Sunday, February 20, 2011

Man must shape his tools lest they shape him. - Arthur Miller

I love this image by Matt Leyen. My friend Alex has spent the past few weeks in Scotland and our conversations often turn to the parallels between composing music and writing. We both approach composition in a similar way; we get an idea, twist it on its head, then see what happens. With longer pieces, we both like to consider the whole, but not too much, at the risk of losing spontaneity. And we spoke of the solitude required, the self-reliance and gentle ego that is essential to create.

We also both need tools. On a chilly evening a few weeks ago, our iMac briefly became a studio, with Matt on the Uilleann bagpipes, Alex on bodhrán, and our friend Melody on melody, and GarageBand - and in about an hour, we had a single. Wow.

The tools is the difficult part for me. As we pack up the house, bit by bit, I've had to let go of the tools that get me through the day - books on technique, Style Guides, Indesign help books, other people's novels that I read to get my head back in the flow of words. Come June and all I'll have is a laptop. It's cathartic to do without.

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