Saturday, March 15, 2008


Ok so here I am, blogging. This is really just a trial. It’s also a great way to procrastinate when you have a deadline.

Most composers I know have very cunning ways of procrastinating. Cleaning, listening to music, reading something that catches the eye, doing endless loads of laundry, cooking complicated recipes, tidying that drawer that you never open, de-cluttering your closet, emailing, perusing Facebook and various blogs, the list goes on.

I am often asked how I get “inspiration” to write a piece. Generally I have to disappoint people who think that composers live in a dream-world of Wagner cottages with water views, a beautiful grand piano groaning with bits of manuscript paper, and baskets of food delivered to your doorstep. It may be like that at various summer residencies in the US (wish I could go!), but not here.

For me, composing usually takes place late at night, after the children are fed, bathed and put to bed, the laundry is folded and put away, the kitchen is tidy and the lunches are made, a little bit of chocolate is eaten with a cup of tea, the parents have had a conversation or two while watching some inane television show before reclaiming some semblance of “me time” where I won’t be interrupted by someone wanting a piece of me.

Composing is crammed into those few spare hours I have to myself, in solitude, in my hopelessly messy study crammed with books, paper, broken dinosaurs, teething toys, old birthday cards, to-do lists, cables emerging from the computer… Inspiration occurs when I’m doing something around the house or feeding the baby, driving to my next errand, not while I’m looking out of the window at the hills and sky. Then before I know it, there are some dots on the page and gradually over the months it starts to make sense amidst the chaos, hard work, tears of frustration and exhaustion, and all those little deadlines that make up a normal week.

Do I sound resentful? I don’t mean to be. I love being at home with my kids at the moment - well, really, just mostly my beautiful baby Lillian who is 5 months old. Alexander is 4 and now goes to Kindergarten three and a half days a week. In a blink of an eye I have become a mother of two, with a baby and a school run. When did we suddenly become grown-ups?

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