Greetings for the new week. The arts have been in the news again over the last week. In last weekend’s Sydney Morning Herald ‘Spectrum’ (25-26 June 2016) the author Frank Moorhouse writes an open letter to the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbell and Opposition Leader, Bill Shorten (and copied to a range of people including Queen Elizabeth II) in a ‘plea to stop our cultural dumbing down’. (See full article at http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/art-and-design/frank-moorhouses-plea-to-stop-the-cultural-dumbing-down-20160622-gpo8c2.html)
I thought this was a terrific open letter; thoughtful, clever, amusing, heartfelt. It’s worth a read.
Online there is a new website called ‘I stand with the arts’, which you can find at http://www.istandwiththearts.com/ and if you are so moved, sign the petition that calls on the federal government ‘ to support a dynamic, growing and sustainable live performance industry in Australia’.
A recent birthday brought to me a range of wonderful books, one of which is Elizabeth Gilbert’s ‘Big Magic’, sub-titled ‘Creative living beyond fear’ (thank you, Karen!). While Elizabeth Gilbert is best known (or notorious?) for her memoir ‘Eat Pray Love’, I greatly enjoyed her masterful novel ‘The Signature of All Things’, which demonstrated clearly to me what a beautiful writer she is. And I thoroughly enjoyed ‘Big Magic’. This book, on creativity and inspiration, won’t appeal to everyone, but it did to me. What I found particularly interesting is her comment that we create for ourselves; having what we have made impact on anyone else is a secondary, although perhaps desirable, outcome. I had to think about this. Why do I write music, after all? It’s not my day job. It doesn’t reach all that many people. Why do I do it? And the answer is – because I have to. I need to. I love to. When I write music, time stands still; I can forget to eat, to read emails; I can forget whether I’ve been feeling miserable or contented; the music takes over. It can also be a real plod – it’s not as if inspiration flows every time I sit down to write. All creative endeavours are also about turning up to do the work, whether we feel inspired or not. But nonetheless, I still need to do it – it’s part of who I am. And if that’s the case, then yes, I do write music for myself. Of course I would like my music to be heard by others, and ideally touch people’s hearts, but that is a side-benefit to what I need to do for myself. Interesting, really.
What do you think?
And now to this week’s featured music. I’m really going to have to write some more music as I will run out of pieces to play for you each week. Or I will just continue to recycle them. For something different, this week I thought I’d feature a piece from ‘Weaving Water’, music I wrote last year for the play of the same name by my friends Ludmila and Michael Doneman. This is section three, called ‘Flowing’. To read more about this work go to http://www.petawilliams.com.au/music_cd_baby/ and scroll down to ‘Weaving Water’, or direct to CD Baby at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/petawilliams2
I also thought I'd share a photo with you this week. I have just used this photo on the weekly blog for the Lower Mountains Neighbourhood Centre (http://www.lmnc.org.au/blog/being-in-harmony-and-the-right-to-be-old) and thought I would share it with you as well. I took this photo when I was in the New Hampshires, USA, a couple of years ago, in the beautiful grounds of Tanglewood, which is the home of the Boston Symphony during the summer. I love the strength and breadth of this old tree, whose shadows reach out to gently enfold us, yet allows the light to continue to shine through.
Until next time,
PS Scroll down to the bottom of this web page to play the featured music.