Almost everybody can remember a time when they went away to someplace cool and learned something that proved important to them. Maybe you can recall such a time. Perhaps, as I write, you’re one of the many people travelling home from just such a time.
Let’s compare your journey to “the Hero(ine)’s Journey,” that analysis/reduction of mythological stories attributed to Joseph Campbell. You can read about it here, but in redux: you’ve gone on an epic trip to the Spirit World (or Mountaintop, or whatever metaphor works for you), and after many trials have been granted special wisdom or knowledge. Now you make the trip back to the Regular World. Now what? We’ll be singing that.
And let’s compare your journey to the seeker who attains Enlightenment who, instead of proceeding on to Nirvana, hangs around as bodhisattva to help the rest of us along our path.
Your Prompt: sing a song to bring something that you’ve learned at a special workshop or retreat back to the people in your regular life who may not have had the chance to go. Check out these Options for some specific ideas:
It’s good to have options. Here are ways to perhaps make the prompt a bit easier, or ways to go a bit further with it.
Option A: Explain by Doing – For an easier stretch, let’s not try to force wisdom down their throats; let’s just do what we’ve learned, so that it might be understood by those who are ready, and appreciated by those who aren’t. Take some aspect of improvisational singing you’ve recently learned, one that has particular resonance for you, and try it out with a recorder for a few minutes. Trust that your fellow Society members have been to Spirit Worlds comparable to the one you went to—we’ll be hip what you’re layin’ down. Yeah man. Groovy.
Option B: What’s The Big Idea? – For the ambitious, here’s a deeper stretch. Your experience at your own personal Mountaintop is an abstract; what it means to you, how it affected you, what you learned may have some concrete elements, but the gestalt of your experience might not fit into words. What better for expressing the abstract than art? So for your recording, think/feel deeply about your epic learning experience, and then sing with the intention that what you sing expresses the ineffable experience in ways that will be understood. Try, if you can, to find the faith that music will be able to bridge the communication gap.
The steps are as follows:
- Step 0: Sign up for a free SoundCloud account here. Join the SSS group.
- Step 1: Record yourself singing your song of returning to your usual life.
- Step 2: Upload to SoundCloud and post the track to the SSS group.
- Step 3: Listen to and comment on tracks uploaded by your fellow singers. (Play nice!)
Deadline: Your tracks should be uploaded by midnight wherever you are on Tuesday, August 25, 2015. (It’s an extension; this Prompt is going out later than usual.)
Length: The length of your finished work should be about 2 to 5 minutes, or however long you need to sing your song.
Description: It would be awesome to include a short description of where and when you sang your piece—and how it felt.
Title/Tag: When uploading to SoundCloud, put “[sss-return]” in the title of your track. Also include the term “sss-return” as a tag. This will help us find it.
Group: Once the track is uploaded, click on the “Add to group” button below the waveform and make sure to select the Society for Spontaneous Singing group. (This option will only appear if you have already joined the group! So do that now.)
Linking: You are welcome to include this info in your description:
This track is a reply to “Prompt 30: Return to the Real World.” More on the Society for Spontaneous Singing at http://singthis.org. You can join the SSS at https://soundcloud.com/groups/society-for-spontaneous-singing
Thank you, sweet singers!