Lìjiāng Studio, week 4 – 纳 玛

Shān Mù (Miranda) left on Monday morning and internet left on Tuesday and it was quiet around the house all week, with the 4 adults of the Hé family, me, and my empty manuscript.

So I began a habit. I began to compose habitually. It’s not something too great to admit beginning in week 4 on a Residency blog, but I am so sick of only composing for a practical purpose – a commission or a great ensemble or composition call-out for a show. I love composing for those reasons – without musicians (adventurous, trusting, brave, wonderful musicians) my music would just be “fly poo on a page”. But I love composing full-stop. And I am under no illusions that I have a lot to learn, but I find it easy to do. That is, when I have someplace to myself, no-one playing music nearby, no phones ringing, no-one listening if I’m using an instrument, a cup of something hot, a 2B pencil, and a good eraser and pencil sharpener. If I can find all of that, I find composing, writing, easy. But even if I find all of that, I have to sit down and write. And I’m not very good at the sitting down bit, I guess, as a habit. So this week I’ve begun to build it.

Of course, I know writing isn’t habitual for me yet. But I have 4+ more months here, and if I keep it up, it will be by then. To have finally found somewhere with few enough distractions and time enough for me to have actually started doing this at last is a really valuable thing to be able to take home.

On Saturday Shān Mù came home, and Jī Yǔ was home from boarding school and in the evening we celebrated his 16th birthday by playing him happy birthday on old beer bottles, eating his special recipe msg-heavy fried noodles and 8 egg cake, playing cards, and helping him with English homework (his request). It was really lovely.

And I finally got the right tech gear to upload my recordings, films, and photos onto my olde computer. Right now I’m tired, so here’s one photo. I’ll put some more up tomorrow.

Just finished the first draft of my first piece on the first day of my new habit.

Just finished the first draft of my first piece on the first day of my new habit.


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