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Tag: amos lee

A Story In Song (Part 7—Amos Lee)

  1. A Story In Song (Part 1—Tom Waits)
  2. A Story In Song (Part 2—Kings of Leon)
  3. A Story In Song (Part 3—Ben Harper)
  4. A Story In Song (Part 4—Amos Lee)
  5. A Story In Song (Part 5—Blind Pilot)
  6. A Story In Song (Part 6—Right Away, Great Captain!)
  7. A Story In Song (Part 7—Amos Lee)
  8. A Story In Song (Part 8—Ray LaMontagne)
  9. A Story In Song (Part 9—Janis Joplin)
  10. A Story In Song (Part 10—Peter Bradley Adams)
  11. A Story In Song (The End)

 

I have a story in my book Pieces Like Pottery—”The Gravesite: The Fifth Sorrowful Mystery”—in which I experimented with a number of different literary devices. More and more readers have begun to notice one of the devices more regularly. 

In addition to breaking the story up into ten sections, each of which follows one of the themes from the fifth sorrowful mystery, each section in the story also has a song that is paired with it. Yes, you read that right. I paired a song with each section. Like a fine wine paired with a good meal, the song’s lyrics are intended not only to add another layer of meaning to the words, but can also be listened along with that section of the story.

While more and more readers have been picking up on this, it’s certainly not an easy task for the casual reader, especially not one reading the print version of the book. I’ve promised to do this for quite awhile, so here you go. In ten parts, here is “The Gravesite: The Fifth Sorrowful Mystery” paired with each song. Enjoy!

(For those of you that might be interested in how this section ties into the fifth sorrowful mystery, the fifth sorrowful mystery is The Crucifixion and the “spiritual fruit” is the Pardoning of Injuries. Part 5 reflects Jesus’ prayer,”Father, into Your hands I commend My spirit.”)

 

If you missed Part 1 through Part 6, go back start from the beginning! Enjoy!

 

 

The Gravesite 

The Fifth Sorrowful Mystery

Part 7


 

The next month was more of the same for Lisa. She contacted foreign authorities, she posted on missing children websites, and she talked to anyone who would listen. She found herself spending hour after hour on the internet, chatting with support groups and researching missing children options. She particularly was drawn to Hope More, a support network for families with missing or exploited children. The group was made up of individuals, like Lisa, who had been forced to live the nightmare that no parent wants to face. Lisa found parents who had experienced a similar pain and who were coping with the trauma. “You’re not alone. We’re here to help you!” That was Hope More’s motto. Lisa found purpose searching on these sites, but she found no comfort. They told her she was not alone, but it certainly felt like she was.

Mike had originally thought this would end, but it only seemed to get worse. Lisa would wade through each day in a daze. She wouldn’t sleep at night. On nights when Mike couldn’t sleep, he would wander downstairs to spend some time on the front porch. He would always find Lisa in the same place, parked in front of the computer.

“I’m searching for answers,” she would tell him hollowly.

But Mike knew the haunting reality: there weren’t answers. Their son had tragically died far before his time. There was pain, anger, sadness, despair, hatred, regrets, and on and on, but there were no answers. He believed Lisa knew this too, yet there she sat for hours every night. Like a drug addict needing a fix, Lisa would search internet page after internet page chatting with parents whose children were missing. She believed relief would come from her time spent online, but she was only left with the agony of her son being gone.

Sometimes, when Mike would wander downstairs in the middle of the night, he would try to comfort her. He would find Lisa staring into the haze of the pixelated display. The harsh white light would illuminate her face amidst the darkness of the room around her. Mike tried talking to her; he tried sitting there with her; he tried making her food; he tried rubbing her shoulders; he even one time brought a pillow and blanket downstairs and slept on the ground next to her. Signs of solidarity, he’d hoped. None of it seemed to break through the cloud of sadness that enveloped Lisa.

During one of his attempts to reach out, Mike was unable to sleep and was headed for the front porch. As he wandered to the kitchen to first make a cup of tea, he noticed Lisa sitting in her usual late night perch. He made two cups of tea and set the second next to the keyboard in front of her. Mike reached to rub her shoulders, which were tense and strained from weeks of hovering over the computer. His touch startled Lisa, as if awakening her from thoughts of a distant world. Her body shied away from Mike’s approach. Without looking at him, Lisa got up from her chair and slowly shuffled away.

Mike fell into the chair defeated. Before him were two internet windows. One was riddled with searches of missing children support groups and tips on convincing authorities to do more to search for a missing children. Mike sighed despairingly when he saw the webpages.

When will it end? Mike thought to himself.

The other page was Chris’ blog site. A new post haunted the screen.

 

“And the world is so much meaner when your heart is hard.”

July 7th

I’ve recently been pondering how much I fight myself. I want to love and share love. There’s so much fighting and hate in this world and I don’t want to be a part of it, but this is difficult in practice. I find myself constantly fighting against loving. A man on the bus slighted me yesterday, and I stewed over the incident. The lady at the gas station was rude, and I couldn’t just let it go. Why do I have such a hard time letting go? If I could offer up my time and thoughts to more important matters, if I could focus my energy on the things I care about, if I could commend my spirit to love, wouldn’t I be much more peaceful? Wouldn’t the elusive and mysterious happiness be much closer? It’s interesting to ponder at least.

 

Mike found himself not thinking much about Chris’ latest post at all. He couldn’t shake the constant sinking feeling that he was losing his wife. He decided he needed to take action. As he sipped his cooling tea, he decided Lisa’s fixations on conspiracy theories and the possibility that Chris may still be alive had to end. They were keeping her from moving on with her own life. They were driving the two of them apart.

The next morning, he began searching for a logical explanation for why the blogs were being posted. He started searching on the internet for some explanation. He also began to more directly and more often suggest to Lisa that she should begin to accept that Chris was dead. When his own searches proved fruitless and Lisa’s obsession continued, Mike called a few of Chris’ friends to see if they had any information. They all expressed their condolences and sadness, but none of them had any information on Chris’ blog and why there were new posts.

After a number of weeks of his own efforts, he decided to commission one of the IT guys at his office to help, fully expecting they would track the IP address that the posts came from to one of Chris’ friends. A week later, after a little digging, Mike’s coworker came to him with some information.

“Live long after dot com,” the IT specialist said as he laid a post-it on Mike’s desk.

Mike picked it up and held it in his hand as his office mate continued. “Apparently, it’s a website that will continue to post blogs for you after you’ve died. Actually, they’ll do more than just post blogs. They’ll send letters, packages, money, secrets, a whole variety of options, each for a different fee. I guess it’s a way to remain relevant after your death or to patch up past regrets from beyond the grave. A little eerie if you ask me.

“The blogging option seems simple enough by the description on their website. Upload as many prewritten blogs as you’d like, and they’ll post them according to the schedule you laid out after they’ve received word of your death. They have algorithms constantly scrolling news sites and the internet for death notices on their clients. Chris’ posts are coming from their IP address.”

As a range of emotions flooded Mike’s thoughts, his coworker continued. “I called them up, but they wouldn’t give any information. ‘Confidential,’ they kept telling me. They’re located in India, but apparently have clients from all over the world.”

He paused. “I’m sorry, Mike.”

 

Check out Part 8 of “The Gravesite.”

 

Bottom of the Barrel (Lyrics)

Amos Lee

I keep on livin’,
to keep from cryin’.
I keep on dreamin’,
to keep from dyin’.
I keep on trying,
I aint gonna stop.

Get right down to the bottom of the barrel and float back on top.

We all know someone,
whos always hurtin’,
The sun is shinin’,
they draw the curtain.
One thing for certain,
the pain aint gonna stop.

You get right down to the bottom of the barrel and float back on top.

Cuz i know the grass,
is always greener in someone else’s yard.
And the world is so much meaner,
when your heart is hard.

I go out walkin’,
in any season.
It could be rainin’,
it could be freezin’.
I don’t need no reason,
it’s just so pleasin’.
And i can’t stop.

You get right down to the bottom of the barrel and float back on top.

You get right down to the bottom of the barrel and float back on top.

 

 

Find more writing and publishing tips at Nothing Any Good.

A Story In Song (Part 4—Amos Lee)

  1. A Story In Song (Part 1—Tom Waits)
  2. A Story In Song (Part 2—Kings of Leon)
  3. A Story In Song (Part 3—Ben Harper)
  4. A Story In Song (Part 4—Amos Lee)
  5. A Story In Song (Part 5—Blind Pilot)
  6. A Story In Song (Part 6—Right Away, Great Captain!)
  7. A Story In Song (Part 7—Amos Lee)
  8. A Story In Song (Part 8—Ray LaMontagne)
  9. A Story In Song (Part 9—Janis Joplin)
  10. A Story In Song (Part 10—Peter Bradley Adams)
  11. A Story In Song (The End)

 

I have a story in my book Pieces Like Pottery—”The Gravesite: The Fifth Sorrowful Mystery”—in which I experimented with a number of different literary devices. More and more readers have begun to notice one of the devices more regularly. 

In addition to breaking the story up into ten sections, each of which follows one of the themes from the fifth sorrowful mystery, each section in the story also has a song that is paired with it. Yes, you read that right. I paired a song with each section. Like a fine wine paired with a good meal, the song’s lyrics are intended not only to add another layer of meaning to the words, but can also be listened along with that section of the story.

While more and more readers have been picking up on this, it’s certainly not an easy task for the casual reader, especially not one reading the print version of the book. I’ve promised to do this for quite awhile, so here you go. In ten parts, here is “The Gravesite: The Fifth Sorrowful Mystery” paired with each song. Enjoy!

(For those of you that might be interested in how this section ties into the fifth sorrowful mystery, the fifth sorrowful mystery is The Crucifixion and the “spiritual fruit” is the Pardoning of Injuries. Part 4 reflects the theme of the prayer, “Father, by the merits of the crucifixion and death of Jesus, have mercy on us and on the whole world.”)

If you missed Part 1,  Part 2, or Part 3. go start from the beginning! Enjoy!

 

The Gravesite 

The Fifth Sorrowful Mystery

Part 4

 


 

 

 

Mike reached out for Lisa’s hand. She reciprocated, and they squeezed each other tightly. As they stood staring at the gravestone, Lisa could sense how alone Mike felt. The sun was shining brightly, but it felt like it only poured a cold heat about them. Lisa’s eyes welled up again. Her tears never seemed to fade in the last year. There was a permanent quality to her sorrow that failed to grow weary.

The tears filled up to the point where Lisa’s eyes could no longer contain them anymore, and began to run down her cheek one by one.

“He was such a good boy,” Mike sighed.

“Such a good man,” Lisa corrected through wet eyes.

Her little Chris had ventured out into the world on his own. He had wanted to see the world and save everyone in it. Such a silly idea from a young boy, but as she looked at his grave, Lisa couldn’t help but think that he was more a man than she ever had given him credit for. She didn’t know if she now viewed his idealism as a profound truth that she should be trying to practice in her own life, or if she just wanted it to be so because he was no longer by her side.

“Such a good man,” Mike mirrored with an air of satisfaction.

A week after Chris took that flight to Thailand, he called his parents at home. He raved about the first week of the trip. He had already met so many interesting people. As his mother worried about him being all alone, Chris couldn’t stop expressing how excited he was to be out on his own. Things felt right. His father told him he was proud of his son, such independence and adventure in his heart. Then Chris cut the call short to head out with an acquaintance he’d just met for a hike into the jungle to see a waterfall. He was in Ko Pha Ngan. That was the last time they spoke to their son.

Authorities were unable to find his body. They said he must have slipped off a cliff ledge and fell into the river below. They suspected he’d died before he’d hit the water, bouncing off the jagged cliff walls that jutted out awkwardly. He was with another American boy who was on a post-high school tour around the world. Chris met him at the hotel bar the night before and introduced the boy to his favorite drink—an Arnold Palmer. The other boy was about fifty yards ahead when Chris fell, and he only heard a short yell before there was silence. Authorities questioned the boy with fervor, suspecting foul play, but the motive was never there, and they eventually let the devastated young man leave the country.

When Mike and Lisa received the call, Mike crumbled in a heap on the ground. Lisa could see the news in his eyes. She began screaming at the air for answers and details. Few would come, but not for lack of trying. They both flew to Thailand and spent a week searching for more information, but to no avail. They even flew to Spain where they met up with the young American boy, who only brought them condolences and more sadness—but nothing by way of answers.

As was her habit, Lisa continued to check on Chris’ blog. She had an unfounded hope that Chris might still be alive and missing, but mostly she checked back out of habit and disbelief. He was here just a week ago, she thought.

A day after Mike and Lisa landed back in the states, Lisa found herself stunned sitting in front of her computer. A brand new post was staring back at her. Fresh words glowed on her computer display. Could it be? New words from her son? There it was, calling out for her.

 

“Freedom is seldom found by beating someone to the ground, telling them how everything is gonna be now.”

June 2nd

I can’t quite describe the frustration I encounter when faced with evangelical religious-types. I find their position on the way the world works considerably obtuse. The other day I was approached by a middle aged Brit spending time “saving the world” in Thailand. He wore a fake smile on his face and patronized me by calling me brother when he approached.

“How are you today, brother. Have you accepted Jesus into your heart?”

It was clear that there was tremendous pain behind his eyes. Pain he was hiding and running from. The smile couldn’t hide the pain. And he called me brother… I wouldn’t be bothered by this mangled toothed gentleman’s reference to me as his brother, if it felt real. I can accept, or at least respect, the thought that we’re all experiencing the same joys and pains in this life, and we are all interconnected on this crazy journey, but the “brother” just seemed forced. Oddly, the O’Jays rang in my head as I smiled back at him—How can you call me brother when you ain’t even searching for the truth? What he meant to say, in my estimation, was, “Hello there. Do you believe the same thing as I? If you do, we are brothers. If you don’t, then I cannot accept you as my brother, other than insofar as you may some day change to be more like me and then we can be brothers.” It’s laughable to me.

Despite my better judgment, I entertained this man’s approach on this particular day. As we talked more, he began to speak quite horribly about homosexuality, adulterers and an entire slate of things. At one point, I became so embarrassed by what he was saying that I began looking over my shoulder for fear of being directly associated with this man. I asked him why he was convinced homosexuality was a sin, to which he provided oft quoted and incorrectly cited passages of scripture clearly taken out of context. Despite “judge lest you be judge” and “let he without sin throw the first stone,” this man and so many like him seemed to hide behind the farce that they are not the ones judging, God is. They are simply the messengers of God’s judgment. And so we hate, fight, spit, spew bigotry, murder, torture…all in the name of something good and holy. Every religion. Every era. I don’t see an end in sight.

It’s not the idea that he believes a man died for him and all of humanity over 2,000 years ago, and he finds peace and solace in this. I have no issue with that. Religion and faith are full of abnormalities and paradoxes. Faith is to be respected, maybe the most respected. It’s the idea, though, that I need to conform to see the world the way he sees it in order to really live life. I can’t wrap my head around how small-minded this is. It’s the idea that he needs to convince me to “convert” to his way of life, and causing pain and suffering is acceptable for this end. He needs to beat it into me. I prefer to believe in a world that is much bigger than one size fits all. I simply can’t see how violence and death in an effort to push the agenda of any particular religion, is the answer. There’s no truth in that. If there is a God, if there are merits of this man’s crucifixion, may the world realize this and by some mercy, let us stop fighting.

 

Lisa stared blankly. The harsh white light from the internet page glared on her face. There’s a new post, she thought, confused with hope. She sat not comprehending a single word she had just read. Then, without notice, the tears poured out. She began to sob uncontrollably. She reached out and touched the screen. She reached out in agony, in attempt to touch her son before her. She felt the warm buzzing screen, the warmth of the display.

 

 

Check out Part 5 of “The Gravesite.”

 

Freedom (Lyrics)

Amos Lee

Don’t wanna be a martyr in this war
Don’t wanna hear the same excuses anymore
That everything’s a threat
And it’s only gonna get worse if we let it

Don’t wanna blame the rich for what they got
Don’t point a finger at the poor for what they have not
Though the politician and the priest
Live in the belly of the beast because we fed it

Freedom is seldom found
By beating someone to the ground
Telling them how everything is gonna be now, yeah

Now if the tables were turned tell me how you would feel
Somebody busted up into your house telling you to stay still
While the leaders will deny defeat
Innocents they testify by dying in the street

Freedom is seldom found
By beating someone to the ground
Telling them how everything is gonna be now

Freedom is seldom found
By beating someone to the ground
Telling them how everything is gonna be now

 

Find more writing and publishing tips at Nothing Any Good.

 

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