The Man Who Was Thursday

Since November I've been dying to write about a project I've had the good luck to be a part of – John Herman's The Man Who Was Thursday. It's a band – made up of 25 people from all over the world who have never met, don't know each other's identities, and do all of their collaborative composing via the Internet. The membership was, until today, secret. Even now I don't know who the others are — only that I got a note from John tonight saying the public part of the project was beginning and it was okay to start talking.

Every couple of weeks I'd get an assignment – write a poem, write some prose on recent or ancient dreams, record two tracks on the instruments of my choice, record a non-verbal vocal track, or "compose two tracks to compliment the attached song. The song consists of three dominant themes, but your tracks can only touch two of the three themes." You get the idea.

We had seven days to complete each assignment. Beyond the challenge of the writing, the composition, learning the parts and performing them, there were also technical recording challenges, including getting the files from MP3 to wav, from my email to my Fostex, recording the large master file for the tracks and creating a rough MP3 mix down of all the tracks and sending them back – the small file via email and the large master tracks via YouSendIt.

And of course, the biggest trick of all is that all this needed to get done after the kids were in bed, or Saturday afternoons during naps – or in one case, while the Christmas Eve ham was cooking and Kris was visiting with her mom in the next room. (Kris has been quite patient!)

No wonder I haven't gotten any fiction writing done since November!

The result will be unveiled soon – I can't wait to hear how John and his engineers pull the whole thing together, can't wait to see the names and bios of the collaborators. The first song will be released on the band Web site tomorrow. John will be adding a song a day for the following week and then officially unveiling the whole thing on Jan. 12.

I'll write more as the time approaches…

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