Music and art transport me to another place and time. The rhythmic strands of a guitar in the opening stanzas of the passionate melodies from the island of Puerto Rico will transport me to the island in a heartbeat. The song Despacito that has been so popular this summer evokes the beach, laughter, and camaraderie between my family of gringos and my extended Puerto Rican family through the ties we have with our lovely daughter-in-law. The caring for each other’s welfare combined with a love of family, music and an openness which couldn’t help but make me wish I had a bit of Puerto Rican blood in my veins. The music lets me feel for a moment I was part of their rich culture (at least until I tried dancing and let’s just say “sad” describes it perfectly).
Irish songs with pipes and the steady beat of the bodhran brings to mind green fields with blue seas crashing against the dark cliffs along the shore all the while white puffy clouds float over the mountains covered with black-faced Connemara sheep. I tap my feet with the rapid melodies fighting to restrain myself from spinning around the living room to the song (only because of the aforementioned inability to dance–I could hurt someone). Seriously, you don’t want to see the damage I inflicted upon myself and a metal bucket while dancing to LOCASH’s song, Ring on Every Finger.
Visual arts–paintings, sculpture, and photography–have the same effect on me. I see a story in every work of art. At Loche Eske Castle, the sculptures of a woman sitting under a tree reading while three children torment each other a short distance away caught my imagination. My photo of an old church cemetery called out a tale of heartache and loss.
I’m reading A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline based on the Andrew Wyeth painting, Christina’s World. A fictional account of the interactions between Wyeth and his muse, Christina Olson. I googled Wyeth and found myself looking through his painting several of them are alluded to in the book.
Wyeth found beauty in the most austere and everyday items in the Maine home of Alvaro and Christina Olson as described by the following passage from Kline’s novel.
“We are more attuned to the beauty of this old house, with its familiar corners, when Andy is here. More appreciative of the view down the yellow fields to the water, constant and yet ever changing, the black crows on the barn roof, the hawk circling overhead. A grain bag, a dented pail a rope hanging from a rafter: these ordinary objects and implements are transformed by Andy’s brush into something timeless and otherworldly.”
Just as the musician takes melodies from the sound of the rain and the wind and an artist uses the imperfections, light, and shadows to color and add depth to their works of art, the writer pulls from emotions, sounds, songs, images, memories to type words onto a page. A single note, the touch of the brush against a canvas and the letters on a page can transform a world, a mind and a heart with their existence.
This is what I love about the arts and the part they play in my life. I might not dance gracefully but I continue to try. I sing like a frog but sometimes I can’t help myself, I must sing. My world continues to push me to write and this I strive to do to the best of my ability as long as I still breathe.
I mentioned Puerto Rico in this blog and it pains me deeply to see my fellow Americans and military brothers and sisters and their families suffering following the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria within days of each other. Please keep them in your prayers and if you are able to help during this terrible time please consider donating to the recovery efforts.
OMP Admin Note: Kate McGinn is a writer and OMP Network member – one of a group of networkers who will be blogging on a regular basis on various causes and issues. Kate hopes to spread awareness of the issue of American Veterans returning home to less help than they deserve. EMMAUS is one of the two main charities we are supporting.
Kate McGinn’s fiction can be found on Amazon in the flash fiction series BITE SIZE STORIES (Volume Two) along with five other guest writers. The first two books in her Clare Thibodeaux Series–EXODUS and WINTER’S ICY CARESS are available on Amazon.
On Twitter: @katemcginn6