The Art of Silly
Lest I start taking myself too seriously (which, in my state of almost-authordom, I might) I’m committing to a little silliness. This blog will go out on April Fools’ Day, after all, and I want to remind myself how important it is to have fun. I’ve been indulging in a lot of fun recently but – see how I used the word ‘indulge’ there? – I’ve been feeling massively guilty about it. Whenever I’m out enjoying myself there’s that inner scoldy voice telling me I should be sitting behind my desk more, I should be agonising over edits, I should be slaving away at harp practice, I should, should, should…
In fact the voice has no right to be so shouty. Endless slog isn’t good for creativity. No, experience has taught me that the Muse loves to get out and play.
My harp gigs in March were few and far between. If truth be told, they added up to a very round figure. Gigs tend to be like the proverbial buses; none for ages and then a load at once. But instead of sitting down to practice the same old repertoire again and again until it reaches perfection, this breathing space has freed me up to mess around on to harp. To experiment. To improvise. To play in the literal sense. I’ve discovered so many new sounds this way and it’s been an absolute joy. It’s reminded me of something that I sometimes forget when the pressure’s on: I do love the harp.
More fun: I’ve been on a book tour! As author, Hazel Prior! My fabulous publicist, Hannah, organised a day of travelling to Somerset and Devon bookshops to present them with Ellie and The Harp-Maker proofs and (a special surprise for me) Ellie And The Harp-Maker cupcakes! Call them gimmicky, call them silly - I don’t care. Those cupcakes were fantastic! And one of the booksellers had not only eaten his cake but read the whole novel by the following morning... and loved it! Oh how that warmed the cockles…
Then there have been penguins. I’ve spent two blissful days at Torquay’s ‘Living Coasts’ watching and getting to know penguins. Not only has this provided a refreshing change but it classifies as research for my second novel. And penguins are an antidote to all the Brexit shenanigans, too. There's a certain John Ruskin quote that I use at the start of the book: I find penguins at present the only comfort in life… one can’t be angry when one looks at a penguin.
Penguins are delightful and they are masters in the art of silly. Take note of penguins. They are an example to us all.