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  • I’ve tried to understand this new version of Cowbird for two weeks and to understand the way this hybrid animal seems to be going.

    Sorry to say, but I am quite lost in it. First ten months of Cowbird were for me a calling campfire in the middle of dark woods. And people gathered around that campfire to tell their exciting stories. It was very intimate place and I liked very much the idea of intimacy and a story circle around campfire. Simple and beautiful.

    This new version reminds me more about my son’s closet. My son’s closet is filled with miscellaneous, colourful paraphernalia of odd objects: clam shells, lonely puzzle pieces, stones and shards of glass etc. and it’s very difficult to find anything in it.

    Stories and storytellers are now more or less lost behind multipage picture cavalcades and that (to my eyes) very restless salon view. Aesthetics is a personal thing, I know, but for me the previous Cowbird had some ultimate beauty in its design that this new one hasn’t achieved.

    Somehow this new athmosphere brings to my mind many joyous dinners between friends. As long as we have sat gathered around the table and eaten well and concentrated in telling stories the evening has been perfect. But oh woe the moment that host of the evening starts to show his countless photos or diapositives to guests. Most of guests get very sleepy after a while. In the same way simple, genius storytelling is in increasing danger of drowning in new Cowbird under exponentially increasing number of multipage pictures and Power Point –style presentations. It’s more exhausting to read just one story nowadays, you have to click and click and click and click with your mouse much more than before. With same amount of clicks you could previously read ten good stories.

    I remember one great audio story of Jonathan Harris about his teacher. Teacher told Jonathan that a great story gets a listener to say “vow”. Not a “vow!!” with listener leaning backwards mouth open with admiration of all the pyrotechnics and visual gimmicks and explosions on the screen. But a silent “vow” with listener leaning closer to the storyteller and wanting to here more.

    This new version of Cowbird is for me looking too much for “vow!!” effects in its design and special features. Silent “vow” of stories is hidden much deeper than before, it's much more difficult to reach. It’s more visual fireworks now than campfire. I’m certain that this new version suits perfectly to some. For me, not so much. I am a writer by heart, and an author by profession. Campfire was a refreshing place for me to stop by for interesting, moving, funny, tragic, intimate stories between writing my own larger works: novels, plays and opera librettos. I wasn’t looking for “vows!!!” but “vows”.

    It’s little like autumn leaves. They have lots of colours whirling randomly and loosely around in the wind. They are beautiful and impressive and even hypnotic to watch. But the real sap of storytelling runs in that wrinkled leaveless tree trunk beside, roots deep in ground.

    So, I think I tell my stories somewhere else from now onwards. I don’t like to feel continually frustrated and lost in a place where I previously felt just pure enjoyment and closeness with friends around a campfire. My e-mail address is jari.jarvela@kymp.net , if somebody will like to keep in touch.

    Maybe I could have just silently disappeared from here, but I think it’s only fair that I try to explain arguments behind my decision because I have many readers here. Readers and friends.

    Farewell, my lovelies, until we meet again. Thank you that I could share the beautiful campfire with you. It warmed my heart and my soul.

    Keep on storytelling. And greetings from Finland.
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