Should you ever visit Symphony Hall in Birmingham, I beg you to spare a few moments to view a piece of art that has inspired me. Enter the Symphony Hall building from Board Street, take a left-hand turn towards the bottom of the main staircase - there you will find an exquisite painting by Norman Perryman: The Mahler Experience. A magnificent painting that simply takes my breath away.
In November 2016, I contacted Perryman to express my appreciation and delight felt each time I stand before the piece. Imagine my surprise, when he replied saying that he was currently visiting Birmingham as the organisers had commissioned another piece of art from him. Would I like to meet to discuss the piece? There was no way, I was going to miss this opportunity.
I’d emailed him on a Sunday afternoon, he replied that evening by the following evening at 7:30pm – I was meeting the man himself. He is such a genuinely warm man, I felt I’d known him for a lifetime. We met in front of his beloved painting. Imagine my surprise when he asked me to explain his painting to him! So, I did. He was touched by my explanation and interpretation. We spoke at length about his motivations and talent – I didn’t want the moment to end. Eventually, my husband, who was also blown away by this man’s generosity, made me say goodbye.
So, should you ever pass by Symphony Hall, please visit and stand before The Mahler Experience – I hope you too can enjoy, celebrate and be inspired by this exquisite and passionate piece.
Like any author, I try to seek new and refreshing triggers for my imagination but I have to be honest, music and memories are my biggest inspiration. I only have to hear certain tracks to return to a moment in life, my emotions can alter in a second and I am back there. The memories of a person, a time or a situation, good or bad, are intrinsically linked to music.
On Saturday morning, I spent a delightful couple of hours creating a playlist that accompanies the novel I am currently working on. To anyone else, my playlist would appear to be a mish-mash of artists and songs but not me - each track is linked to a specific theme, a nuclei, for want of a better word. I’ve used playlists for every novel I’ve written. I’ll use my playlist as background music as I work on the novel and will include some songs that are essential to the plotline.
It’s quite remarkable how humans react to music, a colleague of mine frequently quotes ‘where words fail, music begins’ – I think it’s quite true. Music has a magic that can touch our soul when all else fails.
As a small insight into my world, here is one of my favourites: The Everley’s singing ‘Let it be me’