In Search of a Title

In Search of a Title 

Though you spend years buried, knowing who you are, but unable to be, still there are leaks along the way, both good and bad, glimpses from above, colors so bright, impossible to ignore, even from below. 

Then something happens, not through the strength you know you have, but will not budge, but something outside yourself, from above, forces beyond your reach, forces that nudge you to be the person you know you are. 

And though the roots have always been strong, it’s branches gnarled, they shed and new ones, unlike any before, spread above and beyond, uncertain of how far, and though this sensation is new, you know it well, for this is who you are. 

And so you begin, lighter than ever before, though heaviness and darkness still prevail, but now are bathed under the fierce light of the sun. And so, you tread carefully, but with confidence, on a thread you were meant to walk, and though balanced, shakes ever so slightly, as its rhythm grows. 

And though you now are the person you’ve always been, you know that was merely a theory before, and stood as shadows do – not far from you, but far enough. But now, you and your shadow are one, your companion, while you walk upon this trail, and learn, things you could never before. 

But this is no easy task. 

Though filled with light, the sun behind you, darkness is still ahead, for light never stands alone, but is the consort of darkness, and this is how you balance the scales. And though the branches are no longer gnarled, and the engines roar, the road ahead is, as always, unknown. 

And so, you follow paths, which must be followed, however dark they may appear, until you reach a room filled with light, and the sun bathes your face, fully knowing who you are, until you don’t, for you never know when the end is near. 


Betty Barkas Hood



Piano Composition by Hood & Gudgalis (1984)

Musical Influences: Vivaldi, Bach, Beethoven 

Art by BB Hood


One day, many years ago, not long before I would give birth to my first child, and then my second, I waited for the man I would later marry, who was editing a film at a studio in Chicago. Had I stayed put, I could have spent that time reading a heavy load of English Literature for my final quarter in college. Instead I wandered through the silent suites of the night and discovered another room. That’s where I remained long after the sun had set, for a period of three weeks, perhaps — alone in a room with a piano. That is where I conceived the theme of Threshold.

I shared that theme with a friend of mine, Judy, who was trained in Classical piano. And so I sat beside her, while she occupied centre stage, and together we inhaled and exhaled, until the piece fully came to life. At that stage, I was nothing more than a mere speculator, another ear, tuned into hers, but perfectly synchronised. The composition developed quickly, and within a couple of months, we recorded at a studio in Chicago. Her condition was that she would only do one take of the score she had stored in head.

The studio had a Yamaha Grand, which she immediately tested, and expressed her displeasure about. The instrument was significantly inferior to the Chickering she had. And I agreed. Later I also discovered there was a technical imperfection, a glitch, and which created much distress for me, especially — you can hear the pedal work. 

Judy has long since been gone, and what I lost when she left was not only a dear friend, but a musical collaborator, whose death I still mourn. 

And so here it is, the door below for all to open, a room to visit, however briefly, and listen to the imperfections of beauty.




I nudge my cardiovascular system by extending my daily journey from the Dark Kitchen Room to The Light Room Of Many Windows and the kitchen and the light room of many windows and…the… It sure is bright in there. There’s a world of difference between them. Both serve a purpose. But really. Who would choose to volunteer for such an experiment? The Study Of Adaptation From The Perspective Of Extremes.
Once I complete the journey, I’m back to my steadfast routine. Sometimes I cook. But mostly, I nurse a mug of espresso and consume lots of cigarettes and swirl ideas above my head. The dark kitchen room is a good way to transition from sleep to wakefulness. It has no light. Not a single window. And some icons covered in spider-webs stuck in a corner. It’s thoroughly dank. However, you never have to fear you’ll wake up blinded down here. It’s impossible.
Along with the diet of dank corners, you get to experience and taste dank thoughts. Who would’ve ever thought you’d end up doing this? I see one hand raised. Great. Thanks for the vote of confidence.
It’s no different than living in a cave – though I have never lived in one. The chief resemblance is the dampness, the darkness, the absence of life. So you finally understand your sole mission and what isn’t. It was not as you had imagined. There were no ballerinas there. There were no canvases filled with brilliant colors. However, music was the nearby thread to the world of Living things. Some of the music was dank. But most of it wasn’t.