~ Hazel Harps On

Starting Afresh

Here they are! More and more of them sprouting up every day; under the trees, by the stream, along the banks... snowdrops! Winter in this country always seems horribly long and it’s around now that I start thinking I’ll go mad unless I see sunshine soon - but snowdrops give me hope. In every sense. Nature works in cycles, just like creativity. Sometimes we have to start afresh.

I’ve recently been undergoing a regeneration, both with the writing and the music. There were so many harp gigs around Christmas and the New Year that afterwards I indulged in a week or two of (to put it generously) recovery or (to put it less generously) stagnation. But now I’ve embarked on a new project: a spate of home recordings. It’s an absolute revelation. Although I listen to myself all the time I’m playing, when I hear myself back through a recording I hear completely different things. Because I’m not concentrating on technique or remembering which strings to pluck next, my ears are freed up. All the subtleties of dynamics, rhythms and little nuances in the phrasing suddenly leap out at me. I am much more aware now of what works and what doesn’t, and how those pieces can be improved.

My writing seems to run along a parallel path. It went through a horribly stagnant patch too, and I just didn’t understand where I was going wrong or what I could do about it. But now, after a bit of a break and a bit of a rethink, I’m seeing my novel with fresh eyes. I’m throwing out what I originally thought was a perfectly decent set of edits. They just won’t do. They are me trying to fit into a genre, not me following my vision for the story. This time I’m making damn well sure that the novel is as strong as I can make it and as true as I can make it. What’s more, I’m gearing myself up to submit to agents again. I believe that at last the metaphorical snowdrops are peeping. The metaphorical sunshine is starting to blast through.

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