• art,  music

    Make Good Art

    Like everyone else in the world, I have watched, and been delighted by, Neil Gaiman’s commencement speech at Philadelphia’s University of the Arts.  He’s a hero to a lot of writers, including myself, because he’s lived the dream and done it extremely successfully.  He’s a very creative writer, which is what I admire most about him.  Left to my own devices, I tend to write magic realism, so I appreciate a man who can write a novel about the gods that came to America with the immigrants, or another one about a living boy being raised in a graveyard by ghosts.  His work is my kind of inspiration.

    My writing is a nearly constant point of frustration for me, as I am forever in that quest of *finding time*.  I did buy a Gtablet a few months ago to help me write on the train, which has definitely improved the amount of writing that I’m doing, as well as the number of times that I post to this blog.  I am on the train now, riding high above the streets and typing away.  But it doesn’t feel like enough.  I want to write fiction, but I never seem to be able to block out enough time to work with the inspiration.  Work (not a nine to five occupation, at that), keeping the Kid in line and fed and the housework from piling up, planning the wedding, even spinning and knitting and my piano practice – all are constant interruption.  They’re fulfilling, obviously, but I still have the nagging sense that I should be *doing more*.   And I should.  I should be writing every day.  I should write on the good days.  I should write on the bad days.I should be aspiring to make good art.  Every.  Single.  Day.

    High words and very inspiring.

    The other bit from his speech that I really took home with me was how sometimes sharing your art feels like running naked through a field for the entire world to feel.  This is certainly something that I struggle with; sharing my art with others is very difficult.  Posting in this blog is hard enough, despite its tiny readership.  For Gaiman, this feeling nearly promises success.  For me, it makes me spend a full twenty-four hours wondering if I shouldn’t take that blog post down, while I bite my fingernails and worry.  Sometimes I do.  My Mother’s Day post feels like that.  I am never quite sure if I want to be more successful of a writer, because then it means that people will actually read what I write.  Then they’ll judge what I’ve said and maybe change how they feel about me.  This is not a comfortable feeling.  But I think when it’s achieved, then honesty has also been achieved.  An uncomfortable honesty, but isn’t all honesty uncomfortable?  It takes courage, this writing business.  And when it’s honest and it’s courageous, then it begins to be art worth paying attention to.  At least if you’re Neil Gaiman.  I can only aspire.

    Anyway. Some inspirational words. And some beautiful music for a Sunday.

    Ravel’s Bolero

  • amusement,  feminism,  music

    Schumann: First Loss

    In this week of uncertainty, where the impossible keeps happening (I mean, not only is Osama bin Laden assassinated, but Newt Gingrich is actually running for President), I thought I might bring you a little music.

    So, without further ado, here is an 8 year old playing the piece of music that I’m struggling with for my piano lesson this week:

    I think…I’d better get back to practicing. For my own dignity.

  • art,  music,  nature,  new york

    My new love

    For $40, I bought myself a mandolin and have been having a blast.  It’s basically a violin that’s played like a guitar, so the learning curve has been pretty reasonable considering my years of playing the fiddle.

    And for those that don’t take it seriously, the mandolin is, in fact, awesome.  Just not precisely when I play it.  Yet.

    We have another snow storm coming on, which is our fourth in as many weeks.  It’s a very snowy January, even by New York standards.  I admit that I kind of like the perpetual snow, since it’s not something I’ve ever really experienced before.  It seems to provide a reason for the relentless cold, even though I have now reached the “oooh, it’s a nice and warm 30F day today!” part of winter.  This storm is a little strange in that it’s also raining, so we have a perpetual mix of ice and snow and….lightning.  It’s bizarre, but everyone’s at home and I have my mandolin and my wheel to keep me company.  And a pumpkin pie.

    Let it pellet, let it pellet, let it pellet.