Patsy Moore got in touch with me, asking for some black and white illustrations for her new book of personal essays. After setting up the first details of the project, I learnt that Patsy is not only a writer, but also a musician, a video artist, and a very positive person, who makes working with her a joy. It was a challenge for me to switch from children’s graphics to abstract images expressing more complex feelings and thoughts, but the process of developing ideas together only made me want to know more of Patsy’s story.
Maybe my introduction is missing a lot of important information, would you like to introduce yourself?
Oh, gee, I’m not sure what terribly important stuff I might add except, perhaps, that I’m shorter than the average adult female; I have small feet and a small head to match; oh! and I’m a tad obsessed, these days, with the British TV crime drama “Sherlock”. <smile>
You’ve been working and experimenting with different kinds of artistic projects, how would you define yourself as an artist?
I’ve decided that what I am is a storyteller, and my stories assume a number of forms: songs, poems, prose, and film, to be specific. In the case of creating music for film (as I do with my composing partner, Mar), I’m acting in support of other storytellers. After all is said and done, though, it comes down to stories.
We’re wired for plotlines and arcs, folklore and anecdotes, fables and legends. Right? I mean, universally, they’re how we chronicle, connect, and interpret. Reynolds Price—the late North Carolinian poet, essayist, novelist and dramatist—wrote, in A Palpable God: “A need to tell and hear stories is essential to the species Homo sapiens—second in necessity, apparently, after nourishment and before love and shelter. Millions survive without love or home, almost none in silence; the opposite of silence leads quickly to narrative, and the sound of story is the dominant sound of our lives, from the small accounts of our day’s events to the vast incommunicable constructs of psychopaths.” I can’t find it in me to disagree with that observation.
What is your life and art philosophy?
They’re the same, actually: Dig deep, tell the truth, be compelled and propelled by love.
I had the chance to work with you on your new book of personal essays. How did this project come to your mind and how would you present it?
Let me begin by saying I think you’re such an awesome talent, Andreea, and I absolutely loved working through various concepts with you, then seeing your pitch-perfect choices. Wow. Thank you so much for bringing your whimsy and brilliance to my little project. You honored me by coming aboard, and with such attentiveness.
OK, so, for a little over a year, I’d been posting brief, personal ruminations on Facebook and Twitter. I’d had an extremely rough several years, and the best thing to come from that was uncovering the abundance of teachable moments couched in all the adversity. I’ve learned a great deal about my strengths and my shortcomings. It’s not that the things I’ve been posting are all fresh revelations to me, but many are things that have fresh resonance. There’s a deeper awareness taking place. You can know something theoretically, but until you actually apply it, it doesn’t feel real, you know?
Anyway, for the longest while, I was doing these posts every Sunday. People responded enthusiastically to them and I started receiving a lot of requests to maybe assemble them into a book of some sort. I decided to go for it.
I’ve enjoyed the great on- and offline discussions that have grown from this exercise in transparency. The bottom line is that we all want to know we’re not alone, and the truth is we’re not. I think that’s probably the largest appeal of these occasional out-loud thoughts I’ve been sharing via social media: the reminder that we’re all in this together—all trying to figure it out—and the certain relief found in honest, full-throated expression. Our personal experiences are really just our common human experience, in the end.
Your music is very inspiring. What inspires you in the creation process?
Thank you for that. I’m glad you find value in it. That means much.
I’m inspired by any and everything, really: The bends in wrists. Crooked smiles. Furrowed brows. Snippets of conversations. Diverse art and artistry. Sound. Silence. Ascendancy. Tragedy. Color. Texture. Love. Grief. I suppose I’m inspired by all that makes up and surrounds a life.
Below: Between Us by Patsy Moore
What is your next project? Could you tell me a bit about it?
There’s quite a bit in the works. Where to start?
Well, I’m finishing up a new recording of original material (ten songs) that was interrupted, earlier in the year, when I had to have emergency surgery performed and then spent almost half a year recuperating. The album’s called Hiraeth—a Welsh word referring to a profound sense of longing for an either real or imagined home—and it’s an acutely personal collection of tunes.
I’m also working on a film, Notions of Home, that’s a companion to that project: a documentary in which I interview a variety of people in order to explore ideas surrounding the basic human need of belongingness.
Mar and I are also in the final stretch of composing the music for a sweet feature film titled White Water that was directed by the wonderful Rusty Cundieff. It will be released early in 2015.
I’m excited about next year’s creative possibilities and plans. I’m in discussions to ghostwrite a biography and also will be releasing a trilogy of 10-minute film shorts, Love by Numbers.
If you were to give a piece of advice to the readers on life, art, or anything really, what would that be?
I think it would be to look for the amazing, the powerful, the beautiful, and the true in whatever occurs. And be prepared to discover that ‘amazing’ is often hidden in the seemingly mundane, ‘powerful’ frequently emerges from perceived weakness, and ‘beautiful’ isn’t always pretty.
I’d only add that life and art appear most successful in the hands of those who are passionate, curious, aspirational, humbled by mystery, and committed to doing the hard inner and outer work necessary for excellence.
Thank you, it was a pleasure to work with you.
The pleasure’s mutual. Thanks so much for your interest. I hope we have more opportunities to collaborate.
Patsy’s music can be found on her Bandcamp page and almost everywhere else music is sold online.