The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #242: Reading from The Thirteenth Hour on Reflection in Seclusion and Like a Hood Ornament 2

Episode #242: Reading from The Thirteenth Hour on Reflection in Seclusion and Like a Hood Ornament 2

https://archive.org/download/podcast242_202003/Podcast%20242.mp3

On this week’s show, I thought we’d do a little more quarantine / seclusion real talk – specifically on self reflection when alone with your thoughts, as many people are these days, kind of like Logan in one part of The Thirteenth Hour, which we’ll be reading from shortly.  We may ignore or put off deep thinking in day to day life, either out of discomfort, fear of what we’ll find, or lack of time.  But, on the other hand, sometimes being alone with your thoughts offers the most freedom of expression, since there is no one else to censor your thought process except you (and the voice of society, upbringing, etc – though that’s still you, just your interpretation of those things).

Here are are some of passages from The Thirteenth Hour referenced in the episode:

I don’t know how long I sat there – I was vaguely aware of the sun going down at some point, but my mind wasn’t really on that.  I struggled a lot that day, but not with nausea or sleep.  I had always been a pretty optimistic person – most dreamers are, I think – and liked to think that people were basically good inside.  I wanted to believe that there were happy endings, and that it wasn’t just something people wrote about in books so they could vicariously experience something they never knew in real life.  I basically wanted the world to be a good place, or if not good, at least non–imposing, leaving me free to do what I wanted.  I had always thought if you left people alone, they’d leave you alone.  But that didn’t always happen, did it?   It was like being a grain of sand in a desert where a simple gust of wind or footprint could shift the position of the grains all around you, changing your own position.  Perhaps accepting that was part of something called growing up, but I sure didn’t have to like it.

If it’s just one person, perhaps life is simpler, but when there is another, things get more complicated.  I wanted to believe that love could work out, too, even though I still didn’t really know what it felt like.  But I was an optimist and wanted to believe that I would know what love was like one day.  But if love meant surrendering part of yourself, could you really do that if you felt ashamed of what you had to give? …

… And though I never asked her to, she came each day after that, even if it was just to sit by me and put cold compresses on my body as I drifted in and out of feverish sleep.  Sometimes I wondered why she did, since I had so little to offer in terms of companionship.  But finally, one day, the fever broke, and I awoke to find that the pounding in my head had gone.  I looked out my window – night.  I did not feel like sleeping anymore and began to test my unsteady legs.  As I hobbled in and out of the shadows of my darkened cell, I found my mind wondering when Aurora would stop by.  Of course, not until daylight, many hours from now, a realization that stung a little at first.  But the more I thought about it, the sting became an ache that racked my body painfully until I was forced to sit down on the floor.   There, with labored breaths, I thought back on specific things that had happened over the past few weeks, over the past few years, over the course of my life.  Then there was a spark, a sudden flash of light, and it all became so clear; I marveled how I could have been so blind.

It was then that I understood why the bards so often sung of love, because for the first time, I actually knew what they were singing about.  Because it was then I knew that it was love that I’d been falling into all along; I just hadn’t known enough about it to realize what it was.  And then, to my surprise, I rolled over onto the floor and began to cry.  Maybe I was happy, maybe I was sad, I didn’t know.  But I hadn’t really cried in such a long time that it was like I was experiencing it for the first time.  The tears that flowed from my eyes pushed away the dirt and sweat and grime, leaving a clean streak behind, fresh and ready for the future. 

(POV change to Aurora) I found him sleeping there on the floor the next morning.  He did not stir when I walked in.  I knelt down and felt his forehead; the fever had passed.  For the first time in many days, he looked like he was at peace.  I did not disturb him.  But after a few minutes, he opened his eyes and saw me next to him.  Then, he sat up slowly, looked at me, and smiled.  There was something different in his smile, but I smiled back all the same.  And then I knew what it was; he understood!  Then we put our arms around each other and stayed that way in that dank, dirty cell for a long, long time.   

I wrote a song for Long Ago Not So Far Away about this part of the book that I talked about a little back in episode 51 (recorded around the time I wrote it).  The lyrics and associated chords are below:

Love, Grey Dresses, and Other Things

Intro

C
There’s this girl that I know
G Am
Actually, I’ve known her all my life,
F
It seems, to me.

C G
And when she found me, as a child
Am F
All alone, without a soul, to call my own.
C
Best friends were we
G Am F
Did I ever say how much that meant … to me?

C
And so … the seasons go
G Am
Promises of childhood seem so bold.
F
Can they grow old?

C G
Now I hold her hand but
Am
As an adult man, and something is …
F G
Different this time.

C
That grey dress she wears
G Am
Seen it a hundred times before
F
But not like tonight, not like tonight. ‘Cause
C
There’s a fire in her eyes
G Am
The wind catches a lock of her hair
F
And my heart lifts in time.
C
There’s a smile on her face
G Am
One I know that time can not erase …
F
But it feels new.

C G
And then all at once, it hits me like a thousand tons
Am F
How I could’ve been so blind?
C G
And that’s when I knew why songs are sung of love
Am
Because, because, because … it was love
F C
I was falling in … this whole time.

Instrumental: C G Am F C

The album version of the song (instrumental version above):

 

When I was producing the song, I added more layers and an electric guitar segment to the latter parts of the song to beef up the song what is essentially a four chord folk ballad to create a dichotomy between the slow, tender, piano part with a louder, more biting, aggressive part reminiscent of an 80s metal ballad.   I wanted it to be that way to capture the balance between Logan’s tender realization in a time of vulnerability contrasted with the flash of insight that he must lift himself up out of a hole in the ground (quite literally – he is a dungeon, after all) with his strength of will.

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Today also marks the second Rocketeer segment as a part of the podcast.  Below are a few episode mentions about the Rocketeer prior to last week’s show on Cliff Secord’s biography:

Ep 18 on comics (Dave Stevens)

Ep 53 on rewatching the Rocketeer as an adult

Ep 235 on making the resin miniature Rocketeer

This week, I’m reading from some of Dave Stevens’ handwritten notes on the backstory he created for Cliff to give depth to the character and explain some of the motivations Cliff had (which, admittedly, were somewhat self serving).   This comes from The Rocketeer: The Complete Deluxe Edition, which is unfortunately quite difficult to find now but has pages and pages of storyboards (like the one below) and notes from Dave Stevens on the characters and story he wanted to create.

img_0363

https://imgur.com/gallery/yYmEOnO?s=sms

More coming next week!  Stay safe!

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There are now Thirteenth Hour toys!  If you’d like to pick up one of these glow in the dark figures for yourself, feel free to email me or go to the Etsy store I set up (https://www.etsy.com/shop/ThirteenthHourStudio) and get them there.

If you haven’t checked out “Arcade Days,” the song and video Jeff Finley, Brent Simon, and I finished one year ago, click on the link below to do so!

You can find more pictures and preview clips of “Arcade Days” on IG as well as this podcast’s FB page.

Empty Hands, the synth EP soundtrack to the novella, Empty Hands, is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

empty hands ep cover_edited-2.jpg

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #68: It’s Been One Year – the Adventure Show

Episode #68: What is Adventure?

https://archive.org/download/Podcast68_201611/Podcast%2068.mp3

Today marks one year of continuous podcasts in this format, and it’s a been a fun adventure.  So today’s episode is all about adventure – or rather, the side of adventure that doesn’t often make it in the pages of adventures books or memoirs – the deliberation that sometimes occurs prior and the calamities that happen in everyday life that, when looked back on years later, make one think – “you know, that was quite the adventure.”

So here’s a segment from The Thirteenth Hour about this:

“I don’t know what to say,” she murmured. “What do you say to a story like that?”

“I dunno, you tell me.”

It seemed like she had not moved since I had started. “Well, you always dreamed of seeing the world, and now you’re doing it. And on a quest – just like something out of a faerie tale, isn’t it?”

“I guess …” but a pretty messed up one, I added to myself. And then I continued, “But characters in faerie tales always seemed to know what they were doing, with a genuine purpose, for good reasons. Not just for a selfish King who wants to live forever. That just seems like such a dumb reason. I mean, I guess I’m not supposed to question my orders, but it’s just so hard to get riled up enough to risk your rear when you think the goal’s a waste of time. And men.”

She nodded.

“It’s okay. I guess, that’s the sort of thing Kings and Queens do, it’s just that … I dunno.”

“So, Logan, why not just leave? What you care about Darian? Nobody would stop you; as far as they know, you ate it along with the rest of the crew at sea.”

I sighed, picked up a stone, and threw it, feeling the tension ripple through my muscles. I watched it fly through the air, spinning unevenly, and finally disappear into the morning fog.

“I can’t explain it, really. You’re right, I could just leave, and nobody would know. But there’s something holding me back … I guess I kind of feel I owe it to the others to finish what we started … since we all trained together, and they were good guys overall. I guess I feel like if I finished, they wouldn’t have given up their lives in vain. You know? And …”

I looked around the marketplace. There was a dead soldier lying not more than twenty feet away. He had also died for King Darian. There had to be a better reason than glory, civic duty, or patriotism. Or was it just the sense of adventure?

“Logan?”

“Sorry. Anyway, I made this promise to Wally right before he died. I promised we would finish the quest so he wouldn’t have to hear Darian’s complaining in the afterlife.”
Aurora giggled. “Are you serious?”

“Yeah. Well, kind of.”

“But it’s just a legend.”

“Yeah.”

“Finishing the quest for your friends is one thing, but, Logan, what do you want?”

“I’m starting to think that is what I want. I’ve always … liked to think of things, but doing them was another matter. Let’s face it – I’m a dreamer. You know?”

“Don’t I,” said Aurora knowingly.

“I like to sit and dream about the things I would like to do. But then I realized in real life, I just sorta let things happen to me, without ever knowing why. I’d like that not to happen so much anymore. I’ve always wanted to see the places that I’ve read about in faerie stories and legends. But now … now I can actually see those places.”

Aurora nodded.

“I think if I walked now, I’d always wonder. Wally would often say that even if something appears impossible doesn’t mean that it’s meant to stay that way.”

“Well, that makes sense to me. You know, I never told anybody this, but … I always hated that inn job.”

“What! Well, you were a damned good actress then! I thought you loved it.”

“Well, I liked the horses. And Mr. Cromwell made up for a lot. He was like an uncle to me. But that was it. The smell of the stable, cleaning up after the horses, difficult customers, washing the bedsheets, cleaning the rooms, serving the drinks, cleaning up the bathrooms, with the stench and the vomit after a celebration … yuck.”

“From that to the coal mines. Living the high life, huh?”

“Well, you know how I landed that mining job? Well, they needed people, and honestly, I think they would have taken anyone, but the foreman said it wasn’t a good job for women, and no woman could ever expect to make it because she didn’t have what it took. Women, he said, were weak. I thought, how does he know? Of course, deep down, I was scared. But, just to spite him and prove him wrong, I made him take me; I was so mad. In the end, he just shrugged, and said, ‘Well, it’s your life.’ He was right; it was just as bad as I thought it’d be.”

“How bad’s that?”

“Well, it was worse, if that’s any indication. Damp, claustrophobic, lots of dirty, sweaty men, black air all around, always risk of explosions … I’d rather shovel manure for the rest of my life than go back there.”

“Well, you’re still alive,” I said at last.

Aurora laughed. “I’m just venting. I’m not a total cynic yet, Logan. Besides, this was about you, not me. I just wanted to say that I think it’s good you’re thinking like this. Maybe I need to start, too.”

“Oh, so there are things you’d like to do,” I said.

“Of course! I’m not dead yet, Logan. I still want to explore some, live some, and see some of the world. And then, one day, I don’t know when, maybe when I’m a doddering old lady, settle down in a little cottage in the forest in a place with a lot of open space and some purple mountains, and live the rest of my life. I hope that’s not too much to ask.”
Wait … the open fields and the purple mountains that seemed to call out to me … the thought painted itself onto the canvas in my mind. And another with it.

“Hmmm. Lemme make a suggestion.”

“Sure.”

“Come with me. On the quest.”

I expected Aurora to say something, to laugh, or at least to show some indication of surprise. But she didn’t. She cocked her head to one side, looking silent and thoughtful. She stared off, absently, into the cool morning mist. She was silent for a time.

“Yes,” she said, with a nod that added an air of finality to her reply. “How did you know, Logan, what I was just about to ask?” she asked.

I smiled. “Well, I have known you for a pretty long time.”

So that’s how Aurora joined me on the quest. And because she did, our lives were changed forever.

The next clip on the show partly concerns these hardy little vehicles, called matatus, commonly found in East Africa, that are an important source of public transport.  They’re Japanese made minivans that officially hold 15 people but more often carry somewhere around 20-30.  My wife and I have been on them many a time while in the region while there for work … but this time, we ended up on an adventure.  Note this one (just a picture I found randomly on the internet) even has the word “HERO” emblazoned across the front (i.e. the hero’s journey usually involves some discomfort).

Image result for matatu

The last clip is a karaoke version of the song “Love, Grey Dresses, and Other Things” from Long Ago Not So Far Away.

As always, thanks for listening!

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