Sunday, June 28, 2015

Adhoc voices

One forty nine pm. Saturday.


I am up a ladder folding clothes.

Suddenly it occurs to me that I am listening to the radio. If I am listening, I could also be speaking while folding clothes. 

One fifty two pm.

I prop up the smartphone on a shelf go to Audiocopy app, hit record, then speak.

There was no time for preparation, no time to do other than speak and pause and fold. 

One fifty five pm and seven seconds.

The recording for #clmooc is finished. I upload to Soundcloud and I share on Twitter with four people mentioned in the recording.

I add a hashtag for good measure #adhocvoices. 

I ask the four people to add their voices to mine.

I tweet it out.

Approximately one hour later, my voice is joined by Kevin Hodgson's. 

He speaks not of being up a ladder but being up a tree. 

I make a mental note to create something directly connected to trees. 

I wonder how Kevin knows the crucial importance of tree-climbing in my life. 

I immediately feel myself again brought closer to Kevin.

It seems an untruth to say that we have never met.

Five pm.

Our voices are joined by Susan Watson in Ballenger Creek (where??) who shares a sixty second #clmooc confession. 

She later tells me that last year she wouldn't have dared do this. What is it that makes us so vulnerable sharing our voices??

Hearing a friend's spoken voice for the first time after a year of working closely via blogging, I find moving. 

Five twenty two pm

Our voices are joined by Terry Ellliott's and those of assorted cats and chickens.

I immediately feel at home on Terry's farm. 

These are familiar sounds from our ad hoc #clavpicnics. 

Those few seconds spent in his company  today evoke a mass of imagery, a rich sensory ecology. 

My brain is immediately attempting to orient my body in this space. 

I am blind all the more to see.

Six oh eight.

These voices are met with that of Scott Glass on the road in Arlington. I listen to this late in the day. I hear a local firework display which punctuates and blends with the traffic on the highway which surrounds Scott's voice.

I love the impression of movement in Scott's narrative of his roadtrip and look forward to the next episode. 

Even if our contacts via #clmooc have been brief, his name is one that has marked me, with this recording, I feel a developing friendship.

One twenty six am.

Autumm joins us from her parent's home. I hear someone (her mother?) clattering plates behind. 

She shares her projects, her plans, mentions she is working in her childhood room.  

I feel hesitation in her voice, it's authenticity, its immediacy. There is no performance here. The recording adds to an impression of vulnerabilty. We are sharing with the world. 

It is an act of generosity.

I feel a tinge of sadness. 

I am transported to my parents' home, I hear my mother busying herself in the kitchen. 

My father is sitting reading the sports news. 

He will pause, lower the newspaper and I will share this story with him and he will marvel. 

There will be a gleam in his eye.

I remember the time I spent looking for a cassette of him speaking.  I never find his voice again. I only find the one of my uncle giving a sermon. 

There is no no twinkle in his eye when he speaks. He is a hard man, hiding hard secrets behind his ecclesiastical attire.

One fifty two am

I am transported on waking to a New World. 

Wendy Taleo shares what she sees and hears with us. 

I am immediately met with a profusion of colour, of exotic vegetation, of unheard of birds, of beauty. 

My brain is in overdrive trying to make sense of the sensory stimulation. I begin to understand the wonder of New Worlds. 

I can see nothing but I can see so much.

I am reminded of the films of Terence Malick. 

I am reminded of the peace of human voices which fall silent to hear what is essential.

I have travelled so far today from folding laundry.  

Those three minutes of creative abandon were worth every second. 

Please join our #adhocvoices with yours and let us dream together.


  1. The voices are powerful ... And so is the reflection here ... Terry and I tried to get folks to podcast in the first year of the clmooc .... Not much traction then ... Maybe you hit the right chord at the right time here ....

    1. Thank you Kevin for meeting me here again. I am yearning, I suppose for simplicity. I think the word podcast (for me at least) is tied up with broadcast and performance. Ironically the best radio or performance gives us at least the illusion of spontaneity, of unplanned presence. Yes this is very powerful. I did a lot of work with students last year on sharing video - always that problem of feeling ill at ease, of not liking the sound of our voice, of trying to polish performance. What I am looking for here is anti-performance, a sound even (especially?) that of traffic, cats, birds, a person just speaking, not podcasting...

  2. 9:10 am. Making a note about writing a blog re: voices. Something so vulnerable, immediate about committing ones thoughts to sound. Thanks for starting this, for crafting this blog, and constantly tempting me with new ideas.

    1. Hi Scott! I think this vulnerability issue is really important, as is spontaneity. Thank you Scott. Without u and the others this is just a pile of folding.

  3. Here's the thinglink map of our voices to augment your playlist:

    1. Hi Terry! I've thinking about this recently. How to maintain immediacy and pertinence to others so that they are engaged in listening (or other) and join in the game.