Cherokee Kid

Jim Alberty is a member of the Bird Clan of the Cherokee Tribe of Oklahoma. Born in Claremore, OK he now lives in Maine, working as a composer, writer and Creative for Apple. He is active in the Casco Bay area arts and education communities as a composer, musician, social dancer and actor.

A Child Of My Own Invention


Sorry to have taken so long to write again. The reason why is in the video posted above. Hope you can come join us.

I've been up to my neck in both the heavy weight of retail life and the intense demand of creative focus.

For those of you not following me on Facebook - and the five of you know who you are - I just last night finished the score for Acorn Theatre's production of "The Legend of The Golem".  I watched the final runthrough yesterday evening and though the timing of the scene changes needs to tighten up the show flows well and will be a great evening's entertainment.

Today I took a long walk up "my mountain" - Bradbury Mountain, in Pownal. The mountain is different, the last time I saw it was at the peak of Fall color.

Now it is bare bones - ice underfoot, puckering the mud, hiding under the leaves. You can see the structure of the hills and trees, the air is stark and cold. The light in the late morning was bright and sere.

Since today was a rare Thursday off and I'd seen the end of my active work on The Golem I'd planned on taking the walk after sleeping in....

..... and sleeping in had led to a rich dream - as are many I remember on waking.

There was a mountain, it was Fall and my path led up to a town with engaging people; their homes rustic and sophisticated in how they blended the rocks and trees of the hill into their structure.

The sun was bright and the weather cool.

They heard me singing and rapping on the trees to keep time so, naturally, I was asked to stay to teach the children to create music and movement, to learn to tell stories in more ways than just words.

Strangely the idea of starting a marching band never entered my thoughts.

The classroom was an enclosure easily opened to the outside and we sang and worked. They were very sophisticated children in terms on knowledge and having electronics and toys. But the idea of opening themselves up to movement and singing - to trusting themselves to create - seemed oddly new to them....

....except for one boy, about 7, blond, tousle-haired, glasses, blue eyes in a round, curious, serious face.

Consider Ralphie in "A Christmas Story" and you might come near to what I dreamt.

As we moved to an open amphitheater to be observed by parents and family members I challenged the children to one of the simplest theater games - "mirrors".

If you've not played it it has one goal - to make two people move as one solely by observation and a willingness to let go and trust someone else to lead. Stand about arm's length apart with one person designated as "control" and the other as "follower". Start with one hand, then an arm, adding more of the body as the partners observe and imitate - just like looking in a mirror.

The point of the game is not to "win". The point is to play the game well. You shouldn't tell who is in control and you can switch as you go along.

I love it.

And this young boy was the only one to volunteer to play.  He was good. He followed me through basic moves and then through moving the whole body, on one leg, then the other, down on all fours, crawling, waving. Then I gave control over to him and we moved in delightful, unusual, funny patterns and the amphitheater fell away.

We moved close to each other and I could feel his back against mine as we lay on our sides in the warm sun. I suddenly realized that we had backed into a corner, putting ourselves in a position where we couldn't see each other to initiate the next move.

"Extend your free arm upward and I'll move you out" I whispered.

My arm rose as I felt him against my back ....

..... and I realized that I was reaching for the ceiling of my apartment, my back against a pillow where I'd felt him the moment before.

My walk up the mountain lasted until the music in my head wasn't coming from The Golem. There was a tango, a milonga, thoughts about a possible film score, a waltz ...... and the sound of the mountain, the quiet rumble that I can hear even more clearly as the rest of Nature sleeps.

I played the game of Mirrors as long as I could until it had to break to continue - if that makes any sense.

For better or ill you have to stop a game sometimes to reset and begin again. I don't think there is any "good' or "bad" or "win" or "lose" - there is just "doing it well" and then moving on to the next thing.

Very curious to hear what happens next.

Portland, Maine