ODIN AND THOR BATTLE THE FROST GIANTS on July 14th in Concord, NH–Odds Bodkin Live

ODIN AND THOR BATTLE THE FROST GIANTS on July 14 in Concord, NH

–Odds Bodkin Live

 

Odds Bodkin comes to Concord, NH for his summer storytelling concert this July 14th at 5-7:30 pm in Concord Community Music School’s recital hall.  An adult performance safe for kids 12 and over.

Bodkin’s storytelling concert features two long Viking myths and little-known lore. His character voices, vocal effects and live music on 12-string guitars and Celtic harp infuse the tales with dramatic energy. Tickets are $35 and available online.

Thor’s Journey to Utgard and The Mead of Poetry are the featured tales, along with a fascinating introduction to Norse mythology and the Viking Age. All while Odds plays his instruments.

“a consummate storyteller”–The New York Times

“a modern-day Orpheus”–Billboard

 

 

Tickets $35

 

TAKE YOUR VACATION WITH ODDS BODKIN AUDIO TALES

TAKE YOUR VACATION WITH ODDS BODKIN AUDIO TALES

 28 HOURS OF AMAZING STORYTELLING

Odds Bodkin tells stories with character voices, live music, humor and lots of love. If you want to enrich and entertain your kids while building their imaginations and ethics, here’s a great gift idea: the MASTER DRIVE.

Buy it, plug the USB in and scroll through the 22 age-coded albums. Load the appropriate titles onto your kids’ devices and watch them grow quiet, deep in a world of fascination.

“a consummate storyteller”–The New York Times

THE ALBUMS

 

– The Odyssey: An Epic Telling (4 hrs)

– The Teacup Fairy: Very Old Tales for Very Young Children (43 mins)

– The Evergreens: Gentle Tales of Nature (40 mins)

– With Twinkle in your Eye: Funny Folktales from Everywhere (43 mins)

– Rip Roarin’ Paul Bunyan Tales (44 mins)

– The Winter Cherries: Holiday Tales from Around the World (1 hr 6 mins)               

– The Blossom Tree: Tales from the Far East (56 mins)

– The Wise Little Girl: Tales of Strong, Smart Girls (47 mins)

– Giant’s Cauldron: Viking Myths of Adventure (1 hr 7 mins)

– Stories of Love (1 hr 4 mins)

– Dark Tales of the Supernatural (1 hr 48 mins)

– Voyage of the Waistgold (Ages 18+) (2 hrs 44 mins)

– The Rage of Hercules (1 hr 40 mins)

– The Old Man Speaks: A White Mountains History (1 hr 11 mins)

– The Adventures of Little Proto (52 mins)

– Little Proto’s T-Rex Adventure (1 hr 13 mins)

– Little Proto and the Volcano’s Fire (1 hr 13 mins)

– Earthstone: The Eco-Musical (2 hrs)

– The Hidden Grail: Sir Percival and the Fisher King (1.5 hrs)

– David and Goliath: The Harper and the King (1 hr)

– Beowulf: The Only One (Live at Grendel’s Den) (1 hr 21 mins)

– Odin and Thor Battle the Frost Giants (Live at Grendel’s Den) (80 mins)

 

The Iliad: Book I (50-minute video)

 

Original Musical Compositions on Acoustic Instruments and Kurzweil synthesizer:

Rapunzel’s Window

At Beauty’s Door

Black Irish

Soft-Hearted Men in the Good Old USA

Little Paws

Christmas Morning

The Great Irish Elk

 

ORDER NOW

 

THE TWENTY-SEVEN WIVES OF THE MOON, A HINDU STORY FOR THE ECLIPSE

Since we have an eclipse coming up on April 8th, here’s a Hindu Moon story.

BACKGROUND

The 12 Houses in the Western Zodiac, like Aquarius, Pisces, Virgo and Leo, are named after the fanciful outlines of star constellations visible from the perspective of Earth.

However, in the East, in the Asian, South Asian and Islamic worlds, for thousands of years, these “asterisms” or star clusters have been observed differently, and are more numerous. There are twenty-seven of them, called Lunar Mansions, one for every day of the Lunar Month, and observing the moon pass these backdrop star clusters is an ancient practice. Many moon stories feature these observations. Here’s one from India.

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THE TWENTY-SEVEN WIVES OF THE MOON

A Hindu Sacred Story

Retold by Odds Bodkin

 

Lord Duksha, a Hindu god with the head of an ibex and a very fat body, had sixty-two daughters and loved every one of them. All were quite beautiful, because unlike Duksha, they had ordinary heads.

One day Soma, the Moon, who was very handsome, strolled into Duksha’s palace, bowed low, and said: “Lord Duksha, I wish to be married.”

Ah, thought Duksha, he wishes to marry one of my daughters. “Which one do you love?” he asked.

Soma slid his toe across the floor. “It’s not exactly like that, Lord Duksha. I wish to marry twenty-seven of them.”

Taken aback, Duksha replied, “Soma, that is far too many wives!”

Soma blazed with moonlight. “Not for me. I promise to pay equal attention to all of them. I will be a good husband. Every night, on my journeys across the stars, I pass all of them in their star cluster bodies. Forgive me, Ducksha, but I am hopelessly in love with all of them. I need every one.”

“That’s a lot of wives to keep happy,” Duksha replied dubiously.

“I am up to the task.”

Duksha sat back. Could this god do this? “I will give you the benefit of the doubt. Which ones do you fancy?”

“Well, Rohini, Hasta, Revati, Ashwini and, well, all these others.”

Soma handed Duksha a list, which raised the king’s eyebrows. After reading the names, he said, “Well, you have chosen wisely. All are beautiful and kind. As long as you promise to treat them all equally, I agree.”

Soma bowed low to Duksha. The king informed his daughters, who were delighted to be married to Soma, and a very large wedding was held. Surrounded by his wives, Soma enjoyed the festivities.

They all went back to live in his Day Palace, which he left each dusk to ride past them as they took their places in the starry heavens.

For a while he kept his word and paid attention to all of them equally. But there was one, Rohini, who was so beautiful and magnetic that even while he was with one of her sisters, he kept thinking about her. As time passed, he spent more and more time with Rohini, and less and less time with the other twenty-six. Even Rohini noticed and said, “You’re neglecting my sisters, Soma.”

“Am I?” Soma asked dreamily.

“You are. I love you, but they love you, too. I see it in their eyes. They’re angry with me. You should be fair to them.”

But Soma paid no attention and just as Rohini warned, soon her sisters, who’d noticed one by one their husband’s absences, began to talk among themselves.

“How long has it been since Soma spoke to you?” one would ask.

“Months.”

“What about you?”

“Months.”

“I don’t like it. I feel rejected.”

“He’s always with Rohini, have you noticed?”

“Of course.”

Soon all twenty-six realized Soma hadn’t spent time with any of them at all, except for Rohini. They became very jealous and dissatisfied.

Not long afterwards, Duksha had just taken his throne when in stormed his twenty-six disgruntled daughters. They explained what was going on and Duksha grew furious. “Not in months?” he asked.

“Months, father.”

“So,” fumed Duksha, “this Moon God thinks he can get away with this? No! He has broken his word to me to treat you all equally.” He stood, summoning his powerful dark mantras. “Soma the Moon,” he began, “You will never have children! In fact, I curse you to wither away and die!”

Thinking that was a bit extreme, the daughters asked him to go easier on their husband, but there was nothing they could do. Their father was angry, and once he was angry, that was it.

The next dusk, as Soma’s ten white horses champed at the bit, ready to gallop up into the sunset, he didn’t quite feel himself. Thinking not much of it, he made his nightly journey, bathing the earth below in silver light. “What is wrong with me?” he wondered at dawn as he tied up his horses. The following night, he felt even weaker. Gazing down at himself, he realized he’d lost weight. By two weeks later, there was hardly anything left of him, but he had no choice but to ride his chariot each night. No longer was he round and full, however. The light that poured from him became dimmer and dimmer. He’d begun to disappear. People on Earth were terrified.

But Duksha’s curse was powerful. Soon, Soma knew, if this kept up, he would die. The Moon would be gone forever.

Now, Shiva, a god infinitely more powerful than Soma or Duksha, was sitting on his bull when Soma staggered up to him.

“Lord Shiva!”

“Soma. A little skinny, aren’t we?”

“Duksha has cursed me to wither and die.”

“What did you do to anger the old man?”

“I didn’t pay attention to twenty-six of my wives.”

“I have but one. Parvati is one of Duksha’s daughters, too. She’s plenty for me. She scares me.”

“Please, I beg you, Lord Shiva, help me. I will honor you forever. I think only you can save me.”

Shiva sat back and considered. Although very little in the universe intimidated him, he wondered what would happen if twenty-seven of Parvati’s sisters were left without a husband, even if he wasn’t a very good one. No Moon? What would that be like?

“I cannot completely undo Duksha’s curse,” he lied, since he could, of course, but Soma didn’t deserve a full pardon for his neglectful promise-breaking. “However, I can save your life. Each month, following his curse, you will waste away, but just as you are about to die, drink this.” He handed Soma a gourd full of an elixir. “And you will be restored to your full size and be given another month.”

Just a wisp of his former self now, Soma drank down the liquid and was delighted to feel his strength return, along with his roundness. He blazed with full moonlight and felt much better. “Shiva, I will worship you forever.”

“See that you do.”

That night Soma blazed across the night sky, making the world below silver again.

Ever since, the Moon has waned, but then grown full. The elixir the gods drink is called Soma. And Shiva is often pictured with a crescent moon in his hair.

My Love Affair with Telling THE ODYSSEY

My Love Affair with Telling THE ODYSSEY

“I can tell the whole thing,” I lied rather boldly, and a week later, I got the job. Strange but true. The only problem was, I had to deliver a 3-hour storyteller’s version of Homer’s epic in 90 days. At a school in Vermont.

Another problem was, I didn’t yet know the story. And so I read the Fitzgerald translation and wrote down all my favorite characters and scenes.

Suffice it to say that here, decades later, I’ve performed this story with my 12-string guitar at least a thousand times, if not more. Festivals. Universities. Private and public schools. Across America and abroad. And I still love it.

I love playing the haunting score I created so long ago.  I love doing the voice of Odysseus, wishing I were a guy like him. I love becoming the giant cannibal Cyclops, relieved that I’m not a guy like him. I love entering the visual dream of this tale, one that is always a little different each time I go inside and peer around my version of an ancient world.

It’s a curious alchemy of music and the narrative muse.

You can witness this alchemy live. My performance is coming up:

Sunday March 10

Doors open at 5 pm

Grendel’s Den, Harvard Square

 

Odds Bodkin

THE ODYSSEY: Belly of the Beast

A full evening’s entertainment.

Tickets: $35

 

I LOVE THIS STORY. SOON I’LL TELL IT.

I LOVE THIS STORY. SOON I’LL TELL IT.

Which story is this?

Well, it’s a challenging one.

It’s my storyteller’s version of Beowulf, the old Viking story about a hero who kills a monster who can’t be killed. Spears and blades don’t work against the towering beast, Grendel, a beast who can sweep strong fighters away like tiny birds. And who takes them home to his cave to eat them afterwards.

Horrible, I know. Yet this ancient tale has fascinated generations. I admit, it fascinates me as well, and I’m looking forward to performing it again. Why would I spend years perfecting an old Viking story? Years developing character voices and a lush, compelling 12-string guitar score? At first glance there’s not much to it: big strong guy who’s braver than everyone else kills monster and becomes legendary hero. There are dozens of such stories. But in a careful reading long ago I found a reason beyond those outer trappings for Beowulf to journey to the Mark of the Danes–Denmark in modern parlance–to help old King Hrothgar.  A reason beyond a simple lust for glory and riches. Although Beowulf is brave and craves renown, in my version, it is gratitude that drives him. It turns out that as a boy, Beowulf sailed to Denmark with his father, who had killed a Wylfing warrior. As it often was in those ancient clan times, the Wylfings had put a blood price on his father’s head. Sounds like John Wick, I know.

Pay us, said the Wylfings, and we won’t hunt down and kill Edgtheo. Or pay others to do it. A common thane like Beowulf’s father could never pay so much gold, and so he’d sailed to ask King Hrothgar–the richest man along the Baltic–to help him. Generously the Danish king paid the blood price for his father and in so doing saved his life.

The little boy, Beowulf, never forgot it.

And so here, years later, Beowulf is willing to die for old Hrothgar by killing his Grendel beast, who for twelve years has decimated the Danes.

This heartfelt detail is in the original text, although usually not brought to the forefront. To my way of thinking, it humanizes an otherwise dark warrior tale while still honoring the original epic narrative.

I’ll be telling Beowulf: The Only One on Sunday, February 4th at Grendel’s Den on Harvard Square in Cambridge, MA. Doors open at 5 pm. You can drink, eat Viking food, and then sit back for this feature-length evening of adult storytelling. Tickets are $35.

BEOWULF: THE ONLY ONE

Sunday, Feb. 4 at 5 pm

Grendel’s Den, Cambridge MA

Tickets: $35

 

 

Introducing THE ROWAN CANTICLES: Odds Bodkin has Created a New Epic

Dear storytelling aficionado,

If you’ve enjoyed my spoken-word storytellings over the years, thank you. Here’s something quite different: an immense and challenging literary work. Rhymes. Archiac words. Convoluted metaphors. In other words, literary fun that runs for 13,000 rhyming lines.

It’s THE ROWAN CANTICLES: A Tale Told in the Ancient Manner.

And you can listen to it as well. Each week I’ll be posting a new Canto (think chapter) on Substack, both in text and audio. I’ll be reading the epic myself using numerous character voices and adding background music. The Cantos run from 3 to 10 minutes long.

If you’re ready to dive in and want to start from the beginning, start with Canto I.

And to help you digest any rare or archaic words I’ve used in the text,  you’ll also find a glossary that tracks the story, right on each Canto page.

Lastly, for anyone who enjoys puzzles, I’ve woven in no few word games. As those Cantos appear, I’ll issue those challenges.

Thanks for considering visiting me once a week! Your comments are always welcome.

May the Muse be with you,

 

ODDS BODKIN

A Storyteller’s Guide to Accessing the Muse

A STORYTELLER’S GUIDE TO ACCESSING THE MUSE

As a professional storyteller, in the past I’ve told stories that last four hours. Often, after long story performances, people ask me, “How did you memorize all that?” My answer is always the same: “I don’t memorize anything. I work with my Muse.”

All right, you might ask, what is the Muse?

Our familiar words “music”, “museum” and “amusement” derive from it. It goes back to an Ancient Greek word that described the Nine Muses, the inspirational goddesses of literature, science, and the arts in Greek mythology.

“Inspiration” means “to breathe in.” And that’s exactly what the Ancient Greeks thought happened when an artist, let’s say a storyteller like Homer long ago, started to perform one of his long tales. Homer would call upon the Muse named Calliope. Her name means “beautiful voice”, and she was the Muse of Eloquence. According to the belief, she would appear invisibly behind the storyteller and breathe ideas into his head as he spoke.

But before starting off, he would ask for her help. He would “invoke the Muse.”

The first line of Homer’s The Iliad reads:

“Anger be now your song, immortal one,
Akhilleus’ anger, doomed and ruinous,
that caused the Akhaians loss on bitter loss
and crowded brave souls into the undergloom,
leaving so many dead men…”

Homer is about to “sing” a very long story about how Achilles, the greatest warrior at Troy, became furious with the Lord High Marshall, Agamemnon, for daring to take Achilles’ girl. Homer is also about to pluck a lyre while he’s singing his story. He’s what the Greeks called A Singer of Tales. He and others like him were the cinema of the day around 700 BC. There wasn’t much else in the Bronze Age.

But notice that Homer isn’t saying, “I am now beginning my poem.” Actually, he’s surrendering responsibility for his act to “the immortal one”–to Calliope, instead becoming her vessel. As he begins the daunting task of performing a poem over 15,000 lines long, he’s asking for the Muse’s inspiration.

According to the myths, Calliope was the daughter of Mnemosyne, the Titan of Memory, and Zeus, the King of the Gods. Quite the pedigree in those times.

Homer invokes her again when he begins The Odyssey:

“Sing in me, Muse, and through me tell the story
of that man skilled in all ways of contending,
the wanderer, harried for years on end,
after he plundered the stronghold
on the proud height of Troy.”

Centuries later, when John Milton, the English poet born in London in 1608, wrote Paradise Lost, he invoked the Muse, too. However, since the Greek gods were long gone and he was a Christian, he invoked the Holy Spirit, not a goddess, for help:

 

“I thence

 Invoke thy aid to my adventurous song,

 That with no middle flight intends to soar

 Above the Aonian mount, while it pursues

Things unattempted yet in prose or rhyme.”

 

He was trying to outdo the “Aonian mount,” otherwise known as the mountain home of the Greek Muses, of which he was quite jealous, it appears. “Hey, you oldsters ain’t got nuthin’ on this blind Brit.”

Humor aside, what does all this have to do with you accessing your Muse? Here, in modern times? To learn to tell stories in your own words, direct from your imagination? I think we can add imagination to the long list of what the Muse is. Buried inside the word “imagination” is the word “image.”  Since imagining is the summoning of mental images, let’s say that your Muse begins to work when you consciously create mental images.

I’ll explore with you my method for developing clear, living mental imagery in later blogs.

Countless times I’ve stood backstage in the semi-darkness with my 12-string guitar, walking around behind the drawn curtain, tuning and playing musical motifs I’ll use in the story. Beyond the curtain, the low roar of the audience tells me it’s almost time to step out there, sit in my chair with my microphones ready, and begin. Since I stole this trick from Homer and Milton and many others, I invoke my Muse. “Oh Muse,” I’ll say aloud, “please come to me tonight. I’m just a tiny human being and all these nice people are waiting. Please help me.”

Now you don’t have to believe in the Muse to be inspired by it. In modern language, some might call it the unconscious mind, or human creativity, or the soul, or the Holy Spirit, or simply imagination. Whatever you’d like to call it, I perform this simple ritual anyway to make myself feel better.

And usually, it works. The imagery pours into my mind and I step into a movie I can see, hear, smell and touch. After that, the words begin to flow.

More to follow.

May the Muse be with you.

 

–Odds Bodkin

You can find my stories at my online download shop.

Early Influences of Creator of Epic Rap Battles of History

How Did EpicLLOYD, Creator of Epic Rap Battles of History on YouTube, Take Inspiration from Storyteller Odds Bodkin?

49 million views. 141 million views. 60 million views. Epic Rap Battles of History—irreverent short videos of historic figures dissing each other in character—features a talented chameleon voice artist, musician and creator named EpicLLOYD. He’s based in Los Angeles, but he grew up in New Hampshire. As a kid, his mother took him to Odds Bodkin shows and bought him Odds’ classic recordings.

Lloyd was never the same once he listened to Odds and discovered that one person can embody a universe of characters.

“I’ve been captivated by the wondrous talents of Odds Bodkin since I was a child. His ability to bring vibrant characters to life with his many voices and simultaneously weave them together with spellbinding music and storytelling is a true gift. A gift that he was blessed with, yes, but more so, a gift for all those he shares those talents with. Thanks for all of the inspiration and wonder, Odds, your work will certainly always serve as some of the earliest seeds to any character work I’ve ever brought to life myself.”  – EpicLLOYD, Epic Rap Battles of History

Share with your family the same Odds Bodkin stories Lloyd grew up with. They’re timeless entertainment. And now, they’re downloadable. Who knows who you’ll inspire?

EpicLLOYD recently listened to Odds’ latest audio epic, Voyage of the Waistgold, and wrote back, “I am now a Waistgold fan!” If you’re an adventurous adult, you’ll become one too.

Visit Odds’ Shop and explore the many offerings, new and old. Stories for kids and adults, all with age recommendations.

Late Arrivals – A Recollection of a Past Memory

Late Arrivals – A Recollection of a Past Memory

A gentle misting rain fell through the dark as Tom and I followed the crowd through the abandoned ticketing gates. Swept up in this river of people, we had just walked twelve miles through a long serpentine traffic jam to get here, having left our Greyhound bus far behind. The driver said, “All right. Everybody out. Can’t go any further.” And it was true. That day, the road up the rolling hills was packed with cars as far as the eye could see. We stepped down into throngs of walkers, envying the college students lucky enough to be perched on the tailgates of station wagons, guzzling pink Bali Hai wine. There were beautiful girls and dudes with long hair. Pot smoke was everywhere, a strange, alien aroma that smelled of illegality to a young kid like me. As Jimi Hendrix and Grace Slick wailed from the car radios, Tom and I left the bus and started walking.

Gray-haired local ladies at tables waited along the roadside, handing out free lemonade to us. Everybody was grateful; it was a hot day. Other than the hippies’ little kids, who we saw later in the treehouse groves, Tom and I were the youngest people there: two sixteen-year-old boys with backpacks filled with Pop Tarts our moms had packed. Along with sleeping bags, soap, and a few bucks to spend from our after-school jobs, Tommy Burke and I had ridden from Arlington, VA to upstate New York that day, and we had just arrived at Woodstock.

We were too young to be there by ourselves, but we were there anyway.

It was Friday, August 15, 1969. About 10 pm. We’d walked for eight hours to get to these gates. Nobody asked for our tickets, because nobody from the festival was there. They’d given up and just opened the gates.

Feeling the mist on my face as I followed the crowd, I became aware of distant music. Tom and I finally crested the ridge and beheld a vast natural bowl, filled with what turned about to be 400,000 people. Far down at the bowl’s bottom, a tiny pink light shone faintly. It took me a moment to realize that it was the giant main stage, so far away it was. Sitar music wafted up clearly. Turned out to be Ravi Shankar, who eventually became one of my musical heroes. Back then I didn’t know who he was, all I knew was that as the breeze surged from below and then waned, his wondrous music grew louder, then softer, then louder again.

The crowed was shrouded in darkness. Only flames flickered here and there from cigarette lighters.

In need of sleep we found a spot beneath a swaying banner in an out of the way spot on the ridge and ate our Pop Tarts, which by now were crushed to fragments. They were tasty anyway, though, but in the morning we knew we’d need to find some real food. In my sleeping bag, I could hear the music still surging. It was a woman’s voice. We talked a little about how amazing it was that we’d both gotten here and that the Woodstock Music and Art Fair was going to be very cool, and then fell asleep.

Nobody knew what this weekend would turn out to be. Least of all our long-suffering parents at home, reading front page news in horror about rain and muddy drug overdoses. They were wishing they hadn’t let us go, they confessed later—at least mine did–and since cellphones didn’t exist in 1969, they wouldn’t hear from us until we called from the bus station, back home in Virginia four days later. “Hey Mom, Dad. I’m back. Can you come pick me up?”

Quite the four days. More in the next episode.

Tom Burke and John Bodkin, circa 1969

 

The Woodstock Teen Chronicles

Odds Bodkin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE OLD MAN SPEAKS: A Storyteller’s History of the White Mountains

$24.95 Download

 

Download Today for Instant Delivery!

Original acoustic music written and performed by Odds Bodkin.

71 minutes

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©2022 Odds Bodkin All Rights Reserved

NEW RELEASE! ODIN AND THOR: Norse Myths Told Live by Odds Bodkin

NEW RELEASE! ODIN AND THOR: Norse Myths Told Live by Odds Bodkin

Get ready for two GIANT Norse myths–a full 80-minute show captured live at Grendel’s Den on Harvard Square–told with stunning music by master storyteller Odds Bodkin. The audience was brilliant that night. They even learned and sang an original song in one of the tales!

THOR’S JOURNEY TO UTGARD and THE MEAD OF POETRY pulse with humor, wickedness, murder and magic. After all, they’re Viking tales. Odds’ character voices for gods and giants leap to life in a bed of 12-string guitar music and vocal sound effects. Two new movies for the mind’s eye.

A great holiday gift for the myth lover in your family! Safe for kids ten and up.

$19.95. Download yours today!

My Lazarus Guitar

My Lazarus Guitar

I own a Ro Ho custom-built jumbo 12-string guitar. Had it almost 35 years. I’ve had plenty of Taylor 12-strings and all have bitten the dust except for one. I’ve had Guilds and Martins, too, but the brand didn’t matter. The huge tension of twelve steel strings on their necks proved too much for all of them. But this old Ron Ho, it’s been through a thousand venues, decades of service, and never once failed me.

So you can imagine how I felt when, after a flight back from Boulder, I discovered that its neck had snapped at the

headstock, even though I’d loosened the strings as always. Frankly, I was devastated and fell into a mild depression. Or at least a guitar depression, if that makes sense. In order to do shows, I had to rely on an Alvarez 12. No fun at all. No resonance, no bass, no crispness. This went on for a while until I said to myself, “I can’t stand this. Bodkin, you’ll never have another guitar like this. Why not try to fix it?”

I took wood glue and watered it down to a runny liquid, and slowly dripped it in between the sharp shattered needles of wood after prying it open a little, letting the waterish glue soak into the injured places for a couple of hours, then I topped it off with thicker glue. Thinking, “Well, this will either work or it won’t,” I tightened three wood clamps onto the neck and head just so and left the poor thing standing there in the kitchen for a few days, dreading the test.

The thing I’d always loved about this guitar was its action—that is, how low the strings sit above the fret board. It had always felt like butter, even at the 12th position. For a 12-string, which is hard enough to bear down on in the playing, that’s heaven. Even a riser made of one thin sheet of paper inserted or removed under the bridge can make a huge difference.

Anyway, the test. That’s when you put on fresh strings, tighten them to pitch and then play, listening for buzzes and intonation problems. It’s nerve-wracking, because if it’s too low, it will buzz somewhere, and if it’s too high, you have to take off all twelve strings and make adjustments, then tighten them all again for another test.

As I put on the strings, I could see the scar on the neck. A thin crack, filled with dark. Still, they say wood glue is tougher than the wood around it, so I strung it and gingerly tuned it to the open E flat I usually play in, expecting the neck to explode off any second. I did all this at arm’s length. 12-string necks experience 400 pounds of tension.

So imagine my relief when it held. It felt and played just the way it always had. Same resonant boom. Same super-low action. It really was as if nothing had happened. Truly, it had come back from the dead. My Lazarus guitar.

This was about ten years ago now, and it still lives