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Posts Tagged ‘P.L. Travers’

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Let’s go fly a kite
Up to the highest height!
Let’s go fly a kite and send it soaring
Up through the atmosphere
Up where the air is clear
Oh, let’s go fly a kite!

–Let’s Go Fly a Kite, Richard and Robert Sherman

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I thought it might be time start showing some work from my upcoming solo show, From a Distance, that opens July 15 at the West End Gallery in Corning. There are definitely different takes on a variety of themes in this show so deciding which piece should kick off the process was tough. But given the many current events– or should I say disasters?– taking place in this country, I thought the painting here at the top would be a gentle starter.

The idea of flying a kite seems so much more preferable than going into the closet and screaming into the darkness.

The title of this piece is Let’s Go Fly a Kite, borrowed, of course, from the song of that name from the 1964 Walt Disney film, Mary Poppins. It’s a wonderful song that aptly captures the idea of putting aside your problems and releasing yourself to soar with your kite high above and far removed from worldly problems. I hope that is what one gets from this piece, whose image is sized at 10″ by 16″ and framed and matted at 16″ by 22″.

I never saw Mary Poppins as a kid nor did I read the books. I came to both in middle age, actually. But even so, the magic of both remained intact.  a few years back I came across a large single volume that contained all of author  P.L. TraversMary Poppins books and decided that it might be worth reading. I am glad I did. It was funny and touching and engaging on many levels. Just a great read. Made me regret not being interested in them as a kid.

I thought I would share the song here but decided to not show the one from the film. Instead, I am taking the version from another Disney film, Saving Mr. Banks. This film, starring Emma Thompson as author P.L. Travers and Tom Hanks as Walt Disney, is the story of how Disney wooed the crusty Travers who was dead set against him making her book into a movie. She steadfastly opposed every and any change to her baby and thought the idea of a Disney musical treatment of her story was beyond the pale.

This version comes at a point in the Saving Mr. Banks film where she is near making a decision to withhold the filming rights from Disney. She is called into the work studio of the Sherman Brothers, the legendary songwriting team that wrote  many of the best known Disney tunes along with scores of other songs for other artists. Up to this point, Travers has been disdainful of their work that they have previously presented her for the film and in a final attempt to sway her, they perform the song Let’s Go Fly a Kite for her.

It’s a lovely turning point in the film and a nice version of the song as well. So, for a while at least, put aside thoughts of pandemics, of racial divides, of a treasonous and derelict president and all the other horrors that come as part and parcel of the current apocalypse, and think about the giddy thrill of watching your kite take to the air.

Soar with it for a bit. Or a little longer, if need be.

 

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GC Myers- Listener (The True Music)Mr. Twigley’s eyes glowed behind his spectacles as he thought of all the lovely things he would put in the musical box.

“But you can’t hear trees growing,” protested Michael. “There’s no music for that!”

“Tut!” said Mr. Twigley impatiently. “Of course there is! There’s a music for everything. Didn’t you ever hear the earth spinning? It makes a sound like a humming-top. Buckingham Palace plays ‘Rule Britannia’; the River Thames is a drowsy flute. Dear me, yes! Everything in the world — trees, rocks and stars and human beings — they all have their own true music.”

P.L. Travers, Mary Poppins Opens the Door

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Think what you will but I love the Mary Poppins stories.  It seems like every chapter has a philosophical lesson or message, an urging to see the world in a different way.  There is usually a reminder that things are not always what they seem, that what we see and know is only a small part of the whole, that there are worlds and worlds around and beyond us.

Fittingly, it’s very much the theme of my recent work and upcoming show at the West End Gallery.  The painting, a 24″ by 12″ canvas, shown at the top is part of that show and is titled Listener (The True Music).  I  had Mr. Twigley‘s workshop, and that particular snippet from the book above, in mind when I was working on this piece.  The idea that everything has its own true music, its own truth, resonates with me.

I don’t exactly know what my own true music might be.  There have been songs and sounds that often bring me to tears so my guess is that my true music might reside in the chanter of a bagpipe, in the low vibrations of a cello or in the twang of a guitar string.

Or maybe it’s in the sounds of a lone voice singing Amazing Grace.

Or the voices of a large chorus united in Ode to Joy.

Or maybe it is simply in the sound of the wind as it moves the top of the grasses of the fields and in the leaves of trees.

Sometimes, as I walk through the woods to my studio, the trees moving in the wind rub and seem to make loud squawks and voice-like sounds that make me stop and try to hear what they might be saying.

Maybe that’s my true music.

I am not sure but I will continue listening.

What is your true music?

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