When you work with the right people, it’s like magic.
Before Triptych, I was fortunate enough to participate in some other collaborations with our composer, Natalie. We’d joined forces on two projects: a one-act chamber opera and also a composition for spoken-word and flute. Natalie was the one who initially approached me about taking part in what would become Triptych, a sort of collaborative, interdisciplinary blog that a friend of hers wanted to start. That friend is our artist, Candice Broersma. My immediate answer was a big, fat YES because there are some people you should work with at every opportunity available. And those people aren’t just talented—they’re down-to-earth, intelligent, imaginative, and incredibly fun to work with. So if any of you have the chance to collaborate with Natalie or Candice, for heaven’s sake, do it. When you work with them, magic happens.
But onto the collaboration itself and the creation of our first triptych! Since I was the last one to hop aboard the project, I was lucky enough to have two sources of inspiration before I began writing: the works in progress of both Natalie’s composition, “Descendants of Twilight,” and Candice’s illustration. I experienced them both separately, first the music (as that was what had started our “theme” for this triptych), then the visual. Upon listening to Natalie’s composition, what stood out most to me was the mood. There was some sort of narrative there, a past and a present. Something somber, a feeling of seeking, not belonging, and something bittersweet. It filled my mind with images of people living on the outskirts of society, in the wild and on the ruins of cities. But why did they live that way?
When I saw Candice’s illustration, the ritualistic and otherworldly look of its people with their hovering lanterns gave me a whole new surge of inspiration. One of the things that struck me was that each figure was distinct. In my mind, each of these people had their own experience and perspective. But they had come together for a single purpose. But why did they have these lanterns? What were they for?
I put the music back on and began to write, and the story formed itself, answering all those questions. To be frank, I was totally jazzed, and I still don’t think I’ve gotten over it.
It is indescribably rewarding to see all three elements together now—art, music, and writing—as a complete triptych. I’m in love with the concept of its “theme.” Twilight—a transition, an end and a beginning, waning daylight and approaching night, light and darkness. Descendants—carrying on the rituals and traditions of their forebearers, passing the waning torch through time’s encroaching darkness. I feel like elements of this are present in all three works, closely interlinking them. Whereas in the future when our works may contrast each other as they explore different angles of one concept, in this instance our pieces seem to expand upon the same viewpoint. The next triptych is underway, so we’ll see what happens this time! Candice is cooking up a little sneak peek for you on Tuesday, February 2nd…