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“Beautiful surprises within obstacles”

Monday 8th June 2020 Webb Ave , Ballarat East.

It has been interesting in this last two month period , like many others, to put some things on hold.

Tasks that had been at the bottom of the list, then rose to the top of the list, that have not been so pleasant , and technical arduous , but necessary in the long run to keep up a practical and creative musical life.

They have included such things as major software and hardware upgrades (therefore more money spent) on my computer, creation of website, and biting the bullet with creation of a filmclip for the first jazz trio mix put up on the website.

Even though I’m fascinated by anything visual , I’m not masterful with those arts, and sitting at a computer endlessly is probably one of my least favourite tasks.

So, the ‘little filmclip’ that I thought might take two weeks very quickly became a monster ( for me) , as I realised that what I was visualising, was beyond the capabilities of the hardware, software and my brain.

Watching moving images stutter and freeze constantly , endlessly looking up film editing ,tutorials , took the fun out of it, and made me question whether I should even pursue the task at all.

The idea of it being a necessary promotional tool seemed to dissolve in importance.

I found a great turning point in my approach to this ‘yoke’ on my shoulders , happened when I realised one morning, that my own happiness was the most important thing in my life and if that happiness was to be taken away, then fulfilling these self imposed tasks was really quite pointless.

This is when a I began to feel that my spirit, my intention, creativity and the drama of life itself were in harmony. I began to claim back the feeling that whatever I played out in my life was part of something bigger, much bigger than any inflated sense of importance I might have about what I do, or create, or seemingly contribute to the world.

It felt to be a more healthy response to the moments that the world or drama seemed to provide, and that I was simply being co-operative with it.

There was no sense of feeling diminished or the tasks themselves feeling any less unique.

To use a cliché, it was more like ‘go with the flow man!’

So, instead of beating my head against a wall, I stepped back and kept the balance of the other tasks in my life- playing piano , weeding the garden, walking, meditating, writing in my diary , teaching, exercise.

Bit by bit I tended to the filmclip, making slow steps forwards, sometimes backwards , sometimes having to wait, so I would weed until a solution came about and then continue, sometimes with apprehension and reticence.

Stepping back was in inself a wonderful co-operation with the drama of life, as it turned out that I had to anyway , since I had to wait for the post to send me a new audio interface, then wait on email support answers as to why computer OS wasn’t upgrading, then buy a video graphics card etc. etc.

Instead of feeling blocked as I had before , it felt more like- I and the Drama of Life have made the same decision together.

Much less stressful!

The next test of course, was that everything was finally working and I had to sit down at the computer and continue.

It was then fear itself that I had to confront. Fear that it still might not work properly, or that it would be equally arduous as before, or that it wouldn’t be fun or inspiring, or that I might look at what I’d done and think it wasn’t very good and that I would have to throw it all out and start again.

As it turned out there was a bit of all the above, but generally I simply powered on through , with the awareness that if it got too much, all I needed to do was step back a bit and take a breath.

At the very end of the clip when I was completing the editing that I could do with the footage I had to date, as I was trying to make a little part of the clip work according the idea I had in my head , I realised it did not work at all and was about to delete it .

Bill the french horn player and I had driven to the outskirts of Ballarat ( one of four trips that I made) to film him playing in the middle of the road, and we’d done a shot with me standing on a ladder. I’d panned a shot backwards from inside the bell of his horn to make it look he was falling away ( I’d been thinking of Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Vertigo’).

In the editing process I was going to do a scaling of him holding the horn to make it look like he was falling to the centre of the earth.

Well, it looked terrible and I was wondering what to do .

I then tried doing a feathered elliptical shape around the golden french horn bell and realised that it looked like a beautiful golden eye.

Suddenly , it connected completely with the clip , as the clip itself features heavily an aboriginal inspired painting called “The Strong Eye” by Ballarat artist Vikki Nash.

So at the end of the clip, instead of Bill the horn player falling to the centre of the earth , the ‘ golden eye’ falls away and merges with the painting, and on a profound level that had meaning for me, if no-one else, as it was consistent with the intent and vibration of the piece of music that inpired the clip in the first place.

It’s not finished yet, but is well on the way and I feel I have learnt a lot. I look forward to completing and let people see and take from whatever they will.

Most importantly to me, I feel that I and the Drama of Life are finally in agreement,

cheers,

Michael.

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I had a big TIFF with myself

Sat 18th July 2020 At last I am nearing the end of the jazz band film clip saga, only because my dear friend Spiro solved it for me. Interestingly , the drama of life didn’t allow it to be too easy ,

© 2020 MICHAEL WESTLAKE ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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