Thursday, January 5, 2017

Funny What We Remember

    I wouldn't know how old I would have been exactly.  But I do know my brother Charlie was in elementary school as well because he was old enough to follow directions and so was Colin (to a point).  Maybe I was 8 or 9.  I know my love of theater was already instilled in me and I also loved performing.
    Anyhow, I tell you this my readers because my earliest childhood memory consists of a fall that would have been my first performance of an original stage musical.  To set the scene, my parents had gotten together with family friends who had long since moved out of the area.  They lived on an acre of land that looked like a farm (though they owned non of the animals except two dogs and maybe the chickens.  My parents got together with this family on a yearly basis to pick sweet corn. This particular year Charlie, Colin, and I were playing with the older girl Anna.  I got the idea that we should take our play and try to remember and play it for the adults. I can't remember what exactly the plot of the play/musical was, but i seem to recall that it involved time travel.  And we had fun and the parents enjoyed it.
    Funny what we remember.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Nothing Without Me- Chapter 1: You're Nothing...

Aaron had been left alone with his piano to try and rewrite In The Same Boat, and all because some detective with pretensions to musical theatre greatness had convinced the Oh-So-Brilliant-Director that a rewrite was needed. And Carmen had told Aaron to behave. So while Georgia was off with that good-for-nothing-Bobby doing "rehearsal", he was stuck here, alone, in the room he had claimed as his den. He had overheard some of the chorus members referring to it as his "lair."
He spread out the sheet music on top of the piano; the official "final" copy as well as the notes from when he and Georgia had been working on it. This song had given them no end of trouble when they were working on it, and it seemed that it was rearing its ugly head again. Only this time, he had to face the monster alone.
"Remember," came a sudden drawl, "None'a that there 'Eniah Klinah Trunk Music'."
Aaron jumped and turned around to see a masked man in a cowboy hat lounging against the wall, arms crossed.
"It makes me look bad," the cowboy continued, "Dun ferget, I'm supposed ta be savin' the day here."
"Shut up," Aaron responded, turning back to his music. He didn't need this right now.
"Watch it!" the cowboy threatened, "It'd be in yer best interest to listen ta me right now. Ya need my inspiration."
"You're not real," Aaron said, not looking up.
"I'm as real as yerself!" the cowboy - one Rob Hood, fictional outlaw - retorted, making his way over to piano and pianist.
"I made you up!"
"Git this, Has-Been!" Rob shot back, "Ya wouldn't even be workin' if it weren't fer me!" He smirked, "So ya should be grateful that I'm here ta help you come up with a new song."
Aaron smashed his hands down on the keys and stood up angrily.
"Nope, not that," Rob smirked, "You'll hafta do better."
Aaron picked up a pencil and started to make notes. Anything to distract himself from the very irritating specter currently haunting him.
"Ya know," Rob lolled against the piano, "I gotta thank whoever did my last Leadin' Lady in. Th' one I got now is quite th' catch."
"We both know that!" Aaron snarled, "Georgia's a much better actress than Jessica ever was! Jessica was murdering the part, and she… was…" He trailed off. Partly because he was starting to shout in an empty room, and partly because he knew just how bad that sounded. Everyone knew that he couldn't stand Jessica Cranshaw - especially after what that diva put Georgia through. Except, that wasn't something that he wanted at the forefront of everybody's minds right now.
"Dun' worry, I'll testify to th' fact ya didn't do it," Rob assured him, "That ya couldn't've done it."
"Fat lot of good the testimony of a fictional character'll do me," Aaron muttered.
"Ya dun have the guts ta do it," Rob crowed, "Yer yella. No wonder she left ya back then!"
"I didn't kill Jessica because I was afraid to!" Aaron snapped, "I didn't kill her because murder is against the law! And that has nothing to do with when Georgia left!"
"But ya thought about it," Rob crowed, "Admit it."
Aaron turned away from him, sitting down again. Ignoring Rob again.
"I ain't hearin' plinkin' comin' from that there piano, Piano-Man," Rob spoke up again after a moment, "And ya can't get rid of me. Dunno why you'd want to really." He looked over the sheet music, "If I wasn't here, ya'd still be writin' background… hell, what wouldja call it? Certainly wasn't music."
"It didn't have to be you, you know," Aaron said.
"Oh, I think it had ta be, Piano-Man. You were nothin' on yer own," Rob said, "Ya got me ta thank fer gittin' ya this job!"
"It could've just as easily been a story about people on the moon, you know," Aaron said, "And not at all Robin Hood related."
"Then I woulda had a different name, but I still woulda been here!" the specter shot back, "This is th' thanks I git fer gittin' ya back with her then?" He chuckled, "Without me, a filly like her wouldn' even look at ya twice now!"
"Ha, like you'd know," Aaron growled.
"Need I remind ya of that music ya've been comin' out with on yer own?" Rob chuckled, "Chris was bein' kind with what he called it. I woulda called it a pile of donkey-"
"Enough!" the composer banged his hands down on the keys and glared at his creation.
"Ya needed her, Aaron. An' ta get her, ya needed me."
"Of course I need her!" Aaron said firmly, "Everyone knows that!" He sighed, "Everyone but her."
"I kin see why ya'd want me ta help ya get her back," Rob chuckled, "Such a filly… Wowee!" He grinned at Aaron, "Ya know, I remember when ya first introduced me ta her…"
"This isn't helping me rewrite In The Same Boat," Aaron muttered.
"You were writin' that song for the school teacher, th' one about seein' stuff in the clouds, 'member?" Rob asked, as if Aaron hadn't spoken.
"Yeah I was," Aaron softly started to play the chorus. Georgia had really only sung it once, when they were going through it, but she had always sung it in his imagination. Even when Nikki Harris sang his song during rehearsal, he always meant this song for his wife. As he played it, he could hear Georgia singing. Then, he realized that he really did hear someone singing. He looked up to see Nancy-the-school-teacher standing there, gazing up at the ceiling as if she could see the clouds. When he finished the song, she looked around, confused.
"That was beautiful," Aaron told her.
"Oh!" she gave a startled gasp. A light blush rose in her cheeks when she saw Aaron sitting there, "It's you Mr. Fox."
Aaron rose to his feet and went over to her, "Aaron," he corrected her gently.
"Aaron," she repeated softly, "I'm sorry, I'm not used to speaking so informally, not to a man as sweet as yourself."
"It's alright," he took her hands gently and led her over to the piano, "Please, have a seat."
Rob rolled his eyes behind his mask and then smiled warmly. "Miss Nancy, good ta be seein' ya again. How's about ya take a seat here nexta me an' we'll catch up?" He indicated a chair.
"Oh it's you," Nancy replied flatly, "What are you doing here?"
"Piano-Man's gotta re-write an entire song, an' I'm makin' sure it sounds good enough for us," Rob answered cheerfully.
"Now that I have Nancy to help me, I don't need you here," Aaron said to Rob, "So you can head back to Sherwood."
"Like hell ya 'don't need' me!" Rob growled, "You'll git distracted by her purdy eyes an' ya won't get a thing done."
"You're far more distracting," the composer retorted, "You just make me want to argue with you, and I'll never get anything done."
"You just want Nancy around cuz she reminds ya of -Her-, don'tcha?" Rob grumbled.
"You don't miss much, do you?" Aaron said sarcastically.
"I'm very observant."
"Hey, leave him alone," Nancy protested, "he's trying to work."
"Oh yes," Rob narrowed his eyes, "Must let The Genius work."
"That's right," she agreed.
"Oh puh-lease!" Rob drawled out the word, "We -all- know he wouldn' be here if it weren't fer me!" he turned to Aaron, "Ya mean ta tell me that you'd really rather have -her- instead of me?"
"Of course," Aaron replied.
"She ain't any help!" Rob said, "Her opinion won't help ya at all!"
"I'm not in need of her opinion," Aaron replied, "I just need someone to keep me company!"
"What?" Rob gaped at him. Nancy blinked at him as well, her eyes growing a bit wide, then narrowing slightly.
"It's just a rewrite," the composer said dismissively.
Rob looked back and forth between the school-marm and Aaron and then a not-very nice smile crossed his face and he chuckled.
"Now what?" Aaron growled at the fictional outlaw.
"Ya've really done it now Piano-Man," Rob sat down in a chair, leaning back, grinning at Aaron and tilting his hat back.
"So. The Great Aaron Fox was jus' gonna let me 'Keep him company' was he?" the second figment said, standing up from the piano crossly.
Aaron turned towards her, "Wait a minute, that's not what I meant."
"Then tell me, O Great One," she approached him, "What didja mean? Clearly lil' ol' me didn' quite git it!"
Aaron took a step back as she walked towards him. As she walked, she shimmered a bit. The hemline of her blue gown rose a few inches, and the neckline dropped a few. As she moved, the blue seemed to bleach out of her dress, and a dark red spread all across the fabric, as if being drenched in wine. He had just seen that outfit, Georgia had been trying it on. Miss Marion's costume at the end of the first act.
"What's going on here?" Aaron was more than a little bit unnerved. He was used to seeing phantoms of his imagination, and used to arguing with them, but he'd never had any of them do anything quite this dramatic.
"Ya got'er angry, Piano-Man," Rob crowed gleefully.
"But she's not real. Neither are you," Aaron said desperately.
"Not real?" the woman spat, "I'm as real as YOU are, Mister Fox! An' jus' as capable of comin' up with ideas!"
"Marion," Aaron said softly, "What are you doing here?" Marion had never been his muse, she had been Georgia's.
The saloon keeper glared at Aaron, "Showin' ya that I dun aim on bein' tossed aside!"
"But you're Georgia's creation, not mine," Aaron said, "You should be helping her."
"Yet here she is," Rob muttered, "Imagine that"
"You stay out of this," Aaron snapped at Rob.
"I'm here so she gits -some- say in this supposed re-write. Gawd knows -ya'd take credit fer all it otherwise."
"I want her here helping me!" Aaron exclaimed.
Marion narrowed her eyes, "Oh, so ya'd rather git Fancy Miss Nancy's help then -mine-?"
"I'd be glad of your help," Aaron tried.
"You changed yer tune fast, Mister Fox," she glared at him, crossing her arms, "Sure ain't what ya were hintin' at!"
"Better watch yerself, Piano-Man," Rob put in unhelpfully, "Yer diggin' a hole ya ain't gonna be able ta get out of…"
"Yes, thank you," Aaron muttered. Then he approached Marion, changing his tone a bit. "I do want your help," he said placatingly, "But I didn't think I'd get it. You're a very busy woman, running the saloon all by yourself."
"Headliner too, most nights," she huffed. But she uncrossed her arms.
"I know," Aaron said with a smile, "You're a big star. You… don't have time to waste on… someone like me."
Marion sighed, "What is it you fellas see in her?" she muttered.
"Me or him?" Aaron asked, jerking a thumb back at Rob.
"Both."
"Well, I can only speak for me," Aaron said, "Nancy reminds me of my wife, Georgia."
"Oh," Marion said shortly, "So ya want a meek, mild-mannered, willingly obeying damsel in distress who dotes on everything you say? I kin do that too, ya know!"
Aaron held up his hands in a gesture of surrender, "Hold on a minute…"
Without preamble, Marion took his arm, "My darlin' Mister Fox, ya've got to get to work." She led him over to the piano, "Sit yerself down now. Dontcha worry about a thing besides creatin'." She beamed at him, "I know that yer the best composer in the whole history of the world." She placed a pen in his hand, "Now, can I getcha anything? You'll need ta keep yer strength up."
"Uh…" Aaron said eloquently.
Marion sat down next to him, still clinging to him, "I love ta watch my man work."
"This is," Aaron hesitated, looking down at the woman clinging to his arm, "This is a bit out of character for you, you know."
Marion pushed him away, "Jus' givin' ya what ya wanted!" she shot back.
"That's not quite what I want," Aaron said awkwardly.
"Ya said that ya wanted Fancy Miss Nancy," she snapped, "That ya'd prefer her company over mine!"
"I…" Aaron trailed off uncertainly.
"Watch it there, Piano-Man," Rob made a digging motion.
The composer detached himself from Marion and stood up, trying to get away from the two apparitions, but Rob blocked his way. "She is yer wife too, jus' as much as Miss Nancy is. Maybe more so."
"She's my wife's creation," Aaron corrected automatically.
"Tho if ya dun want her anymore," Rob moved towards Marion, "I'll pick up th' pieces of her broken heart." He took Marion's arm gently.
"Who said I didn't want her?" Aaron almost shouted, darting over and pulling Marion away from Rob. He pulled her into his arms. "I miss you," he whispered.
Marion let him hold her for a moment. She waited for him to close his eyes, and then she yanked away, slapping him.
Aaron's eyes flew opened and he looked stunned, setting a hand on his cheek, "Georgia," he protested automatically, "Please don't be like this."
"I ain't yer ex-wife, Mister Fox!"
Her words hit him harder than her slap had. What was he doing? Since he was without his partner, he had conjured up a replacement. Almost in a daze, he started towards his piano.
Rob moved in his way.
"Move," he snarled.
"Hear me out, Piano-man," Rob said, "I've got an idea fer the song."
"What?" he asked flatly.
"Since they dun like th' ladies singin' it, why not give it ta me?"
"What?" Marion exclaimed, "You want another song?"
"Why not?" Rob grinned cheekily, "Show's off my voice."
"Not ta mention yer huge ego," Marion muttered, rolling her eyes.
"Aww c'mon Miss Marion!" Rob replied. "I know ya'd -love- ta hear me sing another song. 'Specially somethin' as big an' epic as th' Boat number." He struck a pose.
"You just want to impress her," Aaron grumbled, "Just like the real Rob Hood."
"Ya know, that's the first brilliant thing ya've said all night, Piano-Man."
"Ha ha," Aaron answered humorlessly.
Rob stopped posing and turned to Aaron, "What, ya don't believe me?"
"Well, you are a character in my head, so I ought to know what you're thinking," Aaron said, "although, to give credit where credit is due, Bobby Pepper did play a part in your creation."
Rob stopped in his tracks and turned back to Aaron, "Ya think I'm Bobby Pepper?"
"You're Rob Hood," Aaron said, "But you're as much Bobby Pepper as she's Georgia," he indicated Marion, who didn't react much. She was watching Rob curiously, as the outlaw was looking a bit uncomfortable. "Behind that mask, you look like your actor."
"That's what you think," Rob repeated, "Tell me, how many times have I taken off my mask?"
"Not since we started rehearsal," Aaron admitted.
"And you are sure that I look like Bobby Pepper?" he asked again, his hands going to his mask. He slowly untied it and removed it, holding the cloth mask in his hands.
"Of course you d-" Aaron stopped mid sentence, staring. Without the mask, Rob Hood was Alan O'Dell again. Alan was Nancy's true love.
The fictional man gave Aaron a faint grin, "Surprised, piano man?"
"You're not Bobby…" Aaron whispered. It had been so much easier to fight with Rob Hood when he had the face of Aaron's arch rival. But this… he had been fighting with his own reflection. "You're…"
"That's right."
"I…" Aaron closed his eyes, "You're right… I just didn't want to hear it."
Rob started to flicker, as if on a TV set that was losing reception. He held out a hand to Marion, who joined him. Aaron watched the two of them flicker and fade out.
Alone again.
He closed the lid on his piano. They were gone. She was gone. But then again, what else was new? She was always leaving him. He needed her, and she was gone.
"Mr. Fox?" came a soft female voice.
Aaron turned to see Nancy standing next to his piano."I'm sorry I left in such a hurry," she said softly, "Something upset me."
"Probably me," he sighed.
Her eyes widened, "No! You could never-"
"You know I could," he said gently, "You don't have to make excuses for me this time." A faint smile crossed his face, "But, I'm glad that you're back."
"Rob Hood told me that you could use some help," she said shyly.
"I'm pretty hopeless on my own," he agreed.
"Rob is much better at this sort of thing," she said, "but I'll do my best."
"Well, he-" Aaron stopped and sighed, "I haven't been able to come up with anything."
"Chris and the detective are right though," Nancy said, "I never liked In The Same Boat, especially with Jessica in the lead role."
"Maybe we should have Rob sing it after all," Aaron said thoughtfully, "Yes…" he picked up his pencil, "we could have Rob Hood and his men heading up the mighty Colorado river." He gave Nancy a wink," A real He-Man approach this time."
She giggled and blushed at that.
"I think we had it that way in an original draft," the composer paged through his notes. It took him a few minutes to find it, "Ah ha! Here we are."
"Are you going to write an entirely new song?" Nancy asked with interest.
"No," Aaron said, "there's not enough time, and I couldn't do it alone. But I can adjust the existing song."
"It will give Tuck and Lil' John another song as well, then," the school teacher said with a nod.
Aaron nodded absently. He spread blank paper on the piano, clenched his pencil in his teeth and started to work.
"Mr. Fox?" Nancy interrupted shyly.
"Mmm?"
"May I stay and hear you work, Mr. Fox?" Nancy asked, "I do love to hear you play…"
A smile crossed Aaron's face and he spat out the pencil, "I would love it if you would stay," he said, "But under on condition."
"What's that?"
"Call me Aaron. "

Monday, April 28, 2014

A is for: ADD (Writer's Challenge A-Z)

Click. Click. Click.
 I must get this typed out...
Click. Click. Click.  
Gah! My brain is numb!

 I'm alone in my house and at my computer. I'm TRYING to work at my blog but there are so many more things to distract me... I'm TRYING to be Good and stay focused on the task(s) at hand... Wait. Maybe THAT'S it! I'll make a list and one-by-one, get rid of the things that distract:


-I'm Tired
-It's Late
-Dogs Craving Attention
-Cats Craving Attention
-Books Calling to be Read
-Magazines Calling to be Read
-Crayons Calling

First I'll put the books, magazines, and crayons away where they belong....
That leaves:

-I'm Tired
-It's Late
-Dogs Craving Attention
-Cats Craving Attention
-Books Calling to be Read
-Magazines Calling to be Read
-Crayons Calling


Next, I'll let the dogs outside and feed the cats so they all quit their yowling...

-I'm Tired
-It's Late
-Dogs Craving Attention
-Cats Craving Attention
-Books Calling to be Read
-Magazines Calling to be Read
-Crayons Calling

There!  With all distractions taken care of, let's see if I can FINALLY get... *YAAAAAAWN!*
Damn! 
Oh well.....  Guess I'll let the dogs back inside before I FINALLY get to bed...
Night All!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

B is for: Birthday (Writer's Challenge A-Z)

Here I am,  the oldest of three,  turning THIRTY in four days!  Yet I am the LAST one to accomplish ANYTHING!
Tell me, how is this possible?  Where did I go wrong??    After all, I've had a good education because I graduated from HS.  I was given the chance at a collage education like my two brothers, but TOTALLY messed that up!  I'm pretty sure that's where I went wrong.  In fact, I know it is!  I couldn't tell you why I threw away the chance at a BA though...
My brothers however, have accomplished everything they set out to do.  Charlie is now a band director in a HS in a Minneapolis, MN suburb.  Colin is the one whom set his goal to be a theater actor and got to see more of the country in a year then I ever have!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Writer's Wednesdays: March 6th, 2013

So, with the need to create, I've decided to try a few things. Therefore, I've come up with Writer's Wednesdays. Every Wednesday starting today, I will add prompts, story starters, my inspirations, my first-line opening ideas, and various other things regarding my writing. Hopefully, I'll get feedback and continue the story I might have started here. This WW, the Prompt comes from
Write about a possession that holds special meaning for you. The objective of this prompt is to encourage you to use descriptive details in your writing; the reader needs to be able to visualize this object. But you also must write about why this possession is so important to you. Which will force you to expand your writing beyond the descriptive, into the emotional connection. So in writing about this object, you may wind up writing about a particular moment related to the object. Even a full scene. If you don’t have an actual object dear to you, well, then just make it up! Make up something about that chipped old mug you’ve had on your kitchen shelf for ten years!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

At Times Like This A Modern Miss Should Travel That-a-way!

Aaron stopped, his tie hanging around his neck. He hurried over to the bed, sitting down next to his wife. He set a hand lightly on her head, "You don't feel like you have a fever at least," he said, "But did you want anything? Juice? Tea? Aspirin?"

"Tea would be good," she said.

"You've got it," he got up and hurried to the kitchen, tying his tie as he went. It wasn't long before he returned with a hot mug for her. Georgia sat up and thanked him, taking the tea.

"I won't be able to go tonight," she said softly.

Aaron sat next to her, slipping an arm around her shoulders, "well," he said softly, "If you do feel that sick."

She nodded, coughing into her hand.

Aaron looked worried, "Should I call the doctor?"

"I'm not that sick," she assured him, "I just need to get some rest."

"You're sure?" Aaron asked.

Georgia nodded, finishing her tea.

"at least I can make you comfortable," he declared, standing up. Aaron fluffed her pillows and brought over the radio and the latest novel she was reading. Georgia smiled at that, but blinked when he brought over the telephone.

"The show should be over by ten," he said, "I'm not going to the after party, and I'll try as hard as I can to escape the press afterwards."

She opened her mouth to reply, but he shushed her with a kiss. 

"It's opening night," he said, "I have to go, but I'll call you whenever I get a moment."

Georgia sighed softly and lay back down, rolling over. Aaron turned her back to face him, "don't be like that," he said, "they need me."

"I guess you're right," she said softly.

Aaron got his hat and coat and left their home, making his way to the theatre. 

Once her husband was gone, Georgia got out of bed and shed her bathrobe, revealing her clothing underneath. She had been planning for this for some time, she had a suitcase packed and hidden in plain sight - where they always kept their suitcases. Aaron had no reason to lift it, so he didn't realize that it was packed.


Before she left the apartment, she was able to catch Aaron's first phone call. He sounded concerned about her, but she knew that he wouldn't come home, not unless she was dying. 

She removed her wedding ring and placed it on the piano. It was the only way that Aaron would notice it. With one last look around her home, Georgia squared her shoulders and left the building, heading out to the waiting cab. The helpful cabbie loaded her suitcase for her, and they were off to the hotel that her friend had booked for her.


By morning, Georgia would be on her way out of New York entirely. 


Georgia hadn't given Aaron enough credit. He called twice during intermission, and when she didn't answer, he panicked. She had assured him that she was fine, but what if she was lying to make him feel better about leaving? 

He tore out of the theatre and rushed home, cursing traffic the whole way. It was a miracle that he made it home with no damage to the car. One of the bushes that lined the driveway had a broken branch now, but that didn't matter. He flew into the house, taking the stairs upstairs two at a time.

Some how, he managed to control himself before bursting into the bedroom, on the off chance that she was just sleeping. He eased the door open and slipped inside, "Georgia?"

There was no answer. 

He turned the light on and stared at the empty bed. 

A frantic search of the house revealed nothing - she was gone. There was no note. 

He called the theatre to ask if there had been any calls for him, but the switchboard had been silent. 

Aaron yanked open the drawer by the phone and dumped out the contents, trying to find their address book. Georgia always scolded him for not putting it back - she said he wouldn't be able to find it when he wanted it. He thanked God that she had put it away… 

After a few minutes of frantic phone calls, the telephone operator told him that as far as she knew, there hadn't been any phone calls made from their house all night. 

"You're sure?" Aaron asked, sinking onto the piano bench.

"I can check the records if you like, Mr Fox," she said, "But I have been here all night."

"Yes, check the records please," Aaron said. 

While he waited for her, something sparkly caught his eye. He blinked and picked up the diamond ring, and his heart nearly stopped. Georgia's wedding ring. She had been wearing it when he had left… 

"Operator?" he asked

"Yes Mr Fox?"

"I hope that you have some time, I'm going to be making a lot more calls tonight."


Saturday, April 4, 2009

Two Angels

"Twinkle, twinkle little star..."

"Bright heavens child, stop singing that song, I'm trying to work." I glared at the child, perched on the edge of the sky counting the stars bellow.

"Momma always told me angels have no work." She smiled up at me sweetly, as only a child can.

I shook my head at the misconceptions of humans. "Child, all beings work. An angel doesn't seem to work because generally she enjoys work, which makes it more play than work. What, pray, would we do with our time if we had nothing else to do?"

She turned her face down to the starts again. "Why, sing!" She, indeed, did sing her words.

"And what when all songs have been sung?"

"We dance!" She stood and spun, picking the nearest, brightest flower. One I had just planted.

I shook my head. The children were so innocent, so pure. They had nothing to spoil them, nothing to change them. Their souls had not experienced the winter of adulthood. A grin creeped across my face. "And what when all the dances have been danced?"

She looked up at me with earnest. "We play, we laugh, we cry, we enjoy what's before us."

"And what when all the games have been played, all the laughter laughed, all the tears cried, all to be seen and done enjoyed? What do we do then?" I could feel my inner self, my inner soul, dancing, as so often this child made me do.

"We start it over and find the new in the old." She winked at me.

I keep forgetting souls are older than they appear.