" I have such humbling and moving feedback "
" It is such a gift to share with people in this way "
To begin with nothing happened at all, but gradually, very simple music began to take shape in my mind and this was the start of writing contemplative music. By the time the conference came, six choral pieces had been composed. A first collection, 'Fountain of Life', was recorded and published by Kevin Mayhew in 1997.
There is something very natural about integrating my ordinary everyday life with that of prayer and writing music. All three are rooted in the same soil and interact with each other, but prayer is the source that feeds and nourishes me, giving meaning and inspiration to everything I do – to everything I am.
It is of course not always easy to find the time for writing music when one is a wife, mother and grandmother, but even when I am growing vegetables in the garden or making the soup or baking cakes with the grandchildren or traveling, the beauty of prayer and music is going on, and is mixed in with all the other concerns and busyness of life. It is a question of prioritising one’s time and having the discipline to do so in order to get the music written.
I continue to write music in this contemplative vein because I have had so much moving and humbling feedback. Letters from people who are in deep depression, people who are terminally ill, people in prisons, people who find that the music connects with their prayer life. And then people who are not Christian but find themselves connecting spiritually with the music in a perceptive way. It is such a gift to share with people in this way. And so I keep on writing, struggling with harmony and structure – trying to write down the music that I hear from within.
I find I do need solitude and quiet for writing. I have a little bolt hole on the South East coast by the sea where I go almost every week for a few hours to get solitude and space. The sea, the beautiful walks and the little garden that I have there give me much inspiration and ideas for new compositions. There, together with the train journeys, I find time for prayer, reading texts from scripture, and exploring wonderful poetry which give new dimensions and insights into the writing of music. Another thing I like to do is to get a hot coffee and toasted sandwich from the coffee shop and take it down to the beach. I love the sound of the sea as it courses through the shingle.