The Earth, Our Sustenance

The Earth, Our Sustenance is a magnum opus, in which my experiences with intentional community, non-ordinary states of consciousness, storytelling craft, and youth education intersect.  I am seeking venture capital to focus my time on developing a treatment of this story which would include recorded scratch versions of the songs, commissioned conceptual sketches, and a script.  What follows is a description of the project, generated for a grant proposal in 2015.

Humanity, and its relationship with life on Earth and the planet itself, is at an epochal turning point.  The uniqueness of our day-in-age is beyond dispute.  More people than ever are competing for rapidly dwindling natural resources, massive environmental catastrophes like Chernobyl and the Gulf oil spill are contaminating multiple ecosystems, and a century of fossil fuel use is resulting in widespread climate change, devastating ancient living communities.   Human existence, preoccupied with starvation, warfare, and economic disparity, has shown little ability to address these crises.  How may we undergo the deep collective introspection and transformation necessary to survive?The Earth, Our Sustenance (TEOS) is a musical story that arises as the collective voice of the many nonviolent global citizens, children of the world, and the Earth itself.  Unrepresented in the decision-making of ultra-powerful governments and multinational corporations, we are nonetheless working unseen in local communities throughout the globe to usher in a new era of resource conservation, low-and appropriate-technologies, eco-agriculture, and most importantly, peaceful and egalitarian human interactions.  Alternative community leaders are engaged in a constant search for new and effective means of transmitting these discoveries to the mainstream populace.  TEOS is one cutting-edge result of this search.

TEOS personifies the Mother Earth, an intensely passionate, utterly accessible goddess rendered in fantastic, divine proportions.  Her belly, swollen with the final stages of pregnancy, is the planet Earth itself.  Scars, blemishes, and bruises symbolize the abuse she has historically received.  Her nest is soiled.  The Future is about to be born.  And she is livid with rage, directed at humanity.

Four adolescent protagonists, each having endured suffering and separation in their upbringings, are fated to stumble upon a magical sphere, dislodged by a minor earthquake in a lava cave they are exploring.  Staring into this sphere, it is they who receive the brunt of the Mother Earth’s outburst, expressed in the sometimes anguishing, sometimes guttural, accusative song, “The Reluctant Sacrifice.”  She challenges the youth to discover the source of humanity’s aberration and to aid people in changing their ways, before it is too late.  The song’s ending hints at her backup plan—eugenics researchers and direct action eco-terrorists are unwitting pawns in a series of events already underway.  The Mother Earth is prepared to wipe out humanity so that the life embedded in her womb has a chance of a healthy birth.

The magical sphere, its origin having not yet been revealed, offers the youth capricious assistance in their quest.  When their need is great and pure, the device not only opens windows into other places and times, it actually delivers them there. Through use of this time-travel technique, the child protagonists directly experience such events as the beginning of the universe, the conception of life on Earth, the first people, the first violent act, and dystopian and utopian futures.

TEOS is about responsibility, choice, and our true nature.  The narrative grew out of eight years of imaginative role-playing with children in a communal setting in a game called Dimensions and Dragons.  The plot revolves around the Seed of Life, an alluring juggling manipulative that resembles the DNA strand.  This Seed serves as the center of jealous rivalry, foolish tinkering, parental love, and baffling mystery among the divine and mortal characters.  Though waylaid at the cyberpunk Image Nation Bar & Grill, and misled by the continuous meddling of the Trickster (in ever-changing guises), the Divine Dualistic Goddesses, and the Mother Earth, the children steadily broaden their understandings, deepen their bonds, and gain allies as the story progresses back-and-forth through the eras.  Through tragic mistakes born of selfishness and bickering, they discover that it is not as individuals but only as a group that they will ultimately exert influence upon evolution and shape future events.