About

Jeremy’s Story

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Photo credit: Jennifer Sparrowhawk

I’m a bard from Saskatchewan. If that last sentence seemed like gibberish, I’ll translate. A bard is a musician and storyteller, usually merely an entertainer, but able to give bonuses to saving throws while in dungeons. Saskatchewan is is a big Canadian province with a small population, best known for being mentioned in a song by The Muppets in the 70s.

I’m a prairie kid. The canola fields, the woods, and the abandoned shacks of yesteryear are embedded in my heart. I love the winds, whether fair or freezing. Beauty is everywhere here, be it green and lush, or stark and frigid. When I can, I explore the wild places that few people tread, places that can be found mere minutes from my doorstep.

Once, I took the beauty of the prairies for granted. I believed the jokes of the people who drove past on their way to big cities, people who said it was boring and cold. I listened with envy to media that praised New York and Los Angeles, and felt the pull that lured so many kids of my generation to distant lands.

I am glad I stayed. This place motivates me. My work is infused with the prairie, and if I can show locals that their land and place in history are beautiful, I feel great. If I can tell a good story to someone from afar and let them see that the prairie is more than just boring and cold, my mission is accomplished.

And now, my wife would like to endorse me. If Stephen King’s wife can do it on his website, so can mine!

On our first road trip, Jeremy asked me why I liked him. His passion for writing and living his dream was first and foremost on the list. It’s been a long time since that conversation and there is so much more that I’ve learned about his passions and talent.

Music has been an integral part of his life since he was born. It is a rare moment in Jeremy’s life when he doesn’t have a song or a piece of music playing in his head. He plays the violin and the viola and the banjo and the mandolin AND he sings. He can hear a tune and tinkle it out on the ebonies and ivories the next second. There is a sweetness in the way he lulls our children to sleep with his voice. He knows song lyrics from Get a Little Mud on the Tires to Creep to Moon River to Cúnla. He’s been in many bands over the years including the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra, several other orchestras, many string quartets, a few Celtic bands, and currently The Residuals and the most talented quartet he’s had the privilege of being a member of, Mac Talla Quartet.

Jeremy has been driven to write since he was young. Screenplays, short stories, novels, poetry – each creation comes from the many worlds of his imagination. I didn’t understand the vastness of his imaginary worlds at first. If he has a spare moment, he’s instantly transported to his imagination where he explores and creates and adventures. These worlds are where he finds his inspiration for what he brings to the page. His love of horror movies is really about challenging others and himself, being brave, seeing in the dark. The discomfort of being afraid begs for change – to find comfort. Conversely, his desire to make people laugh knows no bounds. He especially loves to challenge the status quo with his humour. Either way, I feel deeply when I get to experience his work.

As his partner, we have driven each other to greater heights and a little crazy along the way. It’s our dream to raise our three children to be socially responsible adults and be sure of who they are and what they want. We do this mainly by being responsible for our lives and being sure of who we are and what we want. Show them how to be brave by being brave. Show them how to live each day, every moment with passion by living with passion.

Becoming a bard, being able to combine his musical and literary worlds, is showcasing the best of what Jeremy has to offer. Listen to his readings, become entranced by the world he creates for you. Let his music inspire your body to move or your face to smile or tears to flow. He will if you let him.

SuziCook

Being A Bard

Record-keeping and storytelling were once synonymous. Storytelling as history meant that a bard’s role was vital – both as an entertainer to ensure others remembered the stories, but also as a sage who gathered lessons from the past to bestow to the young. A bard also once marched into battle to bolster his lord’s spirit and the spirits of his soldiers.

The world has changed. Literacy is widespread, and records are kept fastidiously – so many records that they become unimportant and molder in unused rooms. Stories are told on paper, written by authors and journalists, and can live for hundreds of years in print. Music can be heard with the click of a button in any setting: millions of songs from every place and point in history. Sage advice can be heard by opening up your favourite device and watching a luminary or stand-up comedian deliver a TED talk. In modern warfare, where listening means the difference between life and death, walking into battle with a song blaring in one’s ears is ill-advised.

Yet, as the world has grown and the bard’s duties became obsolete and specialized, we have lost something. Listening to stories and music have moved from the fireside, a place of active participation, to faraway places and become passive acts. If you live in a neglected place like I do, you get inundated with celebrity news and stories about how great New York is, but your own stories, the stories of your family, your history, and your local heroes, are rarely heard and forgotten.

Since before history was recorded, humans have gathered by firelight to share their stories and sing. It is a deeply social act that speaks to all humans in their blood, an experience we rarely get to enjoy in our modern world. Minstrels and storytellers were always there to speak, sing, and listen.

As a modern bard, I rarely get the chance to address an audience by firelight. You are more likely to hear my music onstage or read my stories on a screen than see me retelling Hookhand by the campfire. Yet my mixture of story and song, tinged with local knowledge, is a link to an old tradition that society has nearly forgotten: a human voice and simple instruments, unamplified. The voice tells a story, you imagine heroes in the dancing flame, feel the warmth of the person next to you, gasp during the exciting parts, and join in communal song. That to me is primal, authentic, and beautiful.

If I can come close to capturing that experience, even if it comes over a radio or through a screen, I’ve done my job.

 

Turlough o'Carolan

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