Greetings and a bemused welcome to my first blog post, which I never thought I’d be writing but I’m actually quite excited about. I am generally very reluctant to partake in things that tie me to too much time on the computer, but actually I am really thrilled to have a platform from which to share with you all about what I’m playing, writing, currently excited about or inspired by, and what events are coming up… An excitement I discovered during the crowd-funding of my first album, Lullabies for Grown-Ups, when I occasionally wrote updates for all my lovely contributors… and realised how much I liked having a way to share my musical journey with people. So the theme of my first blog is inspiration, resonance and collaboration, and how they are related, at least to me right now.
This musing has emerged from a collaboration I recently, totally unwittingly, took part in, with the utterly brilliant artist, Francesca Booth. She first approached me at the beginning of a healing retreat I was working at. The friend of a friend, she had already been listening to ‘How Can I Tell You?’ on You Tube and told me that she found the song inspiring her art. During the retreat, she found that each time I played, visions and drawings poured forth, and she excitedly bought the album (or perhaps I should say, I excitedly sold her the album!). She later sent me photos and two original drawings (all depicted here), which were drawn in direct response to the music (see below for her account of this process).
This is surely one of the most touching gifts I’ve ever received (this and the original cover illustration for Lullabies, gifted by another wonderful talent and friend, Diana Walles).
Why do they move me do deeply?
Are these drawings, in a sense, a visual representation of my music? And thus, in some sense, of my heart?! The universal heart communicating through two different channels (me and Francesca), using two different mediums (sound and light), which are really just different sized waves… but the final expression of each is replete with disturbance patterns from the unique channels, like river beds, that they’ve flowed through… And so they are unique, of course, and yet at the same time, so interconnected; reflections of each other; aspects of each other.
So I’m certain these pieces would strike a chord with my even if they were nothing to do with my music… but perhaps this is the point! Do Francesca and I resonate with each other in such a way that the nature of our work is deeply inspiring to each other? My theory is that inspiration is simply resonance… We see ourselves in one another and we’re reminded of our own beauty, although often don’t recognise it as such;
“’Coz the light that you see in my eyes is the mirror light
Shining the light of your beautiful love,
And the beauty I see as you move and you breathe
Is the beauty of life, and it moves within me too…” (Mirror Light, from the album Lullabies for Grown-Ups)
Sometimes when I play Mirror Light I feel fantastically self conscious that it might come across as incredibly arrogant… especially that first line, but that’s why it’s such important medicine for me. It’s important that I can recognise my own beauty in order to recognise the beauty in the world around me, because I am of the world.. In fact I know it is not arrogant at all, it comes from total humility. You and I both are no more, nor less, beautiful than each other or any other being, and yet we are each divinely and uniquely beautiful. What a thing to recognise! If I want you to recognise this in yourself, then surey I need to be abe to recognise it in myself first? What I’m trying to say is that ultimately all we’re ever really seeing is the beauty of the universe – the divine spark in each and every thing – but when we’re inspired, we recognise in something, or someone, else, an expression similar to something within ourselves… we recognise it because we can understand it somehow. The law of resonance means that the similar vibration within us is amplified, so the expression of that vibration is amplified, and we experience a creative surge… we call this inspiration. It is no difference to the resonances that lead us to bond with certain people and not others.
We are frequently inspired by our friends, not just to create art, but in all sorts of unique ways. Something they do makes us feel joyful, it feels right, it makes us want to create or ‘be more like that’… it resonates with our own heart’s natural expression, perhaps reigniting a spark or flame that was dwindling. Perhaps they remind us to dance and sing without inhibition, to show compassion to an adversary, to be either generous or thrifty, to say yes, to say no, to assert boundaries or to give way and yield softly… So many little things every day, reminding us of an aspect of our deep selves; the child self. Reminding us of who we are underneath the distorted patterns of trapped energy that we’ve accumulated along the way… And that’s why inspiration, these amplified vibrations, are able to shift some of this trapped energy, getting it moving again and bringing us into a clearer expression of who we are. That’s why it’s good to spend time with people who inspire you!
Another silly and delightful thought that occurred to me when I received these drawings: in terms of creative energy, my music is a bit like my children – creations that I have birthed and yet cannot really take credit for, or lay claim to, as they really just emerged of their own accord, with goodness knows how many other predecessors and influencers along the way. In that case, Francesca’s drawings are a bit like my grandchildren! All grown-up; born of Francesca of course, but also in some sense, ‘born’ of my music, and born of all the other aspects of the universe that have inspired or affected Francesca along the way… No-one can lay claim to any of it, really… Our collective children all produce their own children, in a great swirling of simultaneous birthing and being born – a constant influx of newborn characters so unique, and yet inescapably the same! New, and yet inevitably recycled! We marvel at their beauty, their independence, their everchanging brilliance… and we in turn are inspired again!
A spiral emerging… curling in ever towards the centre, and careering out, ever towards the infinite unknown.
A word from Francesca (the ultimate review?!):
“My art has been for a long time inspired by the utter perfection of nature. I seek to express this in my art through the intricate patterns which to me exemplify the true essence of harmony. I have wanted to continue this but develop it as well. When I heard your music the divine spoke to me in its truest and most beautiful form, not experienced since examining dragonflies and beetles as a child. Amongst the chaos of nature I felt a deep and beautiful orderliness in your music which expressed perfectly what I have wanted for so long. Your music inspired my new pieces (of which you have the first), of splattering ink on paper and allowing whatever desires to flow freely to do so and then once they have formed a colourful chaos, I use my pen to connect these seemingly disorderly shapes until an image begins to appear. Allowing the creation to come purely from the heart as the mind cannot predestine my pen’s destination. Nothing has made me happier than to be able to properly express to you the sacred effect your music had on my art. I look forward so much to continuing this exchange and I cannot wait to hear any and all new music as I am sure the effect is a lasting one.” Francesca Booth
If you’d like to commission any artwork from Francesca then please email her [email protected]