The Magazine

m a g a z i n e

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

New France - book by Grace Morrison

After a few years of requests for copies to replace the tattered and much used hardcovers of the first printing, New France has been resurrected in a more accessible and more affordable perfect bound edition.

New France is an excellent resource book comprising detailed pictorial diaries of six important people of the time:

Étienne Brûlé (explorer, interpreter),
Gabriel Lalemant (Jesuit missionary),
Marguerite Bourgeoys (educator),
Jean-Baptiste Talon (intendant),
Magdelaine de Verchères (heroine),
Angélique Leblanc (Acadian).

The book forms a microcosm of the era integrating History, Geography, French, Music and Art.

For the student there is much of interest and enlightenment. New France contains a wealth of coloured pictures of historical figures and artifacts, playable song manuscripts and documents of the time - a compilation of visual aids from across two continents that captures the look and feel of the era.

For the educator there are complete ready-to-go sets of activities, written, oral, and creative, based on each individual unit or theme. A bibliography and detailed index complete the work.

Author Grace Morrison has an M.A. in French and Italian from the University of Glasgow. She is an educator of 20 years experience in teaching, administration and curriculum creation. As an actor and violinist she presents artistic, educational performances in English and French which comprise Canadian history, music and theatre. Interaction with students, be it in schools, libraries, or universities, is a hallmark of her presentations.

The educational book is currently available in paperback format for $45 from Amazon.com and  Createspace or for $40 directly from the author (within the Toronto region), as well as in $10 eBook format from Googlebook.

-elaine morrison-

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

string music without lyrics

"...snapping from serenity and whipping to confront the potential menace intrusion...who was lovely...eyes softening blue...melting...unpeeling his soul and she entered."(Event Field by elaine morrison)

His eyes are still soft for me

song for strings, percussion, soprano, piano, theme 1, mov. 3
Symphony #1 - When I Die I'm Gonna Work For the Mossad
by elaine morrison
- audio CD ISBN 0973968214 - data CD score ISBN 0973968249

His eyes are still soft for me
body wanting more
searching hands grasping out mute words
darkness breathes of him
a wave envelopes me
turn 'round he's there.


-elaine morrison-

Monday, July 9, 2012

Focus Or Let Go?

When I saw the television footage of Nik Wallenda crossing Niagara Falls I instantly knew that acquaintances would comment on his religious mantra. And it was so. What I grasped in parallel, however, was that his odes to the Christian deities need not be conceived as religious as much as they were a necessary step of his humble focus. In order to survive he had to let go. He had trained for years precisely for the stunt, but its successful execution in the telling last half hour required that he allay any nervousness and cast aside negative and distracting thoughts. And that is the same as saying that he had to give up the notion that he was in control over the immense monster of a waterway and its localized temperamental microclimate and hand over his life to the power of the universe. When in deep humility one gives up one's body tiny and fragile in an admission that it is no match against a force, with clear mental focus he allows his spirit to expand and merge with something infinitely greater than himself. He becomes the mist. He is the falls. He achieves oneness.

Maimonides relays a similar mystical foundation of Judaism in The Guide for the Perplexed (by Friedlander). When Adam is in the body he is just another animal, but when he is the mind it is then that he connects with God. So what exactly is being in the mind? Devious calculations with no soul as in acts of greed, harm, and destruction or a subtle intuitive connection that one cannot help but instinctively trust, that unique unworldly sensation both beyond oneself and instantly recognizable as home? I recently have taken note of the concept of focus only to realize that I don't have any. Visualize what you want to accomplish. Take steps to make that happen. Such is the advice, but the modern method also introduces an element of force. As an artist I certainly foresee creations not as yet created and then painstakingly go about creating them. Intuition, when it exists, is set into action on the small scale. But the same cannot be said for my life in general, as in actively shaping it into what I presuppose. Frankly, I like to see what interesting turns life has for me. I don't want to know everything and then concoct it. How boring would that be? Do you really want to know what you'll be doing in ten years? I take great satisfaction in the shock I get from reviewing in hindsight years of adventures I never would have thought I'd have. I couldn't have wished those experiences upon myself had I tried for they were beyond my conceived boundaries.

When you think about it, some of the greatest discoveries made at the tail end of consistent cumulative effort appear in sudden unregulated flashes of passive intuitive intelligence. Consider the second day solving a cryptic crossword when you can fill in everything that stumped you the day before. Didn't atomic scientist Kekule see benzene's molecular formation in a daydream? And when the achievers dictate I must determine my dreams and intentions, my practical side has often gotten doses of reality confused in the mix. A fatal mistake. Your dreams should at all cost remain pure of any sense of reality. Only after goals are established should one fret about the practicalities of their implementation and often there is more than the traditional method by which to accomplish them. If it can be imagined, it can be done...so do it. Just maybe that task was meant for you. If a subtle thought found its way to your mind or if you inexplicably connected with some remote concept, who are you to deny it? If you really need to learn that intriguing subject you must be willing to give up all hope of getting the credit to do so. It has been said that anything worth doing is also worth doing badly, so if it looks like that's the way it's going perhaps we'd best not fight the downward spiral. Ride. It takes but a moment of abject humility to obtain ultimate clarity. In order to be everything one has to realize he is nothing.

-elaine morrison- 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Drums Finale 1-4 - music

"Another boring day in British Columbia, as long as the roads are rock slide free and the house isn't blown away by wind. And stay out of the brush. Canadians tried to sell plots containing the national highway, parched land where the closest water supply was six hundred feet underground, and lots in the valley beside two main rail lines...but the trains only ran at night. And it's not as if on that cross country route there'd be a lot of them. Or that they had big loud horns or anything like that."(Event Field by elaine morrison)

Drums finale 1-4
percussion, theme 14, mov. 4
Symphony #1 - When I Die I'm Gonna Work For the Mossad
by elaine morrison
- audio CD ISBN 0973968214 - data CD score ISBN 0973968249

 -elaine morrison-

Friday, June 29, 2012

Empty Line Whitespace

When my computer program sent an error message stating that "empty lines contain whitespace" my first, second, and tenth reaction was that of course they do! Isn't white space the definition of an empty line? But interestingly enough, there is such an error. And as it turns out, if a programming error exists chances are that I've committed it (so it was fortunate that identifying errors comprised a decent part of my last Python exam). Thus an error is not necessarily a bad thing, despite the obvious reaction to the designation. Errors are precisely the result of doing things the hard way, when a task isn't all candy and puppies. They are inherent to real challenge. They may also expose the underlying essential nature of something long disguised in deceptive garb. One simple gaffe, an act out of character, may indeed be that personality's path of least resistance. Errors indicate what it is that you do not know as you skip merrily along, oblivious to the fact that you do not know it. Otherwise, it is useless to be asked if you need help before it is established that you do indeed need it and in what respect exactly, for had you already been aware of what was wrong or missing you would also have possessed enough information to either fix the problem or eliminate its contentious presence and avoid the issue altogether.

A man from a cave enters the city and is caught crossing a busy intersection against the light. When the policeman informs him that he is in breach of the law and will wind up getting killed because of the cars the caveman is perplexed why cars would want the authorities to execute him based on a light's colour. The policeman functions as the pointer for we receive hints from the emissaries who will act as guide in the guise of those jolting beeps and red flashes demanding our attention. But the caveman still has to understand the message in order to break through and make the sirens stop...or they'll just get louder. A telling chapter featuring cave sleepers is in The Qur'an (by Dawood) wherein the sleepers' awakening represents the passage from darkness to light, from ignorance to true knowledge, from worldliness to the spiritual. The cavers have been sleeping their way through mortal life but their reentry into civilization signifies a reunion on a universal scale. The character in The Cave which I like best, however, is the dog. Like The Mahabharata (by Smith), the Qur'an only a select few times mentions the presence of a dog and in both sources the cur is lowly, kicked, ostracized and despised. What if our guidance is not amicable but expressed in conflict? May what is unpopular and distasteful yet be a viable learning tool?

In both Qur'anic and Indic sources that lowly mutt is also the gatekeeper at the cusp of worlds. It is the sleepers' guard at the edge of the cave and it is the king's last companion over the life and death threshold. Though seen by many as base, he is veritably something of tremendous importance in the epic being none other than the king's father, the god of embodied righteousness. Confrontation has a way of startling the one moseying along as usual back into proper equilibrium but what if this unexpected jolt presents itself aggressively, as a transgression, as an enemy? Must we embrace this too? Or do we embrace the anomaly in our otherwise harmonious existence exactly for the fact that the enemy shows us what is dissonantly emanating from ourselves? An enemy is only as good as his title according to you. It is still your creation. That dog god righteousness is so because he is a reflection of the king's righteous behaviour toward a meek creature. In like fashion, the Enterprise on Star Trek once attacked itself in a field which reverse-amplified its own shields. So whatever the state of the "other", be it positive or negative, it seems that the other is just a mirror of ourselves. As such, both can be teachers which show us our current state. And the upside to that unsuspecting glance you cast when you can't conceive that odd shadow in the window is you is that our state is changing from moment to moment. That item which you inputted into the program as...oh I don't know..."Bob" and then called to output as "Bob" rarely has the same computer identity in both instances although we imagine that the two Bobs are identical if only for their namesake. Even a computer-manufactured Bob thing is likely to transform. Your pet can bear identities spanning diverse worlds and planes. And despite another's attempts to remind you, you may just be unable to recall that person who in times past committed said affront. Or did I get that backwards, meaning, that the reminder was meant to show you the moment has gone? You are no longer it. At any rate if errors and conflict are learning tools precisely because they reflect ourselves, when conflict ceases to be our mirror image it is okay to take note and spontaneously high-five into the sky. Who knows what worlds lie there? Perhaps the dog...

-elaine morrison-

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Cataclysm - music

Symphony #1 - When I Die I'm Gonna Work For The Mossad opener.
The symphony title reflects Israeli Canadian passport humour.
If you travel far enough from the Middle East you wind up in a quite familiar British Columbian desert...
just with more water...and less war.

Cataclysm
brass and percussion, theme 1, mov. 1
Symphony #1 - When I Die I'm Gonna Work For the Mossad
by elaine morrison
- audio CD ISBN 0973968214 - data CD score ISBN 0973968249

-elaine morrison-

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Event Field - novel review

A decade passed since the secret service assassinated Prime Minister Rabin and a Canadian who had left the Middle East was still assessing the indelible impressions in turn left by Israel.

Event Field takes artistic license depicting eight years of experiences and factual events as it paints multiple conspiracies over the humorous cultural backdrop. Rabin's assassination from the inside. Nuclear physicists incarcerated under a security code. The stolen babies scandal. Once one's eyes open to deception and truth they cannot reseal, all then becoming seen through that lens...but hopefully not to the extent of flashbacks requiring a prescription.

The inner three books each carry a different style of prose. Zmam sweeps native Israelis through the drama of the secret service puppeteering events in their lives. It is as if the nondescript characters are merely reactive adrenaline addicts frantically chasing the plot laid before them. And the life and death polarities of war make it an apt playing field for fear and conflict, defensiveness and baser survivalist emotions, and self-involved shells seeking instant gratification in intimate and social comforts.

Whereas The Draft stops the action and peers inward into the personalities of characters who had been passed by and neglected in all the first book's commotion and diversionary tactics. A Canadian tourist reports her views of comical incongruencies from kibbutz to Hebrew University and into the ethnic neighbourhoods of Jerusalem from a perspective far outside that shaken "sand globe". In the same vein the attitudes and behaviour of the local conscripted artist and military operative reflect the viscous indoctrination process which envelopes them within their respective environments.

In Counterpoint the scene shifts to western Canada where both old intelligence figures and a new motley crew of Canucks engage in the inevitable standoff predominantly through dialogue. They are ready to widen their scope to question their circumstances and the entire life schematic from the viewpoints of physics and eastern philosophy. And while some still cling to roles familiar others learn to disengage from the scripted path and become aware in the moment, when they are the creators of their own outcome.
  
Event Field is in many ways a novel enabling the reader to think he is reading one story when it fact it is about something else entirely. As the author I now feel as though, unwittingly, I set out to write one book but in reality wrote on a whole other level. It is this second layer which I want to reveal.

The fictional novel is available in paperback format for $15 from Amazon.com and Createspace as well as in $4-$6 eBook format from GooglebookKindle, and iUniverse. The main Event Field blog page indexed on the right contains open links, a book description, and the Googlebook preview.

-elaine morrison-   

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Settlers' Reprise - musical interlude

From time to time I can actually see the trees in this fun minute and a half excerpt from 
Symphony #1 - When I Die I'm Gonna Work For The Mossad while it adventures in video editing.

Settlers' reprise

percussion, strings, guitar, theme 11, mov. 4
Symphony #1 - When I Die I'm Gonna Work For the Mossad
by elaine morrison
- audio CD ISBN 0973968214 - data CD score ISBN 0973968249

-elaine morrison-

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

When To Check "Other"

For a while I've had this nagging impassable feeling that my destiny is only mine to make. And I am haunted by a phrase in Vasistha's Yoga (by Venkatesananda) when meditating Lila, surprised her dead husband could not see her during her spiritual sojourn to him, is told that this is because she still thinks she is Lila. Lila has managed to travel in her mind to the land of the dead, but because she still considers herself as that person named Lila who is bodily sitting meditating on the floor she is not yet fully merged with the universal totality of existence. In turn, the totality of existence does not recognize her. The point is that the boundless power of her mind and energy is willingly bound by her acceptance of the labels of person and name, female, occupation. And the list goes on. There is a similar phrase in The Three Pillars of Zen (by Kapleau) when the roshi challenges a western woman studying at his hermitage why she still believes she is merely her puny, sickly little body.

What exactly are you? Are you a socioeconomic type? Do you fit into that little box? What if you are in between? And if your diversity spans more than one option? The control key may accommodate multiple selections, but it is more comfortable for the person who wrote the questionnaire to slot you into a cubbyhole which he or she believes he or she can manage. Although, the most controlling, contriving, and manipulating people actually have no control over anything that really matters, so one should not fear them but disregard or move beyond. How about when a certain type of narrow thinking doesn't begin to relate to the way you approach life? A favorite pop-psychological question is to identify the mistake you most regret and what you would have done differently. Would this stop you in your tracks trying to understand the mindset of the person who thinks this way like a computer program spinning over an infinite loop? Processing. Processing. Does not compute. Albeit some decisions are not perhaps the best choices in a person's lifetime, if you are connected to your choices to the degree that you have to go down that road to see what lies in that direction, these are roads that have to be travelled according to who you are at a given time. There may be detours, landslides, and natural disasters, but there are no mistakes. There isn't even a past. There is only now. And once you discover your weaknesses your improved self will choose a different kind of path, or relate to the same kind in a different manner. Once the lesson is learnt it does not have to be tested.

This brings me back to Lila, also the Sanskrit word for "play" as in the universal spirit playing as bodily creatures here on earth. The equation necessarily implies the converse, that the meek little bodily creatures can also access the great central universal spirit. I often look at creatures' behaviour, smart aleck dogs like Ralph, and know that they are already aware of their true identity. In fact, they are probably waiting for us to catch up. So if we are all-powerful, yet temporarily here at play, it stands to reason that we should really connect to what we are. And what we are coincides with the explicit Sanskrit tat tvam asi wisdom "you are that", meaning, you are every piece of this universe in its entirety. You span worlds. You are undefined. Make the most of it. 

-elaine morrison-

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Ralph - picture book review

The herding dogs funnel you down their path. Do you feel as though the world is trying to tell you something?

Ralph is lovely to look at with its large digitally altered colour photographs and appropriate for children with its simple language. I also created "Ralph" precisely so that it could perform a double function and act as a guide, pointing the way in its Indic philosophy to spark one's greater consciousness and spiritual awareness. However, if one chooses to ignore that second level, Ralph the picture book is still awfully cute. 

It is the first volume in the Time, space, all you need is eight series under development and is available in 8.5x11 book format for $13 from Amazon.com and Createspace as well as in $4-$5 eBook format from Googlebook or Lulu. The main Ralph blog page indexed on the right contains open links, a book description, and the Googlebook preview.

-elaine morrison-   

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Magazine

This site will be updated with a stream of articles, books, and multimedia art created and technically produced by the blog author (unless specifically stated otherwise).
Subscribe using the bottom "Posts (Atom)" RSS feed link.
Contact Elaine Morrison via a post's moderated comments.