. I’m gonna use lulling, soothing, creaky, dulcet tones which is how my voice sounds, pointless meanders, superfluous tangents. I’m gonna go off-topic, I’m gonna get mixed-up. Like I said, sometimes my mixed-up words…I realize those are real words like boysenberry, which again, is not spelled how I would think it to spell it. Smell it? I don’t know.
Also, this is a fair question; is that a real thing or is that one of the great corporate berries that have been…not the…but I mean, is it a corporate berry? I mean, I’ve heard of boysenberry pie but I didn’t know if it was…boysenberry pie; there’s no…no berries are included in this pie but it is…I say well, it is delicious. We’ll come back to that. But yeah, basically, here’s the thing; if you’re a regular listener, thanks for coming back. So good to see you. What should I do with your feet tonight? Okay, by the way, I like that…yeah. Yeah, I’m really impressed. Okay, do you want your feet in or…okay, okay. What about one foot in, one foot out? What if I build a tent using your toes, for airflow? Then if you decide you want full…then you could just pull your feet back, and then tent will close. Okay, yeah, or I could do it with this book here. Then you could just kick the book right out of bed. You could do…maybe that would be something empowering. Maybe that could be a new thing we all do.
You say hold on, Scoots, I thought you were intro…okay, well, I’m just working with the new…usually, I talk to the new listeners but this is an idea for regular listeners. You say okay Scoots, this sounds like one of your wild ideas. It is. You take a book, preferably a hard-cover book, probably not on a bridge but I’m thinking about something like one of those Reader’s Digest abridged summaries…a bunch of books ‘cause those are usually pretty sturdy. You know, or a Funk and Wagnall’s Encyclopedia. I can’t get enough of saying ‘Funk and Wagnall’s’. You set it up in a a-frame situation. Parents went away on a week’s vacation. Yeah, no, this is different, though. At the foot of your bed…and then you use that a-frame as a superstructure to tent the end of your blankets. Then you could place your feet either on the airhole on the other side of the a-frame superstructure, or on either side. You could decide. What will that accomplish, Scoots? Well, one; airflow.
Two, this is more important actually than the airflow; gives you a feeling of control and options. Okay, Scoots, tell me more. Well, okay, so, one, you know…okay, depending on what’s at the foot of your bed, obviously you gotta think about that. Because when I have guests, I don’t have a guest room. When I set up my guest bed, it’s actually at the foot of my bed so I couldn’t do this if I had a guest laying…sleeping on a mattress on my floor. Just in case anybody’s in that situation. You have the book there…the bed book. Bed Book; now available from the Sleep With Me Store. It’s an old book that goes in your bed. It’s a bed book. But then you could say okay, well, I like this. I like this feeling of airflow with my feet or I can put my feet in. You could put your feet out. You could say hey, toesie-poos, you wanna go look outside out of the comfort of the blanket? Go on down there. Peek around. See what you see. Then they could come back.
But then you could also, for a couple different reasons, you could say well, I prefer to get my feet now fully-enclosed in my comforter and blanket. You just kick that, the book, out of there. Or it could be something symbolic or less than symbolic where you say you know what? This book is…I’m fed up with this airflow. Then you don’t have to kick the book. You just push it forcefully out of your bed. Or it could be a way…you could release some other feelings. If you have a partner that’s sound asleep and snoring, you could say this pushing…forceful pushing of this book out of my bed symbolizes the strong feelings I feel and now I’m ready for bed. It could be one more part of your bedtime routine. That’s just an option I thought of just now. Now if you’re a new listener, holy moly, I’m late to the game already. A couple things to know which maybe you figured out; this is a podcast that barely ever gets to any points, doesn’t go anywhere, but it kind of does. It takes forever to get there.
If you’re new, try to barely pay me any attention. I know that’s hard when you’re new. You really have to learn that oh wait, he’s serious. He doesn’t want us to pay any…barely attention. We could pay attention to him but we don’t need to. If you try to pay too much attention to me, that’s when it’s like…it doesn’t work out ‘cause they say, when is this show gonna get started? So, just kind of loosely consume the podcast. Though, this idea…I mean, you might see me…you might see right through me but for me, this could be…I mean, this is a free idea that could work for everyone. This is groundbreaking stuff for me, putting a book at the end of your bed. It could be…you say, that’s a free idea. You know, who else…I don’t remember any of those other famous inventors or astronomers or whatever, philosophers…maybe some of them gave their ideas away. You say well, Scoots, I don’t know if you could really put your ideas…we can’t put a price on them. Right.
You mean, that’s a priceless idea? No, I’d say it’s just hard to put a price on that, the idea of putting a book at the end of your bed. It’s priceless. No, it’s hard to price it. You’d say well, it’s a free idea. Maybe that’s the right price. Okay, thanks. Oh, so, barely pay any attention. This is a pod…one of the few podcasts you don’t really need to listen to. That’s one thing. The second thing to know is that this isn’t really a podcast to put you to sleep. I’m here to keep you company while you drift off, not really to put you to sleep. I’m here to be at your bedside and to take your mind off of stuff and just be here talking while you fall asleep. I’m gently walking at your side while you drift off. That’s kind of why the shows are about an hour. It gives you plenty of time to fall asleep and then if you can’t sleep, you know I’m gonna be here for you. I’m gonna be here to the very end, episode after episode. If you can’t sleep, I’m here too, [00:10:00] or if you wake up or whatever. Those are a couple things to know.
Now, the other things, if you’re new, that can throw new listeners off are a few things; the structure of the show. So, listening to the show, that throws people off right away. The idea that I’m here to put you to sleep but not really, that throws people off. Creaky, dulcet tones and my inability to speak throw people off. Those are all natural reactions because I think I forgot to say this podcast is definitely…does not work for everybody. I don’t even think it works for the majority of people that listen to it, for one to three times. But most regular listeners, which is a pretty big number of people, they said it took two or three tries. Now I listen every night, or now I listen whenever I need it because I realized all the stuff…Scoots was serious when we said don’t listen to him. It made sense when he said well, your ideas aren’t priceless, Scoots. They’re just hard to price ‘cause I don’t…what do you mean? Yeah, we don’t know whether to discount…we’re not discounting your ideas.
I’m just wondering what the discount we would put on your idea when we price it. Like, how to build that in. Okay, that sounds familiar to other tangents I’ve been on. It probably is, Scoots; probably those were hard to price, too. Okay, so, those are…oh, structure, that’s one other thing that can throw new listeners off. So, the show starts off with a greeting; ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, and friends beyond the binary so that you know you’re welcome here. Ideally, I can maintain the rapport and trust I’m trying to built to create a safe place, though I don’t always achieve that. I’m not perfect. That’s what I’m striving to do. Then there’s business. So, the business is about four to eight minutes long of me rambling. Even the business, I try to get to the point. I try to make that a little bit flashier because that’s how we bring you the show twice a week. Then after that is the intro which is…the intro is around from minute, whatever, six to minute twenty or so.
It could be from any of those minutes to any minutes in the…but the intro’s about twelve to twenty minutes which we’re already probably twelve minutes into it, so we’re gonna be longer than twelve minutes tonight, of me trying to introduce the podcast. Eight hundred, nine hundred times I’ve tried to do it, and not successfully summed it up because it’s hard to price. It’s hard to describe. But the other thing for the regular listener, is the intro is part of the show. It’s part of their wind-down routine. The whole thing is to ease you off into bedtime. So, some people start listening as they’re getting ready for bed and they’re doing their wind-down routine. Some people listen when they’re in bed. Some people will listen during the day while they’re working or whatever, when you need a break. But the idea is the intro slowly gives you some space from the day and starts to relax you, or distract you. Then we’ll go into a…then there’s business after the intro.
Then I’ll do our seasonal series…episodically modular series, Otter Things. That’s the structure of…and then, oh, and then there’s some thank yous. That’s the structure of the show. Then yeah, some listeners skip the…like, 2% of listeners start the show around twenty minutes, then another 2% or 3% of listeners, maybe up to 5% set a sleep timer for thirty, forty-five, or sixty minutes. Some people listen all night though I don’t know if this version is the best. The Patreon versions are a little bit better to listen to all night. But so, that’s…you could kind of discover how you’re gonna consume the show. At first, just see how it goes. Like most listeners said, it didn’t work the first time, didn’t work the second time. I was skeptical. Then I realized I was skeptical for…it’s like oh, my skepticism was…paid off. For once, my skepticism paid off ‘cause I was skeptical and doubtful, and then I fell asleep. That’s it.
I guess I was gonna talk about boysenberries because I’ve heard that term, and you’d think it would have an ‘oi’ in there but I think it’s like ‘y’…B-O-Y or something, N-E-S or E-N-S. Boysenberry. But I always feel like a boysenberry is a marketing berry or like I said, a corporate berry. Then it makes me think of Strawberry Shortcake ‘cause she ran with a lot of berry-based creatures, or beings. I don’t know if there was a boysenberry. But I always think of the Bell Biv DeVoe song so I would try to say well, boysenberry rhymes with that…with their…one of their more popular songs, but not spelled the same. Normally, I would try to spell it B-O-I…’cause then I’d say da-da-da-da-dum in full effect. You ready? Yeah, I’m ready. Let me try to spell it. Listener, I must warn you that I can’t spell. B-O…so, that’s how I…that’s normally how I spell everything. But so, where was I? Oh, so I’m not exactly sure…I mean sure, I’ll get messages after this…oh yeah, boysenberry’s a real thing.
I say okay, in my mind, it looks like somewhere…here’s one thing you need to know about me; I prefer…I’m not a…I’ll eat raspberries but I’m much more of a blackberry or those type of…that side of the berry family. I appreciate a raspberry but I don’t know. I think because I picked berries as a kid, there was some pricker bushes we had access to, and so we would pick those and eat those. I don’t know, then I always think of those more wild blackberry-type berries. I don’t know if…which boysenberry…if a boysenberry is like either one of those. I mean, you know…you should know also, I’m a big…I love pies. Holy pie fan. 3.14? Hold the phone because I’ll have 3.14 pieces of pie. Make one cold, make one for breakfast, and I’ll emote one with whip cream, one with à la mode. Yeah, so, I don’t know where my point was there, either. Oh, boy. But yeah, I guess here’s the thing; the reason I make the show is because you deserve a good night’s sleep. You deserve a place of respite.
Ideally, whether it’s this podcast or something else, you deserve something that makes bedtime less stressful and maybe something you can feel neutral about or look forward to. I hope this show can provide it, but I know it doesn’t provide it for everybody so if it doesn’t, I hope you find something that works. The other reason I make this show is because I’ve been there. I know how it feels in the deep, dark night tossing, turning, mind racing, trouble getting to sleep, trouble staying asleep. I just want to help because I know how it feels and I know it feels L-O-N-L-E-Y sometimes for me, or frustrating or whatever other words…like, I can’t spell the…or boysenberry. I can’t say boysenberry because that’s too many…anyway, so I’m here. I appreciate you coming by and checking this show out. I work really hard. I yearn and I strive. I really want to help you fall asleep, and here’s a couple of ways we’re able to bring this podcast free on a regular basis.
Alright, everybody, it’s time for our episodically modular with a slight touch of seriality series that’s produced not here, but elsewhere. It’s a historical account. I was able to maintain…acquire. I was gifted. It was sent to me by someone so wise that I’m turning the show right over to them. Without further ado, I’d like to turn the show over to Emma Otter. Hi everybody; this is Emma Otter. I’m an otter named Emma. I’m recording a series of…accountings of something that happened to my town, some things that were very odd, and that I call the odder things that happened to my…it’s in my…it’s not a diary, though. To me…no offence but you say oh, Emma has a diary. I say no, no, this is…I’m a budding journalist, I’d say. Audio journalist, ideally, just so you know. But so, I’m Emma Otter. Nice to meet you. I live in a town in a swamp. A smaller town, not a small city, but a town. We live in the greater swamp area. You may be familiar with some of the bigger cities like Hensontown and River Bottom. But we’re out on the edge.
In three directions is the greater swamp area that we know of and then in one direction, [00:20:00] we’re right up against the border of the place beyond the swamp where we’re not allowed to go. There is things beyond there. I haven’t been beyond there, but there is a thing called the Visitor’s Center and a bog walk. It’s separated from the swamp by a road with a tunnel. There’s mysterious vehicles without drivers; that’s giant vehicles that sometimes go on the road. We do know that the head of our resource…our community resource department, Leon the bullfrog, who is also an important member of our community, has been there mostly asking…oh, to get to my…to get to me. I’m Emma Otter and I’m in middle school. I have a family; my mom, my dad, my sibling, then my older brother Teffe. He’s in high school and he kind of knows everything and knows everybody and has the best…he says, I’m the smoothest otter that’s ever was.
But I also have three friends, all who could consider themselves my best friend. Or maybe now, I guess I have four friends. They know wherever they hold in their heart that they are and I am in our friendship, they’re correct. I’ll describe them in no particular order. I have some friends; I have a friend Elijah that I call LJ, another friend Vaughn that I call V sometimes, and then a friend named Willow. We have our new friend that we met recently, Billie. When we met Billie was when…we play this game, a roleplaying game, called Bards and Bunnies. One night after we played, Willow went home but Willow went on a journey. I’ll tell you in telling you these stories that in the end, all will be well. Things will be odd but things will be…just because things are odd doesn’t mean they’re well at the same time. All will be well even when things feel and seem…or you say factually, they are odd. I want you to know that as well. Where was I?
Oh, so Willow, when we said…we had been told Willow went to the big city and recorded a album and they had even discovered some discarded copies of Willow’s album, which…Willow was in middle school. There are successful middle school musicians across the swamp, greater swamp area, but it was kind of surprising ‘cause Willow hadn’t told us about it. Then the album, a lot of the songs in the album, passively-aggressively or directly made fun of our town and the people in it, including us; me and our…so, we were disappointed. We also felt like well, this is odd. This isn’t like Emma. At the same time, before we knew about the album, we were looking for Emma because we thought with the lore of the big bunnies, that maybe Emma got caught up with a big bunny-type thing. We went and looked for Emma and that’s when we met Billie, who’s a being a bit like a beaver but with a duck’s bill, more or less. But I say well, that’s a giant…that’s a pretty big bill. But it’s the right size for Billie.
We also learned that Billie has powers, the power of singing from within her bill or her throat and then to active singing. Much like in the game Bards and Big Bunnies, she has magical or superpowers or some sort of energy-based power that’s beyond our understanding. She’s saying she can make time slow down, she can move objects, she can amplify songs, and communicate ‘cause that’s where we found out last week that actually Willow was somewhere, wasn’t gone to sell an album which we had thought, but was somewhere and kind of needed us to come help her keep all is well. She was involved in some sort of odd confluence of events. We said Billie, do you know…because Billie had contacted her through a tape player playing backwards, but we’ll get to that. We said Billie, do you know where Willow is? Meanwhile, now, Willow has a family. She has her mother Frances and her sister Dari. Frances at first said well, I don’t understand why my daughter would move away and start a music career without informing me first.
While that seems normal for some teens or preteens, it doesn’t seem like Willow. She refused to believe it even when they showed her. They said well, this is the album she recorded. It was discarded. They played something that supposedly sounded like her. It was a song she had sung in a talent show. But Frances just refused to believe it. Then she had thought she had been in contact with Willow through some windchimes ‘cause she’s a bespoke windchime maker. She also had commercially-made windchimes. Frances had become pretty convinced that she was in contact with Willow and that there was big bunnies around and that maybe a big bunny was having…this was maybe the conclusion we had, that maybe Willow was with a big bunny in a recreation of our town. It was maybe a smaller size down or something. Anyway, but at this point, Frances was really starting to wonder, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe Willow did move away and start a music career.
Dari, Willow’s older sister, is also trying to help her mom, trying to manage. She also has a friend Babs that her and Teffe had gone with, and then…now Babs has moved away, apparently. So, Dari’s like huh, there is something odd going on here. But I just wanted to catch you up. I’ll catch you up on more, but if you’ve never listened to one of my audio broadcasts before, that’s fine. You can listen to these in any order. While there is a seriality, I make sure to catch you up on the seriality so that you can listen in an episodically modular way. I’m happy to be here and I’m also happy to introduce maybe our most-famous resident; also, to remind you all will be well. All will be well. But when you hear this voice, you know everything will be well. It’s Mr. Antonio Banderas. Thank you, thank you, thank you, everyone. The ladies, the gentlemen, the boys, the girls, friends beyond the binary, everyone in the greater swamp area, it’s time for Otter Things. Splish splash. Wow, thank you, Antonio. Thank you so much. I look forward to playing a game with you later. Thanks so much. This is Otter Things and I’m Emma Otter, reporting.
When I last talked to you, we had…it was evening and Leon, our head of community resources, had just headed…he had to slowly put together…well, there’s something odd going on beyond the swamp. They’re not telling us everything about Willow. I think they know something. Then the discovery of the albums for Willow, everything tried to fit together too well, and it was odd. Leon’s gut said it was odd. Leon eventually discovered that through a series of deduction and intuition and investigation, that Willow’s albums were fakes, that there was no music on the albums, that the only music was on one thing and it was just a changed version of the recording of Emma at a…years ago. I think they call it autotune or something, and that it was just a recording of Emma from a…what do you call those things? Show and tell? Talent show. How come they don’t have journalism? How come you can’t do…if you’re listening and you’re a kid out there in the greater swamp area or some place beyond the swamp, maybe do some journalism as a…for a talent show.
People may not like it but they’ll appreciate it one day. Or, that’s what I keep telling myself. But so, Leon had realized okay, there’s something odd here, something going on in the place beyond the swamp, after the bog walk in the Visitor’s [00:30:00] Center. I think they’re connected. Why would anybody else fake it? Leon snuck in. First, snuck across the road to the place beyond the swamp, then actually swam next to the bog walk instead of walking on the bog walk which led to the Visitor’s Center, and waited until some people were leaving work ‘cause people work in the Visitor’s Center. It’s some sort of greater swamp community resource authority thing going on there. Leon snuck into the building and the first floor looks like not…it’s kind of a rundown area, like a cover, then snuck down a few levels which again, each level got a little bit more polished and a little bit more…but even the third level down was still a cover, at least to Leon.
He said okay, well, this is looking like an office where they do basic studies of the greater swamp area and birdcall analysis. You know, anything. He said okay, well…but then Leon saw that there was a stretching room that stretched downward. He said okay, I gotta sneak in there. But as Leon was trying to sneak in, he realized that the door was…it had a…it needed a key. Then the head of the people that watch over access to the Visitor’s Center said hello, hello, Leon. Mighty late at night to be wandering around our Visitor’s Center. He was with some assistance. Leon said oh yeah, you’re right. Then they went back and forth; Leon was trying to play well, you know, I just left my hat somewhere or something. Then Leon looked down and meanwhile…now, while Leon was talking, he was making eye contact with everyone but at the same time, and this is…you could use this maybe, if you need it, Leon was untying Leon’s shoes with his heels.
Then he said okay, well, might as well…you need to escort me out of…? Oh, my shoes are untied. Here in our town and maybe the greater swamp, we have this thing called Everybody Ties Your Shoes. Everybody Ties Your Shoes. It’s just something we were taught as kids. If one person’s shoe’s untied…and it’s a part of community building but it’s also a smart thing. You say okay, untie and tie your shoes. Everybody that’s ever lived that we know of says okay, so…Leon said, oh…even adults. It seems like childish to maybe someone that doesn’t live here but you say oh, everyone does it. Leon said oh, we gotta stop and tie our shoes. Since it’s my fault, I’ll tie your shoes. This is kind of something different from town to town. Leon said you know, I’m a civil servant. They said, alright. In our area, this would not seem like an odder thing, to have another adult tie your shoes or to stop and untie and tie your shoes. Leon said, did you know…? He’s very good at casual conversation.
He said, did you know I was…I’m the fastest shoe-tyer? Do you remember? Actually, one of them said oh yeah, you were on the high school shoe-tying team. Leon started trying to…he goes yeah, I’ll speed-tie your shoes. You won’t even be able to see my hands moving. Now, meanwhile what Leon did, is tied all their shoes together. Then as he was doing that…and their ankles and everything, he tied his shoes too, for real, then grabbed the keys off of the key holster from the person and then ran and unlocked the stretching room. Then they didn’t realize it. They just thought he grabbed their keys. So, they stumbled. He used fishing knots and stuff so they weren’t about to get their shoes untied anytime soon. He jumped in and went in the stretching room, locked the door behind him, did the old thing where you put the key in and you bend it so it stays in there so you can’t unlock it again, and headed down. I think he was on a journey; he went down to another level.
It was just offices, like office space. Cubicles, they call it, where you don’t get your own room. You just have a desk with some walls around it. Then he went down another level and it was more offices. He said, this is not odd. I guess this is some sort of office building that descends. Then he had to go all the way down to the end of the hall. Then he finally said well, this isn’t it, but he did some…he’s deducting. He said well…he started to look at the patterns on the floor and the traffic patterns and determined that there had to be some sort of hidden door behind one of the office bookshelves. He went and found that door, went down another level, but it wasn’t anything. It was a big cafeteria like you’d find in a school or a big workplace, particularly in our time, the 1990s. He said okay, well, it’s a cafeteria. It was shut down for the night. Then he went past the cafeteria. Then again, he had to find another…he said oh, okay, there’s…why does this cafeteria have two sets of freezers?
Of course, because one set of freezers is fake. It’s just a pass-through room. Passed through that room, and then he found dormitories. He said well, that’s weird; there’s dormitories. Is this for workers? Maybe workers, I’d say. Then he was in the dorms and he could have sworn he saw singing, so he’s running from dorm room to dorm room, listening. He could have sworn he heard the song Step by Step. That’s by New Frogs on the Block. He was like, wait a second, is that Step by Step? He was running through his steps and finally he came in a room that looked like a kid’s room or…it had some drawings on the walls and that stuff. Now, right as this was happening, we were in my basement of my house; Billie, Vaughn, LJ, and I. This was right when…last time I was telling you. We were playing this tape backwards, we were listening to it, and we were hearing…I say that we were supposed to…then we said…we kept playing more and more but eventually Billie’s power…battery…like, the battery…it was [inaudible] Billie’s power, the battery ran out.
We were like okay, wait a second, what was that…? The first few songs we knew but then we were like, are these made-up songs? They were something like…we said okay, sense…sensibility? Like, one sense strong as…we were like wait a second, can sound sense…we were like, wait…I don’t know. Then someone was like, no sound [MUMBLING]. We said no, no sound size-down. Then Billie said, size-down. She showed the Bards and Bunnies thing; this is size-down, size-down. Then we said okay, but the no sound…size-down…no sound. Then Vaughn said wait a second, no sound…something. It says there was something in there about up and down, like in the silent tower. We said, the silent tower? They go, remember the Southern Swamp Trilogy and then we tried to write our own adventure based on it? Then we said oh yeah, yeah, yeah, that was with that tower that grew up and down, and it was not…it looked like it was made by hand, the part that grew up, but it really was organic.
It had all…oh yeah, that was so ripe for building an adventure ‘cause you could go up and then you would discover at the top that you had to go all the way down. That was a real adventure. Vaughn said though, that’s where the silent realm was. We kind of forgot. We said, the silent realm? Vaughn said yeah, where the…they…there’s something in there and a power, some sort of mysterious power. Remember we didn’t know if it was magic or otherworld power? But that in the lower world, you couldn’t communicate by sound. The sound was amplified and decreased at the same time or something so you had to communicate…remember? [00:40:00] That was the part of the…you guys didn’t read the backstory I wrote? We said oh yeah, but can you refresh our memory? Vaughn said okay, there was a wizard. Again, that was the one who found the part going down. The wizard tried to create the part going up. When the wizard did that, the wizard, in all the wizard…the whole town, because the wizard was gonna do it as a monument.
This was the humans, back when there was humans; this is that myth, and as a tribute to humans and humanity. It was a human wizard. Then the entire city and the wizard got sucked into the silent tower, and that became the soundless realm. Eventually, well, in my backstory, they learned to communicate through telepathy but that was one of the many stories I wrote. Okay, so what was your point, Vaughn? I said. Vaughn said well, that sounds like size-down go…like, maybe it’s a…and then we looked at Billie and we said, is there a place like that? Billie kind of stared at us and nodded; size-down, size-down. We said okay, well, that’s odd. Then we said well, how do we get there? How did they get there? We said well, those weren’t really…that’s…Vaughn said, that’s why I was writing the backstory for. We still didn’t know where the tower…one theory is that the tower is a single being. The other is that it’s a collective being. Another thing was that it’s a force.
But it was definitely a living thing, like some sort of entity. It had incredible power. I said well, could it just have been a power source? Vaughn said well, it was a portal. Remember in one of the books? We said oh yeah, yeah. Yeah, that was…one of the portals was to the silent realm. Then LJ said well, what if it’s…there…we could find…what if it’s something…like, it’s not…there’s no tower? It’s before the wizard discovered it. Maybe it’s a small something. Maybe it hasn’t grown size-down. We all said huh, that’s…we said what about that, Billie? Were we onto something? Billie kind of looked at us and nodded again. Meanwhile, while we were talking about this…and then Leon said…stopped hearing the singing after he had wandered into the one room that had…that looked like it was a kid’s room or pre-teen’s room. Leon said…last heard the singing down the hallway. Leon found, through a couple…through a broom closet, of course, and then past a bunch of brooms and all that, then an office that had tons of computer equipment, then down a staircase, and then a storage room.
The chief eventually found this glowing spiral staircase leading down, further and further down. The glowing felt so close, but always far away. Then eventually it leveled out. Then Leon saw something glowing and went towards it. But then heard something shuffling behind him, someone shuffling with shoes that didn’t have shoelaces, and then they sang…it was another frog. It sang a famous bullfrog lullaby that put Leon right to sleep. He fell right asleep. That was odd. Now, the next day, we’re over at Frances and Dari and Willow’s house, and Frances had spent most of the night on the couch trying to make sense of this album and paying the fine. She was awoken by the arrival of her ex, Lenny, who showed up. Lenny said hey, I’m here to help. Here’s some breakfast; have some breakfast. Frances said, what are you doing here? I don’t think we really…Lenny said, don’t you know? Tomorrow’s Community Resource Day so I thought I’d give you some support since the town’s probably gonna be pretty upset.
I heard everything about the album and all that, and I just wanted to help you get it all figured out because everybody at town’s gonna be probably pretty…have strong feelings about…that your daughter made an album making fun of the town and everybody in it, and most people. Frances was pretty…she said yeah, but I’m more concerned about Willow moving away and finding where Willow’s live…I still don’t understand why Willow wouldn’t at least keep in touch with me, so I’m having feelings about that. I’m trying to just reassess my parenting style and wonder where the communication or how I didn’t create an opening…an open enough space for Willow to be heard about or her hopes and dreams. Lenny said well, that’s why I’m here to help. That’s never been your strong suit. Frances, in her mind, said yes, it has. But I think it’s good, Lenny said, that you’re accepting that maybe we have to figure out a way together to communicate and get in touch with Willow about her new career and her album.
We’ll figure it out together. We’ll get in touch. Then Dari had woken up and Dari saw Lenny and rolled her eyes. Lenny said hey, Dari, can I talk to you? Dari said, what do you want? What are you doing here? Lenny said, I’m here to help you and your mom. Dari said well, you’ve helped a lot by not…you’re…and then Lenny said well, I’m here to help. Your mom needs help right now and not eye-rolling and judgmental tones. Dari said well, I gotta get outta here anyway. I got stuff to do. Lenny said well, it’s Community Resource Day, so we all have to go to the Community Resource Day event. She said, you gotta be kidding me. Lenny said, go into your room and get dressed for Community Resource Day. I realize with all the hubbub you forgot about it, but it’s our most important day in our town and we’re gonna be there to represent. It’s a requirement so I don’t know what you want. I guess Dari said yeah, I guess you’re right. It is a requirement of living in our town.
I’ll explain that in a second. This is Willow telling you that, but…and then Lenny said, you know what? Take down these posters of these musicians you look up to, especially that poster, that otter…the otter band. Jug bands are for….’cause jug bands are for people that drink from jugs and do the laundry outside. Dari said, if you haven’t looked, we do our laundry outside. He said well, don’t drink from any jugs is what I’m saying, so take down that poster. It glamorizes jug drinking. Dari said, they’re playing the jug as a musical instrument. It’s a jug band. He said, then that’s a waste of a washtub if you gotta do your laundry outside. Then Lenny said, you gotta drink from a jug to have an empty jug to play, so take that poster down and respect your mother. No more music in this home while I’m here. Dari said okay, I guess. Now meanwhile, all of us realized…it was the next day.
Last you left off with me and my friends was night, but we all went home and our parents all told us, tomorrow’s…we realize you’re down about your friend Willow making fun of you and making fun of the town, but tomorrow is Community Resource Day. We have these seasonally and this was not super important but anyway, so…oh, so we all had to get ready for it. You have to wear your best clothes. It’s actually really…unfortunately, normally, it’s a very upbeat event but we did know that it was gonna be really embarrassing ‘cause the songs…even the song titles everybody in town knew, about each of us that [00:50:00] Willow had written songs about or whoever wrote the album. They all really made fun of us. It was really, really, really embarrassing and not something we were looking forward to. But normally, you’d look forward to it. The Community Resource Day, it’s a…so, everybody in town comes, even people that don’t live in town proper come.
Anybody that considers themselves a member of our community, and we live in a community-based…we all contribute and we all…that’s kind of the values where we live. Everybody’s a part of things and we’re all interdependent and we all rely on one another as part of being in the swamp and living off the swamp. It’s like, you have to prepare for winter and everyone has to work together. That’s even what our game Bards and Big Bunnies is about, protecting community resources and sharing community resources. Community Resource Day is one of those symbolic days where we remind ourselves of that. It starts off pretty intense because you…there’s a fair afterwards. I’ll tell you about the fair first because that’s the fun part. There’s rides, there’s treats, there’s games, there’s music, there’s laughter, there’s comedic performers, there’s shoe-tying events and leaping events, dancing, everything you’d want as a kid and even as an adult, and everybody kind of lets loose.
It’s on a Friday, if you go by the calendar that I’ve learned about as a journalist, so, then you celebrate on Friday. You don’t have to go to work or school. But the first part of it is a little bit more serious and somber. That’s why there’s so much release afterwards. Every member of the community of every age…now, if you’re a little baby or something or a toddler, you can be escorted by whoever is…whoever takes care of you. But every person, you get a symbolic acorn and you hold it in your hand and you wait in line. Everyone’s randomly chosen and called up, and everybody holds their acorn. You stand in front of the entire community and you’re next to what looks like an old tree, but it’s not an old tree. It’s actually a hidden underground storage thing. It’s a tree we made, and there’s a hole in it. It’s one of our backup acorn supplies. You hold this acorn and then you drop it in the hole but before that, you look at the town and you try to look as many people in the eye as possible, and you pause. Then you sing.
You take part in this singing…this community song where you sing about some of the things you’ve consumed and benefitted from the community. You sing this song of thanks and gratitude, and then you sing a part of the song of an apology, of a really specific way you’ve not…it’s shorter than it sounds, like I’m explaining it, but it’s really just a three-part short song, though some people will sing longer. Babs last year sang forever and ever and ever. But so, you sing a second part which is an apology of something you didn’t do that you could have done, some choice you made that you remember. Again, this goes…this is important, so if you don’t do it, you get…you pretty much get unlimited tickets for everything at the fair if you do this. Then if you don’t, you get a limited number of tickets to spend on the rides and the games and the treats and stuff. Also, it goes into your school. It has consequences and it’s more positive than negative.
So, you sing the apology and then you sing what you’re gonna do differently that you’ve learned or what change you’re gonna make. Then you drop your acorn. Everybody does it. Basically, you say thank you, I’m sorry, and I promise to do better. It’s very, very powerful and very fun, but it’s also fun for the kids ‘cause we kind of laugh at one another. But we all went, all of us. We saw each other. I guess we were supposed to have heavy hearts but we knew that Willow’s album was not real, so it was only kind of embarrassing. But we more thought about it like the other people who had been mentioned in the songs. When we went to the community resource and someone would go up on stage, sometimes we would start laughing. We would see other people laughing because they say oh, that was…they were in Willow’s song about the whiskers or whatever, the way they eat their carrots or something. I don’t know. We were kind of having a good time, but we were getting shushed because we were supposed to be serious.
But we were also getting a lot of looks and uncomfortable looks from people but not as many as Dari, Frances, and Lenny. Lenny was more of a distant person, so…but meanwhile, Frances was standing there and she was listening to the singing and she was thinking about Willow. She was kind of a little bit gone in her mind, thinking about memories, so she wasn’t really feeling all the hard looks she was getting from everybody in town because I’m sure people thought it was just kind of hanging over her head and that she should be embarrassed. Dari was not…oh, I’ll tell you about what was…Frances was thinking about, but Dari was more…she would stare people right back that were staring at her until they looked away. Dari was not gonna back down. Dari was like, you gotta be kidding me, right? You’re not gonna judge me and my mom from my sister starting an album and moving away. We’ve worked very hard. She was also in the back of her mind still thinking more about Babs because her and Teffe were supposed to figure out where Babs was.
They had gone to visit Lenny to see if Willow was at Lenny’s, which Willow was not. Then Dari came out and Babs and Teffe were kissing. They went to…they started driving home. Dari drove home, then she was so irritated that she got out of the car. Then Teffe got out of the car to apologize to Dari. They came back, and Babs was gone. They thought Babs went home. Meanwhile, they figured out recently that no, Babs didn’t go home; she was somewhere and possibly…again, unbeknownst to us or to even Leon, Babs and Teffe were looking to the fact that maybe Babs had gone with a big bunny. If Babs had…in the back of Dari’s mind, she said maybe Willow has too, and this big bunny has some part in all of this. She was mostly just glaring at people and saying, who are you? Everybody’s gotta cast their acorn anyway. None of us are perfect. I think, actually, her glaring, because it was unspoken…actually, maybe before people went up there, put in their mind…and some people actually said sorry and apologized in their songs.
Not directly to Dari and Frances but in a way that was clear. But probably not; they should have just said jeez, sorry for judging you, Dari and Frances. I know it’s not easy and we’re not perfect. Now, the other thing was that…so, Frances. Frances was kind of staring off and she was remembering the good times with Willow and Willow’s…’cause Willow had gone through this phase of writing Bards and Bunny parody music because there was these two artists or groups of artists that put out this one album together; The Doubleclicks and Judy Tenuta. They had put out a Bards and Bunnies…an album and so Willow had been writing a lot of Bards and Bunny parody songs of some of her heroines. She was kind of singing it at the table for her mom. Frances said well jeez, that sounds like an intense song. It’s kind of got some edge, Willow. You’re just a kid; why would you be [01:00:00] singing about…Bad Bards was the name of the song, Bad, Bad Bards.
She said, doesn’t it sound like that’s like magic? She goes, I’m not comfortable with my daughter singing that kind of stuff. Willow said mom, sometimes…not all magic is good. Not everybody uses magical powers or any powers, or community resource powers for good. Frances was a knowing person so she said I know, I know. You’re right. She goes, so, even the bards; sometimes there’s bad, bad bards. It’s better we know about the bad bards. Those bards could be good singers. She said holy cow, you’re right. You’re right. But she goes, maybe make the…she goes, what about bad, bad, bad Brad Bard? Then Willow said, that might be too many…she goes, it’s not supposed to be a tongue-twister, mom. It’s supposed to be a song. That was what was happening with Frances and Dari. Now, eventually, this ceremony ended and we all took our turns. Then the celebration started. But we were actually distracted. We were not interested, for the first time ever, in the rides or the games or any of that stuff.
We were just thinking about this puzzle, this odd puzzle we were trying to solve, of where was Willow? We knew our favorite moose professor would…could help us, so we sat down at the cider where we…you could have cider and gonuts, gonuts and cider. We sat down at the table and we said listen, we want to talk to you. The professor said okay, what do you want to talk about? Then Vaughn said, mind reading. Said okay, well, if I could read your minds, I know it wouldn’t be easy if my friend put out an album goofing on me and the town. Yeah, I know you don’t have to be a mind-reader to figure that out, but you might be wondering what the rest of the town’s thinking and wishing they could read their minds, and I’m sure they’ve all had times…maybe it more reminds them of the times their friends picked on them. We said no, no, no, we’re thinking of…could you…is telepathy real? Professor said well, yeah, it’s possible. It’s possible but it’s not provable to communicate by thought.
There’s the whole idea of extrasensory perception. The professor went on this long talk where we were almost dozing off about jeez, using to strength…ways you could strengthen your senses or people that are dependent on one sense because they’ve developed the skill with one sense, because they’ve needed to develop a stronger use of one sense over the other. We said okay, so you could…it’s possible. Professor said well, if you could communicate, if it was a sense that we knew about, but right now these are the senses we have; sight, sound, and those kind of things. We said well, what would it take to do that? He said, something magical, I guess, or something as magic as evolution. But that takes a long time. Then we talked about the myth of humans and that they weren’t very good caretakers of the swamp or any place, and that we needed to evolve to be more community-based. Those are some of the myths that we’re not taught but that we hear about, so that things could flourish, like how we evolved to be a community that’s trying to flourish and help one another flourish.
Then we said oh, okay, well, what about…is there a tower…do you know anything about the…that if something could grow…an organic tower that could grow down and up at the same time? You could go inside of it. The southern swamp…the professor said, you mean like a tree? An organic thing that goes down and up and that things live in? We said well, what if…well, not just a tree. That’s pretty funny professor, but we’re talking about in the silent tower. Remember, the silent tower? Then the professor of course, was playing us, and said yeah, oh yeah, the one where the wizard found the hole, the tunnel that went down and it was a being, and then forced to grow, then yeah. We said well, how would you find something like that? The professor said well, how would you find something in the earth? We said well, what about a silent realm? That was the other thing. The professor said, but maybe you didn’t read closely enough that even the communicating by telepathy was putting off of a vibration. We said, what?
Professor…you didn’t read the novella about…? We said well, if there was a vibration from the soundless realm, how would you find it? The professor said okay, well, let me tell you this other metaphor; there’s a place that’s not like the swamp. There’s places that are known as deserts and places that are arid. Remember, we were talking about this in class. We said yeah, yeah, we kind of remember. He said okay, well, one of the ideas is to find water. He goes, and it’s very similar…is divining, right? Isn’t that one of the things you can do in Bards and Bunnies? He said, you search for water and you try to find…we said, you’re losing us, professor. Then the professor kind of…he was like…the professor kind of…I think the professor slowly fell asleep to his own talking. Then we said well, let’s rest here at the table and get some sleep, too. Then we’ll figure out what we’re gonna do next. So, we put our heads down even though everybody else was enjoying the Community Resource Fair, and took a little nap. Goodnight.
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