Lefty Lucy
audio recording Lefty Lucy
 
 
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Proposal—FND 112 Final - A narrative audio piece.

The first sounds you hear are of someone getting up to a microphone. The individual ones a water bottle, takes a drink and quietly clears her throat. The background hum of voices drops.

“Thank you,” she begins. “I wanted to read something a little different. Um, these here, are letters.” The rustle of papers confirms this. “My family and some of my dear friends wrote these. I just wanted to share my favorites. Right.” Then she, Sarah, proceeds to read. The first letter is from her sister, Rosie. It is cheerful. It is nostalgic. She reads some more. There is a theme. They miss Sarah. In fact, it is hard without her. In fact–it’s not been the same since she died.

This project will be a sort of frame story. Sarah is reading the speeches recited at her funeral. She is dead and this, perhaps is purgatory. There should not be an indication from the first letter that Sarah is anything but away. A sister misses her. No harm done. The next one will give an inclination that something is amiss. The third will increase this feeling. The fourth will give the game away. This should be the letter with the most dramatic heft. I am going to write something seriously sad. The fifth leaves us in no doubt that she is dead, but will be less heart wrenching. As the fifth almost ends, there will be the ring of a bell and a heavenly voice will call out, “Sarah Dale Drechsler. Peter is waiting.” or “Peter will see you now.” And she bows out, off to the heavenly gates. The buzz of an audience comes back. There is the tap of feet and perhaps the clunk of a microphone, as if someone else has taken her place on stage.

I think it’s a bomb-diggity idea. (Just saying.) I want to use five letters, from a sister, a father, a mother, a boyfriend and another one I haven’t decided yet. I think the mother’s should be the one that breaks hearts. The manner of Sarah’s death will probably not be conveyed. It might be interesting if each letter hinted to a different cause. I will try not to have the letters be too long either. No speeches to drag for days. I imagine that as a narrator (played by myself), Sarah will perhaps skip to her favorite bits and add commentary too. Honestly I love this idea and will start writing letters immediately.

Letters - text:

Naomi, Sister:
Dear Sis,

Sarah, I was thinking about you and the apple tree. You were four years old and I was ten. That was back when Grandma and Grandpa still owned the cottage by Grosse Lake. There was this stand of apple trees right between the cottage and the lake.

I had been reading on the porch when Grandmother came outside and asked me where you were. I shrugged and would have gone on reading, but she took my book and said, “Go check the lakefront.” I grudgingly walked to the beach and threw pebbles as the ducks. When I finally headed back Grandfather was hobbling towards me. “Did you see Sarah at the lake?” He never waited for me to answer but continued his gimping run back the way I had come.

They were afraid you had drowned. Some little girl’s body had been found by two fishermen. Grandmother got a call from one of the neighbors and panicked. I knew you weren’t dead. How could you be? Something in my gut said that nothing could happen to my little sister. Grandmother was quite enraged that I wasn’t taking this seriously. She slapped me–it really hurt, mostly because grandmothers aren’t supposed to hit their pre-adolescent grandchildren. So I ran away. I went straight to the apple grove. There was an old wood swing where I could sulk. I slowed to a trot as I passed the first few trees–a good thing because I then tripped and almost broke my neck on what turned out to be you.

There you were, curled up on under an apple tree, holding, of all things, a kitten. While Grandmother and Grandfather had been having mini aneurisms you had here. You had found, only four years old, you had found a cat with her litter of kittens, in an old box beside one of the apple trees. Together we put all three kittens into the box and carried it, well I carried it and you coaxed the mother, back to the cottage.

I knew you were just alright. You were always just alright Sarah. I miss you. I miss the animals you would bring home, the strays and the lost pets.

Your sister,

Naomi

Dyaln, Boyfriend:
Darling Sarah,

I miss you I miss you.
I miss the smell of your hair (Lilac or Honey).
I miss the tangled mess it became in the rain.
Then it is just like you.

I can’t walk past Common Coffee without thinking of you. Or Rigitoni’s, where I took you after prom. I cannot drive to work without seeing you in the seat next to me. I cannot walk in the park without reaching for your hand–a hand so soft and warm. I reach for you, but my hand is left hanging.

I miss you so much.

It’s unbelievable that I won’t be able to kiss you. That I won’t be able to take you to the movies or to the high school play. I am not the only one who misses you. We are all wondering what we will do without Sarah, without beautiful, kind Sarah.

Who will I take on midnight escapes, who will invite me to look at the stars?

I love you Sarah. I love you so much.

Yours eternally,

-Dylan

Mother:
Dear Sarah, No, no, no, no, no, Sarah, no. This cannot be. I cannot accept this. Baby girl, your momma misses you! I think my heart is going to rip itself up. The air is poison. What joy can one take from breathing? There’s not a sun in the sky.

Baby girl, I can’t stop thinking “Never.” Never will you go to France. Never will you graduate from college, hold that diploma in your hand. Never will you get married. Never will you eat wedding cake. You will never get pregnant, you will never feel what it is to have a life inside you–!

Oh Baby girl, I wish I could take you back inside me! I wish I could tuck you back inside my skin, where nothing could ever harm you, where nothing could ever take you away. It is not fair. It is not fair.

You were so young. You should not have died.

This is not what is supposed to happen! My Sarah was supposed to grow up, to leave home, and to live, to live. On her own, or with someone else–but to live! Nothing so cruel has ever existed as this. To lose you, to lose my youngest child–I would rather anything. If I could die for you to live, I would die for you. I would never let you be harmed. Never again.

Oh, Sarah!

-Mother

Father:
Dear Daughter,

This may be the hardest thing I’ve ever done. No parent should have to bury their child. We expect you to outlive us, to keep causing mischief, keep falling and picking yourself up long after you are beyond our reach. This has of course, hit us hard. You have left a family behind.

It is we who grieve. Those of us left behind. For you the pains of each day are gone. I could wish that you were still here, to suffer with us, but such a thing is impossible.

We will never forget you. I will never forget my little girl,who sat on my lap when my father died and told me not to cry. You said, I will never forget, “Daddy, it’s only for a little while.” Well darling, I will see you soon.

You will remain with us, forever a part of the lives you touched. We do not say goodbye forever. Not today. Today we say only that we love you. Just a Little While,

-Your Father, Andrew

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A NEW DIRECTION - LEFTY LUCY

LEFTY LUCY - FINAL
You know how as animals get older they tend to … lose their charm. Their eyes get faded and gooey. Their fur becomes coarse and lifeless.

When I was a child, my family had a gruesomely overweight pet beagle. Her name was Lucy.

HA! And god.
But that dog was disgusting.

Besides being morbidly obese, she smelled
She smelled, just terrible.

My brother and I loved Lucy.
Our affection blinded us to her reek.

It got to be so bad, that other people would react physically to her odor.

I had never seen a grown man faint before.

Poor, poor Lucy. My father did not like her very much.
My father used to suspend meat or other dog in front of Lucy. He would use twine to hang the treat from a stick. In front of her muzzle.

It was meant to be like in those children’s cartoons.

It was not a successful endeavor. She would give up.

Oh, and another thing
We used to call her “Lefty Lucy.”

Because whenever she came into the house
She would immediately take a left.

Into our kitchen.

She would pad across, to the trashcan.

Then Lucy would hop up to look inside.

And like a diver preparing for a leap, her torso would plummet forward

She would catch her hind feet on the rim
And have her entire body in the trash.

In later years, Lucy grew too fat to do that.

Lucy actually had something wrong with her knees
It hurt for her to move.
That was why it was so hard to make her exercise.

She was just too fat.
And too old.

I think my parents secretly hoped she would die.

My brother and I loved Lucy.
She was our dog.

Still, when Lucy did die–
–they were probably quite relieved.

My brother and I came home and Lucy was no where to be found.
Mom and Dad sat us down.

“I’m afraid Lucy is dead.”

Poof!

Smelly old Lucy, who had once been a dog in her prime was no more.
Just a tin can full of ashes.

THE ABOVE
Is a modified version of my original text, created for the AI voice Audrey, downloaded from http://www.naturalreaders.com It was a far better way to record text than using my disabilities voice pre-installed on the mac.

ORIGINAL TEXT
When we were kids, my family had this overweight beagle named Lucy.
(ruff ruff)
HA! And my god, that dog was disgusting.
(sad ruwwr)
Besides being morbidly obese, she smelled just terrible.
(doggy sneeze)
My brother and I loved Lucy, so we never noticed. But it got to the point that people would–react physically to her odor.
(ruff ruff)
(“Oh yuh—sniff”)
HA that dog. My dad used to suspend meat–dog treats–and hang it from a stick he’d tie to Lucy’s collar.
(sound of puppy interest)
Just like in those cartoons–to make her exercise.
(Puppy Paws and panting)
It didn’t really work. She gave up.
(puppy collapse)
Oh, and we used to call her “Lefty Lucy.”
Because whenever she came into the house
(dog flap)
She would straight off take a left.
(padding paws on carpet)
Into the kitchen.
(sounds of baking?)(paws cont on tile)
And she’d go up to the trash
(paws pause sound of jumping)
And catch her hind feet on the rim and just have her whole body in the trash.
(sounds of devouring)
(cont. burp, trash bustling)
(trash can falls over)
But then she got too fat to do that.
Actually, Lucy had something wrong with her knees, that made walking hurt.
That was why it was so hard to make her exercise.
(gimpy paws, whining)
I think she was just too fat.
And old.

I think my parents secretly hoped she would die.
(rarrru?)
My brother and I absolutely loved Lucy.
She was our dog.
(happy woof) (tail wag noise)
Still, when Lucy did die–
(woeo, choked off wolf, body thumps to ground)
–they were probably quite relieved.
(sad funeral march begins low in the background)
My brother and I came home and Lucy was no where to be found.
Mom and Dad sat us down.
“I’m afraid Lucy is dead.”

Poof!
Smelly old Lucy, who had once been a dog in her prime was no more.
Just a tin can full of ashes.

LET ME EXPLAIN
This end of the semester has turned me into an old mule who, having made it down the Grand Canyon, finds itself facing the return journey. Also another donkey died and this donkey’s burden was added to mine. And then one of the humans (there’s a group of them, my inner demons, and each one is equipped with a donkey prod) passes out and they load him onto my back as well. By this time I am wondering if the next donkey to die will be me.

So anyway, in the midst of the sweat, the smell, the buzzing flies, I heard a hilarious story about my roommate’s dog. And it made me laugh. Out loud. Which is something I have not done for a while. After that all I wanted to do was to share the experience of that fat beagle hopping into the trashcan, with its hind feet hooked on the rim. My god.

I want to make puppy noises. And simulate a trashcan falling over. And have super silly effects like a Waa Waa WAa and maybe do my own funeral march sound. It will be fun! Perhaps not sophisticated, perhaps not amazing, perhaps not with any deep meaning other that the love of small things.


 

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CITATIONS

Moore, Hannah B. ""Old Pets"" Personal interview. 21 Apr. 2014.

NaturalSoft Ltd. "Free NaturalReader." Free Text to Speech Software with Naturally Sounding Voices -- Free NaturalReader. AT&T Co., n.d. Web. 25 Apr. 2014.

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REFLECTIONS

Apparently I am quite all over the place with expansive ideas for the new millennia. Or at least with my final FND 112 project.

There are a lot of elements going on in this project. I can give rationales for all of them, and the best one goes like this:

“The name of the class is ‘Experimental Audio.’ To experiment is, according to the Oxford English dictionary, ‘try out new concepts or ways of doing things.’ Thus it was I found myself exploding with novelly ideas for this last project. Many of them had to be discarded, often by dent of being pushed out by a new idea I had. I’ll start with the ones I actually incorporated, them sum up some of the many tried and forsaken others.

Thing I wanted to do and actually ended up doing:

- a comedy
- make my own puppy sounds
- use artificial intelligence in some way
- possibly create an animated sequence based on this narrative (has only made it to the storyboard stage)

The many, many ideas I have left on the wayside:
purgatory as an open mic night including letters written to the dead narrator Sarah. (This idea would have turned out awesomely if I hadn’t started getting depressed and wanting to do something a little bit fun for once.)

A live performance. Really there was never time for that. Also when I went to the cage there were no extra DR 40s. I went and recorded quite a lot of performances at Funk ’N’ Waffles. All these are available on my sound cloud. Or will be whenever they are passed by the monitor….

It turns out I cannot do a comedy. I was watching courage the cowardly dog–a gruesome kid’s show if I have ever seen one–and coupleD with a dissatisfaction at my own ability to make quality dog noises I sudden felt the need to include the muttered insults of AI “Graham.”

I think because the computer voices are so serious, but my dog noises were just laughable, I felt foolish.

Thus my dissatisfaction turned the piece ugly. Who are we to laugh at the elderly? Who are we to spurn others? The piece is due tomorrow now, so I fear I am probably going to turn in a complete mess.

I took “Experimental” and ran with it. This is far from a complete project. I need to prioritize what elements I will solidify for my final final project.

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Critiques 2nd Draft

Ginger
You, like I, have had a last minute, “What am I doing, exactly?” freak out and changed your project. Personally I am quite happy to know I am not the only one. I like that you have this desire to create physical media, especially in the sense of creating distinct items for a group of audio selections that then can be played at will. The theme of sex is a fun one. Virginity stories range from gooey and nostalgic to mortifyingly funny or perhaps even sad. This, I think will help your concept as far as different objects.

I suggest mice. Or mouses. As in the ones that attach to a computer. (But not anymore in this world of styluses and touchpads.) This will pull in the second part of your idea, that internet has dehumanized our interactions.

Through social media you can lie like the blazes. Perhaps critics are right and we are losing the ability to understand and interpret face-to-face relations. The internet + lost virginity + the internet = ? Thats up to you.

The stories alone make for quite the material.

Paul
A composition of cellular noises. A cellphone interrupts the soundscape. How cellphones disrupt the peace. I have to say–lots of people seem to have an issue with modern technology. Which is interesting because I doubt our American generation would even know what to do with ourselves if totally bereft of electronics. The internet is such a guide to my daily life. How do people learn anything without youtube tutorials? The fill the spacious gap left by my educators (in the films program mostly). She says with a chip on her shoulder.

My favorite part of your sound is the iphone melody currently. It is a familiar sound turned into something beyond itself. I like the identifiable aspect of the tone then turned harmonious.

I had this cliche desire for you to put somewhere in it, with a mechanical overtone, someone saying, “Please silence your cell phones.”

I think sonorously speaking, you are on to a good thing here. I would love to see this project deepen and unfold. I hope when you present the final next week you might be able to showcase some of your paintings as well. That would give a context to the sound.

Myself
Oh Lawd! Prof. Warne has suggested I continue trying to make a public recording. But really—can I pull such a thing off? I would love to do it! What a valuable real life skill. Unfortunately I have but a week and for this weekend I will not be in this state. That makes things a tad tricky. I really like the story of Lucy as well. Maybe I could try to have Hannah tell it. I think I will go to Funk N’ Waffles tomorrow evening anyway. Hannah can sing and I will read the story on abortion I wrote. This is appealing if only because it marks the end of Nancy Keefe-Rhode’s tyrannical reign over the students of ART 250. I was informed by a senior that apparently she is just mad about Westerns. She used to direct her film theory class about that genre too, even though… Really. Westerns. God.

Sometimes you meet heinous individuals in the greater world.

Anyway I will do the story of Lefty Lucy. Maybe I can do it as public performance. God. Oh my god. Stress clot.

I like the idea of recording publicly–using multiple mics, setting up the environment. But I will not physically be able to unless I go over the weekend. And I am spending this weekend with James, so I know I will not…. I do not have time to go down to Funk N Waffles today and ask beforehand. Yikes.

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Reflections:

Comments on my initial recordings:
Well, the first letter, from Naiomi is far too long. The others are really quite good. My performance as given on this website is a bit lacking, but that will improve with rendition. I plan to get the readings down first then work on contextualizing more. For Naomi’s letter, I will increase pitch possibly and play with EQ until I have a voice approximating that of my cousin Lenia. Dyan needs a deeper voice, but still that of a young man. Mom needs to be understandable despite her emotional breakdown. Finally, the father should be slow and deep, a wise man, a philosopher.

I am really quite please with what I have written, minus Naomi’s letter, which should be abridged.

These recordings were taken with my Rode Lav mic as the DR40s were completely unavailable last week. This week I have some on hold, which will improve my progression.

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Critique 2:

Self
Mom=too sappy
just read normal
Boyfriend=sappy
letters opening
first letter=way too long

Personally I am feeling quite drained. I wish I had chosen something happy to do. There is quite a chance that I might spontaneously write a comedy skit and make an audio project based on that. I won’t mention this directly to the professor until/if I actually do that. On the back burner as it were.

I did not work enough on this FND 112 this week, having suffered another computer error, resulting in an overnight stay for my Mac once more. I also have been scrambling to finish my documentary and my final freshman portfolio film. Excuses excuses. Those will both be over as of this upcoming week, however, so my attention will be better focused soon.

Ashli
You MIDI girl! I am quite impressed. I am a bit envious. You have composed. It is not that I could not probably compose as well, I just have no idea where even to start and the daunting prospect of lowering into those reservoirs has had me keep my feet dry.

I love video game music, although honestly as a child I always put my DS on mute. Pokemon and Final Fantasy were small but noteworthy parts of my childhood. Clearly you have been affected even more so by our generation’s gaming youth. It is too bad that pirating existing MIDI tracks did not work, but judging from how competently you composed the first minute of your project, just listening for reference may be enough to set your audio on track.

It would be interesting to have you create something that was a few mini pieces, like how in a game, as your character moves from one environment to another, the sounds change. That way you may be able to keep your original pattern of beats, your underlying melody and put textural variations. From the meadow to the seaside.

Another helpful thing might be defining the game your sounds live in.

Cory
Again I find myself green with envy. I want to listen to old, hokey radio stories and let mysteries unfurl behind closed eyelids. You have put an enormous amount of work into this audio piece! It is great. The main character is a little neutral, which is actually an excellent literary technique. Not overly describing the protagonist allows for audience identification. We can feel like a part of the hero. The second man, who leads the way to the Pet Cemetery, actually has a very strong character. I picture a bear-like man, probably with a red-neck style beard. Bushy. The crow sound is utterly priceless. Kudos.

The lighter sound does not really work yet. I have some lighter sounds of my own, recorded with film and the click is much lighter than the one yours produced. That said it was a recent add-on, so it will surely improve. Also the car sound was lightweight and seemed to come from the blue. Maybe a horn would add? Or just other traffic background. It is a suburban landscape, but cars still make their way around.

Joe
I enjoyed your script! You need to pin down some character motivation. Perhaps I am merely victimized by VPA intensive scrutiny, but everything should have a reason behind it. “Why is that in the frame?” “Why is her hair up?” It can become a little ridiculous. Nonetheless in your case, the identity of the protagonist and the nature of his trespassing, be it malign or harmless or a influenced by the supernatural, etc., will shape most of your piece. Do you want it to be ambiguous? Should it be ambiguous for you the creator?

Things to consider now that you will begin recording audio: Where is the house (suburb/metropolis/beach/moon, etc.)? What time of day (if only for purpose of ambience)? Route through the house?

I look forward to how this piece comes together. Currently I would like to describe it as cute. It is a spoofy horror. That of course can change with the choices you make.

Critique 1:

Paul Owen
You are looking to create an audio piece that accompanies your paintings. Frankly that is awesome. Your painting style is incredibly unique and “experimental” (which is a word thrown around an irritating amount in Art School). You want to create a dark atmosphere, vaguely uncomfortable. Some consideration needs to be put into the composition of sounds–what you will draw from, what they will mean.

Also if this is to go along with an exhibit, will it loop or play a single time? Looping is difficult if only because it undermines the value of climatic rise and falls. The structure of a piece can become irrelevant. Atmosphere sometimes equates elevator music, in that there’s not so much point, it just keeps humming in the background to keep us from hearing our own thoughts too loudly.

Cory Crater
I like narratives. Have you chosen a piece to reconstruct yet? I am not one hundred percent sure you showed anything, but Prof. Warne brought up your name…

Me
Is the open mic night an over-complicated premise?

The time limit is 5:00 minutes, can you feasibly present 4 letters and get across the concept?

The reveal is the most powerful part of my project and no one is asking me to sacrifice it. The only difficulties are with whether or not the “Hell/purgatory is an open mic night” will come across. I am not too attached to the open mic night to be unwilling to look into other avenues. Really, the type of context I place the piece is one of the trickier aspect. Should this just be a voice floating in space? To do that, to have some ghost voice reading letters, removes the opportunity to imbue Sarah, my narrator, with any character. It would be less natural for her to chuckle or add little, “That’s Naomi, alright,” comments. It would, in fact, remove a lot of the humanity that I thought her giving a speech would add.

Is this a public speech? Or a private one?

Listen to Moth Hour NPR.

Jules
I would like to watch your video “You are Being Watched Part 1.” I honestly gotta say, from your description, I think any kicks sent your way were probably deserved. I understand that your goal was to “jolt” people. To say essentially, “Aha! The government is watching! Sedately ignoring the reality is like following the other lemurs off the cliffside!”

Your project represents an unhappy reality. It is easy to let the world keep spinning and ignore the cogs turning and geared teeth crushing together. We do not want to see the little people caught in the machinery. It is unpleasant. I do not know how you will make this piece successfully interactive. Also, you must think about the sounds you will use and the construction they will form. Buttons clicking is quite obscure. How do you know the internet is watching through sounds alone? I personally have my laptop muted almost constantly. I hate the turn-on sounds and the little tweets of notifications. Thus those kinds of audio would be lost on someone like me.

Have you seen Eagle Eye?

Are you listening?

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SOUNDS FOUND AT:

Original recordings can be found at:
https://www.freesound.org/home/pending/